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{\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
THE WISDOM BOOKS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
{\b
JOB, PROVERBS, AND ECCLESIASTES}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {
{\b
{\qc
ALSO BY ROBERT ALTER\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
PEN OF IRON: AMERICAN PROSE AND THE KING JAMES BIBLE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE BOOK OF PSALMS: A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
IMAGINED CITIES: URBAN EXPERIENCE AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE NOVEL\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES: A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
CANON AND CREATIVITY:

{\line }
MODERN WRITING AND THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE DAVID STORY: A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
GENESIS: A TRANSLATION WITH COMMENTARY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
HEBREW AND MODERNITY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE WORLD OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
NECESSARY ANGELS: TRADITION AND MODERNITY
{\line }
IN KAFKA, BENJAMIN, AND SCHOLEM\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
THE PLEASURES OF READING IN AN IDEOLOGICAL AGE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE LITERARY GUIDE TO THE BIBLE ({\i
coeditor with Frank Kermode})\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE INVENTION OF HEBREW PROSE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE ART OF BIBLICAL POETRY\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
MOTIVES FOR FICTION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
THE ART OF BIBLICAL NARRATIVE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
A LION FOR LOVE: A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF STENDHAL\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
DEFENSES OF THE IMAGINATION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
PARTIAL MAGIC: THE NOVEL AS SELF-CONSCIOUS GENRE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
MODERN HEBREW LITERATURE\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
AFTER THE TRADITION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
FIELDING AND THE NATURE OF THE NOVEL\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
ROGUE\u8217?S PROGRESS: STUDIES IN THE PICARESQUE NOVEL\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
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{\qc
THE WISDOM BOOKS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
{\b
JOB, PROVERBS, AND ECCLESIASTES}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc

{\i
A Translation with Commentary}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
ROBERT ALTER\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
{\i
W. W. Norton & Company} NEW YORK LONDON\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
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}}
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {
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Copyright \u169? 2010 by Robert Alter}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
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All rights reserved}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write t
o Permissions, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 1011
0}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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{\i
Bible. O.T. English. Alter. Selections. 2010.

{\line }
The wisdom books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: a translation
{\line }
with commentary / Robert Alter.\u8212?1st ed.
{\line }
p. cm.
{\line }
Includes bibliographical references.
{\line }
ISBN: 978-0-393-08073-5
{\line }
1. Wisdom literature. 2. Bible. O.T.\u8212?Commentaries. I. Alter, Robert. II.
Title.
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BS1403.A48213 2010
{\line }
223'.077\u8212?dc22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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2010021583}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110
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www.wwnorton.com}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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W. W. Norton & Company Ltd.
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Castle House, 75/76 Wells Street, London W1T 3QT}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {
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for\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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RON HENDEL\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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treasured colleague and delightful friend\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain
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CONTENTS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
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Acknowledgments}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Introduction}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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JOB\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Introduction}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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The Book of Job}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

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29\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

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Chapter 31\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 32\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 33\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 34\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 35\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 36\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 37\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 38\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 39\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 40\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 41\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 42\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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PROVERBS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Introduction}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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The Book of Proverbs}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 1\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 2\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 8\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 12\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 13\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

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QOHELET (Ecclesiastes)\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Introduction}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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The Book of Qohelet}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 1\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 2\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
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Chapter 7\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

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For Further Reading}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\
hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\b
M}ost of the manuscript was prepared by Janet Livingstone, who as in the past di
d an admirable job in bringing electronic order out of my handwritten chaos. A s
ubstantial section of Job was typed by Margarita Zaydman with scrupulous care. Y
osefa Raz checked the translations against the original with a keen eye to incon
sistencies and places where I had inadvertently skipped a word in the Hebrew. Th
e entire manuscript was read by two dear friends, Michael Bernstein, who helped
me to avoid doing more violence to the English language than strictly necessary,
and Ron Hendel, whose knowledge of biblical scholarship and the ancient Near Ea
st saved me from a good many mistakes. The results of an undertaking of this sor
t are bound to be imperfect, and those who helped me of course bear no responsib
ility for the flaws. Research expenses for the book were covered by funds from t
he Class of 1937 Chair at the University of California at Berkeley.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
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INTRODUCTION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\b
T}he Wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible are a construct through inference by schol
arship and do not figure intrinsically in the constellation of the traditional c
anon. Though the Babylonian Talmud (Baba Batra 14B) in its ordering of the books
does show a direct sequence of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes (henceforth refe
rred to here by its Hebrew title, Qohelet), the Septuagint, followed by the King
James Bible, interposes Psalms between Job and Proverbs, while most modern Jewi
sh editions of the Hebrew texts have Proverbs, Job, and then the Song of Songs,
Ruth, and Lamentations intervening before Qohelet. There are good empirical grou
nds for classifying Job, Proverbs, and Qohelet as Wisdom books, but the classifi
cation should be adopted with a degree of caution. The eminent German biblical s
cholar Gerhard von Rad, writing in 1972, expressed serious reservations about th
e general rubric: \u8220?It belongs\u8230?to the fairly extensive number of bibl
ical-theological terms whose validity and content are not once [{\i
sic}] for all established\u8230?. It could even be that scholarship has gone too
far in an uncritical use of this collective term; it could even be that by the
use of this blanket term it is suggesting the existence of something which never
existed and that it is in this way dangerously prejudicing the interpretation o
f varied material.\u8221? Von Rad by no means sustains the sweeping skepticism o
f this statement, which appears in the prefatory section of a perfectly coherent
and plausible book entitled {\i
Wisdom in Israel.} Whatever the definitional problems, there are identifiable fe

