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Job 38:8-11

Context

38:8 “Who shut up 1  the sea with doors

when it burst forth, 2  coming out of the womb,

38:9 when I made 3  the storm clouds its garment,

and thick darkness its swaddling band, 4 

38:10 when I prescribed 5  its limits,

and set 6  in place its bolts and doors,

38:11 when I said, ‘To here you may come 7 

and no farther, 8 

here your proud waves will be confined’? 9 

1 tn The MT has “and he shut up.” The Vulgate has “Who?” and so many commentaries and editions adopt this reading, if not from the Vulgate, then from the sense of the sequence in the text itself.

2 tn The line uses two expressions, first the temporal clause with גִּיחַ (giakh, “when it burst forth”) and then the finite verb יֵצֵא (yetse’, “go out”) to mark the concomitance of the two actions.

3 tn The temporal clause here uses the infinitive from שִׂים (sim, “to place; to put; to make”). It underscores the sovereign placing of things.

4 tn This noun is found only here. The verb is in Ezek 16:4, and a related noun is in Ezek 30:21.

5 tc The MT has “and I broke,” which cannot mean “set, prescribed” or the like. The LXX and the Vulgate have such a meaning, suggesting a verb עֲשִׁית (’ashiyt, “plan, prescribe”). A. Guillaume finds an Arabic word with a meaning “measured it by span by my decree.” Would God give himself a decree? R. Gordis simply argues that the basic meaning “break” develops the connotation of “decide, determine” (2 Sam 5:24; Job 14:3; Dan 11:36).

6 tn Dhorme suggested reversing the two verbs, making this the first, and then “shatter” for the second colon.

7 tn The imperfect verb receives the permission nuance here.

8 tn The text has תֹסִיף (tosif, “and you may not add”), which is often used idiomatically (as in verbal hendiadys constructions).

9 tn The MT literally says, “here he will put on the pride of your waves.” The verb has no expressed subject and so is made a passive voice. But there has to be some object for the verb “put,” such as “limit” or “boundary”; the translations “confined; halted; stopped” all serve to paraphrase such an idea. The LXX has “broken” at this point, suggesting the verse might have been confused – but “breaking the pride” of the waves would mean controlling them. Some commentators have followed this, exchanging the verb in v. 11 with this one.



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