18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:
18:3 Why should we be regarded as beasts,
and considered stupid 6 in your sight?
will the earth be abandoned 8 for your sake?
Or will a rock be moved from its place? 9
his flame of fire 12 does not shine.
18:6 The light in his tent grows dark;
his lamp above him is extinguished. 13
and his own counsel throws him down. 16
and he wanders into a mesh. 18
a snare 20 grips him.
and a trap for him 22 lies on the path.
and dog 24 his every step.
and misfortune is ready at his side. 27
the most terrible death 29 devours his limbs.
over his residence burning sulfur is scattered.
18:16 Below his roots dry up,
and his branches wither above.
18:17 His memory perishes from the earth,
he has no name in the land. 34
and is banished from the world.
no survivor in those places he once stayed. 37
and this is the place of one who has not known God.’” 43
19:1 Then Job answered:
you are not ashamed to attack me! 50
my error 53 remains solely my concern!
and plead my disgrace against me, 56
I receive no answer; 64
I cry for help,
but there is no justice.
and has set darkness 66 over my paths.
19:9 He has stripped me of my honor
and has taken the crown off my head. 67
and he considers me among his enemies. 74
they throw up 76 a siege ramp against me,
and they camp around my tent.
my acquaintances only 78 turn away from me.
19:14 My kinsmen have failed me;
consider 82 me a stranger;
I am a foreigner 83 in their eyes.
even though I implore 85 him with my own mouth.
19:18 Even youngsters have scorned me;
19:21 Have pity on me, my friends, have pity on me,
for the hand of God has struck me.
Will you never be satiated with my flesh? 98
O that they were written on a scroll, 100
they were engraved in a rock forever!
and that as the last 103
he will stand upon the earth. 104
and whom my own eyes will behold,
and not another. 109
19:28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him,
since the root of the trouble is found in him!’ 112
19:29 Fear the sword yourselves,
so that you may know
that there is judgment.” 115
20:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:
because of my feelings 119 within me.
ever since humankind was placed 125 on the earth,
and his head touches the clouds,
those who used to see him will say, ‘Where is he?’
and like a vision of the night he is put to flight.
and the place where he was
will recognize him no longer.
his own hands 134 must return his wealth.
but that vigor will lie down with him in the dust.
and he hides it under his tongue, 138
20:13 if he retains it for himself
and does not let it go,
and holds it fast in his mouth, 139
it becomes the venom of serpents 142 within him.
God will make him throw it out 144 of his stomach.
the rivers, which are the torrents 150
of honey and butter. 151
without assimilating it; 153
he will not enjoy the wealth from his commerce. 154
he has seized a house which he did not build. 156
that is why his prosperity does not last. 161
distress 163 overtakes him.
the full force of misery will come upon him. 164
and rains down his blows upon him. 168
20:24 If he flees from an iron weapon,
then an arrow 169 from a bronze bow pierces him.
the gleaming point 171 out of his liver,
terrors come over him.
a fire which has not been kindled 173
will consume him
and devour what is left in his tent.
20:27 The heavens reveal his iniquity;
the earth rises up against him.
20:28 A flood will carry off his house,
rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath.
20:29 Such is the lot God allots the wicked,
and the heritage of his appointment 174 from God.”
[18:1] 1 sn Bildad attacks Job with less subtlety than Eliphaz. He describes the miserable existence of the wicked, indicating that it is the proof of sin. His speech falls into two main parts: why is Job so contemptuous toward his friends (Job 18:2-4), and the fate of the wicked (18:5-21). On this chapter see N. M. Sarna, “The Mythological Background of Job 18,” JBL 82 (1963): 315-18; and W. A. Irwin, “Job’s Redeemer,” JBL 81 (1962): 217-29.
[18:2] 3 tn The construction is קִנְצֵי לְמִלִּין (qintse lÿmillin), which is often taken to be “end of words,” as if the word was from קֵץ (qets, “end”). But a plural of “end” is not found in the OT. Some will link the word to Arabic qanasa, “to hunt; to give chase,” to get an interpretation of “snares for words.” But E. Dhorme (Job, 257) objects that this does not fit the speech of Bildad (as well as it might Job’s). He finds a cognate qinsu, “fetters, shackles,” and reads “how long will you put shackles on words.” But G. R. Driver had pointed out that this cognate does not exist (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 : 72-93). So it would be preferable to take the reading “ends” and explain the ן (nun) as from a Aramaizing by-form. This is supported by 11QtgJob that uses סוֹף (sof, “end”). On the construction, GKC 421 §130.a explains this as a use of the construct in rapid narrative to connect the words; in such cases a preposition is on the following noun.
