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Job 39:19-25


39:19 “Do you give the horse its strength?

Do you clothe its neck with a mane? 1 

39:20 Do you make it leap 2  like a locust?

Its proud neighing 3  is terrifying!

39:21 It 4  paws the ground in the valley, 5 

exulting mightily, 6 

it goes out to meet the weapons.

39:22 It laughs at fear and is not dismayed;

it does not shy away from the sword.

39:23 On it the quiver rattles;

the lance and javelin 7  flash.

39:24 In excitement and impatience it consumes the ground; 8 

it cannot stand still 9  when the trumpet is blown.

39:25 At the sound of the trumpet, it says, ‘Aha!’

And from a distance it catches the scent of battle,

the thunderous shouting of commanders,

and the battle cries.

1 tn The second half of the verse contains this hapax legomenon, which is usually connected with the word רַעְמָה (ramah, “thunder”). A. B. Davidson thought it referred to the quivering of the neck rather than the mane. Gray thought the sound and not the movement was the point. But without better evidence, a reading that has “quivering mane” may not be far off the mark. But it may be simplest to translate it “mane” and assume that the idea of “quivering” is part of the meaning.

2 sn The same ideas are found in Joel 2:4. The leaping motion is compared to the galloping of the horse.

3 tn The word could mean “snorting” as well (see Jer 8:16). It comes from the root “to blow.” If the horse is running and breathing hard, this could be the sense here.

4 tc The Hebrew text has a plural verb, “they paw.” For consistency and for stylistic reasons this is translated as a singular.

5 tn The armies would prepare for battles that were usually fought in the valleys, and so the horse was ready to charge. But in Ugaritic the word `mk means “force” as well as “valley.” The idea of “force” would fit the parallelism here well (see M. Dahood, “Value of Ugaritic for textual criticism,” Bib 40 [1959]: 166).

6 tn Or “in strength.”

7 tn This may be the scimitar (see G. Molin, “What is a kidon?” JSS 1 [1956]: 334-37).

8 tn “Swallow the ground” is a metaphor for the horse’s running. Gray renders the line: “quivering and excited he dashes into the fray.”

9 tn The use of אָמַן (’aman) in the Hiphil in this place is unique. Such a form would normally mean “to believe.” But its basic etymological meaning comes through here. The verb means “to be firm; to be reliable; to be dependable.” The causative here would mean “to make firm” or “to stand firm.”

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