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Job 34:19-20


34:19 who shows no partiality to princes,

and does not take note of 1  the rich more than the poor,

because all of them are the work of his hands?

34:20 In a moment they die, in the middle of the night, 2 

people 3  are shaken 4  and they pass away.

The mighty are removed effortlessly. 5 

Job 34:24


34:24 He shatters the great without inquiry, 6 

and sets up others in their place.

1 tn The verb means “to give recognition; to take note of” and in this passage with לִפְנֵי (lifne, “before”) it means to show preferential treatment to the rich before the poor. The word for “rich” here is an unusual word, found parallel to “noble” (Isa 32:2). P. Joüon thinks it is a term of social distinction (Bib 18 [1937]: 207-8).

2 tn Dhorme transposes “in the middle of the night” with “they pass away” to get a smoother reading. But the MT emphasizes the suddenness by putting both temporal ideas first. E. F. Sutcliffe leaves the order as it stands in the text, but adds a verb “they expire” after “in the middle of the night” (“Notes on Job, textual and exegetical,” Bib 30 [1949]: 79ff.).

3 tn R. Gordis (Job, 389) thinks “people” here mean the people who count, the upper class.

4 tn The verb means “to be violently agitated.” There is no problem with the word in this context, but commentators have made suggestions for improving the idea. The proposal that has the most to commend it, if one were inclined to choose a new word, is the change to יִגְוָעוּ (yigvau, “they expire”; so Ball, Holscher, Fohrer, and others).

5 tn Heb “not by hand.” This means without having to use force.

6 tn Heb “[with] no investigation.”

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