atures of Wisdom literature that give it a distinctive identity within the bibli
cal corpus.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Abundant evidence has been uncovered, in Egypt and in Mesopotamia as well, that
Wisdom writing was a fairly widespread practice in the ancient Near East. The pe
rspective of Wisdom literature is international and, in many instances, one migh
t say, universalist. It raises questions of value and moral behavior, of the mea
ning of human life, and especially of the right conduct of life. The Wisdom writ
ers of ancient Israel evince some awareness of the activity of their counterpart
s in the surrounding cultures. In one clear instance, Proverbs 22:17\u8211?24:22
, there is extensive borrowing, possibly through the intermediary of an Aramaic
translation, of a second-millennium BCE Egyptian Wisdom text. Beyond this partic
ular case, various arguments have been made for other borrowings, though by and
large it is safer to speak of analogues and generic connections than of direct a
daptations or translations.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In keeping with this international background, there is little in the three bibl
ical Wisdom books that is specifically Israelite. The praise of Solomon\u8217?s
legendary sagacity in 1 Kings 5:11 properly sets it in an international frame of
comparison: \u8220?And Solomon\u8217?s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of al
l the dwellers of the East and than all the wisdom of Egypt.\u8221? The characte
rs in the Book of Job, though monotheists, are themselves \u8220?dwellers of the
East\u8221? and not at all Israelites. Qohelet consists of a series of reflecti
ons on the nature of reality and the human condition into which no national cons
iderations enter. God, occasionally referred to at the margins of the book, is a
lways {\i
\u8217?elohim}, the generic term, and not YHWH, the Israelite proper noun for Go
d; and, as I argue later, the term \u8217?{\i
elohim} itself may carry a somewhat different semantic freight from the one it b
ears in earlier biblical texts. The orientation of the Book of Proverbs toward t
he meaning and uses of Wisdom is on the whole thoroughly pragmatic (apart from o
ne somewhat enigmatic passage just before the end). The reiterated term {\i
torah} never refers to the revealed text of the Law but simply indicates teachin
g or instruction; and, as is the case in Job and Qohelet, revelation, covenant,
the history of Israel, and national redemption are not part of its concerns. If
Job culminates in the Voice from the Whirlwind that could be construed as a kind
of revelation, that vision of a teeming and contradictory nature in which beaut
y and violence are intertwined has very little in common with the Sinai epiphany
, which conveyed ethical and cultic instruction to Israel.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
Wisdom writing continued toward the end of the biblical period in some of the te
xts included in the Apocrypha, and signs of the Wisdom tradition are still detec
table in rabbinic literature in the early centuries of the Christian era. It sho
uld also be said that Wisdom literature surfaces from time to time in other book
s of the Bible. Several psalms in the canonical collection have been persuasivel
y identified as Wisdom psalms: among the clearcut examples are Psalm 1, Psalm 19
, and Psalm 119. Many scholars have contended that there are Wisdom motifs in th
e Joseph story in Genesis. And, of course, the celebration of Solomon as a great
sage, at which we have already glanced, exhibits a background in Wisdom literat
ure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
It is only, however, in Job, Proverbs, and Qohelet that we have books in the Heb
rew canon that are Wisdom from end to end. There is no confident way of knowing
where or how they originated. One hypothesis that has enjoyed a certain currency
among scholars is that there were Wisdom schools in which such texts were both
composed and taught. There is some evidence for the existence of Wisdom schools
in the surrounding cultures but little direct proof of their existence in ancien
t Israel. It is a safe assumption that there were scribal schools throughout the
region, typically associated with temples and run by priestly scribes, for writ
ing and literary composition are complex skills requiring instruction. Whether t
hese schools should also be thought of as Wisdom academies is unclear.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
One passing reference in Proverbs (17:16) would seem to indicate that people pai

d teachers a fee for instruction in Wisdom, though it is hard to know whether th


is was a general practice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A recent study by the Dutch scholar Karel van der Toorn, {\i
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible}, illustrates the danger of c
onflating scribal schools and Wisdom academies. For van der Toorn, virtually eve
rything in the Hebrew Bible is the product of scribal schools. Thus, turning a b
lind eye to literature, he explains the dazzling poetic panoramas of the Book of
Job as a reflection of scribal list-making, and he sees the extraordinary lexic
al richness of the poetry of Job as a reflection of vocabulary exercises for the
scribes. In fact, it is difficult to imagine that a book presenting so radical
a challenge to the biblical consensus view of reward and punishment and of an an
thropocentric creation could have been produced in any school, no less a school
associated with a temple. The same thing must be said, for somewhat different re
asons, of Qohelet, given its unblinking perception of the futility of human ende
avor and its vision of endless cycles of repetition instead of the dominant bibl
ical notion, powerfully inaugurated in Genesis, of linear progression through ti
me toward a horizon of fulfillment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Proverbs is the only one of the three canonical Wisdom books that might conceiva
bly reflect the activities of some sort of academy. Composed in verse from begin
ning to end, it often seems to utilize the mnemonic function of poetry to inscri
be in memory principles of right and wrong, and one can plausibly imagine a teac
her imparting instruction of this sort to his disciples. The poetry in Proverbs,
however, is by no means restricted to serving as an aid to memory, and we shall
have occasion to observe a variety of arresting and at times surprising purpose
s to which poetry is put in this book. Job, apart from the prose frame-story of
the first two chapters and the last one, is composed entirely as poetry, and it
often proves to be poetry of a highly innovative and sometimes deliberately dist
urbing kind. Qohelet uses strongly cadenced, evocative prose, perhaps qualifying
as prose-poetry, which in two extended passages moves into formal verse. All th
ree books, then, deploy manifestly literary means to shape their visions of huma
n life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Wisdom literature is as close as the ancient Near East came to Greek philosophy,
which was nearly contemporaneous with the latest Wisdom texts of the Hebrew Bib
le. It shares with Greek philosophy an inquiry into values and a disposition to
reflect on the human condition, but it lacks both the purely theoretical and the
systematic impulses of the Greek thinkers. Ethical issues are raised, but there
is no real ontology, epistemology, anthropology, or metaphysics, and much of th
e thrust of Near Eastern Wisdom is pragmatic and even explicitly didactic. Job,
for all its profundity, is a theological rather than a philosophic text. Its aut
hor is God-obsessed and never wonders or speculates about God\u8217?s existence
but rather expresses his outrage at the spectacular injustice of a world governe
d by a purportedly just God. Qohelet, concerned as it is with the structure of r
eality and how ephemeral human life is locked into that structure, is close to a
genuinely philosophic work, though it articulates its philosophy through incant
atory language and haunting imagery rather than through systematic thought.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What is most striking about Job, Proverbs, and Qohelet is that they are drastica
lly different not only from almost all other biblical texts but also from each o
ther. Proverbs founds its admonitions and observations in what it conceives to b
e the assured wisdom of tradition and collective knowledge. Precisely that assur
ance is frontally challenged in Job. Qohelet does not so much challenge traditio
nal wisdom as subvert it, sometimes in the form of sly anti-proverbs that have t
he ring of conventional maxims but express a bleak skepticism antithetical to wh
at one encounters in the Book of Proverbs. These strong disparities among the th
ree Wisdom books vividly illustrate how the Hebrew Bible, contrary to popular pr
econceptions, is not a book but an anthology spanning almost a millennium and in
corporating widely different views of human nature, God, history, and even the n
atural world. This very variety is one of the principal sources of the continuin
g vitality of Hebrew Scripture. The three Wisdom books are, in different ways, w
orlds apart from Genesis, Deuteronomy, and the Prophets and also far apart from

