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Job 5:11-27

Context

5:11 he sets 1  the lowly 2  on high,

that those who mourn 3  are raised 4  to safety.

5:12 He frustrates 5  the plans 6  of the crafty 7 

so that 8  their hands cannot accomplish

what they had planned! 9 

5:13 He catches 10  the wise in their own craftiness, 11 

and the counsel of the cunning 12  is brought to a quick end. 13 

5:14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, 14 

and grope about 15  in the noontime as if it were night. 16 

5:15 So he saves 17  from the sword that comes from their mouth, 18 

even 19  the poor from the hand of the powerful.

5:16 Thus the poor have hope,

and iniquity 20  shuts its mouth. 21 

5:17 “Therefore, 22  blessed 23  is the man whom God corrects, 24 

so do not despise the discipline 25  of the Almighty. 26 

5:18 For 27  he 28  wounds, 29  but he also bandages;

he strikes, but his hands also heal.

5:19 He will deliver you 30  from six calamities;

yes, in seven 31  no evil will touch you.

5:20 In time of famine 32  he will redeem you from death,

and in time of war from the power of the sword. 33 

5:21 You will be protected 34  from malicious gossip, 35 

and will not be afraid of the destruction 36  when it comes.

5:22 You will laugh at destruction and famine 37 

and need not 38  be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

5:23 For you will have a pact with the stones 39  of the field,

and the wild animals 40  will be at peace 41  with you.

5:24 And 42  you will know 43  that your home 44 

will be secure, 45 

and when you inspect 46  your domains,

you will not be missing 47  anything.

5:25 You will also know that your children 48  will be numerous,

and your descendants 49  like the grass of the earth.

5:26 You will come to your grave in a full age, 50 

As stacks of grain are harvested in their season.

5:27 Look, we have investigated this, so it is true.

Hear it, 51  and apply it for your own 52  good.” 53 

1 tn Heb “setting.” The infinitive construct clause is here taken as explaining the nature of God, and so parallel to the preceding descriptions. If read simply as a purpose clause after the previous verse, it would suggest that the purpose of watering the earth was to raise the humble (cf. NASB, “And sends water on the fields, // So that He sets on high those who are lowly”). A. B. Davidson (Job, 39) makes a case for this interpretation, saying that God’s gifts in nature have the wider purpose of blessing man, but he prefers to see the line as another benevolence, parallel to v. 10, and so suggests a translation “setting up” rather than “to set up.”

2 tn The word שְׁפָלִים (shÿfalim) refers to “those who are down.” This refers to the lowly and despised of the earth. They are the opposite of the “proud” (see Ps 138:6). Here there is a deliberate contrast between “lowly” and “on high.”

3 tn The meaning of the word is “to be dark, dirty”; therefore, it refers to the ash-sprinkled head of the mourner (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 54). The custom was to darken one’s face in sorrow (see Job 2:12; Ps 35:14; 38:7).

4 tn The perfect verb may be translated “be set on high; be raised up.” E. Dhorme (Job, 64) notes that the perfect is parallel to the infinitive of the first colon, and so he renders it in the same way as the infinitive, comparing the construction to that of 28:25.

5 tn The Hiphil form מֵפֵר (mefer) is the participle from פָּרַר (parar, “to annul; to frustrate; to break”). It continues the doxological descriptions of God; but because of the numerous verses in this section, it may be clearer to start a new sentence with this form (rather than translating it “who…”).

6 tn The word is related to the verb “to think; to plan; to devise,” and so can mean “thoughts; plans; imagination.” Here it refers to the plan of the crafty that must be frustrated (see also Isa 44:25 for the contrast).

7 tn The word עֲרוּמִים (’arumim) means “crafty” or “shrewd.” It describes the shrewdness of some to achieve their ends (see Gen 3:1, where the serpent is more cunning than all the creatures, that is, he knows where the dangers are and will attempt to bring down the innocent). In the next verse it describes the clever plans of the wise – those who are wise in their own sight.

8 tn The consecutive clause showing result or purpose is simply introduced with the vav and the imperfect/jussive (see GKC 504-5 §166.a).

9 tn The word תּוּשִׁיָּה (tushiyyah) is a technical word from wisdom literature. It has either the idea of the faculty of foresight, or of prudence in general (see 12:6; 26:3). It can be parallel in the texts to “wisdom,” “counsel,” “help,” or “strength.” Here it refers to what has been planned ahead of time.

10 tn The participles continue the description of God. Here he captures or ensnares the wise in their wickedly clever plans. See also Ps 7:16, where the wicked are caught in the pit they have dug – they are only wise in their own eyes.

11 sn This is the only quotation from the Book of Job in the NT (although Rom 11:35 seems to reflect 41:11, and Phil 1:19 is similar to 13:6). Paul cites it in 1 Cor 3:19.

