III. Job’s Search for Wisdom (28:1-28)No Known Road to Wisdom 1
and a place where gold is refined. 4
and rock is poured out 6 as copper.
he searches the farthest recesses
for the ore in the deepest darkness. 8
in places travelers have long forgotten, 10
far from other people he dangles and sways. 11
28:5 The earth, from which food comes,
is overturned below as though by fire; 12
and which contains dust of gold; 14
no falcon’s 16 eye has spotted it.
and no lion has passed along it.
he has overturned mountains at their bases. 19
his eyes have spotted 21 every precious thing.
and what was hidden he has brought into the light.
28:12 “But wisdom – where can it be found?
Where is the place of understanding?
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
28:15 Fine gold cannot be given in exchange for it,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
with precious onyx 28 or sapphires.
nor can a vase 30 of gold match its worth.
28:18 Of coral and jasper no mention will be made;
it cannot be purchased with pure gold.
Where is the place of understanding?
from the eyes of every living creature,
and from the birds of the sky it has been concealed.
‘With our ears we have heard a rumor about where it can be found.’ 37
28:23 God understands the way to it,
and he alone knows its place.
28:24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and observes everything under the heavens.
and measured 39 the waters with a gauge.
and a path for the thunderstorm, 41
28:28 And he said to mankind,
‘The fear of the Lord 46 – that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” 47
IV. Job’s Concluding Soliloquy (29:1-31:40)Job Recalls His Former Condition 48
in the months now gone, 52
to shine upon my head,
and by his light
when God’s intimate friendship 61 was experienced in my tent,
and my children were 63 around me;
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil! 67
29:7 When I went out to the city gate
and secured my seat in the public square, 68
and the old men would get up and remain standing;
29:9 the chief men refrained from talking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
and when the eye saw them, it bore witness to me,
29:12 for I rescued the poor who cried out for help,
and the orphan who 73 had no one to assist him;
and I made the widow’s heart rejoice; 75
my just dealing 77 was like a robe and a turban;
29:15 I was eyes for the blind
and feet for the lame;
and I investigated the case of the person I did not know;
and made him drop 80 his prey from his teeth.
my days as numerous as the grains of sand. 82
29:19 My roots reach the water,
and the dew lies on my branches all night long.
and my bow ever new in my hand.’
they kept silent for my advice.
29:22 After I had spoken, they did not respond;
my words fell on them drop by drop. 87
and they opened their mouths 89
as for 90 the spring rains.
and they did not cause the light of my face to darken. 92
and sat as their chief; 95
I lived like a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners. 96
whose fathers I disdained too much 98
to put with my sheep dogs. 99
what use was it to me?
Men whose strength 101 had perished;
they would gnaw 103 the parched land,
in former time desolate and waste. 104
and the root of the broom tree was their food.
people 109 shouted at them
like they would shout at thieves 110 –
in the dry stream beds, 112
in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.
and were huddled together 114 under the nettles.
they were driven out of the land with whips. 116
30:9 “And now I have become their taunt song;
I have become a byword 117 among them.
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
people throw off all restraint in my presence. 120
they drive me from place to place, 122
they succeed in destroying me 126
without anyone assisting 127 them.
30:14 They come in as through a wide breach;
they drive away 131 my honor like the wind,
and like a cloud my deliverance has passed away.
days of suffering take hold of me.
my gnawing pains 135 never cease.
he binds me like the collar 138 of my tunic.
30:19 He has flung me into the mud,
and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.
with the strength of your hand you attack me. 143
to the meeting place for all the living.
30:24 “Surely one does not stretch out his hand
against a broken man 148
when he cries for help in his distress. 149
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
30:26 But when I hoped for good, trouble came;
when I expected light, then darkness came.
the days of my affliction confront me.
in the assembly I stand up and cry for help.
30:29 I have become a brother to jackals
and a companion of ostriches. 155
and my flute for the sound of weeping.
how then could I entertain thoughts against a virgin? 161
31:2 What then would be one’s lot from God above,
one’s heritage from the Almighty 162 on high?
31:3 Is it not misfortune for the unjust,
and disaster for those who work iniquity?
31:4 Does he not see my ways
and count all my steps?
then God will discover 168 my integrity.
31:7 If my footsteps have strayed from the way,
if my heart has gone after my eyes, 169
or if anything 170 has defiled my hands,
and let my crops 172 be uprooted.
31:9 If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, 173
and may other men have sexual relations with her. 175
an iniquity to be judged. 178
and it would uproot 180 all my harvest.
31:13 “If I have disregarded the right of my male servants
or my female servants
when they disputed 181 with me,
when he intervenes, 183
how will I respond to him?
Did not the same one form us in the womb?
or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
31:17 If I ate my morsel of bread myself,
and did not share any of it with orphans 186 –
and from my mother’s womb 188
I guided the widow! 189
31:19 If I have seen anyone about to perish for lack of clothing,
or a poor man without a coat,
as he warmed himself with the fleece of my sheep, 191
when I saw my support in the court, 193
let my arm be broken off at the socket. 196
and by reason of his majesty 198 I was powerless.
