NETBible KJV GRK-HEB XRef Arts Hymns
  Discovery Box

Job 12:7-16

Context
Knowledge of God’s Wisdom 1 

12:7 “But now, ask the animals and they 2  will teach you,

or the birds of the sky and they will tell you.

12:8 Or speak 3  to the earth 4  and it will teach you,

or let the fish of the sea declare to you.

12:9 Which of all these 5  does not know

that the hand of the Lord 6  has done 7  this,

12:10 in whose hand 8  is the life 9  of every creature

and the breath of all the human race. 10 

12:11 Does not the ear test words,

as 11  the tongue 12  tastes food? 13 

12:12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? 14 

Does not long life bring understanding?

12:13 “With God 15  are wisdom and power;

counsel and understanding are his. 16 

12:14 If 17  he tears down, it cannot be rebuilt;

if he imprisons a person, there is no escape. 18 

12:15 If he holds back the waters, then they dry up; 19 

if he releases them, 20  they destroy 21  the land.

12:16 With him are strength and prudence; 22 

both the one who goes astray 23 

and the one who misleads are his.

1 sn As J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 216) observes, in this section Job argues that respected tradition “must not be accepted uncritically.”

2 tn The singular verb is used here with the plural collective subject (see GKC 464 §145.k).

3 tn The word in the MT means “to complain,” not simply “to speak,” and one would expect animals as the object here in parallel to the last verse. So several commentators have replaced the word with words for animals or reptiles – totally different words (cf. NAB, “reptiles”). The RSV and NRSV have here the word “plants” (see 30:4, 7; and Gen 21:15).

4 tn A. B. Davidson (Job, 90) offers a solution by taking “earth” to mean all the lower forms of life that teem in the earth (a metonymy of subject).

5 tn This line could also be translated “by all these,” meaning “who is not instructed by nature?” (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 93). But D. J. A. Clines points out that the verses have presented the animals as having knowledge and communicating it, so the former reading would be best (Job [WBC], 279).

6 tc Some commentators have trouble with the name “Yahweh” in this verse, which is not the pattern in the poetic section of Job. Three mss of Kennicott and two of de Rossi have “God.” If this is so the reminiscence of Isaiah 41:20 led the copyist to introduce the tetragrammaton. But one could argue equally that the few mss with “God” were the copyists’ attempt to correct the text in accord with usage elsewhere.

7 sn The expression “has done this” probably refers to everything that has been discussed, namely, the way that God in his wisdom rules over the world, but specifically it refers to the infliction of suffering in the world.

8 tn The construction with the relative clause includes a resumptive pronoun referring to God: “who in his hand” = “in whose hand.”

9 tn The two words נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) and רוּחַ (ruakh) are synonymous in general. They could be translated “soul” and “spirit,” but “soul” is not precise for נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), and so “life” is to be preferred. Since that is the case for the first half of the verse, “breath” will be preferable in the second part.

10 tn Human life is made of “flesh” and “spirit.” So here the line reads “and the spirit of all flesh of man.” If the text had simply said “all flesh,” that would have applied to all flesh in which there is the breath of life (see Gen 6:17; 7:15). But to limit this to human beings requires the qualification with “man.”

11 tn The ו (vav) introduces the comparison here (see 5:7; 11:12); see GKC 499 §161.a.

12 tn Heb “the palate.”

13 tn The final preposition with its suffix is to be understood as a pleonastic dativus ethicus and not translated (see GKC 439 §135.i).

sn In the rest of the chapter Job turns his attention away from creation to the wisdom of ancient men. In Job 13:1 when Job looks back to this part, he refers to both the eye and the ear. In vv. 13-25 Job refers to many catastrophes which he could not have seen, but must have heard about.

14 tn The statement in the Hebrew Bible simply has “among the aged – wisdom.” Since this seems to be more the idea of the friends than of Job, scholars have variously tried to rearrange it. Some have proposed that Job is citing his friends: “With the old men, you say, is wisdom” (Budde, Gray, Hitzig). Others have simply made it a question (Weiser). But others take לֹא (lo’) from the previous verse and make it the negative here, to say, “wisdom is not….” But Job will draw on the wisdom of the aged, only with discernment, for ultimately all wisdom is with God.

15 tn Heb “him”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 sn A. B. Davidson (Job, 91) says, “These attributes of God’s [sic] confound and bring to nought everything bearing the same name among men.”

17 tn The use of הֵן (hen, equivalent to הִנֵּה, hinneh, “behold”) introduces a hypothetical condition.

18 tn The verse employs antithetical ideas: “tear down” and “build up,” “imprison” and “escape.” The Niphal verbs in the sentences are potential imperfects. All of this is to say that humans cannot reverse the will of God.

19 tc The LXX has a clarification: “he will dry the earth.”

20 sn The verse is focusing on the two extremes of drought and flood. Both are described as being under the power of God.

21 tn The verb הָפַךְ (hafakh) means “to overthrow; to destroy; to overwhelm.” It was used in Job 9:5 for “overturning” mountains. The word is used in Genesis for the destruction of Sodom.

22 tn The word תּוּשִׁיָּה (tushiyyah) is here rendered “prudence.” Some object that God’s power is intended here, and so a word for power and not wisdom should be included. But v. 13 mentioned wisdom. The point is that it is God’s efficient wisdom that leads to success. One could interpret this as a metonymy of cause, the intended meaning being victory or success.

23 tn The Hebrew text uses a wordplay here: שֹׁגֵג (shogeg) is “the one going astray,” i.e., the one who is unable to guard and guide his life. The second word is מַשְׁגֶּה (mashgeh), from a different but historically related root שָׁגָה (shagah), which here in the Hiphil means “the one who misleads, causes to go astray.” These two words are designed to include everybody – all are under the wisdom of God.



TIP #11: Use Fonts Page to download/install fonts if Greek or Hebrew texts look funny. [ALL]
created in 0.03 seconds
powered by bible.org