12 tn The etymology of נִפְתָּלִים (niftalim) suggests a meaning of “twisted” (see Prov 8:8) in the sense of tortuous. See Gen 30:8; Ps 18:26 [27].

13 tn The Niphal of מָהַר (mahar) means “to be hasty; to be irresponsible.” The meaning in the line may be understood in this sense: The counsel of the wily is hastened, that is, precipitated before it is ripe, i.e., frustrated (A. B. Davidson, Job, 39).

14 sn God so confuses the crafty that they are unable to fulfill their plans – it is as if they encounter darkness in broad daylight. This is like the Syrians in 2 Kgs 6:18-23.

15 tn The verb מָשַׁשׁ (mashash) expresses the idea of groping about in the darkness. This is part of the fulfillment of Deut 28:29, which says, “and you shall grope at noonday as the blind grope in darkness.” This image is also in Isa 59:10.

16 sn The verse provides a picture of the frustration and bewilderment in the crafty who cannot accomplish their ends because God thwarts them.

17 tn The verb, the Hiphil preterite of יָשַׁע (yasha’, “and he saves”) indicates that by frustrating the plans of the wicked God saves the poor. So the vav (ו) consecutive shows the result in the sequence of the verses.

18 tn The juxtaposition of “from the sword from their mouth” poses translation difficulties. Some mss do not have the preposition on “their mouth,” but render the expression as a construct: “from the sword of their mouth.” This would mean their tongue, and by metonymy, what they say. The expression “from their mouth” corresponds well with “from the hand” in the next colon. And as E. Dhorme (Job, 67) notes, what is missing is a parallel in the first part with “the poor” in the second. So he follows Cappel in repointing “from the sword” as a Hophal participle, מֹחֳרָב (mokhorav), meaning “the ruined.” If a change is required, this has the benefit of only changing the pointing. The difficulty with this is that the word “desolate, ruined” is not used for people, but only to cities, lands, or mountains. The sense of the verse can be supported from the present pointing: “from the sword [which comes] from their mouth”; the second phrase could also be in apposition, meaning, “from the sword, i.e., from their mouth.”

19 tn If the word “poor” is to do double duty, i.e., serving as the object of the verb “saves” in the first colon as well as the second, then the conjunction should be explanatory.

20 tn Other translations render this “injustice” (NIV, NRSV, CEV) or “unrighteousness” (NASB).

21 tn The verse summarizes the result of God’s intervention in human affairs, according to Eliphaz’ idea that even-handed justice prevails. Ps 107:42 parallels v. 16b.

22 tn The particle “therefore” links this section to the preceding; it points this out as the logical consequence of the previous discussion, and more generally, as the essence of Job’s suffering.

23 tn The word אַשְׁרֵי (’ashre, “blessed”) is often rendered “happy.” But “happy” relates to what happens. “Blessed” is a reference to the heavenly bliss of the one who is right with God.

24 tn The construction is an implied relative clause. The literal rendering would simply be “the man God corrects him.” The suffix on the verb is a resumptive pronoun, completing the use of the relative clause. The verb יָכַח (yakhakh) is a legal term; it always has some sense of a charge, dispute, or conflict. Its usages show that it may describe a strife breaking out, a charge or quarrel in progress, or the settling of a dispute (Isa 1:18). The derived noun can mean “reproach; recrimination; charge” (13:6; 23:4). Here the emphasis is on the consequence of the charge brought, namely, the correction.

25 tn The noun מוּסַר (musar) is parallel to the idea of the first colon. It means “discipline, correction” (from יָסַר, yasar). Prov 3:11 says almost the same thing as this line.

26 sn The name Shaddai occurs 31 times in the book. This is its first occurrence. It is often rendered “Almighty” because of the LXX and some of the early fathers. The etymology and meaning of the word otherwise remains uncertain, in spite of attempts to connect it to “mountains” or “breasts.”

27 sn Verses 18-23 give the reasons why someone should accept the chastening of God – the hand that wounds is the same hand that heals. But, of course, the lines do not apply to Job because his suffering is not due to divine chastening.

28 tn The addition of the independent pronoun here makes the subject emphatic, as if to say, “For it is he who makes….”

29 tn The imperfect verbs in this verse describe the characteristic activities of God; the classification as habitual imperfect fits the idea and is to be rendered with the English present tense.

30 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperfect of נָצַל (natsal, “deliver”). These verbs might have been treated as habitual imperfects if it were not for the use of the numerical images – “six calamities…in seven.” So the nuance is specific future instead.

31 tn The use of a numerical ladder as we have here – “six // seven” is frequent in wisdom literature to show completeness. See Prov 6:16; Amos 1:3, Mic 5:5. A number that seems to be sufficient for the point is increased by one, as if to say there is always one more. By using this Eliphaz simply means “in all troubles” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 56).

