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Job 4:8-11


4:8 Even as I have seen, 1  those who plow 2  iniquity 3 

and those who sow trouble reap the same. 4 

4:9 By the breath 5  of God they perish, 6 

and by the blast 7  of his anger they are consumed.

4:10 There is 8  the roaring of the lion 9 

and the growling 10  of the young lion,

but the teeth of the young lions are broken. 11 

4:11 The mighty lion 12  perishes 13  for lack of prey,

and the cubs of the lioness 14  are scattered.

1 tn The perfect verb here represents the indefinite past. It has no specific sighting in mind, but refers to each time he has seen the wicked do this.

2 sn The figure is an implied metaphor. Plowing suggests the idea of deliberately preparing (or cultivating) life for evil. This describes those who are fundamentally wicked.

3 tn The LXX renders this with a plural “barren places.”

4 tn Heb “reap it.”

5 tn The LXX in the place of “breath” has “word” or “command,” probably to limit the anthropomorphism. The word is מִנִּשְׁמַת (minnishmat) comprising מִן (min) + נִשְׁמַת (nishmat, the construct of נְשָׁמָה [nÿshamah]): “from/at the breath of.” The “breath of God” occurs frequently in Scripture. In Gen 2:7 it imparts life; but here it destroys it. The figure probably does indicate a divine decree from God (e.g., “depart from me”) – so the LXX may have been simply interpreting.

6 sn The statement is saying that if some die by misfortune it is because divine retribution or anger has come upon them. This is not necessarily the case, as the NT declares (see Luke 13:1-5).

7 tn The word רוּחַ (ruakh) is now parallel to נְשָׁמָה (nÿshamah); both can mean “breath” or “wind.” To avoid using “breath” for both lines, “blast” has been employed here. The word is followed by אַפוֹ (’afo) which could be translated “his anger” or “his nostril.” If “nostril” is retained, then it is a very bold anthropomorphism to indicate the fuming wrath of God. It is close to the picture of the hot wind coming off the desert to scorch the plants (see Hos 13:15).

8 tn “There is” has been supplied to make a smoother translation out of the clauses.

9 sn Eliphaz takes up a new image here to make the point that the wicked are destroyed – the breaking up and scattering of a den of lions. There are several words for “lion” used in this section. D. J. A. Clines observes that it is probably impossible to distinguish them (Job [WBC], 109, 110, which records some bibliography of those who have tried to work on the etymologies and meanings). The first is אַרְיֵה (’aryeh) the generic term for “lion.” It is followed by שַׁחַל (shakhal) which, like כְּפִיר (kÿfir), is a “young lion.” Some have thought that the שַׁחַל (shakhal) is a lion-like animal, perhaps a panther or leopard. KBL takes it by metathesis from Arabic “young one.” The LXX for this verse has “the strength of the lion, and the voice of the lioness and the exulting cry of serpents are quenched.”

10 tn Heb “voice.”

11 tn The verb belongs to the subject “teeth” in this last colon; but it is used by zeugma (a figure of speech in which one word is made to refer to two or more other words, but has to be understood differently in the different contexts) of the three subjects (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 46-47).

12 tn The word לַיִשׁ (layish) traditionally rendered “strong lion,” occurs only here and in Prov 30:30 and Isa 30:6. It has cognates in several of the Semitic languages, and so seems to indicate lion as king of the beasts.

13 tn The form of the verb is the Qal active participle; it stresses the characteristic action of the verb as if a standard universal truth.

14 tn The text literally has “sons of the lioness.”

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