31:24 “If I have put my confidence in gold
or said to pure gold,
‘You are my security!’
31:25 if I have rejoiced because of the extent of my wealth,
or because of the great wealth my hand had gained,
and the moon advancing as a precious thing,
31:27 so that my heart was secretly enticed,
and my hand threw them a kiss from my mouth, 200
for I would have been false 203 to God above.
by asking 210 for his life through a curse –
‘If only there were 214 someone
who has not been satisfied from Job’s 215 meat!’ –
for I opened my doors to the traveler 217 –
and the contempt of families terrified me,
so that I remained silent
and would not go outdoors – 224
Here is my signature – 226
let the Almighty answer me!
If only I had an indictment 227
that my accuser had written. 228
I would bind 231 it on me like a crown;
31:37 I would give him an accounting of my steps;
like a prince I would approach him.
and all its furrows wept together,
31:40 then let thorns sprout up in place of wheat,
and in place of barley, weeds!” 237
The words of Job are ended.
[28:1] 1 sn As the book is now arranged, this chapter forms an additional speech by Job, although some argue that it comes from the writer of the book. The mood of the chapter is not despair, but wisdom; it anticipates the divine speeches in the end of the book. This poem, like many psalms in the Bible, has a refrain (vv. 12 and 20). These refrains outline the chapter, giving three sections: there is no known road to wisdom (1-11); no price can buy it (12-19); and only God has it, and only by revelation can man posses it (20-28).
[28:1] 2 tn The poem opens with כִּי (ki). Some commentators think this should have been “for,” and that the poem once stood in another setting. But there are places in the Bible where this word occurs with the sense of “surely” and no other meaning (cf. Gen 18:20).
[28:1] 3 tn The word מוֹצָא (motsa’, from יָצָא [yatsa’, “go out”]) is the word for “mine,” or more simply, “source.” Mining was not an enormous industry in the land of Canaan or Israel; mined products were imported. Some editors have suggested alternative readings: Dahood found in the word the root for “shine” and translated the MT as “smelter.” But that is going too far. P. Joüon suggested “place of finding,” reading מִמְצָא (mimtsa’) for מוֹצָא (motsa’; see Bib 11 : 323).
[28:1] 4 tn The verb יָזֹקּוּ (yazoqqu) translated “refined,” comes from זָקַק (zaqaq), a word that basically means “to blow.” From the meaning “to blow; to distend; to inflate” derives the meaning for refining.
[28:2] 6 tn The verb יָצוּק (yatsuq) is usually translated as a passive participle “is smelted” (from יָצַק [yatsaq, “to melt”]): “copper is smelted from the ore” (ESV) or “from the stone, copper is poured out” (as an imperfect from צוּק [tsuq]). But the rock becomes the metal in the process. So according to R. Gordis (Job, 304) the translation should be: “the rock is poured out as copper.” E. Dhorme (Job, 400), however, defines the form in the text as “hard,” and simply has it “hard stone becomes copper.”
[28:3] 7 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.
[28:4] 9 tc The first part of this verse, “He cuts a shaft far from the place where people live,” has received a lot of attention. The word for “live” is גָּר (gar). Some of the proposals are: “limestone,” on the basis of the LXX; “far from the light,” reading נֵר (ner); “by a foreign people,” taking the word to means “foreign people”; “a foreign people opening shafts”; or taking gar as “crater” based on Arabic. Driver puts this and the next together: “a strange people who have been forgotten cut shafts” (see AJSL 3 : 162). L. Waterman had “the people of the lamp” (“Note on Job 28:4,” JBL 71 : 167ff). And there are others. Since there is really no compelling argument in favor of one of these alternative interpretations, the MT should be preserved until shown to be wrong.
[28:7] 15 tn The “path” could refer to the mine shaft or it could refer to wisdom. The former seems more likely in the present context; the word “hidden is supplied in the translation to indicate the mines are “hidden” from sharp-eyed birds of prey above.
[28:9] 18 tn The Hebrew verb is simply “to stretch out; to send” (שָׁלח, shalakh). With יָדוֹ (yado, “his hand”) the idea is that of laying one’s hand on the rock, i.e., getting to work on the hardest of rocks.
[28:9] 19 tn The Hebrew מִשֹּׁרֶשׁ (mishoresh) means “from/at [their] root [or base].” In mining, people have gone below ground, under the mountains, and overturned rock and dirt. It is also interesting that here in a small way humans do what God does – overturn mountains (cf. 9:5).
[28:11] 22 tc The translation “searched” follows the LXX and Vulgate; the MT reads “binds up” or “dams up.” This latter translation might refer to the damming of water that might seep into a mine (HALOT 289 s.v. חבשׁ; cf. ESV, NJPS, NASB, REB, NLT).
