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Job 9:5-6

Context

9:5 He who removes mountains suddenly, 1 

who overturns them in his anger; 2 

9:6 he who shakes the earth out of its place 3 

so that its pillars tremble; 4 

1 tn The verb is plural: “they do not know it.” This suggests that the mountains would not know it. Some follow the Syriac with a singular verb, i.e., God does not know it, meaning, it is so trifling to God that he can do it without thinking. But the better interpretation may be “suddenly.” This would be interpreted from the MT as it stands; it would imply “before they know anything,” thus “suddenly” (Gray, Dhorme, Buttenwieser, et. al.). D. W. Thomas connects the meaning to another verb based on Arabic and translates it, “ so that they are no longer still” (“Additional Notes on the Root yada` in Hebrew,” JTS 15 [1964]: 54-57). J. A. Emerton works with a possible root יָדַע (yada’) meaning “be still” (“A Consideration of Some Alleged Meanings of yada` in Hebrew,” JSS 15 [1970]: 145-80).

2 sn This line beginning with the relative pronoun can either be read as a parallel description of God, or it can be subordinated by the relative pronoun to the first (“they do not know who overturned them”).

3 sn Shakes the earth out of its place probably refers to earthquakes, although some commentators protest against this in view of the idea of the pillars. In the ancient world the poetical view of the earth is that it was a structure on pillars, with water around it and under it. In an earthquake the pillars were shaken, and the earth moved.

4 tn The verb הִתְפַלָּצ (hitfallats) is found only here, but the root seems clearly to mean “to be tossed; to be thrown about,” and so in the Hitpael “quiver; shake; tremble.” One of the three nouns from this root is פַּלָּצוּת (pallatsut), the “shudder” that comes with terror (see Job 21:6; Isa 21:4; Ezek 7:18; and Ps 55:6).



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