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Job 21:24-30

Context

21:24 his body 1  well nourished, 2 

and the marrow of his bones moist. 3 

21:25 And another man 4  dies in bitterness of soul, 5 

never having tasted 6  anything good.

21:26 Together they lie down in the dust,

and worms cover over them both.

Futile Words, Deceptive Answers

21:27 “Yes, I know what you are thinking, 7 

the schemes 8  by which you would wrong me. 9 

21:28 For you say,

‘Where now is the nobleman’s house, 10 

and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’ 11 

21:29 Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?

Do you not recognize their accounts 12 

21:30 that the evil man is spared

from the day of his misfortune,

that he is delivered 13 

from the day of God’s wrath?

1 tn The verb עָטַן (’atan) has the precise meaning of “press olives.” But because here it says “full of milk,” the derived meaning for the noun has been made to mean “breasts” or “pails” (although in later Hebrew this word occurs – but with olives, not with milk). Dhorme takes it to refer to “his sides,” and repoints the word for “milk” (חָלָב, khalav) to get “fat” (חֶלֶב, khelev) – “his sides are full of fat,” a rendering followed by NASB. However, this weakens the parallelism.

2 tn This interpretation, adopted by several commentaries and modern translations (cf. NAB, NIV), is a general rendering to capture the sense of the line.

3 tn The verb שָׁקָה (shaqah) means “to water” and here “to be watered thoroughly.” The picture in the line is that of health and vigor.

4 tn The expression “this (v. 23)…and this” (v. 25) means “one…the other.”

5 tn The text literally has “and this [man] dies in soul of bitterness.” Some simply reverse it and translate “in the bitterness of soul.” The genitive “bitterness” may be an attribute adjective, “with a bitter soul.”

6 tn Heb “eaten what is good.” It means he died without having enjoyed the good life.

7 tn The word is “your thoughts.” The word for “thoughts” (from חָצַב [khatsav, “to think; to reckon; to plan”]) has more to do with their intent than their general thoughts. He knows that when they talked about the fate of the wicked they really were talking about him.

8 tn For the meaning of this word, and its root זָמַם (zamam), see Job 17:11. It usually means the “plans” or “schemes” that are concocted against someone.

9 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 321) distinguishes the verb חָמַס (khamas) from the noun for “violence.” He proposes a meaning of “think, imagine”: “and the ideas you imagined about me.”

10 sn The question implies the answer will be “vanished” or “gone.”

11 tn Heb “And where is the tent, the dwellings of the wicked.” The word “dwellings of the wicked” is in apposition to “tent.” A relative pronoun must be supplied in the translation.

12 tc The LXX reads, “Ask those who go by the way, and do not disown their signs.”

tn The idea is that the merchants who travel widely will talk about what they have seen and heard. These travelers give a different account of the wicked; they tell how he is spared. E. Dhorme (Job, 322) interprets “signs” concretely: “Their custom was to write their names and their thoughts somewhere at the main cross-roads. The main roads of Sinai are dotted with these scribblings made by such passers of a day.”

13 tn The verb means “to be led forth.” To be “led forth in the day of trouble” means to be delivered.



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