he knows that the day of darkness is at hand. 2
they prevail against him
like a king ready to launch an attack, 4
and vaunts himself 6 against the Almighty,
with a thick, strong shield! 8
1 tn The MT has “he wanders about for food – where is it?” The LXX has “he has been appointed for food for vultures,” reading אַיָּה (’ayyah, “vulture”) for אַיֵּה (’ayyeh, “where is it?”). This would carry on the thought of the passage – he sees himself destined for the sword and food for vultures. Many commentators follow this reading while making a number of smaller changes in נֹדֵד (noded, “wandering”) such as נִתַּן (nittan, “is given”), נוֹעַד (no’ad, “is appointed”), נוֹדַע (noda’, “is known”), or something similar. The latter involves no major change in consonants. While the MT “wandering” may not be as elegant as some of the other suggestions, it is not impossible. But there is no reading of this verse that does not involve some change. The LXX has “and he has been appointed for food for vultures.”
2 tn This line is fraught with difficulties (perceived or real), which prompt numerous suggestions. The reading of the MT is “he knows that a day of darkness is fixed in his hand,” i.e., is certain. Many commentators move “day of darkness” to the next verse, following the LXX. Then, suggestions have been offered for נָכוֹן (nakhon, “ready”), such as נֵכֶר (nekher, “disaster”); and for בְּיָדוֹ (bÿyado, “in his hand”) a number of ideas – לְאֵיד (lÿ’ed, “calamity”) or פִּידוֹ (pido, “his disaster”). Wright takes this last view and renders it “he knows that misfortune is imminent,” leaving the “day of darkness” to the next verse.
3 tn If “day and darkness” are added to this line, then this verse is made into a tri-colon – the main reason for transferring it away from the last verse. But the newly proposed reading follows the LXX structure precisely, as if that were the approved construction. The Hebrew of MT has “distress and anguish terrify him.”
4 tn This last colon is deleted by some, moved to v. 26 by others, and the NEB puts it in brackets. The last word (translated here as “launch an attack”) occurs only here. HALOT 472 s.v. כִּידוֹר links it to an Arabic root kadara, “to rush down,” as with a bird of prey. J. Reider defines it as “perturbation” from the same root (“Etymological Studies in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 2 : 127).
6 tn The Hitpael of גָּבַר (gavar) means “to act with might” or “to behave like a hero.” The idea is that the wicked boldly vaunts himself before the
7 tn Heb “he runs against [or upon] him with the neck.” The RSV takes this to mean “with a stiff neck.” Several commentators, influenced by the LXX’s “insolently,” have attempted to harmonize with some idiom for neck (“outstretched neck,” for example). Others have made more extensive changes. Pope and Anderson follow Tur-Sinai in accepting “with full battle armor.” But the main idea seems to be that of a headlong assault on God.
8 tn Heb “with the thickness of the bosses of his shield.” The bosses are the convex sides of the bucklers, turned against the foe. This is a defiant attack on God.
9 sn This verse tells us that he is not in any condition to fight, because he is bloated and fat from luxurious living.
10 tn D. W. Thomas defends a meaning “cover” for the verb עָשָׂה (’asah). See “Translating Hebrew `asah,” BT 17 : 190-93.
11 tn The term פִּימָה (pimah), a hapax legomenon, is explained by the Arabic fa’ima, “to be fat.” Pope renders this “blubber.” Cf. KJV “and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.”