[18:2] 4 tn The imperfect verb, again plural, would be here taken in the nuance of instruction, or a modal nuance of obligation. So Bildad is telling his listeners to be intelligent. This would be rather cutting in the discourse.
[18:3] 6 tn The verb נִטְמִינוּ (nitminu) has been explained from different roots. Some take it from תָּמֵא (tame’, “to be unclean”), and translate it “Why should we be unclean in your eyes?” Most would connect it to טָמַם (tamam, “to stop up”), meaning “to be stupid” in the Niphal. Another suggestion is to follow the LXX and read from דָּמַם (damam, “to be reduced to silence”). Others take it from דָּמָּה (damah) with a meaning “to be like.” But what is missing is the term of comparison – like what? Various suggestions have been made, but all are simply conjectures.
[18:4] 7 tn The construction uses the participle and then 3rd person suffixes: “O tearer of himself in his anger.” But it is clearly referring to Job, and so the direct second person pronouns should be used to make that clear. The LXX is an approximation or paraphrase here: “Anger has possessed you, for what if you should die – would under heaven be desolate, or shall the mountains be overthrown from their foundations?”
[18:4] 8 tn There is a good deal of study on this word in this passage, and in Job in general. M. Dahood suggested a root עָזַב (’azav) meaning “to arrange; to rearrange” (“The Root ’zb II in Job,” JBL 78 : 303-9). But this is refuted by H. G. M. Williamson, “A Reconsideration of ’zb II in Biblical Hebrew,” ZAW 97 (1985): 74-85.
[18:7] 15 tn The verb צָרַר (tsarar) means “to be cramped; to be straitened; to be hemmed in.” The trouble has hemmed him in, so that he cannot walk with the full, vigorous steps he had before. The LXX has “Let the meanest of men spoil his goods.”
[18:7] 16 tn The LXX has “causes him to stumble,” which many commentators accept; but this involves the transposition of the three letters. The verb is שָׁלַךְ (shalakh, “throw”) not כָּשַׁל (kashal, “stumble”).
[18:8] 18 tn The word שְׂבָכָה (sÿvakhah) is used in scripture for the lattice window (2 Kgs 1:2). The Arabic cognate means “to be intertwined.” So the term could describe a net, matting, grating, or lattice. Here it would be the netting stretched over a pit.
[18:11] 24 tn The verb פּוּץ (puts) in the Hiphil has the meaning “to pursue” and “to scatter.” It is followed by the expression “at his feet.” So the idea is easily derived: they chase him at his feet. But some commentators have other proposals. The most far-fetched is that of Ehrlich and Driver (ZAW 24 : 259-60) which has “and compel him to urinate on his feet,” one of many similar readings the NEB accepted from Driver.
[18:13] 28 tn The expression “the limbs of his skin” makes no sense, unless a poetic meaning of “parts” (or perhaps “layers”) is taken. The parallelism has “his skin” in the first colon, and “his limbs” in the second. One plausible suggestion is to take בַּדֵּי (badde, “limbs of”) in the first part to be בִּדְוָי (bidvay, “by a disease”; Dhorme, Wright, RSV). The verb has to be made passive, however. The versions have different things: The LXX has “let the branches of his feet be eaten”; the Syriac has “his cities will be swallowed up by force”; the Vulgate reads “let it devour the beauty of his skin”; and Targum Job has “it will devour the linen garments that cover his skin.”
[18:13] 29 tn The “firstborn of death” is the strongest child of death (Gen 49:3), or the deadliest death (like the “firstborn of the poor, the poorest). The phrase means the most terrible death (A. B. Davidson, Job, 134).
[18:14] 31 tn The verb is the Hiphil of צָעַד (tsa’ad, “to lead away”). The problem is that the form is either a third feminine (Rashi thought it was referring to Job’s wife) or the second person. There is a good deal of debate over the possibility of the prefix t- being a variant for the third masculine form. The evidence in Ugaritic and Akkadian is mixed, stronger for the plural than the singular. Gesenius has some samples where the third feminine form might also be used for the passive if there is no expressed subject (see GKC 459 §144.b), but the evidence is not strong. The simplest choices are to change the prefix to a י (yod), or argue that the ת (tav) can be masculine, or follow Gesenius.
[18:14] 32 sn This is a reference to death, the king of all terrors. Other identifications are made in the commentaries: Mot, the Ugaritic god of death; Nergal of the Babylonians; Molech of the Canaanites, the one to whom people sent emissaries.
