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Job 38:31-41

Context

38:31 Can you tie the bands 1  of the Pleiades,

or release the cords of Orion?

38:32 Can you lead out

the constellations 2  in their seasons,

or guide the Bear with its cubs? 3 

38:33 Do you know the laws of the heavens,

or can you set up their rule over the earth?

38:34 Can you raise your voice to the clouds

so that a flood of water covers you? 4 

38:35 Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go?

Will they say to you, ‘Here we are’?

38:36 Who has put wisdom in the heart, 5 

or has imparted understanding to the mind?

38:37 Who by wisdom can count the clouds,

and who can tip over 6  the water jars of heaven,

38:38 when the dust hardens 7  into a mass,

and the clumps of earth stick together?

38:39 “Do you hunt prey for the lioness,

and satisfy the appetite 8  of the lions,

38:40 when they crouch in their dens,

when they wait in ambush in the thicket?

38:41 Who prepares prey for the raven,

when its young cry out to God

and wander about 9  for lack of food?

1 tn This word is found here and in 1 Sam 15:32. Dhorme suggests, with others, that there has been a metathesis (a reversal of consonants), and it is the same word found in Job 31:36 (“bind”). G. R. Driver takes it as “cluster” without changing the text (“Two astronomical passages in the Old Testament,” JTS 7 [1956] :3).

2 tn The word מַזָּרוֹת (mazzarot) is taken by some to refer to the constellations (see 2 Kgs 23:5), and by others as connected to the word for “crown,” and so “corona.”

3 sn See Job 9:9.

4 tc The LXX has “answer you,” and some editors have adopted this. However, the reading of the MT makes better sense in the verse.

5 tn This verse is difficult because of the two words, טֻחוֹת (tukhot, rendered here “heart”) and שֶׂכְוִי (sekhvi, here “mind”). They have been translated a number of ways: “meteor” and “celestial appearance”; the stars “Procyon” and “Sirius”; “inward part” and “mind”; even as birds, “ibis” and “cock.” One expects them to have something to do with nature – clouds and the like. The RSV accordingly took them to mean “meteor” (from a verb “to wander”) and “a celestial appearance.” But these meanings are not well-attested.

6 tn The word actually means “to cause to lie down.”

7 tn The word means “to flow” or “to cast” (as in casting metals). So the noun developed the sense of “hard,” as in cast metal.

8 tn Heb “fill up the life of.”

9 tn The verse is difficult, making some suspect that a line has dropped out. The little birds in the nest hardly go wandering about looking for food. Dhorme suggest “and stagger for lack of food.”



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