[28:11] 23 tc The older translations had “he binds the streams from weeping,” i.e., from trickling (מִבְּכִי, mibbÿkhi). But the Ugaritic parallel has changed the understanding, reading “toward the spring of the rivers” (`m mbk nhrm). Earlier than that discovery, the versions had taken the word as a noun as well. Some commentators had suggested repointing the Hebrew. Some chose מַבְּכֵי (mabbÿkhe, “sources”). Now there is much Ugaritic support for the reading (see G. M. Landes, BASOR 144 : 32f.; and H. L. Ginsberg, “The Ugaritic texts and textual criticism,” JBL 62 : 111).
[28:13] 24 tc The LXX has “its way, apparently reading דַּרְכָה (darkhah) in place of עֶרְכָּהּ (’erkah, “place”). This is adopted by most modern commentators. But R. Gordis (Job, 308) shows that this change is not necessary, for עֶרֶךְ (’erekh) in the Bible means “order; row; disposition,” and here “place.” An alternate meaning would be “worth” (NIV, ESV).
[28:14] 25 sn The תְּהוֹם (tÿhom) is the “deep” of Gen 1:2, the abyss or primordial sea. It was always understood to be a place of darkness and danger. As remote as it is, it asserts that wisdom is not found there (personification). So here we have the abyss and the sea, then death and destruction – but they are not the places that wisdom resides.
[28:18] 31 tn The word מֶשֶׁךְ (meshekh) comes from a root meaning “to grasp; to seize; to hold,” and so the derived noun means “grasping; acquiring; taking possession,” and therefore, “price” (see the discussion in R. Gordis, Job, 309). Gray renders it “acquisition” (so A. Cohen, AJSL 40 [1923/24]: 175).
[28:25] 38 tn Heb “he gave weight to the wind.” The form is the infinitive construct with the ל (lamed) preposition. Some have emended it to change the preposition to the temporal בּ (bet) on the basis of some of the versions (e.g., Latin and Syriac) that have “who made.” This is workable, for the infinitive would then take on the finite tense of the previous verbs. An infinitive of purpose does not work well, for that would be saying God looked everywhere in order to give wind its proper weight (see R. Gordis, Job, 310).
[28:25] 39 tn The verb is the Piel perfect, meaning “to estimate the measure” of something. In the verse, the perfect verb continues the function of the infinitive preceding it, as if it had a ו (vav) prefixed to it. Whatever usage that infinitive had, this verb is to continue it (see GKC 352 §114.r).
[28:27] 43 tn The verb סָפַר (safar) in the Piel basically means “to tell; to declare; to show” or “to count; to number.” Many commentators offer different suggestions for the translation. “Declared” (as in the RSV, NASB, and NRSV) would be the simplest – but to whom did God declare it? Besides “appraised” which is the view of Pope, Dhorme and others (cf. NAB, NIV), J. Reider has suggested “probed” (“Etymological studies in biblical Hebrew,” VT 2 : 127), Strahan has “studied,” and Kissane has “reckoned.” The difficulty is that the line has a series of verbs, which seem to build to a climax; but without more details it is hard to know how to translate them when they have such a range of meaning.
[28:27] 44 tc The verb כּוּן (kun) means “to establish; to prepare” in this stem. There are several
[28:27] 45 tn The verb חָקַר (khaqar) means “to examine; to search out.” Some of the language used here is anthropomorphic, for the sovereign
[28:28] 46 tc A number of medieval Hebrew manuscripts have YHWH (“
[28:28] 47 tc Many commentators delete this verse because (1) many read the divine name Yahweh (translated “
[29:1] 48 sn Now that the debate with his friends is over, Job concludes with a soliloquy, just as he had begun with one. Here he does not take into account his friends or their arguments. The speech has three main sections: Job’s review of his former circumstances (29:1-25); Job’s present misery (30:1-31); and Job’s vindication of his life (31:1-40).
[29:3] 56 tn The form בְּהִלּוֹ (bÿhillo) is unusual; it should be parsed as a Hiphil infinitive construct with the elision of the ה (he). The proper spelling would have been with a ַ (patakh) under the preposition, reflecting הַהִלּוֹ (hahillo). If it were Qal, it would just mean “when his light shone.”
[29:3] 59 tn The accusative (“darkness”) is here an adverbial accusative of place, namely, “in the darkness,” or because he was successfully led by God’s light, “through the darkness” (see GKC 374 §118.h).
[29:4] 60 tn Heb “in the days of my ripeness.” The word חֹרֶף (khoref) denotes the time when the harvest is gathered in because the fruit is ripe. Since this is the autumn, many translate that way here – but “autumn” has a different connotation now. The text is pointing to a time when the righteous reaps what he has sown, and can enjoy the benefits. The translation “most productive time” seems to capture the point better than “autumn” or even “prime.”