[18:15] 33 tn This line is difficult as well. The verb, again a third feminine form, says “it dwells in his tent.” But the next part (מִבְּלִי לוֹ, mibbÿli lo) means something like “things of what are not his.” The best that can be made of the MT is “There shall live in his tent they that are not his” (referring to persons and animals; see J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 279). G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray (Job [ICC], 2:161) refer “that which is naught of his” to weeds and wild animals. M. Dahood suggested a reading מַבֶּל (mabbel) and a connection to Akkadian nablu, “fire” (cf. Ugaritic nbl). The interchange of m and n is not a problem, and the parallelism with the next line makes good sense (“Some Northwest Semitic words in Job,” Bib 38 : 312ff.). Others suggest an emendation to get “night-hag” or vampire. This suggestion, as well as Driver’s “mixed herbs,” are linked to the idea of exorcism. But if a change is to be made, Dahood’s is the most compelling.
[18:19] 36 tn The two words נִין (nin, “offspring”) and נֶכֶד (nekhed, “posterity”) are always together and form an alliteration. This is hard to capture in English, but some have tried: Moffatt had “son and scion,” and Tur-Sinai had “breed or brood.” But the words are best simply translated as “lineage and posterity” or as in the NIV “offspring or descendants.”
[18:19] 37 tn Heb “in his sojournings.” The verb גּוּר (gur) means “to reside; to sojourn” temporarily, without land rights. Even this word has been selected to stress the temporary nature of his stay on earth.
[18:20] 38 tn The word אַחֲרֹנִים (’akharonim) means “those [men] coming after.” And the next word, קַדְמֹנִים (qadmonim), means “those [men] coming before.” Some commentators have tried to see here references to people who lived before and people who lived after, but that does not explain their being appalled at the fate of the wicked. So the normal way this is taken is in connection to the geography, notably the seas – “the hinder sea” refers to the Mediterranean, the West, and “the front sea” refers to the Dead Sea (Zech 14:8), namely, the East. The versions understood this as temporal: “the last groaned for him, and wonder seized the first” (LXX).
[18:20] 40 tn The expression has “they seize horror.” The RSV renders this “horror seizes them.” The same idiom is found in Job 21:6: “laid hold on shuddering.” The idiom would solve the grammatical problem, and not change the meaning greatly; but it would change the parallelism.
[18:20] 41 tn The word “saying” is supplied in the translation to mark and introduce the following as a quotation of these people who are seized with horror. The alternative is to take v. 21 as Bildad’s own summary statement (cf. G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray, Job [ICC], 2:162; J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 280).
[19:1] 44 sn Job is completely stunned by Bildad’s speech, and feels totally deserted by God and his friends. Yet from his despair a new hope emerges with a stronger faith. Even though he knows he will die in his innocence, he knows that God will vindicate him and that he will be conscious of the vindication. There are four parts to this reply: Job’s impatience with the speeches of his friends (2-6), God’s abandonment of Job and his attack (7-12), Job’s forsaken state and appeal to his friends (13-22), and Job’s confidence that he will be vindicated (23-29).
[19:2] 45 tn Heb “torment my soul,” with “soul” representing the self or individual. The MT has a verb from יָגָה (yagah, “to afflict; to torment”). This is supported by the versions. But the LXX has “to tire” which is apparently from יָגַע (yaga’). The form in the MT is unusual because it preserves the final (original) yod in the Hiphil (see GKC 214 §75.gg). So this unusual form has been preserved, and is the correct reading. A modal nuance for the imperfect fits best here: “How long do you intend to do this?”
[19:3] 49 tn The Hiphil of the verb כָּלַם (kalam) means “outrage; insult; shame.” The verbs in this verse are prefixed conjugations, and may be interpreted as preterites if the reference is to the past time. But since the action is still going on, progressive imperfects work well.
[19:3] 50 tn The second half of the verse uses two verbs, the one dependent on the other. It could be translated “you are not ashamed to attack me” (see GKC 385-86 §120.c), or “you attack me shamelessly.” The verb חָכַר (hakhar) poses some difficulties for both the ancient versions and the modern commentators. The verb seems to be cognate to Arabic hakara, “to oppress; to ill-treat.” This would mean that there has been a transformation of ח (khet) to ה (he). Three Hebrew
[19:4] 53 tn The word מְשׁוּגָה (mÿshugah) is a hapax legomenon. It is derived from שׁוּג (shug, “to wander; to err”) with root paralleling שָׁגַג (shagag) and שָׁגָה (shagah). What Job is saying is that even if it were true that he had erred, it did not injure them – it was solely his concern.
[19:5] 55 tn The verb is the Hiphil of גָּדַל (gadal); it can mean “to make great” or as an internal causative “to make oneself great” or “to assume a lofty attitude, to be insolent.” There is no reason to assume another root here with the meaning of “quarrel” (as Gordis does).
[19:6] 57 tn The imperative is used here to introduce a solemn affirmation. This verse proves that Job was in no way acknowledging sin in v. 4. Here Job is declaring that God has wronged him, and in so doing, perverted justice.
