3:13 For now 1 I would be lying down
and 2 would be quiet, 3
I would be asleep and then at peace 4
3:14 with kings and counselors of the earth
who built for themselves places now desolate, 5
3:15 or with princes who possessed gold, 6
who filled their palaces 7 with silver.
3:16 Or why 8 was 9 I not buried 10
like a stillborn infant, 11
like infants 12 who have never seen the light? 13
3:17 There 14 the wicked 15 cease 16 from turmoil, 17
and there the weary 18 are at rest.
3:18 There 19 the prisoners 20 relax 21 together; 22
they do not hear the voice of the oppressor. 23
3:19 Small and great are 24 there,
and the slave is free 25 from his master. 26
1 tn The word עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) may have a logical nuance here, almost with the idea of “if that had been the case…” (IBHS 667-68 §39.3.4f). However, the temporal “now” is retained in translation since the imperfect verb following two perfects “suggests what Job’s present state would be if he had had the quiet of a still birth” (J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 95, n. 23). Cf. GKC 313 §106.p.
2 tn The copula on the verb indicates a sequence for the imperfect: “and then I would….” In the second half of the verse it is paralleled by “then.”
3 tn The text uses a combination of the perfect (lie down/sleep) and imperfect (quiet/rest). The particle עַתָּה (’attah, “now”) gives to the perfect verb its conditional nuance. It presents actions in the past that are not actually accomplished but seen as possible (GKC 313 §106.p).
4 tn The last part uses the impersonal verb “it would be at rest for me.”
5 tn The difficult term חֳרָבוֹת (khoravot) is translated “desolate [places]”. The LXX confused the word and translated it “who gloried in their swords.” One would expect a word for monuments, or tombs (T. K. Cheyne emended it to “everlasting tombs” [“More Critical Gleanings in Job,” ExpTim 10 (1898/99): 380-83]). But this difficult word is of uncertain etymology and therefore cannot simply be made to mean “royal tombs.” The verb means “be desolate, solitary.” In Isa 48:21 there is the clear sense of a desert. That is the meaning of Assyrian huribtu. It may be that like the pyramids of Egypt these tombs would have been built in the desert regions. Or it may describe how they rebuilt ruins for themselves. He would be saying then that instead of lying here in pain and shame if he had died he would be with the great ones of the earth. Otherwise, the word could be interpreted as a metonymy of effect, indicating that the once glorious tomb now is desolate. But this does not fit the context – the verse is talking about the state of the great ones after their death.
6 tn The expression simply has “or with princes gold to them.” The noun is defined by the noun clause serving as a relative clause (GKC 486 §155.e).
7 tn Heb “filled their houses.” There is no reason here to take “houses” to mean tombs; the “houses” refer to the places the princes lived (i.e., palaces). The reference is not to the practice of burying treasures with the dead. It is simply saying that if Job had died he would have been with the rich and famous in death.
8 tn The verb is governed by the interrogative of v. 12 that introduces this series of rhetorical questions.
9 tn The verb is again the prefix conjugation, but the narrative requires a past tense, or preterite.
10 tn Heb “hidden.” The LXX paraphrases: “an untimely birth, proceeding from his mother’s womb.”
11 tn The noun נֵפֶל (nefel, “miscarriage”) is the abortive thing that falls (hence the verb) from the womb before the time is ripe (Ps 58:9). The idiom using the verb “to fall” from the womb means to come into the world (Isa 26:18). The epithet טָמוּן (tamun, “hidden”) is appropriate to the verse. The child comes in vain, and disappears into the darkness – it is hidden forever.
12 tn The word עֹלְלִים (’olÿlim) normally refers to “nurslings.” Here it must refer to infants in general since it refers to a stillborn child.
13 tn The relative clause does not have the relative pronoun; the simple juxtaposition of words indicates that it is modifying the infants.
14 sn The reference seems to be death, or Sheol, the place where the infant who is stillborn is either buried (the grave) or resides (the place of departed spirits) and thus does not see the light of the sun.
15 sn The wicked are the ungodly, those who are not members of the covenant (normally) and in this context especially those who oppress and torment other people.
16 tn The parallelism uses the perfect verb in the first parallel part, and the imperfect opposite it in the second. Since the verse projects to the grave or Sheol (“there”) where the action is perceived as still continuing or just taking place, both receive an English present tense translation (GKC 312 §106.l).
17 tn Here the noun רֹגז (rogez) refers to the agitation of living as opposed to the peaceful rest of dying. The associated verb רָגַז (ragaz) means “to be agitated, excited.” The expression indicates that they cease from troubling, meaning all the agitation of their own lives.
18 tn The word יָגִיעַ (yagia’) means “exhausted, wearied”; it is clarified as a physical exhaustion by the genitive of specification (“with regard to their strength”).
19 tn “There” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied from the context.
20 tn The LXX omits the verb and translates the noun not as prisoners but as “old men” or “men of old time.”
21 tn The verb שַׁאֲנָנוּ (sha’ananu) is the Pilpel of שָׁאַן (sha’an) which means “to rest.” It refers to the normal rest or refreshment of individuals; here it is contrasted with the harsh treatment normally put on prisoners.
22 sn See further J. C. de Moor, “Lexical Remarks Concerning yahad and yahdaw,” VT 7 (1957): 350-55.
23 tn Or “taskmaster.” The same Hebrew word is used for the taskmasters in Exod 3:7.
24 tn The versions have taken the pronoun in the sense of the verb “to be.” Others give it the sense of “the same thing,” rendering the verse as “small and great, there is no difference there.” GKC 437 §135.a, n. 1, follows this idea with a meaning of “the same.”
25 tn The LXX renders this as “unafraid,” although the negative has disappeared in some
26 tn The plural “masters” could be taken here as a plural of majesty rather than as referring to numerous masters.