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Job 7:1-2

Context
The Brevity of Life

7:1 “Does not humanity have hard service 1  on earth?

Are not their days also

like the days of a hired man? 2 

7:2 Like a servant 3  longing for the evening shadow, 4 

and like a hired man looking 5  for his wages, 6 

1 tn The word צָבָא (tsava’) is actually “army”; it can be used for the hard service of military service as well as other toil. As a military term it would include the fixed period of duty (the time) and the hard work (toil). Job here is considering the lot of all humans, not just himself.

2 tn The שָׂכִיר (sakhir) is a hired man, either a man who works for wages, or a mercenary soldier (Jer 46:21). The latter sense may be what is intended here in view of the parallelism, although the next verse seems much broader.

3 tn This term עֶבֶד (’eved) is the servant or the slave. He is compelled to work through the day, in the heat; but he longs for evening, when he can rest from the slavery.

4 tn The expression יִשְׁאַף־צֵל (yishaf tsel, “longing for the evening shadow”) could also be taken as a relative clause (without the relative pronoun): “as a servant [who] longs for the evening shadow” (see GKC 487 §155.g). In either case, the expressions in v. 2 emphasize the point of the comparison, which will be summed up in v. 3.

5 tn The two verbs in this verse stress the eager expectation and waiting. The first, שָׁאַף (shaaf), means “to long for; to desire”; and the second, קָוָה (qavah), has the idea of “to hope for; to look for; to wait.” The words would give the sense that the servant or hired man had the longing on his mind all day.

6 tn The word פֹּעַל (poal) means “work.” But here the word should be taken as a metonymy, meaning the pay for the work that he has done (compare Jer 22:13).



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