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Job 5:6-27

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.

5:12 He frustrates 26  the plans 27  of the crafty 28 

so that 29  their hands cannot accomplish

what they had planned! 30 

5:13 He catches 31  the wise in their own craftiness, 32 

and the counsel of the cunning 33  is brought to a quick end. 34 

5:14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, 35 

and grope about 36  in the noontime as if it were night. 37 

5:15 So he saves 38  from the sword that comes from their mouth, 39 

even 40  the poor from the hand of the powerful.

5:16 Thus the poor have hope,

and iniquity 41  shuts its mouth. 42 

5:17 “Therefore, 43  blessed 44  is the man whom God corrects, 45 

so do not despise the discipline 46  of the Almighty. 47 

5:18 For 48  he 49  wounds, 50  but he also bandages;

he strikes, but his hands also heal.

5:19 He will deliver you 51  from six calamities;

yes, in seven 52  no evil will touch you.

5:20 In time of famine 53  he will redeem you from death,

and in time of war from the power of the sword. 54 

5:21 You will be protected 55  from malicious gossip, 56 

and will not be afraid of the destruction 57  when it comes.

5:22 You will laugh at destruction and famine 58 

and need not 59  be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

5:23 For you will have a pact with the stones 60  of the field,

and the wild animals 61  will be at peace 62  with you.

5:24 And 63  you will know 64  that your home 65 

will be secure, 66 

and when you inspect 67  your domains,

you will not be missing 68  anything.

5:25 You will also know that your children 69  will be numerous,

and your descendants 70  like the grass of the earth.

5:26 You will come to your grave in a full age, 71 

As stacks of grain are harvested in their season.

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

Hear it, 72  and apply it for your own 73  good.” 74 

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.

26 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…”).

27 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).

28 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.

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

30 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.

31 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.

32 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.

33 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].

34 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).

35 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.

36 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.

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

38 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.

39 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.”

40 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.

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

42 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.

43 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.

44 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.

45 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.

46 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.

47 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.”

48 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.

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

50 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.

51 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.

52 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).

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

54 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.

55 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).

56 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.

57 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).

58 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).

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

60 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.

61 tn Heb “the beasts of the field.”

62 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).

63 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.

64 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.

65 tn Heb “tent.”

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

67 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.

68 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.

69 tn Heb “your seed.”

70 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.

71 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).

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

73 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!”

74 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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