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Job 38:12-14

Context

38:12 Have you ever in your life 1  commanded the morning,

or made the dawn know 2  its place,

38:13 that it might seize the corners of the earth, 3 

and shake the wicked out of it?

38:14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; 4 

its features 5  are dyed 6  like a garment.

1 tn The Hebrew idiom is “have you from your days?” It means “never in your life” (see 1 Sam 25:28; 1 Kgs 1:6).

2 tn The verb is the Piel of יָדַע (yada’, “to know”) with a double accusative.

3 sn The poetic image is that darkness or night is like a blanket that covers the earth, and at dawn it is taken by the edges and shaken out. Since the wicked function under the cover of night, they are included in the shaking when the dawn comes up.

4 sn The verse needs to be understood in the context: as the light shines in the dawn, the features of the earth take on a recognizable shape or form. The language is phenomenological.

5 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the objects or features on the earth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tc The MT reads “they stand up like a garment” (NASB, NIV) or “its features stand out like a garment” (ESV). The reference could be either to embroidered decoration on a garment or to the folds of a garment (REB: “until all things stand out like the folds of a cloak”; cf. J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 497, “the early light of day makes the earth appear as a beautiful garment, exquisite in design and glorious in color”). Since this is thought to be an odd statement, some suggest with Ehrlich that the text be changed to תִּצָּבַּע (titsabba’, “is dyed [like a garment]”). This reference would be to the colors appearing on the earth’s surface under daylight. The present translation follows the emendation.



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