[19:6] 58 tn The Piel of עָוַת (’avat) means “to warp justice” (see 8:3), or here, to do wrong to someone (see Ps 119:78). The statement is chosen to refute the question that Bildad asked in his first speech.
[19:6] 60 tn The word מְצוּדוֹ (mÿtsudo) is usually connected with צוּד (tsud, “to hunt”), and so is taken to mean “a net.” Gordis and Habel, however, interpret it to mean “siegeworks” thrown up around a city – but that would require changing the ד (dalet) to a ר (resh) (cf. NLT, “I am like a city under siege”). The LXX, though, has “bulwark.” Besides, the previous speech used several words for “net.”
[19:9] 67 sn The images here are fairly common in the Bible. God has stripped away Job’s honorable reputation. The crown is the metaphor for the esteem and dignity he once had. See 29:14; Isa 61:3; see Ps 8:5 .
[19:10] 68 tn The metaphors are changed now to a demolished building and an uprooted tree. The verb is נָתַץ (natats, “to demolish”). Since it is Job himself who is the object, the meaning cannot be “demolish” (as of a house so that an inhabitant has to leave), but more of the attack or the battering.
[19:10] 70 tn The verb נָסַע (nasa’) means “to travel” generally, but specifically it means “to pull up the tent pegs and move.” The Hiphil here means “uproot.” It is used of a vine in Ps 80:9. The idea here does not contradict Job 14:7, for there the tree still had roots and so could grow.
[19:11] 74 tn This second half of the verse is a little difficult. The Hebrew has “and he reckons me for him like his adversaries.” Most would change the last word to a singular in harmony with the versions, “as his adversary.” But some retain the MT pointing and try to explain it variously: Weiser suggests that the plural might have come from a cultic recitation of Yahweh’s deeds against his enemies; Fohrer thinks it refers to the primeval enemies; Gordis takes it as distributive, “as one of his foes.” If the plural is retained, this latter view makes the most sense.
[19:12] 75 sn Now the metaphor changes again. Since God thinks of Job as an enemy, he attacks with his troops, builds the siege ramp, and camps around him to besiege him. All the power and all the forces are at God’s disposal in his attack of Job.
[19:12] 76 tn Heb “they throw up their way against me.” The verb סָלַל (salal) means “to build a siege ramp” or “to throw up a ramp”; here the object is “their way.” The latter could be taken as an adverbial accusative, “as their way.” But as the object it fits just as well. Some delete the middle clause; the LXX has “Together his troops fell upon me, they beset my ways with an ambush.”
[19:13] 78 tn The LXX apparently took אַךְ־זָרוּ (’akh, “even, only,” and zaru, “they turn away”) together as if it was the verb אַכְזָרוּ (’akhzaru, “they have become cruel,” as in 20:21). But the grammar in the line would be difficult with this. Moreover, the word is most likely from זוּר (zur, “to turn away”). See L. A. Snijders, “The Meaning of zar in the Old Testament,” OTS 10 (1964): 1-154 (especially p. 9).
[19:14] 80 tn Many commentators add the first part of v. 15 to this verse, because it is too loaded and this is too short. That gives the reading “My kinsmen and my familiar friends have disappeared, they have forgotten me (15) the guests I entertained.” There is not much support for this, nor is there much reason for it.
[19:15] 82 tn The form of the verb is a feminine plural, which would seem to lend support to the proposed change of the lines (see last note to v. 14). But the form may be feminine primarily because of the immediate reference. On the other side, the suffix of “their eyes” is a masculine plural. So the evidence lies on both sides.
[19:15] 83 tn This word נָכְרִי (nokhri) is the person from another race, from a strange land, the foreigner. The previous word, גֵּר (ger), is a more general word for someone who is staying in the land but is not a citizen, a sojourner.
[19:17] 86 tn The Hebrew appears to have “my breath is strange to my wife.” This would be the meaning if the verb was from זוּר (zur, “to turn aside; to be a stranger”). But it should be connected to זִיר (zir), cognate to Assyrian zaru, “to feel repugnance toward.” Here it is used in the intransitive sense, “to be repulsive.” L. A. Snijders, following Driver, doubts the existence of this second root, and retains “strange” (“The Meaning of zar in the Old Testament,” OTS 10 : 1-154).
[19:17] 87 tn The normal meaning here would be based on the root חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”). And so we have versions reading “although I entreated” or “my supplication.” But it seems more likely it is to be connected to another root meaning “to be offensive; to be loathsome.” For the discussion of the connection to the Arabic, see E. Dhorme, Job, 278.