each other. They retain an ongoing relevance to the lives of modern readers, rel
igious and secular alike\u8212?Job and Qohelet, through the very boldness of the
ir dissenting views, but Proverbs as well, in the worldliness and the satiric sh
rewdness of many of its perceptions.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar
}{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
JOB\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\pa
r\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
INTRODUCTION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\b
T}he Book of Job is in several ways the most mysterious book of the Hebrew Bible
. Formally, as a sustained debate in poetry, it resembles no other text in the c
anon. Theologically, as a radical challenge to the doctrine of reward for the ri
ghteous and punishment for the wicked, it dissents from a consensus view of bibl
ical writers\u8212?a dissent compounded by its equally radical rejection of the
anthropocentric conception of creation that is expressed in biblical texts from
Genesis onward. Its astounding poetry eclipses all other biblical poetry, workin
g in the same formal system but in a style that is often distinct both lexically
and imagistically from its biblical counterparts. Despite all these anomalous t
raits, it was quickly embraced by the framers of biblical tradition: extensive f
ragments of an Aramaic translation found in the caves at Qumran suggest that by
the second century BCE the Dead Sea sectarians (and no doubt others) already reg
arded Job as part of the incipient canon of sacred texts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
As is the case with so many other biblical books, we know nothing about the auth
or of Job\u8212?not his class background and certainly not any of his biographic
al details and not even with any certainty the time when he wrote. Some scholars
, perplexed by the many peculiarities of the book, and especially by the linguis
tic ones, have speculated that it is a translation from Aramaic, or Edomite, or
even Arabic. There is virtually no evidence for such ascriptions, and they seem
especially untenable in light of the greatness of the Hebrew poetry of Job, rich
as it is in strong rhythmic effects, virtuosic wordplay and sound-play\u8212?qu
alities that a translation would be very unlikely to exhibit.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
The Book of Job belongs to the international movement of ancient Near Eastern Wi
sdom literature in its universalist perspective\u8212?there are no Israelite cha
racters in the text, though all the speakers are monotheists, and there is no re
ference to covenantal history or to the nation of Israel\u8212?and it is equally
linked with Wisdom literature in its investigation of the problem of theodicy.
The troubling phenomenon of the suffering of the just is addressed in roughly an
alogous texts both in Mesopotamia and Egypt, though any direct influence of thes
e on the Job poet is questionable. Scholars have often assumed that there were W
isdom schools in ancient Israel and elsewhere in the region where disciples guid
ed by teachers mastered, and in all likelihood memorized, instructional texts an
d imbibed the general principles for leading a just and prudent life. It is hard
to imagine that the Job poet could have been part of any such institutional set
ting, given the radical nature of his views. One should probably think of him, t
hen, as a writer working alone\u8212?a bold dissenting thinker and a poet of gen
ius who produced a book of such power that Hebrew readers soon came to feel they
couldn\u8217?t do without it, however vehement its swerve from the views of the
biblical majority.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
No confident agreement among scholars on the date of the book has been reached.
There are still a few stubborn adherents to the view that it was composed early
in the First Temple period, though, as I shall explain, the linguistic evidence
argues against that notion. The frame-story (Chapters 1 and 2, concluded in Chap
ter 42) is in all likelihood a folktale that had been in circulation for centuri

