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Job 5:19-27

Context

5:19 He will deliver you 1  from six calamities;

yes, in seven 2  no evil will touch you.

5:20 In time of famine 3  he will redeem you from death,

and in time of war from the power of the sword. 4 

5:21 You will be protected 5  from malicious gossip, 6 

and will not be afraid of the destruction 7  when it comes.

5:22 You will laugh at destruction and famine 8 

and need not 9  be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

5:23 For you will have a pact with the stones 10  of the field,

and the wild animals 11  will be at peace 12  with you.

5:24 And 13  you will know 14  that your home 15 

will be secure, 16 

and when you inspect 17  your domains,

you will not be missing 18  anything.

5:25 You will also know that your children 19  will be numerous,

and your descendants 20  like the grass of the earth.

5:26 You will come to your grave in a full age, 21 

As stacks of grain are harvested in their season.

5:27 Look, we have investigated this, so it is true.

Hear it, 22  and apply it for your own 23  good.” 24 

1 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperfect of נָצַל (natsal, “deliver”). These verbs might have been treated as habitual imperfects if it were not for the use of the numerical images – “six calamities…in seven.” So the nuance is specific future instead.

2 tn The use of a numerical ladder as we have here – “six // seven” is frequent in wisdom literature to show completeness. See Prov 6:16; Amos 1:3, Mic 5:5. A number that seems to be sufficient for the point is increased by one, as if to say there is always one more. By using this Eliphaz simply means “in all troubles” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 56).

3 sn Targum Job here sees an allusion to the famine of Egypt and the war with Amalek.

4 tn Heb “from the hand of the sword.” This is idiomatic for “the power of the sword.” The expression is also metonymical, meaning from the effect of the sword, which is death.

5 tn The Hebrew verb essentially means “you will be hidden.” In the Niphal the verb means “to be hidden, to be in a hiding place,” and protected (Ps 31:20).

6 tn Heb “from the lash [i.e., whip] of the tongue.” Sir 26:9 and 51:2 show usages of these kinds of expressions: “the lash of the tongue” or “the blow of the tongue.” The expression indicates that a malicious gossip is more painful than a blow.

sn The Targum saw here a reference to Balaam and the devastation brought on by the Midianites.

7 tn The word here is שׁוֹד (shod); it means “destruction,” but some commentators conjecture alternate readings: שׁוֹאָה (shoah, “desolation”); or שֵׁד (shed, “demon”). One argument for maintaining שׁוֹד (shod) is that it fits the assonance within the verse שׁוֹדלָשׁוֹןשׁוֹט (shotlashonshod).

8 tc The repetition of “destruction” and “famine” here has prompted some scholars to delete the whole verse. Others try to emend the text. The LXX renders them as “the unrighteous and the lawless.” But there is no difficulty in having the repetition of the words as found in the MT.

tn The word for “famine” is an Aramaic word found again in 30:3. The book of Job has a number of Aramaisms that are used to form an alternative parallel expression (see notes on “witness” in 16:19).

9 tn The negated jussive is used here to express the conviction that something cannot or should not happen (GKC 322 §109.e).

10 tn Heb “your covenant is with the stones of the field.” The line has been variously interpreted and translated. It is omitted in the LXX. It seems to mean there is a deep sympathy between man and nature. Some think it means that the boundaries will not be violated by enemies; Rashi thought it represented some species of beings, like genii of the field, and so read אֲדֹנֵי (’adone, “lords”) for אַבְנֵי (’avne, “stones”). Ball takes the word as בְּנֵי (bÿne, “sons”), as in “sons of the field,” to get the idea that the reference is to the beasts. E. Dhorme (Job, 71) rejects these ideas as too contrived; he says to have a pact with the stones of the field simply means the stones will not come and spoil the ground, making it less fertile.

11 tn Heb “the beasts of the field.”

12 tn This is the only occurrence of the Hophal of the verb שָׁלֵם (shalem, “to make or have peace” with someone). Compare Isa 11:6-9 and Ps 91:13. The verb form is the perfect; here it is the perfect consecutive following a noun clause (see GKC 494 §159.g).

13 sn Verses 19-23 described the immunity from evil and trouble that Job would enjoy – if he were restored to peace with God. Now, v. 24 describes the safety and peace of the homestead and his possessions if he were right with God.

14 tn The verb is again the perfect, but in sequence to the previous structure so that it is rendered as a future. This would be the case if Job were right with God.

15 tn Heb “tent.”

16 tn The word שָׁלוֹם (shalom) means “peace; safety; security; wholeness.” The same use appears in 1 Sam 25:6; 2 Sam 20:9.

17 tn The verb is פָּקַד (paqad, “to visit”). The idea here is “to gather together; to look over; to investigate,” or possibly even “to number” as it is used in the book of Numbers. The verb is the perfect with the vav consecutive; it may be subordinated to the imperfect verb that follows to form a temporal clause.

18 tn The verb is usually rendered “to sin”; but in this context the more specific primary meaning of “to miss the mark” or “to fail to find something.” Neither Job’s tent nor his possessions will be lost.

19 tn Heb “your seed.”

20 tn The word means “your shoots” and is parallel to “your seed” in the first colon. It refers here (as in Isa 34:1 and 42:5) to the produce of the earth. Some commentators suggest that Eliphaz seems to have forgotten or was insensitive to Job’s loss of his children; H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 57) says his conventional theology is untouched by human feeling.

21 tn The word translated “in a full age” has been given an array of meanings: “health; integrity”; “like a new blade of corn”; “in your strength [or vigor].” The numerical value of the letters in the word בְכֶלָח (bÿkhelakh, “in old age”) was 2, 20, 30, and 8, or 60. This led some of the commentators to say that at 60 one would enter the ripe old age (E. Dhorme, Job, 73).

22 tn To make a better parallelism, some commentators have replaced the imperative with another finite verb, “we have found it.”

23 tn The preposition with the suffix (referred to as the ethical dative) strengthens the imperative. An emphatic personal pronoun also precedes the imperative. The resulting force would be something like “and you had better apply it for your own good!”

24 sn With this the speech by Eliphaz comes to a close. His two mistakes with it are: (1) that the tone was too cold and (2) the argument did not fit Job’s case (see further, A. B. Davidson, Job, 42).



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