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Job 12:7-8

Context
Knowledge of God’s Wisdom 1 

12:7 “But now, ask the animals and they 2  will teach you,

or the birds of the sky and they will tell you.

12:8 Or speak 3  to the earth 4  and it will teach you,

or let the fish of the sea declare to you.

1 sn As J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 216) observes, in this section Job argues that respected tradition “must not be accepted uncritically.”

2 tn The singular verb is used here with the plural collective subject (see GKC 464 §145.k).

3 tn The word in the MT means “to complain,” not simply “to speak,” and one would expect animals as the object here in parallel to the last verse. So several commentators have replaced the word with words for animals or reptiles – totally different words (cf. NAB, “reptiles”). The RSV and NRSV have here the word “plants” (see 30:4, 7; and Gen 21:15).

4 tn A. B. Davidson (Job, 90) offers a solution by taking “earth” to mean all the lower forms of life that teem in the earth (a metonymy of subject).



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