es, probably through oral transmission. In the original form of the story, with
no debate involved, the three companions would not have appeared: instead, Job w
ould have been tested through the wager between God and the Adversary, undergone
his sufferings, and in the end would have had his fortunes splendidly restored.
A passing mention in Ezekiel 14:14 and 19 of Job, together with Noah and Daniel
(not the Daniel of the biblical book) as one of three righteous men saved from
disaster, reflects the presence of a Job figure\u8212?perhaps featuring in the s
ame plot as that of the frame-story\u8212?in earlier folk tradition. The author
of the Book of Job, however, has either reworked an old text or formulated his o
wn text on the basis of oral tradition, using archaizing language. There is an o
bvious effort in the frame-story to evoke the patriarchal age, though in a forei
gn land with non-Israelites, but the neat symmetries of formulaic numbers and th
e use of prose refrains resemble nothing in the Patriarchal Narrative in Genesis
. The style of the frame-story gives the general impression of early First Commo
nwealth Hebrew prose, but here and there a trait of Late Biblical Hebrew shows t
hrough\u8212?for example, the use of the verb {\i
qabel} in 2:10 for \u8220?accept,\u8221? a verb that occurs in late texts such a
s Esther and Chronicles but not in earlier biblical writing. Other late usages,
such as a couple of the prepositions that follow verbs here, have been detected
by Avi Hurvitz, a historian of biblical Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The poetry incorporates a noticeably higher proportion of terms borrowed from th
e Aramaic than does other biblical poetry. In some cases, even Aramaic grammatic
al suffixes are used, something that a translator from Aramaic would probably ha
ve avoided but that would have come naturally to a writer who was hearing a good
deal of Aramaic all around him and probably actively spoke it himself together
with Hebrew. (To cite one recurrent example: the Aramaic {\i
milin}, \u8220?words,\u8221? which would replace Early Biblical {\i
devarim} in later Hebrew, appears thirty-four times in Job out of a total of thi
rty-eight biblical occurrences, and the Aramaic plural ending {\i
-in}, instead of the Hebrew {\i
-im}, is used several times.) All this suggests a historical moment when Aramaic
was in the process of beginning to replace Hebrew as the vernacular of the Jude
an population. That would place the Job poet in the fifth century or perhaps as
early as the later sixth century BCE, though it is impossible to be more precise
, and one cannot exclude an early fourth-century setting.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
The overall structure of the book is fairly clear, though it is somewhat obscure
d by certain disjunctures between the frame-story and the poem, and by two major
interpolations and some gaps in the received text. There is a palpable discrepa
ncy between the simple folktale world of the frame-story and the poetic heart of
the book. God\u8217?s quick acquiescence in the Adversary\u8217?s perverse prop
osal is hard to justify in terms of any serious monotheistic theology, and when
the LORD speaks from the whirlwind at the end, He makes no reference whatever ei
ther to the wager with the Adversary or to any celestial meeting of \u8220?the s
ons of God,\u8221? a notion of a council of the gods that ultimately goes back t
o Canaanite mythology. The old folktale, then, about the suffering of the righte
ous Job is merely a pretext, a narrative excuse, and a pre-text, a way of introd
ucing the text proper, and what happens in it provides little help for thinking
through the problem of theodicy. The two major interpolations are the Hymn to Wi
sdom (Chapter 28), a fine poem in its own right but one that expresses a pious v
iew of wisdom as fear of the LORD that could scarcely be that of the Job poet, a
nd the Elihu speeches (Chapters 32\u8211?37), which could not have been part of
the original book both because Elihu is never mentioned in the frame-story, eith
er at the beginning or at the end, and because the bombastic, repetitious, and h
ighly stereotypical poetry he speaks is vastly inferior to anything written by t
he Job poet.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
After the opening two chapters of the frame-story, the core of the book is intro
duced by Job\u8217?s harrowing death-wish poem (Chapter 3), to which God will of
fer a direct rejoinder at the beginning of the speech from the whirlwind (see th
e commentary on Chapter 38). There are then three rounds of debate between Job a

nd his three reprovers, each of the three speaking in turn and he replying to ea
ch. The third round of the debate was somehow damaged in scribal transmission. B
ildad is given only a truncated speech, and the third contribution of Zophar to
the debate seems to have disappeared entirely. In any case, after these three ro
unds, Job concludes the discussion with a lengthy profession of innocence in whi
ch he also recalls his glory days before he was overwhelmed by catastrophe (Chap
ters 27, 29\u8211?31, with his speech interrupted by the Hymn to Wisdom of Chapt
er 28). At this point, in the original text, the LORD would have spoken out from
the whirlwind, but a lapse in judgment by an ancient editor postponed that bril
liant consummation for six chapters in which the tedious Elihu is allowed to hol
d forth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The Book of Job is, of course, a theological argument, but it is a theological a
rgument conducted in poetry, and careful attention to the role that poetry plays
in the argument may put what is said in a somewhat different light from the one
in which it is generally viewed. The debate between Job and his three adversari
al friends and then God\u8217?s climactic speech to Job exhibit three purposeful
ly deployed levels of poetry. The bottom level is manifested in the language of
reproof of the three companions. In keeping with the conventional moral views th
at they complacently defend, the poetry they speak abounds in familiar formulati
ons closely analogous to what one encounters in many passages in Psalms and Prov
erbs. What this means is that much of their poetry verges on clich\u233?. The Jo
b poet, however, is too subtle an artist merely to assign bad verse to them, whi
ch would have the effect of setting them up too crudely as straw men in the deba
te. Thus, there are moments when their poetry catches fire, conveying to us a se
nse that even the spokesmen for wrongheaded ideas may exercise a certain power o
f vision. One might also surmise that this writer was too good a poet to be able
to resist the temptation of creating for the three companions some lines and ev
en whole passages of fine poetry.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In any case, the stubborn authenticity of Job\u8217?s perception of moral realit
y is firmly manifested in the power of the poetry he speaks, which clearly trans
cends the poetry of his reprovers. The death-wish poem that initiates his discou
rse is a brilliantly apt prelude to all that follows. Biblical poetry in general
works through a system of intensifications, heightening or focusing or concreti
zing the utterance of the first verset of a line in the approximate semantic par
allelism of the second verset (and in triadic lines, this process of intensifica
tion often moves on from the second verset to the third). When Job takes up his
complaint in poetry in Chapter 3, he exploits this inherent dynamic of biblical
verse to burrow progressively deeper into the aching core of his suffering. Angu
ish has rarely been given more powerful expression. All this begins in the very
first line he speaks, a pounding rhythm in the initial verset, {\i
{\b
yo}\u8217?vad {\b
yom} \u8217?i{\b
wa}led {\b
bo}}, \u8220?Annul the day that I was born,\u8221? followed by the second verset
, \u8220?and the night that said, \u8216?A man is conceived.\u8217?\u8221? In th
e pattern of intensification evident here, Job, longing for relief from pain thr
ough non-existence, wants to wipe out not just the event of his birth, in the fi
rst verset, but going back nine months and moving from day to night, his very co
nception, evoked in the second verset. The mention of night then triggers a long
chain of images of night and darkness, each deepening the effect of the ones th
at precede it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
It should be said that almost all biblical poetry, because it is formally based
in part on semantic parallelism, is driven to search for synonyms. No other bibl
ical poet, however, exhibits the virtuosity in the command of rich synonymity th
at is displayed by the Job poet. He compounds the primary term
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, \u8220?darkness,\u8221? with {\i
tsalmawet}, \u8220?death\u8217?s shadow,\u8221? {\i
\u8216?ananah}, \u8220?cloud-mass,\u8221? the unique {\i
kimrirey yom}, \u8220?day-gloom\u8221? (or, perhaps, \u8220?eclipse\u8221?), \u8
217?{\i
ofel}, \u8220?murk,\u8221? and a series of verbs that indicate a befouling, obsc
uring, or shutting down of light. The extraordinary breadth of the Job poet\u821
7?s vocabulary is one of the traits that has led some scholars to imagine a fore
ign source for the poem, but this is a rather silly inference. There are poets i
n many literary traditions whose imagination and relation to language lead them
to stretch the lexical limits of their medium\u8212?one might think of Shakespea
re, Mallarm\u233?, and Wallace Stevens\u8212?and the writer who fashioned the po
etry of Job was clearly such a poet. This is another reason for his being drawn
to tap Aramaic, as a resource that enables him to extend the reach of his vocabu
lary (the just cited {\i
kimrirey} is the first instance in the poem of an Aramaic root Hebraized in orde
r to enrich the poet\u8217?s lexicon).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The English reader should be warned that this dazzling lexical abundance has cre
ated problems first for the ancient scribes and then for all who have attempted
to translate this book. Scribes in general are uneasy about transcribing words w
ith which they are unfamiliar, and as a result they tend to substitute terms the
y know or otherwise to introduce some graphic stutter in copying the text. This
is at least one principal reason that the text of Job has come down to us at man
y points quite garbled, making interpretation a matter of guesswork and repeated
ly inviting emendation. But when a whole line or sequence of lines of poetry has