[29:4] 61 tc The word סוֹד (sod) in this verse is an infinitive construct, prefixed with the temporal preposition and followed by a subjective genitive. It forms a temporal clause. There is some disagreement about the form and its meaning. The confusion in the versions shows that they were paraphrasing to get the general sense. In the Bible the derived noun (from יָסַד, yasad) means (a) a circle of close friends; (b) intimacy. Others follow the LXX and the Syriac with a meaning of “protect,” based on a change from ד (dalet) to כּ (kaf), and assuming the root was סָכַךְ (sakhakh). This would mean, “when God protected my tent” (cf. NAB). D. W. Thomas tries to justify this meaning without changing the text (“The Interpretation of BSOÝD in Job 29:4,” JBL 65 : 63-66).
[29:5] 63 tc Some commentators suggest that עִמָּדִי (’immadi, “with me”) of the second colon of v. 6 (which is too long) belongs to the second colon of v. 5, and should be pointed as the verb עָמָדוּ (’amadu, “they stood”), meaning the boys stood around him (see, e.g., E. Dhorme, Job, 417). But as R. Gordis (Job, 319) notes, there is a purpose for the imbalance of the metric pattern at the end of a section.
[29:6] 67 tn The MT reads literally, “and the rock was poured out [passive participle] for me as streams of oil.” There are some who delete the word “rock” to shorten the line because it seems out of place. But olive trees thrive in rocky soil, and the oil presses are cut into the rock; it is possible that by metonymy all this is intended here (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 186).
[29:7] 68 sn In the public square. The area referred to here should not be thought of in terms of modern western dimensions. The wide space, plaza, or public square mentioned here is the open area in the gate complex where legal and business matters were conducted. The area could be as small as a few hundred square feet.
[29:8] 69 tn The verb means “to hide; to withdraw.” The young men out of respect would withdraw or yield the place of leadership to Job (thus the translation “step aside”). The old men would rise and remain standing until Job took his seat – a sign of respect.
[29:10] 70 tn The verb here is “hidden” as well as in v. 8. But this is a strange expression for voices. Several argue that the word was erroneously inserted from 8a and needs to be emended. But the word “hide” can have extended meanings of “withdraw; be quiet; silent” (see Gen 31:27). A. Guillaume relates the Arabic habi’a, “the fire dies out,” applying the idea of “silent” only to v. 10 (it is a form of repetition of words with different senses, called jinas). The point here is that whatever conversation was going on would become silent or hushed to hear what Job had to say.
[29:13] 75 tn The verb אַרְנִן (’arnin) is from רָנַן (ranan, “to give a ringing cry”) but here “cause to give a ringing cry,” i.e., shout of joy. The rejoicing envisioned in this word is far greater than what the words “sing” or “rejoice” suggest.
[29:14] 76 tn Both verbs in this first half-verse are from לָבַשׁ (lavash, “to clothe; to put on clothing”). P. Joüon changed the vowels to get a verb “it adorned me” instead of “it clothed me” (Bib 11 : 324). The figure of clothing is used for the character of the person: to wear righteousness is to be righteous.
[29:17] 79 tn The word rendered “fangs” actually means “teeth,” i.e., the molars probably; it is used frequently of the teeth of wild beasts. Of course, the language is here figurative, comparing the oppressing enemy to a preying animal.
[29:17] 80 tn “I made [him] drop.” The verb means “to throw; to cast,” throw in the sense of “to throw away.” But in the context with the figure of the beast with prey in its mouth, “drop” or “cast away” is the idea. Driver finds another cognate meaning “rescue” (see AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 163).
[29:18] 81 tc The expression in the MT is “with my nest.” The figure is satisfactory for the context – a home with all the young together, a picture of unity and safety. In Isa 16:2 the word can mean “nestlings,” and with the preposition “with” that might be the meaning here, except that his children had grown up and lived in their own homes. The figure cannot be pushed too far. But the verse apparently has caused enormous problems, because the versions offer a variety of readings and free paraphrases. The LXX has “My age shall grow old as the stem of a palm tree, I shall live a long time.” The Vulgate has, “In my nest I shall die and like the palm tree increase my days.” G. R. Driver found an Egyptian word meaning “strength” (“Birds in the Old Testament,” PEQ 87 : 138-39). Several read “in a ripe old age” instead of “in my nest” (Pope, Dhorme; see P. P. Saydon, “Philological and Textual Notes to the Maltese Translation of the Old Testament,” CBQ 23 : 252). This requires the verb זָקַן (zaqan, “be old”), i.e., בִּזְקוּנַי (bizqunay, “in my old age”) instead of קִנִּי (qinni, “my nest”). It has support from the LXX.
[29:18] 82 tc For חוֹל (khol, “sand”) the LXX has a word that is “like the palm tree,” but which could also be translated “like the phoenix” (cf. NAB, NRSV). This latter idea was developed further in rabbinical teaching (see R. Gordis, Job, 321). See also M. Dahood, “Nest and phoenix in Job 29:18,” Bib 48 (1967): 542-44. But the MT yields an acceptable sense here.
