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Job 36:16-21


36:16 And surely, he drew you 1  from the mouth of distress,

to a wide place, unrestricted, 2 

and to the comfort 3  of your table

filled with rich food. 4 

36:17 But now you are preoccupied with the judgment due the wicked,

judgment and justice take hold of you.

36:18 Be careful that 5  no one entices you with riches;

do not let a large bribe 6  turn you aside.

36:19 Would your wealth 7  sustain you,

so that you would not be in distress, 8 

even all your mighty efforts? 9 

36:20 Do not long for the cover of night

to drag people away from their homes. 10 

36:21 Take heed, do not turn to evil,

for because of this you have been tested 11  by affliction.

1 tn The Hebrew verb means “to entice; to lure; to allure; to seduce,” but these have negative connotations. The English “to persuade; to draw” might work better. The verb is the Hiphil perfect of סוּת (sut). But the nuance of the verb is difficult. It can be equivalent to an English present expressing what God is doing (Peake). But the subject is contested as well. Since the verb usually has an evil connotation, there have been attempts to make the “plaza” the subject – “the wide place has led you astray” (Ewald).

2 tn Heb “a broad place where there is no cramping beneath [or under] it.”

3 tn The word נַחַת (nakhat) could be translated “set” if it is connected with the verb נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest,” but then “to lay to rest, to set”). Kissane translates it “comfort.” Dhorme thinks it could come from נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”) or נָחַת (nakhat, “to descend”). But his conclusion is that it is a dittography after “under it” (p. 545).

4 tn Heb “filled with fat.”

5 tn The first expression is idiomatic: the text says, “because wrath lest it entice you” – thus, beware.

6 tn The word is כֹּפֶר (kofer), often translated “ransom,” but frequently in the sense of a bribe.

7 tn The form in the MT is “your cry (for help).” See J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 472-73) and E. Dhorme (Job, 547-48) on the difficulties.

8 tn This part has only two words לֹא בְצָר (lobÿtsar, “not in distress”). The negated phrase serves to explain the first colon.

9 tc For the many suggestions and the reasoning here, see the commentaries.

10 tn The meaning of this line is difficult. There are numerous suggestions for emending the text. Kissane takes the first verb in the sense of “oppress,” and for “the night” he has “belonging to you,” meaning “your people.” This reads: “Oppress not them that belong not to you, that your kinsmen may mount up in their place.”

11 tn Normally “tested” would be the translation for the Niphal of בָּחַר (bakhar). Although the Qal is employed here, the context favors “tested” rather than “chose.”

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