been completely mangled in transmission, efforts to recover the original formul


ation through emendation are bound to be highly conjectural. The present transla
tion therefore for the most part limits itself to relatively minor emendations o
f the received text\u8212?changes of single letters, reversals of consonants, al
terations of the vowel-points that indicate the vocalization of words\u8212?and
these changes are undertaken with a somewhat greater measure of confidence when
they are warranted by a variant Hebrew manuscript or by one of the ancient trans
lations. Moreover, even when the integrity of the text appears not to have been
compromised, the precise meaning of a rare term can remain in doubt, as is the c
ase for {\i
kimrirey} in Job\u8217?s initial poem. In these instances, a struggling translat
or can rely only on context, common sense, an awareness of analogous forms and u
sages in biblical Hebrew and sometimes in rabbinic Hebrew, and the background of
other Semitic languages, with Aramaic obviously being by far the most relevant.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The other chief resource deployed in the poetry that Job speaks is its extraordi
nary metaphoric inventiveness. This strength is already observable in the deathwish poem in the exquisite expression of the desire for unending darkness, \u822
0?let it [the night of Job\u8217?s conception] not see the eyelids of dawn\u8221
? (3:9). In a procedure that is by no means typical for biblical poetry, the Job
poet ranges far and wide through unexpected semantic fields for the sources of
his similes and metaphors, drawing on weaving, agronomy, labor practices, meteor
ology, the sundry crafts, the preparation of foods. Here, for example, is a repr
esentation of the formation of the embryo from shapeless plasma in the womb: \u8
220?Why, You poured me out like milk / and like cheese You curdled me\u8221? (10
:10). The chiastic pattern of this line, ab
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\u225?, is one of which this poet is especially fond. The fecundity of metaphor
, moreover, is allied with a keenly observant interest in the processes of natur
e that is also rather unusual for a biblical poet. If Job compares the way his f
riends have betrayed him to the drying up in summer of a wadi, a desert gulch th
at may be filled with water during the rainy season (6:15), he then proceeds for
five lines to follow the seasonal cycle, the melting of snow and ice, the carav
ans crossing the desert desperately looking for sources of water. It seems almos
t as if the vehicle of the metaphor\u8212?that is, the natural panorama\u8212?in
terested the poet as much as the sense of betrayal he has Job express through th
e metaphor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Still another source of metaphor tapped by the Job poet, beyond quotidian realit
y and nature, is mythology. The mythological register, too, is invoked in Job\u8
217?s first poem, when the amplitude of the curse he brings down on the night he
was conceived is extended through these words: \u8220?Let the day-cursers hex i
t, / those ready to rouse Leviathan\u8221? (3:8). Leviathan, who will be mention
ed quite a few times in the course of the poem, sometimes under other names, bef

ore he makes his full-scale appearance at the climax of the Voice from the Whirl
wind, is the fearsome sea-monster of Canaanite mythology (in some versions, he h
as seven heads) who had to be subdued by the weather-god whose realm is the dry
land. The day-cursers, we may infer, about whom little is known, are also mythol
ogical figures, able to exert a magical power through language\u8212?to this Job
himself in this opening poem aspires\u8212?even over the dreaded beast of the s
ea, enemy of the ordered realm of creation. The poetry of Job, then, at least in
its metaphors, reaches deep into the chaotic sea, up to the stars where celesti
al beings dwell, and down into the kingdom of death, that shadowy underworld bor
dered by a Current that can be crossed only in one direction. In this poem where
intensification is the key to so much, mythology serves as the ultimate intensi
fier.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The third\u8212?and, ultimately, decisive\u8212?level of poetry in the book is m
anifested when the LORD addresses Job out of the whirlwind. Here, too, the Job p
oet\u8217?s keen interest in nature is evident, but in an altogether spectacular
way that, one might say, trumps Job in the game of vision. The poet, having giv
en Job such vividly powerful language for the articulation of his outrage and hi
s anguish, now fashions still greater poetry for God. The wide-ranging panorama
of creation in the Voice from the Whirlwind shows a sublimity of expression, a p
lasticity of description, an ability to evoke the complex and dynamic interplay
of beauty and violence in the natural world, and even an originality of metaphor
ic inventiveness, that surpasses all the poetry, great as it is, that Job has sp
oken. Many readers over the centuries have felt that God\u8217?s speech to Job i
s no real answer to the problem of undeserved suffering, and some have complaine
d that it amounts to a kind of cosmic bullying of puny man by an overpowering de
ity. One must concede that it is not exactly an answer to the problem because fo
r those who believe that life should not be arbitrary there can be no real answe
r concerning the good person who loses a child (not to speak of ten children) or
the blameless dear one who dies in an accident or is stricken with a terrible w
asting disease. But God\u8217?s thundering challenge to Job is not bullying. Rat
her, it rousingly introduces a comprehensive overview of the nature of reality t
hat exposes the limits of Job\u8217?s human perspective, anchored as it is in th
e restricted compass of human knowledge and the inevitable egoism of suffering.
The vehicle of that overview is an order of poetry created to match the grandeur
\u8212?or perhaps the omniscience\u8212?of God. The visionary experience that th
is poetry enables for Job is of a vast creation shot through with unfathomable p
aradoxes, such as the conjoining of the nurturing instinct with cruelty, where i
n place of the sufferer\u8217?s longing for absolute darkness the morning stars
sing together and there is a rhythmic interplay between light and darkness.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Poetry of such virtuosity and power, dependent as it must be on the expressive f
orce of the original words and their ordering, is bound to pale in translation.
The English version offered here is an attempt\u8212?which, inescapably, can be
no more than intermittently successful\u8212?to convey something of the concrete
ness, the rhythmic compactness, the metaphoric richness, and the lexical vividne
ss of the Hebrew. Perhaps one can draw a degree of encouragement from the fact t
hat the greatness of the Book of Job has somehow managed to shine through in a l
ong line of variously imperfect translations. My hope is that the present transl
ation might manage to let that poetic light show in the English at least a littl
e more than it has in earlier renderings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyp
hpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
1\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A} man there was {\super
1} in the land of Uz\u8212?Job, his name. And the man was blameless and upright
and feared God and shunned evil. And seven {\super
2} sons were born to him, and three daughters. And his flocks came to {\super
3} seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels and five hundred yokes of catt