[29:20] 83 tn The word is “my glory,” meaning his high respect and his honor. Hoffmann proposed to read כִּידוֹן (kidon) instead, meaning “javelin” (as in 1 Sam 17:6), to match the parallelism (RQ 3 [1961/62]: 388). But the parallelism does not need to be so tight.
[29:21] 86 tc The last verb of the first half, “wait, hope,” and the first verb in the second colon, “be silent,” are usually reversed by the commentators (see G. R. Driver, “Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 : 86). But if “wait” has the idea of being silent as they wait for him to speak, then the second line would say they were silent for the reason of his advice. The reading of the MT is not impossible.
[29:24] 91 tn The connection of this clause with the verse is difficult. The line simply reads: “[if] I would smile at them, they would not believe.” Obviously something has to be supplied to make sense out of this. The view adopted here makes the most sense, namely, that when he smiled at people, they could hardly believe their good fortune. Other interpretations are strained, such as Kissane’s, “If I laughed at them, they believed not,” meaning, people rejected the views that Job laughed at.
[29:25] 95 tn The text simply has “and I sat [as their] head.” The adverbial accusative explains his role, especially under the image of being seated. He directed the deliberations as a king directs an army.
[29:25] 96 tc Most commentators think this last phrase is odd here, and so they either delete it altogether, or emend it to fit the idea of the verse. Ewald, however, thought it appropriate as a transition to the next section, reminding his friends that unlike him, they were miserable comforters. Herz made the few changes in the text to get the reading “where I led them, they were willing to go” (ZAW 20 : 163). The two key words in the MT are אֲבֵלִים יְנַחֵם (’avelim yÿnakhem, “he [one who] comforts mourners”). Following Herz, E. Dhorme (Job, 422) has these changed to אוֹבִילֵם יִנַּחוּ (’ovilem yinnakhu). R. Gordis has “like one leading a camel train” (Job, 324). But Kissane also retains the line as a summary of the chapter, noting its presence in the versions.
[30:1] 98 tn Heb “who I disdained their fathers to set…,” meaning “whose fathers I disdained to set.” The relative clause modifies the young fellows who mock; it explains that Job did not think highly enough of them to put them with the dogs. The next verse will explain why.
[30:2] 101 tn The word כֶּלַח (kelakh) only occurs in Job 5:26; but the Arabic cognate gives this meaning “strength.” Others suggest כָּלַח (kalakh, “old age”), ֹכּל־חַיִל (kol-khayil, “all vigor”), כֹּל־לֵחַ (kol-leakh, “all freshness”), and the like. But there is no reason for such emendation.
[30:3] 103 tn The form is the plural participle with the definite article – “who gnaw.” The article, joined to the participle, joins on a new statement concerning a preceding noun (see GKC 404 §126.b).
[30:3] 104 tn The MT has “yesterday desolate and waste.” The word “yesterday” (אֶמֶשׁ, ’emesh) is strange here. Among the proposals for אֶמֶשׁ (’emesh), Duhm suggested יְמַשְּׁשׁוּ (yÿmashÿshu, “they grope”), which would require darkness; Pope renders “by night,” instead of “yesterday,” which evades the difficulty; and Fohrer suggested with more reason אֶרֶץ (’erets), “a desolate and waste land.” R. Gordis (Job, 331) suggests יָמִישׁוּ / יָמֻשׁוּ (yamishu/yamushu), “they wander off.”
[30:7] 113 tn The verb נָהַק (nahaq) means “to bray.” It has cognates in Arabic, Aramaic, and Ugaritic, so there is no need for emendation here. It is the sign of an animal’s hunger. In the translation the words “like animals” are supplied to clarify the metaphor for the modern reader.
[30:8] 116 tn Heb “they were whipped from the land” (cf. ESV) or “they were cast out from the land” (HALOT 697 s.v. נכא). J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 397) follows Gordis suggests that the meaning is “brought lower than the ground.”
[30:9] 117 tn The idea is that Job has become proverbial, people think of misfortune and sin when they think of him. The statement uses the ordinary word for “word” (מִלָּה, millah), but in this context it means more: “proverb; byword.”
[30:11] 119 tn The verb פָּתַח (patakh) means “to untie [or undo]” a rope or bonds. In this verse יִתְרוֹ (yitro, the Kethib, LXX, and Vulgate) would mean “his rope” (see יֶתֶר [yeter] in Judg 16:7-9). The Qere would be יִתְרִי (yitri, “my rope [or cord]”), meaning “me.” The word could mean “rope,” “cord,” or “bowstring.” If the reading “my cord” is accepted, the cord would be something like “my tent cord” (as in Job 29:20), more than K&D 12:147 “cord of life.” This has been followed in the present translation. If it were “my bowstring,” it would give the sense of disablement. If “his cord” is taken, it would signify that the restraint that God had in afflicting Job was loosened – nothing was held back.
