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Job 5:19-23

Context

5:19 He will deliver you 1  from six calamities;

yes, in seven 2  no evil will touch you.

5:20 In time of famine 3  he will redeem you from death,

and in time of war from the power of the sword. 4 

5:21 You will be protected 5  from malicious gossip, 6 

and will not be afraid of the destruction 7  when it comes.

5:22 You will laugh at destruction and famine 8 

and need not 9  be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

5:23 For you will have a pact with the stones 10  of the field,

and the wild animals 11  will be at peace 12  with you.

1 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperfect of נָצַל (natsal, “deliver”). These verbs might have been treated as habitual imperfects if it were not for the use of the numerical images – “six calamities…in seven.” So the nuance is specific future instead.

2 tn The use of a numerical ladder as we have here – “six // seven” is frequent in wisdom literature to show completeness. See Prov 6:16; Amos 1:3, Mic 5:5. A number that seems to be sufficient for the point is increased by one, as if to say there is always one more. By using this Eliphaz simply means “in all troubles” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 56).

3 sn Targum Job here sees an allusion to the famine of Egypt and the war with Amalek.

4 tn Heb “from the hand of the sword.” This is idiomatic for “the power of the sword.” The expression is also metonymical, meaning from the effect of the sword, which is death.

5 tn The Hebrew verb essentially means “you will be hidden.” In the Niphal the verb means “to be hidden, to be in a hiding place,” and protected (Ps 31:20).

6 tn Heb “from the lash [i.e., whip] of the tongue.” Sir 26:9 and 51:2 show usages of these kinds of expressions: “the lash of the tongue” or “the blow of the tongue.” The expression indicates that a malicious gossip is more painful than a blow.

sn The Targum saw here a reference to Balaam and the devastation brought on by the Midianites.

7 tn The word here is שׁוֹד (shod); it means “destruction,” but some commentators conjecture alternate readings: שׁוֹאָה (shoah, “desolation”); or שֵׁד (shed, “demon”). One argument for maintaining שׁוֹד (shod) is that it fits the assonance within the verse שׁוֹדלָשׁוֹןשׁוֹט (shotlashonshod).

8 tc The repetition of “destruction” and “famine” here has prompted some scholars to delete the whole verse. Others try to emend the text. The LXX renders them as “the unrighteous and the lawless.” But there is no difficulty in having the repetition of the words as found in the MT.

tn The word for “famine” is an Aramaic word found again in 30:3. The book of Job has a number of Aramaisms that are used to form an alternative parallel expression (see notes on “witness” in 16:19).

9 tn The negated jussive is used here to express the conviction that something cannot or should not happen (GKC 322 §109.e).

10 tn Heb “your covenant is with the stones of the field.” The line has been variously interpreted and translated. It is omitted in the LXX. It seems to mean there is a deep sympathy between man and nature. Some think it means that the boundaries will not be violated by enemies; Rashi thought it represented some species of beings, like genii of the field, and so read אֲדֹנֵי (’adone, “lords”) for אַבְנֵי (’avne, “stones”). Ball takes the word as בְּנֵי (bÿne, “sons”), as in “sons of the field,” to get the idea that the reference is to the beasts. E. Dhorme (Job, 71) rejects these ideas as too contrived; he says to have a pact with the stones of the field simply means the stones will not come and spoil the ground, making it less fertile.

11 tn Heb “the beasts of the field.”

12 tn This is the only occurrence of the Hophal of the verb שָׁלֵם (shalem, “to make or have peace” with someone). Compare Isa 11:6-9 and Ps 91:13. The verb form is the perfect; here it is the perfect consecutive following a noun clause (see GKC 494 §159.g).



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