[19:17] 88 tn The text has “the sons of my belly [= body].” This would normally mean “my sons.” But they are all dead. And there is no suggestion that Job had other sons. The word “my belly” will have to be understood as “my womb,” i.e., the womb I came from. Instead of “brothers,” the sense could be “siblings” (both brothers and sisters; G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray, Job [ICC], 2:168).
[19:18] 90 tn The verb דִּבֵּר (dibber) followed by the preposition בּ (bet) indicates speaking against someone, namely, scoffing or railing against someone (see Ps 50:20; 78:19). Some commentators find another root with the meaning “to turn one’s back on; to turn aside from.” The argument is rendered weak philologically because it requires a definition “from” for the preposition bet. See among others I. Eitan, “Studies in Hebrew Roots,” JQR 14 (1923-24): 31-52 [especially 38-41].
[19:20] 94 tn The meaning would be “I am nothing but skin and bones” in current English idiom. Both lines of this verse need attention. The first half seems to say, “My skin and my flesh sticks to my bones.” Some think that this is too long, and that the bones can stick to the skin, or the flesh, but not both. Dhorme proposes “in my skin my flesh has rotted away” (רָקַב, raqav). This involves several changes in the line, however. He then changes the second line to read “and I have gnawed my bone with my teeth” (transferring “bone” from the first half and omitting “skin”). There are numerous other renderings of this; some of the more notable are: “I escape, my bones in my teeth” (Merx); “my teeth fall out” (Duhm); “my teeth fall from my gums” (Pope); “my bones protrude in sharp points” (Kissane). A. B. Davidson retains “the skin of my teeth,” meaning “gums. This is about the last thing that Job has, or he would not be able to speak. For a detailed study of this verse, D. J. A. Clines devotes two full pages of textual notes (Job [WBC], 430-31). He concludes with “My bones hang from my skin and my flesh, I am left with only the skin of my teeth.”
[19:23] 100 tn While the sense of this line is clear, there is a small problem and a plausible solution. The last word is indeed סֶפֶר (sefer, “book”), usually understood here to mean “scroll.” But the verb that follows it in the verse is יֻחָקוּ (yukhaqu), from חָקַק (khaqaq, “to engrave; to carve”). While the meaning is clearly that Job wants his words to be retained, the idea of engraving in a book, although not impossible, is unusual. And so many have suggested that the Akkadian word siparru, “copper; brass,” is what is meant here (see Isa 30:8; Judg 5:14). The consonants are the same, and the vowel pattern is close to the original vowel pattern of this segholate noun. Writing on copper or bronze sheets has been attested from the 12th to the 2nd centuries, notably in the copper scroll, which would allow the translation “scroll” in our text (for more bibliography see D. J. A. Clines, Job [WBC], 432). But H. S. Gehman notes that in Phoenician our word can mean “inscription” (“SEÝFER, an inscription, in the book of Job,” JBL 63 : 303-7), making the proposed substitution unnecessary.
[19:24] 101 sn There is some question concerning the use of the lead. It surely cannot be a second description of the tool, for a lead tool would be of no use in chiseling words into a rock. It was Rashi’s idea, followed by Dillmann and Duhm, that lead was run into the cut-out letters. The suggestion that they wrote on lead tablets does not seem to fit the verse (cf. NIV). See further A. Baker, “The Strange Case of Job’s Chisel,” CBQ 31 (1969): 370-79.
[19:25] 102 tn Or “my Vindicator.” The word is the active participle from גָּאַל (ga’al, “to redeem, protect, vindicate”). The word is well-known in the OT because of its identification as the kinsman-redeemer (see the Book of Ruth). This is the near kinsman who will pay off one’s debts, defend the family, avenge a killing, marry the widow of the deceased. The word “redeemer” evokes the wrong connotation for people familiar with the NT alone; a translation of “Vindicator” would capture the idea more. The concept might include the description of the mediator already introduced in Job 16:19, but surely here Job is thinking of God as his vindicator. The interesting point to be stressed here is that Job has said clearly that he sees no vindication in this life, that he is going to die. But he knows he will be vindicated, and even though he will die, his vindicator lives. The dilemma remains though: his distress lay in God’s hiding his face from him, and his vindication lay only in beholding God in peace.
[19:25] 103 tn The word אַחֲרוּן (’akharon, “last”) has triggered a good number of interpretations. Here it is an adjectival form and not adverbial; it is an epithet of the vindicator. Some commentators, followed by the RSV, change the form to make it adverbial, and translate it “at last.” T. H. Gaster translates it “even if he were the last person to exist” (“Short notes,” VT 4 : 78).