le and five hundred she-asses and a great abundance of {\super


4} slaves. And that man was greater than all the dwellers of the East. And his s
ons would go and hold a feast, in each one\u8217?s house on his set day, {\super
5} and they would call to their sisters to eat and drink with them. And it happe
ned when the days of the feast came round, that Job would send and consecrate th
em and rise early in the morning and offer up burnt offerings according to the n
umber of them all. For Job thought, Perhaps my sons have offended and cursed God
in their hearts. Thus would Job do at all times.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} And one day, the sons of God came to stand in attendance before the {\super
7} LORD, and the Adversary, too, came among them. And the LORD said to the Adver
sary, \u8220?From where do you come?\u8221? And the Adversary answered the LORD
and said, \u8220?From roaming the earth and walking {\super
8} about in it.\u8221? And the LORD said to the Adversary, \u8220?Have you paid
heed to my servant Job, for there is none like him on earth, a blameless and {\s
uper
9} upright man, who fears God and shuns evil?\u8221? And the Adversary answered
the LORD and said, \u8220?Does Job fear God for nothing? Have {\super
10} You not hedged him about and his household and all that he has all around? T
he work of his hands You have blessed, and his flocks have spread over the land.
And yet, reach out Your hand, pray, and strike all {\super
11} he has. Will he not curse You to Your face?\u8221? And the LORD said to the
Adversary, \u8220?Look, all that he has is in your hands. Only against him do no
t reach out your hand.\u8221? And the {\super
12} Adversary went out from before the LORD\u8217?s presence.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
And one day, his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking {\super
13} wine in the house of their brother, the firstborn. And a messenger came {\su
per
14} to Job and said, \u8220?The cattle were plowing and the she-asses grazing by
them, and Sabeans fell upon them and took them, and the lads they {\super
15} struck down by the edge of the sword, and I alone escaped to tell you.\u8221
? This one was still speaking {\super
17} when another came and said, \u8220?God\u8217?s fire fell {\super
16} from the heavens and burned among the sheep and the lads and consumed them,
and I alone escaped to tell you.\u8221? This one was still speaking when another
came and said, \u8220?Chaldaeans set out in three bands and pounced upon the ca
mels and took them, and the lads they struck {\super
18} down by the edge of the sword.\u8221? This one was still speaking when anoth
er came and said, \u8220?Your sons and your daughters were eating and {\super
19} drinking wine in the house of their brother, the firstborn. And, look, a gre
at wind came from beyond the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house
, and it fell on the young people, and they died. And I alone {\super
20} escaped to tell you.\u8221? And Job rose and tore his garment and shaved his
{\super
21} head and fell to the earth and bowed down. And he said,\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
\u8220?Naked I came out from my mother\u8217?s womb,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and naked shall I return there.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The LORD has given and the LORD has taken.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
May the LORD\u8217?s name be blessed.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} With all this, Job did not offend, nor did he put blame on God.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
A man there was in the land of Uz}. These initial words signal the fable-like ch
aracter of the frame-story. The opening formula, \u8220?A man there was,\u8221?
{\i

\u8217?ish hayah}, resembles the first words of Nathan\u8217?s parable of the po


or man\u8217?s ewe in 2 Samuel 12, \u8220?Two men there were in a single town,\u
8221? {\i
shney \u8217?anashim hayu be\u8216?ir}
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}}
. The more classical formula for starting a story in Hebrew narrative is \u8220
?there was a man,\u8221? {\i
wayehi \u8217?ish}, the order of verb and subject reversed and the converted imp
erfect form of the verb used.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Uz}. Many scholars have located this land in Edom, across the Jordan from the La
nd of Israel. But it is really a never-never land somewhere to the east, as befi
ts the fable and the universalizing thrust of the whole book. In this regard, th
e fact that {\i
\u8216?uts} in Hebrew means \u8220?counsel\u8221? or \u8220?advice\u8221? invite
s one to construe this as the Land of Counsel.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
seven sons\u8230?three daughters}. These make a sum of ten, and all the numbers
that follow yield multiples of ten. If the story is meant to evoke the pastoral
world of the Patriarchs, it is clearly a stylized rendering of that world, as th
ese formulaic numbers suggest and as the studied use of refrain-like repetitions
throughout the tale equally suggests.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
flocks}. The Hebrew {\i
miqneh}, deriving from a root that means \u8220?to acquire,\u8221? can mean eith
er flocks or possessions. In a pastoral society, possessions would be chiefly fl

