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Job 33:23-26

Context

33:23 If there is an angel beside him,

one mediator 1  out of a thousand,

to tell a person what constitutes his uprightness; 2 

33:24 and if 3  God 4  is gracious to him and says,

‘Spare 5  him from going down

to the place of corruption,

I have found a ransom for him,’ 6 

33:25 then his flesh is restored 7  like a youth’s;

he returns to the days of his youthful vigor. 8 

33:26 He entreats God, and God 9  delights in him,

he sees God’s face 10  with rejoicing,

and God 11  restores to him his righteousness. 12 

1 sn The verse is describing the way God can preserve someone from dying by sending a messenger (translated here as “angel”), who could be human or angelic. This messenger will interpret/mediate God’s will. By “one … out of a thousand” Elihu could have meant either that one of the thousands of messengers at God’s disposal might be sent or that the messenger would be unique (see Eccl 7:28; and cp. Job 9:3).

2 tn This is a smoother reading. The MT has “to tell to a man his uprightness,” to reveal what is right for him. The LXX translated this word “duty”; the choice is adopted by some commentaries. However, that is too far from the text, which indicates that the angel/messenger is to call the person to uprightness.

3 tn This verse seems to continue the protasis begun in the last verse, with the apodosis coming in the next verse.

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tc The verb is either taken as an anomalous form of פָּדַע (pada’, “to rescue; to redeem,” or “to exempt him”), or it is emended to some similar word, like פָּרַע (para’, “to let loose,” so Wright).

6 sn This verse and v. 28 should be compared with Ps 49:7-9, 15 (8-10, 16 HT) where the same basic vocabulary and concepts are employed.

7 tc The word רֻטֲפַשׁ (rutafash) is found nowhere else. One suggestion is that it should be יִרְטַב (yirtav, “to become fresh”), connected to רָטַב (ratav, “to be well watered [or moist]”). It is also possible that it was a combination of רָטַב (ratav, “to be well watered”) and טָפַשׁ (tafash, “to grow fat”). But these are all guesses in the commentaries.

8 tn The word describes the period when the man is healthy and vigorous, ripe for what life brings his way.

9 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

10 tn Heb “his face”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn This is usually taken to mean that as a worshiper this individual comes into the presence of the Lord in prayer, and in the sanctuary he sees God’s face, i.e., he sees the evidence of God’s presence.

11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tc Many commentators think this line is superfluous and so delete it. The RSV changed the verb to “he recounts,” making the idea that the man publishes the news of his victory or salvation (taking “righteousness” as a metonymy of cause).



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