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Job 37:6-22

Context

37:6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall 1  to earth,’

and to the torrential rains, 2  ‘Pour down.’ 3 

37:7 He causes everyone to stop working, 4 

so that all people 5  may know 6  his work.

37:8 The wild animals go to their lairs,

and in their dens they remain.

37:9 A tempest blows out from its chamber,

icy cold from the driving winds. 7 

37:10 The breath of God produces ice,

and the breadth of the waters freeze solid.

37:11 He loads the clouds with moisture; 8 

he scatters his lightning through the clouds.

37:12 The clouds 9  go round in circles,

wheeling about according to his plans,

to carry out 10  all that he commands them

over the face of the whole inhabited world.

37:13 Whether it is for punishment 11  for his land,

or whether it is for mercy,

he causes it to find its mark. 12 

37:14 “Pay attention to this, Job!

Stand still and consider the wonders God works.

37:15 Do you know how God commands them, 13 

how he makes lightning flash in his storm cloud? 14 

37:16 Do you know about the balancing 15  of the clouds,

that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?

37:17 You, whose garments are hot

when the earth is still because of the south wind,

37:18 will you, with him, spread out 16  the clouds,

solid as a mirror of molten metal?

37:19 Tell us what we should 17  say to him.

We cannot prepare a case 18 

because of the darkness.

37:20 Should he be informed that I want 19  to speak?

If a man speaks, surely he would be swallowed up!

37:21 But now, the sun 20  cannot be looked at 21 

it is bright in the skies –

after a wind passed and swept the clouds away. 22 

37:22 From the north he comes in golden splendor; 23 

around God is awesome majesty.

1 tn The verb actually means “be” (found here in the Aramaic form). The verb “to be” can mean “to happen, to fall, to come about.”

2 tn Heb “and [to the] shower of rain and shower of rains, be strong.” Many think the repetition grew up by variant readings; several Hebrew mss delete the second pair, and so many editors do. But the repetition may have served to stress the idea that the rains were heavy.

3 tn Heb “Be strong.”

4 tn Heb “by the hand of every man he seals.” This line is intended to mean with the heavy rains God suspends all agricultural activity.

5 tc This reading involves a change in the text, for in MT “men” is in the construct. It would be translated, “all men whom he made” (i.e., all men of his making”). This is the translation followed by the NIV and NRSV. Olshausen suggested that the word should have been אֲנָשִׁים (’anashim) with the final ם (mem) being lost to haplography.

6 tn D. W. Thomas suggested a meaning of “rest” for the verb, based on Arabic. He then reads אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) for man, and supplies a ם (mem) to “his work” to get “that every man might rest from his work [in the fields].”

7 tn The “driving winds” reflects the Hebrew “from the scatterers.” This refers to the north winds that bring the cold air and the ice and snow and hard rains.

8 tn The word “moisture” is drawn from רִי (ri) as a contraction for רְוִי (rÿvi). Others emended the text to get “hail” (NAB) or “lightning,” or even “the Creator.” For these, see the various commentaries. There is no reason to change the reading of the MT when it makes perfectly good sense.

9 tn The words “the clouds” are supplied from v. 11; the sentence itself actually starts: “and it goes round,” referring to the cloud.

10 tn Heb “that it may do.”

11 tn Heb “rod,” i.e., a rod used for punishment.

12 tn This is interpretive; Heb “he makes find it.” The lightning could be what is intended here, for it finds its mark. But R. Gordis (Job, 429) suggests man is the subject – let him find what it is for, i.e., the fate appropriate for him.

13 tn The verb is בְּשׂוּם (bÿsum, from שִׂים [sim, “set”]), so the idea is how God lays [or sets] [a command] for them. The suffix is proleptic, to be clarified in the second colon.

14 tn Dhorme reads this “and how his stormcloud makes lightning to flash forth?”

15 tn As indicated by HALOT 618 s.v. מִפְלָשׂ, the concept of “balancing” probably refers to “floating” or “suspension” (cf. NIV’s “how the clouds hang poised” and J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 481-82, n. 2).

16 tn The verb means “to beat out; to flatten,” and the analogy in the next line will use molten metal. From this verb is derived the word for the “firmament” in Gen 1:6-8, that canopy-like pressure area separating water above and water below.

17 tn The imperfect verb here carries the obligatory nuance, “what we should say?”

18 tn The verb means “to arrange; to set in order.” From the context the idea of a legal case is included.

19 tn This imperfect works well as a desiderative imperfect.

20 tn The light here must refer to the sun in the skies that had been veiled by the storm. Then, when the winds blew the clouds away, it could not be looked at because it was so dazzling. Elihu’s analogy will be that God is the same – in his glory one cannot look at him or challenge him.

21 tn The verb has an indefinite subject, and so should be a passive here.

22 tn Heb “and cleaned them.” The referent is the clouds (v. 18), which has been supplied in the translation for clarity. There is another way of reading this verse: the word translated “bright” means “dark; obscured” in Syriac. In this interpretation the first line would mean that they could not see the sun, because it was darkened by the clouds, but then the wind came and blew the clouds away. Dhorme, Gray, and several others take it this way, as does the NAB.

23 tn The MT has “out of the north comes gold.” Left in that sense the line seems irrelevant. The translation “golden splendor” (with RV, RSV, NRSV, NIV) depends upon the context of theophany. Others suggest “golden rays” (Dhorme), the aurora borealis (Graetz, Gray), or some mythological allusion (Pope), such as Baal’s palace. Golden rays or splendor is what is intended, although the reference is not to a natural phenomenon – it is something that would suggest the glory of God.



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