ocks, and what follows is, except for the reference to slaves, a catalogue of li
vestock. The use in verse 10 of the verb \u8220?spread\u8221? (more literally, \
u8220?burst forth\u8221?) in conjunction with {\i
miqneh} also argues for the sense of \u8220?flocks.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
offer up burnt offerings}. In the pastoral, pre-national, and non-Israelite sett
ing of the story, there is neither temple nor priesthood, and Job, the pious mon
otheist, performs his own sacrifices.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
cursed God}. The Hebrew says, euphemistically, \u8220?blessed God.\u8221? Many t
hink this is a scribal substitution to avoid a blasphemous phrase, though it is
also possible that the euphemism was actually used in speech. The same usage occ
urs in the Adversary\u8217?s words in verse 12.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
the sons of God}. This celestial entourage is a literary vestige of the premonot
heistic notion of a council of the gods and is reflected in several of the canon
ical psalms (perhaps, most notably, in Psalm 82).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the Adversary}. The Hebrew is {\i
hasatan}, and invariably uses the definite article because the designation indic
ates a function, not a proper name. The word {\i
satan} is a person, thing, or set of circumstances that constitutes an obstacle
or frustrates one\u8217?s purposes. Only toward the very end of the biblical per
iod would the term begin to drop the definite article and refer to a demonic fig
ure. Marvin Pope imagines {\i
hasatan} here as a kind of intelligence agent working for God, but the dialogue
suggests rather an element of jealousy (when God lavishes praise on Job) and cyn
ical mean-spiritedness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
blameless\u8230?upright\u8230?who fears God and shuns evil}. The verbatim repeti
tion by God of the narrator\u8217?s characterization of Job confirms its perfect
authority.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
reach out Your hand, pray, and strike all he has}. The Adversary carefully formu
lates this outrageous request to strip Job of possessions and offspring with the
polite particle of entreaty, \u8220?pray,\u8221? {\i
na\u8217?}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
in your hands}. The Hebrew uses the singular and pointedly plays with \u8220?rea
ch out Your hand\u8221? both before and after this phrase. It is therefore unwis
e to render the phrase as \u8220?in your trust\u8221? or \u8220?in your power,\u
8221? as English translators since 1611 have done.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14\u8211?18. The tale of disasters, hewing to the general procedure of extensive
repetition deployed here, alternates between attacks by marauders (verses 15 an
d 17) and natural catastrophes (verses 16 and 18). It also follows a common bibl
ical pattern of three plus one\u8212?three disasters that destroy Job\u8217?s pr
operty and a fourth that kills his children.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
the lads}. That is, the servants.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
God\u8217?s fire}. This is probably a reference to lightning. \u8220?God,\u8221?
{\i
\u8217?eholim}, might be merely an intensifier\u8212?that is, \u8220?awesome fir
e.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
the young people}. The Hebrew {\i
ne\u8216?arim} is the same word used for \u8220?lads\u8221? or servants, but her
e it refers to Job\u8217?s sons and daughters and hence a gender-inclusive trans
lation is required.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
And I alone escaped to tell you}. This thrice-repeated refrain is aptly picked u
p by Melville in the haunting conclusion of {\i
Moby-Dick}, when everything on the {\i
Pequod} is wiped out, only Ishmael surviving.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
shaved his head}. This (like the rending of the garment) is a general sign of mo
urning, though prohibited in Israel and thus a neat way of reminding the audienc
e that Job is not an Israelite.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
Naked I came out\u8230?naked shall I return there}. Job\u8217?s acceptance of hi
s dire fate (which gave rise to the notion of the \u8220?patient Job\u8221?) is
cast as a solemn two-line poem. This first line exhibits a link of narrative dev
elopment between the two versets: first birth, then death. The reference of \u82
20?there\u8221? has a loose associative logic: the grave is not the womb, but it
is part of mother earth from which the first man was made. There is something \
u8220?existential\u8221? in this brief poetic statement: whatever a man acquires
in life\u8212?even in the children he begets\u8212?are supernumerary to the fun
damental condition of nakedness in which he enters and leaves life.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\i
May the LORD\u8217?s name be blessed}. Here Job makes exactly the opposite decla
ration to the one the Adversary expected: he says \u8220?blessed\u8221? in its a
ctual meaning, not as an antithetical euphemism.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\p
ard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
2\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd one day, the sons of God came to stand in attendance before the {\super
1} LORD, and the Adversary, too, came among them to stand in attendance before t
he LORD. And the LORD said to the {\super
\~} Adversary, \u8220?From whence {\super
2} do you come?\u8221? And the Adversary answered the LORD and said, \u8220?From
roaming the earth and walking about in it.\u8221? And the LORD said to the Adve
rsary, \u8220?Have you paid heed to My servant Job, for there is none like him o
n earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and shuns evil and still cli
ngs to his innocence, and you incited Me against him to destroy him for nothing.