[19:25] 104 tn The Hebrew has “and he will rise/stand upon [the] dust.” The verb קוּם (qum) is properly “to rise; to arise,” and certainly also can mean “to stand.” Both English ideas are found in the verb. The concept here is that of God rising up to mete out justice. And so to avoid confusion with the idea of resurrection (which although implicit in these words which are pregnant with theological ideas yet to be revealed, is not explicitly stated or intended in this context) the translation “stand” has been used. The Vulgate had “I will rise,” which introduced the idea of Job’s resurrection. The word “dust” is used as in 41:33. The word “dust” is associated with death and the grave, the very earthly particles. Job assumes that God will descend from heaven to bring justice to the world. The use of the word also hints that this will take place after Job has died and returned to dust. Again, the words of Job come to mean far more than he probably understood.
[19:26] 105 tn This verse on the whole has some serious interpretation problems that have allowed commentators to go in several directions. The verbal clause is “they strike off this,” which is then to be taken as a passive in view of the fact that there is no expressed subject. Some have thought that Job was referring to this life, and that after his disease had done its worst he would see his vindication (see T. J. Meek, “Job 19:25-27,” VT 6 : 100-103; E. F. Sutcliffe, “Further notes on Job, textual and exegetical,” Bib 31 : 377; and others). But Job has been clear – he does not expect to live and see his vindication in this life. There are a host of other interpretations that differ greatly from the sense expressed in the MT. Duhm, for example, has “and another shall arise as my witness.” E. Dhorme (Job, 284-85) argues that the vindication comes after death; he emends the verb to get a translation: “and that, behind my skin, I shall stand up.” He explains this to mean that it will be Job in person who will be present at the ultimate drama. But the interpretation is forced, and really unnecessary.
[19:26] 106 tn The Hebrew phrase is “and from my flesh.” This could mean “without my flesh,” i.e., separated from my flesh, or “from my flesh,” i.e., in or with my flesh. The former view is taken by those who think Job’s vindication will come in this life, and who find the idea of a resurrection unlikely to be in Job’s mind. The latter view is taken by those who interpret the preceding line as meaning death and the next verse underscoring that it will be his eye that will see. This would indicate that Job’s faith rises to an unparalleled level at this point.
[19:26] 107 tn H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 140) says, “The text of this verse is so difficult, and any convincing reconstruction is so unlikely, that it seems best not to attempt it.” His words have gone unheeded, even by himself, and rightly so. There seem to be two general interpretations, the details of some words notwithstanding. An honest assessment of the evidence would have to provide both interpretations, albeit still arguing for one. Here Job says he will see God. This at the least means that he will witness his vindication, which it seems clear from the other complaints of Job will occur after his death (it is his blood that must be vindicated). But in what way, exactly, Job will see God is not clarified. In this verse the verb that is used is often used of prophetic visions; but in the next verse the plain word for seeing – with his eye – is used. The fulfillment will be more precise than Job may have understood. Rowley does conclude: “Though there is no full grasping of a belief in a worthwhile Afterlife with God, this passage is a notable landmark in the program toward such a belief.” The difficulty is that Job expects to die – he would like to be vindicated in this life, but is resolved that he will die. (1) Some commentators think that vv. 25 and 26 follow the wish for vindication now; (2) others (traditionally) see it as in the next life. Some of the other interpretations that take a different line are less impressive, such as Kissane’s, “did I but see God…were I to behold God”; or L. Waterman’s translation in the English present, making it a mystic vision in which Job already sees that God is his vindicator (“Note on Job 19:23-27: Job’s Triumph of Faith,” JBL 69 : 379-80).
[19:27] 108 tn The emphasis is on “I” and “for myself.” No other will be seeing this vindication, but Job himself will see it. Of that he is confident. Some take לִי (li, “for myself”) to mean favorable to me, or on my side (see A. B. Davidson, Job, 143). But Job is expecting (not just wishing for) a face-to-face encounter in the vindication.
[19:28] 112 tc The MT reads “in me.” If that is retained, then the question would be in the first colon, and the reasoning of the second colon would be Job’s. But over 100
[19:29] 115 tc The last word is problematic because of the textual variants in the Hebrew. In place of שַׁדִּין (shaddin, “judgment”) some have proposed שַׁדַּי (shadday, “Almighty”) and read it “that you may know the Almighty” (Ewald, Wright). Some have read it יֵשׁ דַּיָּן (yesh dayyan, “there is a judge,” Gray, Fohrer). Others defend the traditional view, arguing that the שׁ (shin) is the abbreviated relative particle on the word דִּין (din, “judgment”).
[20:1] 116 sn Zophar breaks in with an impassioned argument about the brevity and prosperity of the life of the wicked. But every statement that he makes is completely irrelevant to the case at hand. The speech has four sections: after a short preface (2-3) he portrays the brevity of the triumph of the wicked (4-11), retribution for sin (12-22), and God’s swift judgment (23-29). See further B. H. Kelly, “Truth in Contradiction, A Study of Job 20 and 21,” Int 15 (1961): 147-56.
