3:5 Let darkness and the deepest
let a cloud settle on it;
let whatever blackens the day 3 terrify it!
to the land of darkness
and the deepest shadow, 5
10:22 to the land of utter darkness,
like the deepest darkness,
and the deepest shadow and disorder, 6
12:22 He reveals the deep things of darkness,
and brings deep shadows 9 into the light.
like deep darkness;
they are friends with the terrors of darkness.
he searches the farthest recesses
for the ore in the deepest darkness. 12
34:22 There is no darkness, and no deep darkness,
where evildoers can hide themselves. 13
1 sn The translation of צַלְמָוֶת (tsalmavet, “shadow of death”) has been traditionally understood to indicate a dark, death shadow (supported in the LXX), but many scholars think it may not represent the best etymological analysis of the word. The word may be connected to an Arabic word which means “to be dark,” and an Akkadian word meaning “black.” It would then have to be repointed throughout its uses to צַלְמוּת (tsalmut) forming an abstract ending. It would then simply mean “darkness” rather than “shadow of death.” Or the word can be understood as an idiomatic expression meaning “gloom” that is deeper than חֹשֶׁךְ (khoshekh; see HALOT 1029 s.v. צַלְמָוֶת). Since “darkness” has already been used in the line, the two together could possibly form a nominal hendiadys: “Let the deepest darkness….” There is a significant amount of literature on this; one may begin with W. L. Michel, “SLMWT, ‘Deep Darkness’ or ‘Shadow of Death’?” BR 29 (1984): 5-20.
2 tn The verb is גָּאַל (ga’al, “redeem, claim”). Some have suggested that the verb is actually the homonym “pollute.” This is the reading in the Targum, Syriac, Vulgate, and Rashi, who quotes from Mal 1:7,12. See A. R. Johnson, “The Primary Meaning of ga’al,” VTSup 1 (1953): 67-77.
3 tn The expression “the blackness of the day” (כִּמְרִירֵי יוֹם, kimrire yom) probably means everything that makes the day black, such as supernatural events like eclipses. Job wishes that all ominous darknesses would terrify that day. It comes from the word כָּמַר (kamar, “to be black”), related to Akkadian kamaru (“to overshadow, darken”). The versions seem to have ignored the first letter and connected the word to מָרַר (marar, “be bitter”).
4 sn The verbs are simple, “I go” and “I return”; but Job clearly means before he dies. A translation of “depart” comes closer to communicating this. The second verb may be given a potential imperfect translation to capture the point. The NIV offered more of an interpretive paraphrase: “before I go to the place of no return.”
6 tn The word סֵדֶר (seder, “order”) occurs only here in the Bible. G. R. Driver found a new meaning in Arabic sadira, “dazzled by the glare” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 : 76-77); this would mean “without a ray of light.” This is accepted by those who see chaos out of place in this line. But the word “order” is well-attested in later Hebrew (see J. Carmignac, “Précisions aportées au vocabulaire d’hébreu biblique par La guerre des fils de lumière contre les fils de ténèbres,” VT 5 : 345-65).
7 tn The Hebrew word literally means “it shines”; the feminine verb implies a subject like “the light” (but see GKC 459 §144.c).
8 tn The verse multiplies images for the darkness in death. Several commentators omit “as darkness, deep darkness” (כְּמוֹ אֹפֶל צַלְמָוֶת, kÿmo ’ofel tsalmavet) as glosses on the rare word עֵיפָתָה (’efatah, “darkness”) drawn from v. 21 (see also RSV). The verse literally reads: “[to the] land of darkness, like the deep darkness of the shadow of death, without any order, and the light is like the darkness.”
10 tn Heb “together.”
11 sn The text appears at first to be saying that by opening up a mine shaft, or by taking lights down below, the miner dispels the darkness. But the clause might be more general, meaning that man goes deep into the earth as if it were day.
12 tn The verse ends with “the stone of darkness and deep darkness.” The genitive would be location, describing the place where the stones are found.
13 tn The construction of this colon uses the Niphal infinitive construct from סָתַר (satar, “to be hidden; to hide”). The resumptive adverb makes this a relative clause in its usage: “where the evildoers can hide themselves.”