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Job 30:15-19

Context

30:15 Terrors are turned loose 1  on me;

they drive away 2  my honor like the wind,

and like a cloud my deliverance has passed away.

Job’s Despondency

30:16 “And now my soul pours itself out within me; 3 

days of suffering take hold of me.

30:17 Night pierces 4  my bones; 5 

my gnawing pains 6  never cease.

30:18 With great power God 7  grasps my clothing; 8 

he binds me like the collar 9  of my tunic.

30:19 He has flung me into the mud,

and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.

1 tn The passive singular verb (Hophal) is used with a plural subject (see GKC 388 §121.b).

2 tc This translation assumes that “terrors” (in the plural) is the subject. Others emend the text in accordance with the LXX, which has, “my hope is gone like the wind.”

3 tn This line can either mean that Job is wasting away (i.e., his life is being poured out), or it can mean that he is grieving. The second half of the verse gives the subordinate clause of condition for this.

4 tn The subject of the verb “pierces” can be the night (personified), or it could be God (understood), leaving “night” to be an adverbial accusative of time – “at night he pierces.”

5 tc The MT concludes this half-verse with “upon me.” That phrase is not in the LXX, and so many commentators delete it as making the line too long.

6 tn Heb “my gnawers,” which is open to several interpretations. The NASB and NIV take it as “gnawing pains”; cf. NRSV “the pain that gnaws me.” Some suggest worms in the sores (7:5). The LXX has “my nerves,” a view accepted by many commentators.

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

8 tc This whole verse is difficult. The first problem is that this verb in the MT means “is disguised [or disfigured],” indicating that Job’s clothes hang loose on him. But many take the view that the verb is a phonetic variant of חָבַשׁ (khavash, “to bind; to seize”) and that the Hitpael form is a conflation of the third and second person because of the interchange between them in the passage (R. Gordis, Job, 335). The commentaries list a number of conjectural emendations, but the image in the verse is probably that God seizes Job by the garment and throws him down.

9 tn The phrase “like the collar” is difficult, primarily because their tunics did not have collars. A translation of “neck” would suit better. Some change the preposition to בּ (bet), getting a translation “by the neck of my tunic.”



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