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Job 9:22-24

Context
Accusation of God’s Justice

9:22 “It is all one! 1  That is why I say, 2 

‘He destroys the blameless and the guilty.’

9:23 If a scourge brings sudden death, 3 

he mocks 4  at the despair 5  of the innocent. 6 

9:24 If a land 7  has been given

into the hand of a wicked man, 8 

he covers 9  the faces of its judges; 10 

if it is not he, then who is it? 11 

1 tc The LXX omits the phrase “It is all one.” Modern scholars either omit it or transpose it for clarity.

sn The expression “it is one” means that God’s dealings with people is undiscriminating. The number “one” could also be taken to mean “the same” – “it is all the same.” The implication is that it does not matter if Job is good or evil, if he lives or dies. This is the conclusion of the preceding section.

2 tn The relationships of these clauses is in some question. Some think that the poet has inverted the first two, and so they should read, “That is why I have said: ‘It is all one.’” Others would take the third clause to be what was said.

3 tc The LXX contains a paraphrase: “for the worthless die, but the righteous are laughed to scorn.”

sn The point of these verses is to show – rather boldly – that God does not distinguish between the innocent and the guilty.

4 sn This bold anthropomorphism means that by his treatment of the despair of the innocent, God is in essence mocking them.

5 tn The term מַסַּת (massat), a hapax legomenon, was translated “trial” in the older versions; but it is not from נָסָה (nasah, “to tempt; to test; to try”), but from מָסַס (masas, “to flow”). It is used in the Niphal to speak of the heart “melting” in suffering. So the idea behind this image is that of despair. This is the view that most interpreters adopt; it requires no change of the text whatsoever.

6 sn Job uses this word to refute Eliphaz; cf. 4:7.

7 tn Some would render this “earth,” meaning the whole earth, and having the verse be a general principle for all mankind. But Job may have in mind the more specific issue of individual land.

8 sn The details of the verse are not easy to explain, but the meaning of the whole verse seems to be about the miscarriage of justice in the courts and the failure of God to do anything about it.

9 tn The subject of the verb is God. The reasoning goes this way: it is the duty of judges to make sure that justice prevails, that restitution and restoration are carried through; but when the wicked gain control of the land of other people, and the judges are ineffective to stop it, then God must be veiling their eyes.

10 sn That these words are strong, if not wild, is undeniable. But Job is only taking the implications of his friends’ speeches to their logical conclusion – if God dispenses justice in the world, and there is no justice, then God is behind it all. The LXX omitted these words, perhaps out of reverence for God.

11 tn This seems to be a broken-off sentence (anacoluthon), and so is rather striking. The scribes transposed the words אֵפוֹא (’efo’) and הוּא (hu’) to make the smoother reading: “If it is not he, who then is it?”



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