[20:2] 118 tn The verb is שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”), but in the Hiphil, “bring me back,” i.e., prompt me to make another speech. The text makes good sense as it is, and there is no reason to change the reading to make a closer parallel with the second half – indeed, the second part explains the first.
[20:2] 119 tn The word is normally taken from the root “to hasten,” and rendered “because of my haste within me.” But K&D 11:374 proposed another root, and similarly, but closer to the text, E. Dhorme (Job, 289-90) found an Arabic word with the meaning “feeling, sensation.” He argues that from this idea developed the meanings in the cognates of “thoughts” as well. Similarly, Gordis translates it “my feeling pain.” See also Eccl 2:25.
[20:3] 122 tn The phrase actually has רוּחַ מִבִּינָתִי (ruakh mibbinati, “a spirit/wind/breath/impulse from my understanding”). Some translate it “out of my understanding a spirit answers me.” The idea is not that difficult, and so the many proposals to rewrite the text can be rejected. The spirit of his understanding prompts the reply.
[20:3] 123 tn To take this verb as a simple Qal and read it “answers me,” does not provide a clear idea. The form can just as easily be taken as a Hiphil, with the sense “causes me to answer.” It is Zophar who will “return” and who will “answer.”
[20:4] 124 tn The MT has “Do you not know?” The question can be interpreted as a rhetorical question affirming that Job must know this. The question serves to express the conviction that the contents are well-known to the audience (see GKC 474 §150.e).
[20:4] 125 tn Heb “from the putting of man on earth.” The infinitive is the object of the preposition, which is here temporal. If “man” is taken as the subjective genitive, then the verb would be given a passive translation. Here “man” is a generic, referring to “mankind” or “the human race.”
[20:6] 129 tn The word שִׂיא (si’) has been connected with the verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to lift up”), and so interpreted here as “pride.” The form is parallel to “head” in the next part, and so here it refers to his stature, the part that rises up and is crowned. But the verse does describe the pride of such a person, with his head in the heavens.
[20:10] 133 tn The early versions confused the root of this verb, taking it from רָצַץ (ratsats, “mistreat”) and not from רָצָה (ratsah, “be please with”). So it was taken to mean, “Let inferiors destroy his children.” But the verb is רָצָה (ratsah). This has been taken to mean “his sons will seek the favor of the poor.” This would mean that they would be reduced to poverty and need help from even the poor. Some commentators see this as another root רָצָה (ratsah) meaning “to compensate; to restore” wealth their father had gained by impoverishing others. This fits the parallelism well, but not the whole context that well.
[20:10] 134 tn Some commentators are surprised to see “his hands” here, thinking the passage talks about his death. Budde changed it to “his children,” by altering one letter. R. Gordis argued that “hand” can mean offspring, and so translated it that way without changing anything in the text (“A note on YAD,” JBL 62 : 343).
[20:12] 137 tn The conjunction אִם (’im) introduces clauses that are conditional or concessive. With the imperfect verb in the protasis it indicates what is possible in the present or future. See GKC 496 §159.q).
[20:14] 140 tn The perfect verb in the apodosis might express the suddenness of the change (see S. R. Driver, Tenses in Hebrew, 204), or it might be a constative perfect looking at the action as a whole without reference to inception, progress, or completion (see IBHS 480-81 §30.1d). The Niphal perfect simply means “is turned” or “turns”; “sour is supplied in the translation to clarify what is meant.
[20:14] 142 sn Some commentators suggest that the ancients believed that serpents secreted poison in the gall bladder, or that the poison came from the gall bladder of serpents. In any case, there is poison (from the root “bitter”) in the system of the wicked person; it may simply be saying it is that type of poison.
[20:15] 144 tn The choice of words is excellent. The verb יָרַשׁ (yarash) means either “to inherit” or “to disinherit; to dispossess.” The context makes the figure clear that God is administering the emetic to make the wicked throw up the wealth (thus, “God will make him throw it out…”); but since wealth is the subject there is a disinheritance meant here.
[20:16] 148 tn Some have thought this verse is a gloss on v. 14 and should be deleted. But the word for “viper” (אֶפְעֶה, ’ef’eh) is a rare word, occurring only here and in Isa 30:6 and 59:5. It is unlikely that a rarer word would be used in a gloss. But the point is similar to v. 14 – the wealth that was greedily sucked in by the wicked proves to be their undoing. Either this is totally irrelevant to Job’s case, a general discussion, or the man is raising questions about how Job got his wealth.