[30:11] 120 sn People throw off all restraint in my presence means that when people saw how God afflicted Job, robbing him of his influence and power, then they turned on him with unrestrained insolence (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 193).
[30:12] 121 tn This Hebrew word occurs only here. The word פִּרְחַח (pirkhakh, “young rabble”) is a quadriliteral, from פָּרַח (parakh, “to bud”) The derivative אֶפְרֹחַ (’efroakh) in the Bible refers to a young bird. In Arabic farhun means both “young bird” and “base man.” Perhaps “young rabble” is the best meaning here (see R. Gordis, Job, 333).
[30:13] 125 tn This verb נָתְסוּ (natÿsu) is found nowhere else. It is probably a variant of the verb in Job 19:10. R. Gordis (Job, 333-34) notes the Arabic noun natsun (“thorns”), suggesting a denominative idea “they have placed thorns in my path.” Most take it to mean they ruin the way of escape.
[30:13] 126 tc The MT has “they further my misfortune.” The line is difficult, with slight textual problems. The verb יֹעִילוּ (yo’ilu) means “to profit,” and so “to succeed” or “to set forward.” Good sense can be made from the MT as it stands, and many suggested changes are suspect.
[30:14] 128 tn The MT has “under the crash,” with the idea that they rush in while the stones are falling around them (which is continuing the figure of the military attack). G. R. Driver took the expression to mean in a temporal sense “at the moment of the crash” (AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 163-64). Guillaume, drawing from Arabic, has “where the gap is made.”
[30:14] 129 tn The verb, the Hitpalpel of גָּלַל (galal), means “they roll themselves.” This could mean “they roll themselves under the ruins” (Dhorme), “they roll on like a storm” (Gordis), or “they roll on” as in waves of enemy attackers (see H. H. Rowley). This particular verb form is found only here (but see Amos 5:24).
[30:16] 132 tn This line can either mean that Job is wasting away (i.e., his life is being poured out), or it can mean that he is grieving. The second half of the verse gives the subordinate clause of condition for this.
[30:17] 135 tn Heb “my gnawers,” which is open to several interpretations. The NASB and NIV take it as “gnawing pains”; cf. NRSV “the pain that gnaws me.” Some suggest worms in the sores (7:5). The LXX has “my nerves,” a view accepted by many commentators.
[30:18] 137 tc This whole verse is difficult. The first problem is that this verb in the MT means “is disguised [or disfigured],” indicating that Job’s clothes hang loose on him. But many take the view that the verb is a phonetic variant of חָבַשׁ (khavash, “to bind; to seize”) and that the Hitpael form is a conflation of the third and second person because of the interchange between them in the passage (R. Gordis, Job, 335). The commentaries list a number of conjectural emendations, but the image in the verse is probably that God seizes Job by the garment and throws him down.
[30:18] 138 tn The phrase “like the collar” is difficult, primarily because their tunics did not have collars. A translation of “neck” would suit better. Some change the preposition to בּ (bet), getting a translation “by the neck of my tunic.”
[30:20] 139 sn The implication from the sentence is that this is a cry to God for help. The sudden change from third person (v. 19) to second person (v. 20) is indicative of the intense emotion of the sufferer.
[30:20] 140 sn The verb is simple, but the interpretation difficult. In this verse it probably means he stands up in prayer (Jer 15:1), but it could mean that he makes his case to God. Others suggest a more figurative sense, like the English expression “stand pat,” meaning “remain silent” (see Job 29:8).
[30:20] 141 tn If the idea of prayer is meant, then a pejorative sense to the verb is required. Some supply a negative and translate “you do not pay heed to me.” This is supported by one Hebrew
[30:22] 145 tn The verb means “to melt.” The imagery would suggest softening the ground with the showers (see Ps 65:10 ). The translation “toss…about” comes from the Arabic cognate that is used for the surging of the sea.
[30:24] 148 tc Here is another very difficult verse, as is attested by the differences among commentaries and translations. The MT has “surely not against a ruinous heap will he [God] put forth his [God’s] hand.” But A. B. Davidson takes Job as the subject, reading “does not one stretch out his hand in his fall?” The RSV suggests a man walking in the ruins and using his hand for support. Dillmann changed it to “drowning man” to say “does not a drowning man stretch out his hand?” Beer has “have I not given a helping hand to the poor?” Dhorme has, “I did not strike the poor man with my hand.” Kissane follows this but retains the verb form, “one does not strike the poor man with his hand.”
[30:24] 149 tc The second colon is also difficult; it reads, “if in his destruction to them he cries.” E. Dhorme (Job, 425-26) explains how he thinks “to them” came about, and he restores “to me.” This is the major difficulty in the line, and Dhorme’s suggestion is the simplest resolution.
[30:27] 151 tn Heb “my loins,” “my bowels” (archaic), “my innermost being.” The latter option is reflected in the translation; some translations take the inner turmoil to be literal (NIV: “The churning inside me never stops”).
