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Job 8:2-7


8:2 “How long will you speak these things, 1 

seeing 2  that the words of your mouth

are like a great 3  wind? 4 

8:3 Does God pervert 5  justice? 6 

Or does the Almighty pervert 7  what is right?

8:4 If 8  your children sinned against him,

he gave them over 9  to the penalty 10  of their sin.

8:5 But 11  if you will look 12  to God,

and make your supplication 13  to the Almighty,

8:6 if you become 14  pure 15  and upright, 16 

even now he will rouse himself 17  for you,

and will restore 18  your righteous abode. 19 

8:7 Your beginning 20  will seem so small,

since your future will flourish. 21 

1 sn “These things” refers to all of Job’s speech, the general drift of which seems to Bildad to question the justice of God.

2 tn The second colon of the verse simply says “and a strong wind the words of your mouth.” The simplest way to treat this is to make it an independent nominal sentence: “the words of your mouth are a strong wind.” Some have made it parallel to the first by apposition, understanding “how long” to do double duty. The line beginning with the ו (vav) can also be subordinated as a circumstantial clause, as here.

3 tn The word כַּבִּיר (kabbir, “great”) implies both abundance and greatness. Here the word modifies “wind”; the point of the analogy is that Job’s words are full of sound but without solid content.

4 tn See, however, G. R. Driver’s translation, “the breath of one who is mighty are the words of your mouth” (“Hebrew Studies,” JRAS 1948: 170).

5 tn The Piel verb יְעַוֵּת (yÿavvet) means “to bend; to cause to swerve from the norm; to deviate; to pervert.” The LXX renders the first colon as “will the Lord be unjust when he judges?”

6 tn The first word is מִשְׁפָּת (mishpat, “justice”). It can mean an act of judgment, place of judgment, or what is just, that is, the outcome of the decision. It basically describes an umpire’s decision. The parallel word is צֶדֶק (tsedeq, “righteousness,” or “what is right”). The basic idea here is that which conforms to the standard, what is right. See S. H. Scholnick, “The Meaning of Mishpat in the Book of Job,” JBL 101 (1982): 521-29.

7 tn Some commentators think that the second verb should be changed in order to avoid the repetition of the same word and to reflect the different words in the versions. The suggestion is to read יְעַוֵּה (yÿavveh) instead; this would mean “to cause someone to deviate,” for the root means “to bend.” The change is completely unwarranted; the LXX probably chose different words for stylistic reasons (see D. J. A. Clines, Job [WBC], 198). The repetition in the Hebrew text is a common type; it strengthens the enormity of the charge Job seems to be making.

8 tn The AV and RV take the protasis down to the middle of v. 6. The LXX changes the “if” at the beginning of v. 5 to “then” and makes that verse the apodosis. If the apodosis comes in the second half of v. 4, then v. 4 would be a complete sentence (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 71; A. B. Davidson, Job, 60). The particle אִם (’im) has the sense of “since” in this section.

9 tn The verb is a Piel preterite with a vav (ו) consecutive. The ו (vav) need not be translated if the second half of the verse is the apodosis of the first – since they sinned…he did this. The verb שִׁלֵּחַ (shilleakh) means “to expel; to thrust out” normally; here the sense of “deliver up” or “deliver over” fits the sentence well. The verse is saying that sin carries its own punishment, and so God merely delivered the young people over to it.

10 tn Heb “into the hand of their rebellion.” The word “hand” often signifies “power.” The rebellious acts have the power to destroy, and so that is what happened – according to Bildad. Bildad’s point is that Job should learn from what happened to his family.

11 tn “But” is supplied to show the contrast between this verse and the preceding line.

12 tn The verb שִׁחַר (shikhar) means “to seek; to seek earnestly” (see 7:21). With the preposition אֶל (’el) the verb may carry the nuance of “to address; to have recourse to” (see E. Dhorme, Job, 114). The LXX connected it etymologically to “early” and read, “Be early in prayer to the Lord Almighty.”

13 tn The verb תִּתְחַנָּן (titkhannan) means “to make supplication; to seek favor; to seek grace” (from חָנַן, khanan). Bildad is saying that there is only one way for Job to escape the same fate as his children – he must implore God’s mercy. Job’s speech had spoken about God’s seeking him and not finding him; but Bildad is speaking of the importance of Job’s seeking God.

14 tn A verb form needs to be supplied here. Bildad is not saying to Job, “If you are pure [as you say you are].” Bildad is convinced that Job is a sinner. Therefore, “If you become pure” makes more sense here.

15 tn Or “innocent” (i.e., acquitted).

16 tn Many commentators delete this colon as a moralizing gloss on v. 5; but the phrase makes good sense, and simply serves as another condition. Besides, the expression is in the LXX.

17 tn The verb יָעִיר (yair, “rouse, stir up”) is a strong anthropomorphism. The LXX has “he will answer your prayer” (which is probably only the LXX’s effort to avoid the anthropomorphism [D. J. A. Clines, Job (WBC), 198]). A reading of “watch over you” has been adopted because of parallel texts (see H. L. Ginsberg, “Two North Canaanite Letters from Ugarit,” BASOR 72 [1938]: 18-19; and H. N. Richardson, “A Ugaritic Letter of a King to His Mother,” JBL 66 [1947]: 321-24). Others suggest “his light will shine on you” or “he will bestow health on you.” But the idea of “awake” is common enough in the Bible to be retained here.

18 tn The Piel of שָׁלַם (shalam) means “to make good; to repay; to restore something to its wholeness; to reestablish.” The best understanding here would be “restore [Job] to his place.” Some take the verb in the sense of “reward [Job himself] with a righteous habitation.”

19 tn The construct נְוַת (nÿvat) is feminine; only the masculine occurs in Hebrew. But the meaning “abode of your righteousness” is clear enough. The righteousness of Job is pictured as inhabiting an estate, or it pictures the place where Job lives as a righteous man. A translation “rightful habitation” would mean “the habitation that you deserve” – if you are righteous.

20 tn The reference to “your beginning” is a reference to Job’s former estate of wealth and peace. The reference to “latter end” is a reference to conditions still in the future. What Job had before will seem so small in comparison to what lies ahead.

21 tn The verb has the idea of “to grow”; here it must mean “to flourish; to grow considerably” or the like. The statement is not so much a prophecy; rather Bildad is saying that “if Job had recourse to God, then….” This will be fulfilled, of course, at the end of the book.

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