3:5 Let darkness and the deepest
let a cloud settle on it;
let whatever blackens the day 3 terrify it!
so that his terror 7 would not make me afraid.
and the fear he inspires 10 fall on you?
and stop making me afraid with your terror. 13
they prevail against him
like a king ready to launch an attack, 15
and dog 17 his every step.
33:7 Therefore no fear of me should terrify you,
1 sn The translation of צַלְמָוֶת (tsalmavet, “shadow of death”) has been traditionally understood to indicate a dark, death shadow (supported in the LXX), but many scholars think it may not represent the best etymological analysis of the word. The word may be connected to an Arabic word which means “to be dark,” and an Akkadian word meaning “black.” It would then have to be repointed throughout its uses to צַלְמוּת (tsalmut) forming an abstract ending. It would then simply mean “darkness” rather than “shadow of death.” Or the word can be understood as an idiomatic expression meaning “gloom” that is deeper than חֹשֶׁךְ (khoshekh; see HALOT 1029 s.v. צַלְמָוֶת). Since “darkness” has already been used in the line, the two together could possibly form a nominal hendiadys: “Let the deepest darkness….” There is a significant amount of literature on this; one may begin with W. L. Michel, “SLMWT, ‘Deep Darkness’ or ‘Shadow of Death’?” BR 29 (1984): 5-20.
2 tn The verb is גָּאַל (ga’al, “redeem, claim”). Some have suggested that the verb is actually the homonym “pollute.” This is the reading in the Targum, Syriac, Vulgate, and Rashi, who quotes from Mal 1:7,12. See A. R. Johnson, “The Primary Meaning of ga’al,” VTSup 1 (1953): 67-77.
3 tn The expression “the blackness of the day” (כִּמְרִירֵי יוֹם, kimrire yom) probably means everything that makes the day black, such as supernatural events like eclipses. Job wishes that all ominous darknesses would terrify that day. It comes from the word כָּמַר (kamar, “to be black”), related to Akkadian kamaru (“to overshadow, darken”). The versions seem to have ignored the first letter and connected the word to מָרַר (marar, “be bitter”).
4 tn The verse probably continues the description from the last verse, and so a relative pronoun may be supplied here as well.
5 tn According to some, the reference of this suffix would be to God. The arbiter would remove the rod of God from Job. But others take it as a separate sentence with God removing his rod.
6 sn The “rod” is a symbol of the power of God to decree whatever judgments and afflictions fall upon people.
7 tn “His terror” is metonymical; it refers to the awesome majesty of God that overwhelms Job and causes him to be afraid.
8 sn The word translated “his majesty” or “his splendor” (שְׂאֵתוֹ, sÿ’eto) forms a play on the word “show partiality” (תִּשָּׂאוּן, tissa’un) in the last verse. They are both from the verb נָשַׂא (nasa’, “to lift up”).
10 tn Heb “His dread”; the suffix is a subjective genitive.
11 tn The imperative הַרְחַק (harkhaq, “remove”; GKC 98 §29.q), from רָחַק (rakhaq, “far, be far”) means “take away [far away]; to remove.”
12 sn This is a common, but bold, anthropomorphism. The fact that the word used is כַּף (kaf, properly “palm”) rather than יָד (yad, “hand,” with the sense of power) may stress Job’s feeling of being trapped or confined (see also Ps 139:5, 7).
14 tn If “day and darkness” are added to this line, then this verse is made into a tri-colon – the main reason for transferring it away from the last verse. But the newly proposed reading follows the LXX structure precisely, as if that were the approved construction. The Hebrew of MT has “distress and anguish terrify him.”
15 tn This last colon is deleted by some, moved to v. 26 by others, and the NEB puts it in brackets. The last word (translated here as “launch an attack”) occurs only here. HALOT 472 s.v. כִּידוֹר links it to an Arabic root kadara, “to rush down,” as with a bird of prey. J. Reider defines it as “perturbation” from the same root (“Etymological Studies in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 2 : 127).
16 sn Bildad is referring here to all the things that afflict a person and cause terror. It would then be a metonymy of effect, the cause being the afflictions.
17 tn The verb פּוּץ (puts) in the Hiphil has the meaning “to pursue” and “to scatter.” It is followed by the expression “at his feet.” So the idea is easily derived: they chase him at his feet. But some commentators have other proposals. The most far-fetched is that of Ehrlich and Driver (ZAW 24 : 259-60) which has “and compel him to urinate on his feet,” one of many similar readings the NEB accepted from Driver.
18 tc The noun means “my pressure; my burden” in the light of the verb אָכֲף (’akhaf, “to press on; to grip tightly”). In the parallel passages the text used “hand” and “rod” in the hand to terrify. The LXX has “hand” here for this word. But simply changing it to “hand” is ruled out because the verb is masculine.