[30:28] 154 tn The construction uses the word קֹדֵר (qoder) followed by the Piel perfect of הָלַךְ (halakh, “I go about”). The adjective “blackened” refers to Job’s skin that has been marred by the disease. Adjectives are often used before verbs to describe some bodily condition (see GKC 374-75 §118.n).
[30:29] 155 sn The point of this figure is that Job’s cries of lament are like the howls and screeches of these animals, not that he lives with them. In Job 39:13 the female ostrich is called “the wailer.”
[31:6] 166 tn “God” is undoubtedly the understood subject of this jussive. However, “him” is retained in the translation at this point to avoid redundancy since “God” occurs in the second half of the verse.
[31:6] 167 tn The word צֶדֶךְ (tsedeq, “righteousness”) forms a fitting genitive for the scales used in trade or justice. The “scales of righteousness” are scales that conform to the standard (see the illustration in Deut 25:13-15). They must be honest scales to make just decisions.
[31:6] 168 tn The verb is וְיֵדַע (vÿyeda’, “and [then] he [God] will know”). The verb could also be subordinated to the preceding jussive, “so that God may know.” The meaning of “to know” here has more the idea of “to come to know; to discover.”
[31:7] 170 tc The word מֻאוּם (mu’um) could be taken in one of two ways. One reading is to represent מוּם (mum, “blemish,” see the Masorah); the other is for מְאוּמָה (mÿ’umah, “anything,” see the versions and the Kethib). Either reading fits the passage.
[31:8] 172 tn The word means “what sprouts up” (from יָצָא [yatsa’] with the sense of “sprout forth”). It could refer metaphorically to children (and so Kissane and Pope), as well as in its literal sense of crops. The latter fits here perfectly.
[31:9] 173 tn Gordis notes that the word פֶּתַח (petakh, “door”) has sexual connotations in rabbinic literature, based on Prov 7:6ff. (see b. Ketubbot 9b). See also the use in Song 4:12 using a synonym.
[31:10] 174 tn Targum Job interpreted the verb טָחַן (takhan, “grind”) in a sexual sense, and this has influenced other versions and commentaries. But the literal sense fits well in this line. The idea is that she would be a slave for someone else. The second line of the verse then might build on this to explain what kind of a slave – a concubine (see A. B. Davidson, Job, 215).
[31:11] 178 tc Some have deleted this verse as being short and irrelevant, not to mention problematic. But the difficulties are not insurmountable, and there is no reason to delete it. There is a Kethib-Qere reading in each half verse; in the first the Kethib is masculine for the subject but the Qere is feminine going with “shameless deed.” In the second colon the Kethib is the feminine agreeing with the preceding noun, but the Qere is masculine agreeing with “iniquity.”
[31:12] 180 tn The verb means “to root out,” but this does not fit the parallelism with fire. Wright changed two letters and the vowels in the verb to get the root צָרַף (tsaraf, “to burn”). The NRSV has “burn to the root.”
[31:14] 183 tn The verb פָקַד (paqad) means “to visit,” but with God as the subject it means any divine intervention for blessing or cursing, anything God does that changes a person’s life. Here it is “visit to judge.”
[31:20] 190 tn The MT has simply “if his loins did not bless me.” In the conditional clause this is another protasis. It means, “if I saw someone dying and if he did not thank me for clothing them.” It is Job’s way of saying that whenever he saw a need he met it, and he received his share of thanks – which prove his kindness. G. R. Driver has it “without his loins having blessed me,” taking “If…not” as an Aramaism, meaning “except” (AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 164f.).
[31:21] 192 tn The expression “raised my hand” refers to a threatening manner or gesture in the court rather than a threat of physical violence in the street. Thus the words “to vote” are supplied in the translation to indicate the setting.
[31:21] 193 tn Heb “gate,” referring to the city gate where judicial decisions were rendered in the culture of the time. The translation uses the word “court” to indicate this to the modern reader, who might not associate a city gate complex with judicial functions.
[31:22] 195 tn The point is that if he has raised his arm against the oppressed it should be ripped off at the joint. The MT has “let fall my shoulder [כְּתֵפִי, kÿtefi] from the nape of the neck [or shoulder blade (מִשִּׁכְמָה, mishikhmah)].”
[31:22] 196 tn The word קָנֶה (qaneh) is “reed; shaft; beam,” and here “shoulder joint.” All the commentaries try to explain how “reed” became “socket; joint.” This is the only place that it is used in such a sense. Whatever the exact explanation – and there seems to be no convincing view – the point of the verse is nonetheless clear.
[31:23] 197 tc The LXX has “For the terror of God restrained me.” Several commentators changed it to “came upon me.” Driver had “The fear of God was burdensome.” I. Eitan suggested “The terror of God was mighty upon me” (“Two unknown verbs: etymological studies,” JBL 42 : 22-28). But the MT makes clear sense as it stands.