32 sn Targum Job here sees an allusion to the famine of Egypt and the war with Amalek.

33 tn Heb “from the hand of the sword.” This is idiomatic for “the power of the sword.” The expression is also metonymical, meaning from the effect of the sword, which is death.

34 tn The Hebrew verb essentially means “you will be hidden.” In the Niphal the verb means “to be hidden, to be in a hiding place,” and protected (Ps 31:20).

35 tn Heb “from the lash [i.e., whip] of the tongue.” Sir 26:9 and 51:2 show usages of these kinds of expressions: “the lash of the tongue” or “the blow of the tongue.” The expression indicates that a malicious gossip is more painful than a blow.

sn The Targum saw here a reference to Balaam and the devastation brought on by the Midianites.

36 tn The word here is שׁוֹד (shod); it means “destruction,” but some commentators conjecture alternate readings: שׁוֹאָה (shoah, “desolation”); or שֵׁד (shed, “demon”). One argument for maintaining שׁוֹד (shod) is that it fits the assonance within the verse שׁוֹדלָשׁוֹןשׁוֹט (shotlashonshod).

37 tc The repetition of “destruction” and “famine” here has prompted some scholars to delete the whole verse. Others try to emend the text. The LXX renders them as “the unrighteous and the lawless.” But there is no difficulty in having the repetition of the words as found in the MT.

tn The word for “famine” is an Aramaic word found again in 30:3. The book of Job has a number of Aramaisms that are used to form an alternative parallel expression (see notes on “witness” in 16:19).

38 tn The negated jussive is used here to express the conviction that something cannot or should not happen (GKC 322 §109.e).

39 tn Heb “your covenant is with the stones of the field.” The line has been variously interpreted and translated. It is omitted in the LXX. It seems to mean there is a deep sympathy between man and nature. Some think it means that the boundaries will not be violated by enemies; Rashi thought it represented some species of beings, like genii of the field, and so read אֲדֹנֵי (’adone, “lords”) for אַבְנֵי (’avne, “stones”). Ball takes the word as בְּנֵי (bÿne, “sons”), as in “sons of the field,” to get the idea that the reference is to the beasts. E. Dhorme (Job, 71) rejects these ideas as too contrived; he says to have a pact with the stones of the field simply means the stones will not come and spoil the ground, making it less fertile.

40 tn Heb “the beasts of the field.”

41 tn This is the only occurrence of the Hophal of the verb שָׁלֵם (shalem, “to make or have peace” with someone). Compare Isa 11:6-9 and Ps 91:13. The verb form is the perfect; here it is the perfect consecutive following a noun clause (see GKC 494 §159.g).

42 sn Verses 19-23 described the immunity from evil and trouble that Job would enjoy – if he were restored to peace with God. Now, v. 24 describes the safety and peace of the homestead and his possessions if he were right with God.

43 tn The verb is again the perfect, but in sequence to the previous structure so that it is rendered as a future. This would be the case if Job were right with God.

44 tn Heb “tent.”

45 tn The word שָׁלוֹם (shalom) means “peace; safety; security; wholeness.” The same use appears in 1 Sam 25:6; 2 Sam 20:9.

46 tn The verb is פָּקַד (paqad, “to visit”). The idea here is “to gather together; to look over; to investigate,” or possibly even “to number” as it is used in the book of Numbers. The verb is the perfect with the vav consecutive; it may be subordinated to the imperfect verb that follows to form a temporal clause.

47 tn The verb is usually rendered “to sin”; but in this context the more specific primary meaning of “to miss the mark” or “to fail to find something.” Neither Job’s tent nor his possessions will be lost.

48 tn Heb “your seed.”

49 tn The word means “your shoots” and is parallel to “your seed” in the first colon. It refers here (as in Isa 34:1 and 42:5) to the produce of the earth. Some commentators suggest that Eliphaz seems to have forgotten or was insensitive to Job’s loss of his children; H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 57) says his conventional theology is untouched by human feeling.

50 tn The word translated “in a full age” has been given an array of meanings: “health; integrity”; “like a new blade of corn”; “in your strength [or vigor].” The numerical value of the letters in the word בְכֶלָח (bÿkhelakh, “in old age”) was 2, 20, 30, and 8, or 60. This led some of the commentators to say that at 60 one would enter the ripe old age (E. Dhorme, Job, 73).

51 tn To make a better parallelism, some commentators have replaced the imperative with another finite verb, “we have found it.”

52 tn The preposition with the suffix (referred to as the ethical dative) strengthens the imperative. An emphatic personal pronoun also precedes the imperative. The resulting force would be something like “and you had better apply it for your own good!”

53 sn With this the speech by Eliphaz comes to a close. His two mistakes with it are: (1) that the tone was too cold and (2) the argument did not fit Job’s case (see further, A. B. Davidson, Job, 42).



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