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Job 5:7

Context

5:7 but people 1  are born 2  to trouble,

as surely as the sparks 3  fly 4  upward. 5 

Job 11:12

Context

11:12 But an empty man will become wise,

when a wild donkey’s colt is born a human being. 6 

1 tn Heb “man [is].” Because “man” is used in a generic sense for humanity here, the generic “people” has been used in the translation.

2 tn There is a slight difficulty here in that vv. 6 and 7 seem to be saying the opposite thing. Many commentators, therefore, emend the the Niphal יוּלָּד (yullad, “is born”) to an active participle יוֹלֵד (yoled, “begets”) to place the source of trouble in man himself. But the LXX seems to retain the passive idea: “man is born to trouble.” The contrast between the two verses does not seem too difficult, for it still could imply that trouble’s source is within the man.

3 tn For the Hebrew בְנֵי־רֶשֶׁף (bÿne reshef, “sons of the flame”) the present translation has the rendering “sparks.” E. Dhorme (Job, 62) thinks it refers to some kind of bird, but renders it “sons of the lightning” because the eagle was associated with lightning in ancient interpretations. Sparks, he argues, do not soar high above the earth. Other suggestions include Resheph, the Phoenician god of lightning (Pope), the fire of passion (Buttenwieser), angels (Peake), or demons (Targum Job). None of these are convincing; the idea of sparks flying upward fits the translation well and makes clear sense in the passage.

4 tn The simple translation of the last two words is “fly high” or “soar aloft” which would suit the idea of an eagle. But, as H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 53) concludes, the argument to identify the expression preceding this with eagles is far-fetched.

5 tn The LXX has the name of a bird here: “the vulture’s young seek the high places.” The Targum to Job has “sons of demons” or “the sparks which shoot from coals of fire.”

6 tn As A. B. Davidson (Job, 84) says, the one thing will happen when the other happens – which is never. The word “empty” נָבוּב (navuv) means “hollow; witless,” and “become wise” (יִלָּבֵב, yillavev) is “will get heart” (not to “lack heart” as Driver suggested”). Many commentators do not like the last line of the verse, and so offer even more emendations. E. F. Sutcliffe wanted to change פֶּרֶא (pere’, “donkey”) to פֶּרֶד (pered, “stallion”), rendering “a witless wight may get wit when a mule is born a stallion” (“Notes on Job, textual and exegetical,” Bib 30 [1949]: 70-71); and others approached the verse by changing the verb from יִוָּלֵד (yivvaled, “is born”) to יִלָּמֵד (yillamed, “is taught”), resulting in “a hollow man may get understanding, and a wild donkey’s colt may be taught [= tamed]” (cf. NAB).



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