[31:23] 198 tn The form is וּמִשְּׂאֵתוֹ (umissÿ’eto); the preposition is causal. The form, from the verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to raise; to lift high”), refers to God’s exalted person, his majesty (see Job 13:11).
[31:27] 200 tn Heb “and my hand kissed my mouth.” The idea should be that of “my mouth kissed my hand.” H. H. Rowley suggests that the hand was important in waving or throwing the kisses of homage to the sun and the moon, and so it receives the focus. This is the only place in the OT that refers to such a custom. Outside the Bible it was known, however.
[31:28] 202 tn See v. 11 for the construction. In Deut 17:2ff. false worship of heavenly bodies is a capital offense. In this passage, Job is talking about just a momentary glance at the sun or moon and the brief lapse into a pagan thought. But it is still sin.
[31:28] 203 tn The verb כָּחַשׁ (kakhash) in the Piel means “to deny.” The root meaning is “to deceive; to disappoint; to grow lean.” Here it means that he would have failed or proven unfaithful because his act would have been a denial of God.
[31:29] 204 tn The problem with taking this as “if,” introducing a conditional clause, is finding the apodosis, if there is one. It may be that the apodosis is understood, or summed up at the end. This is the view taken here. But R. Gordis (Job, 352) wishes to take this word as the indication of the interrogative, forming the rhetorical question to affirm he has never done this. However, in that case the parenthetical verses inserted become redundant.
[31:29] 205 sn The law required people to help their enemies if they could (Exod 23:4; also Prov 20:22). But often in the difficulties that ensued, they did exult over their enemies’ misfortune (Pss 54:7; 59:10 , etc.). But Job lived on a level of purity that few ever reach. Duhm said, “If chapter 31 is the crown of all ethical developments of the O.T., verse 29 is the jewel in that crown.”
[31:30] 210 tn The infinitive construct with the ל (lamed) preposition (“by asking”) serves in an epexegetical capacity here, explaining the verb of the first colon (“permitted…to sin”). To seek a curse on anyone would be a sin.
[31:31] 213 sn The line is difficult to sort out. Job is saying it is sinful “if his men have never said, ‘O that there was one who has not been satisfied from his food.’” If they never said that, it would mean there were people out there who needed to be satisfied with his food.
[31:32] 217 tn The word in the MT, אֹרחַ (’orakh, “way”), is a contraction from אֹרֵחַ (’oreakh, “wayfarer”); thus, “traveler.” The same parallelism is found in Jer 14:8. The reading here “on/to the road” is meaningless otherwise.
[31:34] 224 sn There is no clear apodosis for all these clauses. Some commentators transfer the verses around to make them fit the constructions. But the better view is that there is no apodosis – that Job broke off here, feeling it was useless to go further. Now he will address God and not men. But in vv. 38-40b he does return to a self-imprecation. However, there is not sufficient reason to start rearranging all the verses.
[31:35] 226 tn Heb “here is my ‘tav’” (הֵן תָּוִי, hen tavi). The letter ת (tav) is the last letter of the alphabet in Hebrew. In paleo-Hebrew the letter was in the form of a cross or an “X,” and so used for one making a mark or a signature. In this case Job has signed his statement and delivered it to the court – but he has yet to be charged. Kissane thought that this being the last letter of the alphabet, Job was saying, “This is my last word.” Others take the word to mean “desire” – “this is my desire, that God would answer me” (see E. F. Sutcliffe, “Notes on Job, textual and exegetical,” Bib 30 : 71-72; G. R. Driver, AJSL 3 [1935/36]: 166; P. P. Saydon, “Philological and Textual Notes to the Maltese Translation of the Old Testament,” CBQ 23 : 252). R. Gordis (Job, 355) also argues strongly for this view.
[31:35] 228 tn The last line is very difficult; it simply says, “a scroll [that] my [legal] adversary had written.” The simplest way to handle this is to see it as a continuation of the optative (RSV).
[31:38] 233 sn Some commentators have suggested that the meaning behind this is that Job might not have kept the year of release (Deut 15:1), and the law against mixing seed (Lev 19:19). But the context will make clear that the case considered is obtaining the land without paying for it and causing the death of its lawful owner (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 206). Similar to this would be the case of Naboth’s vineyard.
[31:39] 235 tc The versions have the verb “grieved” here. The Hebrew verb means “to breathe,” but the form is Hiphil. This verb in that stem could mean something of a contemptuous gesture, like “sniff” in Mal 1:13. But with נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) in Job 11:20 it means “to cause death,” i.e., “to cause to breathe out; to expire.” This is likely the meaning here, although it is possible that it only meant “to cause suffering” to the people.
[31:39] 236 tn There is some debate over the meaning of בְּעָלֶיהָ (bÿ’aleyha), usually translated “its owners.” Dahood, following others (although without their emendations), thought it referred to “laborers” (see M. Dahood, Bib 41 : 303; idem, Bib 43 : 362).