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Job 5:6-11

Context

5:6 For evil does not come up from the dust, 1 

nor does trouble spring up from the ground,

5:7 but people 2  are born 3  to trouble,

as surely as the sparks 4  fly 5  upward. 6 

Blessings for the One Who Seeks God 7 

5:8 “But 8  as for me, 9  I would seek 10  God, 11 

and to God 12  I would set forth my case. 13 

5:9 He does 14  great and unsearchable 15  things,

marvelous things without 16  number; 17 

5:10 he gives 18  rain on the earth, 19 

and sends 20  water on the fields; 21 

5:11 he sets 22  the lowly 23  on high,

that those who mourn 24  are raised 25  to safety.

1 sn The previous discussion shows how trouble rises, namely, from the rebelliousness of the fool. Here Eliphaz simply summarizes the points made with this general principle – trouble does not come from outside man, nor does it come as a part of the natural order, but rather it comes from the evil nature of man.

2 tn Heb “man [is].” Because “man” is used in a generic sense for humanity here, the generic “people” has been used in the translation.

3 tn There is a slight difficulty here in that vv. 6 and 7 seem to be saying the opposite thing. Many commentators, therefore, emend the the Niphal יוּלָּד (yullad, “is born”) to an active participle יוֹלֵד (yoled, “begets”) to place the source of trouble in man himself. But the LXX seems to retain the passive idea: “man is born to trouble.” The contrast between the two verses does not seem too difficult, for it still could imply that trouble’s source is within the man.

4 tn For the Hebrew בְנֵי־רֶשֶׁף (bÿne reshef, “sons of the flame”) the present translation has the rendering “sparks.” E. Dhorme (Job, 62) thinks it refers to some kind of bird, but renders it “sons of the lightning” because the eagle was associated with lightning in ancient interpretations. Sparks, he argues, do not soar high above the earth. Other suggestions include Resheph, the Phoenician god of lightning (Pope), the fire of passion (Buttenwieser), angels (Peake), or demons (Targum Job). None of these are convincing; the idea of sparks flying upward fits the translation well and makes clear sense in the passage.

5 tn The simple translation of the last two words is “fly high” or “soar aloft” which would suit the idea of an eagle. But, as H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 53) concludes, the argument to identify the expression preceding this with eagles is far-fetched.

6 tn The LXX has the name of a bird here: “the vulture’s young seek the high places.” The Targum to Job has “sons of demons” or “the sparks which shoot from coals of fire.”

7 sn Eliphaz affirms that if he were in Job’s place he would take refuge in God, but Job has to acknowledge that he has offended God and accept this suffering as his chastisement. Job eventually will submit to God in the end, but not in the way that Eliphaz advises here, for Job does not agree that the sufferings are judgments from God.

8 tn The word אוּלָם (’ulam) is a strong adversative “but.” This forms the contrast with what has been said previously and so marks a new section.

9 tn The independent personal pronoun here adds emphasis to the subject of the verb, again strengthening the contrast with what Job is doing (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 22, §106).

10 tn The imperfect verbs in this verse express not so much what Eliphaz does as what he would do if he were in Job’s place (even though in 13:3 we have the affirmation). The use fits the category of the imperfect used in conditional clauses (see GKC 319 §107.x).

11 tn The verb דָּרַשׁ (darash, “to seek”) followed by the preposition אֶל (’el, “towards”) has the meaning of addressing oneself to (God). See 8:19 and 40:10.

12 tn The Hebrew employs אֵל (’el) in the first line and אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) in the second for “God”, but the LXX uses κύριος (kurio", “Lord”) in both places in this verse. However, in the second colon it also has “Lord of all.” This is replaced in the Greek version of Aquila by παντοκράτωρ (pantokratwr, traditionally translated “Almighty”). On the basis of this information, H. M. Orlinsky suggests that the second name for God in the verses should be “Shaddai” (JQR 25 [1934/35]: 271).

13 tn The Hebrew simply has “my word”; but in this expression that uses שִׂים (sim) with the meaning of “lay before” or “expound a cause” in a legal sense, “case” or “cause” would be a better translation.

14 tn Heb “who does.” It is common for such doxologies to begin with participles; they follow the pattern of the psalms in this style. Because of the length of the sentence in Hebrew and the conventions of English style, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

15 tn The Hebrew has וְאֵין חֵקֶר (vÿen kheqer), literally, “and no investigation.” The use of the conjunction on the expression follows a form of the circumstantial clause construction, and so the entire expression describes the great works as “unsearchable.”

16 tn The preposition in עַד־אֵין (’aden, “until there was no”) is stereotypical; it conveys the sense of having no number (see Job 9:10; Ps 40:13).

17 sn H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 54) notes that the verse fits Eliphaz’s approach very well, for he has good understanding of the truth, but has difficulty in making the correct conclusions from it.

18 tn Heb “who gives.” The participle continues the doxology here. But the article is necessary because of the distance between this verse and the reference to God.

sn He gives rain. The use of the verb “gives” underscores the idea that rain is a gift from God. This would be more keenly felt in the Middle East where water is scarce.

19 tn In both halves of the verse the literal rendering would be “upon the face of the earth” and “upon the face of the fields.”

20 tn The second participle is simply coordinated to the first and therefore does not need the definite article repeated (see GKC 404 §126.b).

21 tn The Hebrew term חוּצוֹת (khutsot) basically means “outside,” or what is outside. It could refer to streets if what is meant is outside the house; but it refers to fields here (parallel to the more general word) because it is outside the village. See Ps 144:13 for the use of the expression for “countryside.” The LXX gives a much wider interpretation: “what is under heaven.”

22 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.”

23 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.”

24 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).

25 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.



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