[20:17] 149 tn The word פְּלַגּוֹת (pÿlaggot) simply means “streams” or “channels.” Because the word is used elsewhere for “streams of oil” (cf. 29:6), and that makes a good parallelism here, some supply “oil” (cf. NAB, NLT). But the second colon of the verse is probably in apposition to the first. The verb “see” followed by the preposition bet, “to look on; to look over,” means “to enjoy as a possession,” an activity of the victor.
[20:17] 150 tn The construct nouns here have caused a certain amount of revision. It says “rivers of, torrents of.” The first has been emended by Klostermann to יִצְהָר (yitshar, “oil”) and connected to the first colon. Older editors argued for a נָהָר (nahar) that meant “oil” but that was not convincing. On the other hand, there is support for having more than one construct together serving as apposition (see GKC 422 §130.e). If the word “streams” in the last colon is a construct, that would mean three of them; but that one need not be construct. The reading would be “He will not see the streams, [that is] the rivers [which are] the torrents of honey and butter.” It is unusual, but workable.
[20:18] 154 sn The expression is “according to the wealth of his exchange.” This means he cannot enjoy whatever he gained in his business deals. Some
[20:19] 155 tc The verb indicates that after he oppressed the poor he abandoned them to their fate. But there have been several attempts to improve on the text. Several have repointed the text to get a word parallel to “house.” Ehrlich came up with עֹזֵב (’ozev, “mud hut”), Kissane had “hovel” (similar to Neh 3:8). M. Dahood did the same (“The Root ’zb II in Job,” JBL 78 : 306-7). J. Reider came up with עֶזֶב (’ezev, the “leavings”), what the rich were to leave for the poor (“Contributions to the Scriptural text,” HUCA 24 [1952/53]: 103-6). But an additional root עָזַב (’azav) is questionable. And while the text as it stands is general and not very striking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Dhorme reverses the letters to gain בְּעֹז (bÿ’oz, “with force [or violence]”).
[20:20] 157 tn Heb “belly,” which represents his cravings, his desires and appetites. The “satisfaction” is actually the word for “quiet; peace; calmness; ease.” He was driven by greedy desires, or he felt and displayed an insatiable greed.
[20:20] 158 tn The verb is the passive participle of the verb חָמַד (khamad) which is one of the words for “covet; desire.” This person is controlled by his desires; there is no escape. He is a slave.
[20:20] 159 tn The verb is difficult to translate in this line. It basically means “to cause to escape; to rescue.” Some translate this verb as “it is impossible to escape”; this may work, but is uncertain. Others translate the verb in the sense of saving something else: N. Sarna says, “Of his most cherished possessions he shall save nothing” (“The Interchange of the Preposition bet and min in Biblical Hebrew,” JBL 78 : 315-16). The RSV has “he will save nothing in which he delights”; NIV has “he cannot save himself by his treasure.”
[20:22] 163 tn Heb “there is straightness for him.” The root צָרַר (tsarar) means “to be narrowed in straits, to be in a bind.” The word here would have the idea of pressure, stress, trouble. One could say he is in a bind.
[20:22] 164 tn Heb “every hand of trouble comes to him.” The pointing of עָמֵל (’amel) indicates it would refer to one who brings trouble; LXX and Latin read an abstract noun עָמָל (’amal, “trouble”) here.
[20:23] 165 tn D. J. A. Clines observes that to do justice to the three jussives in the verse, one would have to translate “May it be, to fill his belly to the full, that God should send…and rain” (Job [WBC], 477). The jussive form of the verb at the beginning of the verse could also simply introduce a protasis of a conditional clause (see GKC 323 §109.h, i). This would mean, “if he [God] is about to fill his [the wicked’s] belly to the full, he will send….” The NIV reads “when he has filled his belly.” These fit better, because the context is talking about the wicked in his evil pursuit being cut down.
[20:23] 168 tn Heb “rain down upon him, on his flesh.” Dhorme changes עָלֵימוֹ (’alemo, “upon him”) to “his arrows”; he translates the line as “he rains his arrows upon his flesh.” The word בִּלְחוּמוֹ (bilkhumo,“his flesh”) has been given a wide variety of translations: “as his food,” “on his flesh,” “upon him, his anger,” or “missiles or weapons of war.”
[20:25] 170 tn The MT has “he draws out [or as a passive, “it is drawn out/forth”] and comes [or goes] out of his back.” For the first verb שָׁלַף (shalaf, “pull, draw”), many commentators follow the LXX and use שֶׁלַח (shelakh, “a spear”). It then reads “and a shaft comes out of his back,” a sword flash comes out of his liver.” But the verse could also be a continuation of the preceding.
[20:29] 174 tn For the word אִמְרוֹ (’imro) some propose reading “his appointment,” and the others, “his word.” Driver shows that “the heritage of his appointment” means “his appointed heritage” (see GKC 440 §135.n).