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Job 7:9-10

Context

7:9 As 1  a cloud is dispersed and then disappears, 2 

so the one who goes down to the grave 3 

does not come up again. 4 

7:10 He returns no more to his house,

nor does his place of residence 5  know him 6  any more.

1 tn The comparison is implied; “as” is therefore supplied in the translation.

2 tn The two verbs כָּלַה (kalah) and הָלַךְ (halakh) mean “to come to an end” and “to go” respectively. The picture is of the cloud that breaks up, comes to an end, is dispersed so that it is no longer a cloud; it then fades away or vanishes. This line forms a good simile for the situation of a man who comes to his end and disappears.

3 tn The noun שְׁאוֹל (shÿol) can mean “the grave,” “death,” or “Sheol” – the realm of departed spirits. In Job this is a land from which there is no return (10:21 and here). It is a place of darkness and gloom (10:21-22), a place where the dead lie hidden (14:13); as a place appointed for all no matter what their standing on earth might have been (30:23). In each case the precise meaning has to be determined. Here the grave makes the most sense, for Job is simply talking about death.

4 sn It is not correct to try to draw theological implications from this statement or the preceding verse (Rashi said Job was denying the resurrection). Job is simply stating that when people die they are gone – they do not return to this present life on earth. Most commentators and theologians believe that theological knowledge was very limited at such an early stage, so they would not think it possible for Job to have bodily resurrection in view. (See notes on ch. 14 and 19:25-27.)

5 tn M. Dahood suggests the meaning is the same as “his abode” (“Hebrew-Ugaritic Lexicography V,” Bib 48 [1967]: 421-38).

6 tn The verb means “to recognize” by seeing. “His place,” the place where he was living, is the subject of the verb. This personification is intended simply to say that the place where he lived will not have him any more. The line is very similar to Ps 103:16b – when the wind blows the flower away, its place knows it no more.



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