\u8221? And the Adversary answered the LORD and {\super


4} said, \u8220?Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life. Yet,
reach {\super
5} out, pray, Your hand and strike his bone and his flesh. Will he not curse {\s
uper
6} You to Your face?\u8221? And the LORD said to the Adversary, \u8220?Here he i
s in {\super
7} your hands. Only preserve his life.\u8221? And the Adversary went out from be
fore the LORD\u8217?s presence. And he struck Job with a grievous burning {\supe
r
8} rash from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. And he took a potsh
erd to scrape himself with, and he was sitting among the ashes. {\super
9} And his wife said to him, \u8220?Do you still cling to your innocence? Curse
{\super
10} God and die.\u8221? And he said to her, \u8220?You speak as one of the base
women would speak. Shall we accept good from God, too, and evil we shall not acc
ept?\u8221? With all this, Job did not offend with his lips.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And Job\u8217?s three companions heard of all this harm that had come upon {\sup
er
11} him, and they came, each from his place\u8212?Eliphaz the Temanite and Bilda
d the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, and they agreed to meet to grieve with
him and to comfort him. And they lifted up their eyes {\super
12} from afar and did not recognize him, and they lifted up their voices and wep
t, and each tore his garment, and they tossed dust on their heads toward the hea
vens. And they sat with him on the ground seven days {\super
13} and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him, for they saw that the pain w
as very great.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
And one day}. Still following the stylized folktale narrative procedure of elabo
rate verbatim repetition, the story now repeats all the language of 1:6\u8211?8,
with only a couple of insignificant variations: here the Adversary is said \u82
20?to stand in attendance,\u8221? which was merely implied in 1:6; and here God
asks him \u8220?From whence\u8221? ({\i
\u8217?ey mizeh}) rather than \u8220?From where\u8221? ({\i
me\u8217?ayin}). The first new material appears in God\u8217?s accusatory words
to the Adversary at the end of verse 3: \u8220?still clings to his innocence, an
d you incited Me against him to destroy him for nothing.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Skin for skin!} In this second dialogue between God and the Adversary, the pace
picks up. Instead of offering a detailed account of Job\u8217?s circumstances (1
:10\u8211?11), the Adversary responds brusquely and pithily. Almost all interpre
ters agree that \u8220?Skin for skin\u8221? is some sort of proverb, but there i
s no clear consensus on its meaning. In light of the second half of the verse, w
hich is manifestly an explanation of these three words, and in light of the Adve
rsary\u8217?s next line of attack, which is to strike Job with an acutely painfu
l skin disease, a plausible interpretation would be the following: what is most
precious to a man is his own physical being; in the end, he is prepared to sacri
fice everything, even the \u8220?skin\u8221? (or lives) of his own dear ones, bu
t hurt him badly in his own flesh and bones, and he will abandon all his princip
les of integrity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

6. {\i
Here he is in your hands}. God\u8217?s acquiescence in this perverse experiment
is a puzzle for ethical monotheism, and perhaps one must say that the origins of
the folktale are from a time when there was no real ethical monotheism. In any
case, this wager or test is never addressed in the rest of the book.\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
And the Adversary went out\u8230?and he struck Job}. In keeping with the acceler
ation of narrative tempo, the Adversary immediately proceeds from his exchange w
ith God to his mischief, with no intervening narrative material as in 1:13\u8211
?14.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
burning rash}. The Hebrew
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}}
derives from a root that means \u8220?hot\u8221? and is the same term used in E
xodus for the fifth plague. Attempts at a precise medical diagnosis are pointles
s: the essential idea is that a burning rash covering the entire body from the s
oles of the feet to the head would be agonizing (and also disfiguring, as the in

itial failure of the three friends to recognize Job suggests).\par\pard\plain\hy


phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Do you still cling to your innocence? Curse God and die}. Again, the euphemism o
f \u8220?bless\u8221? for \u8220?curse\u8221? appears. Job\u8217?s wife either a
ssumes that cursing God will immediately lead to Job\u8217?s death, which might
be just as well, or that, given his ghastly state, he will soon die anyway, so t
hat he might as well curse the deity who inflicted these horrors on him. In eith
er case, her use of the repeated phrase \u8220?still cling to your innocence\u82
21? (the Hebrew equally suggests \u8220?blamelessness\u8221? or \u8220?integrity
\u8221?) is sarcastic: what is the point of your innocence, she says, after all
that has happened? In the body of the poem, Job will still cling to his innocenc
e, in the very act of accusing God, as God recognizes at the end of the book.\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
accept}. The Hebrew verb {\i
qabel} is Late Biblical, so this may be a point where the writer\u8217?s own per
iod leaked through the archaizing style he adopted for the frame-story. A few ot
hers, including the prepositions that follow a couple of the verbs, have been id
entified by Avi Hurvitz, a historian of biblical Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
Job\u8217?s three companions}. The precise location of their respective homeland
s has been debated by scholars, though it is clear that their places of origin r
eflect a spread of a few hundred miles to the east of the Jordan. One of the com
panions, Eliphaz, has a name associated with the descendants of Esau, or Edom. B
ildad is probably a pagan name (\u8220?son of Adad\u8221?). In any case, the geo
graphical background suggests that Job, \u8220?greater than all the dwellers of
the East,\u8221? was a man who had international connections.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\i
to grieve with him}. The literal sense of the Hebrew verb is to nod the head, as
a sign of mourning or sympathy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
they lifted up their eyes\u8230?they lifted up their voices}. In the elegant rep
etition, one act leads to the other, from seeing Job\u8217?s disfigurement to an
immediate physical response of grief.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
tossed dust on their heads toward the heavens}. This, like the rending of the ga
rments, is a gesture of mourning. The Septuagint lacks \u8220?toward the heavens
,\u8221? perhaps because the Greek translators considered it superfluous.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
none spoke a word to him, for they saw that the pain was very great}. In the fra
me-story, the three companions seem deeply sympathetic with Job and respectful o
f his suffering. This argues for a discrepancy between the frame-story and the p
oem, where they are accusatory and even contemptuous of him. One might imagine t
hat after the seven days of mourning, they came to the conclusion that he must h
ave been a scoundrel to deserve all this suffering, but that seems forced.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28

{\b
{\qc
3\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1,2} {\b
A}fterward, Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. And Job spoke up and he sai
d:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Annul the day that I was born\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the night that said, \u8220?A man is conceived.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
4} That day, let it be darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let God above not seek it out,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor brightness shine upon it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let darkness, death\u8217?s shadow, foul it, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let a cloud-mass rest upon it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let day-gloom dismay it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
That night, let murk overtake it. {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let it not join in the days of the year,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let it not enter the number of months.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Oh, let that night be barren, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let it have no song of joy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let the day-cursers hex it, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
those ready to rouse Leviathan.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let its twilight stars go dark. {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let it hope for day in vain,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let it not see the eyelids of dawn.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} For it did not shut the belly\u8217?s doors\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to hide wretchedness from my eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Why did I not die from the womb,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from the belly come out, breathe my last?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Why did knees welcome me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and why breasts, that I should suck?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} For now I would lie and be still,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would sleep and know repose\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} with kings and the councilors of earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who build ruins for themselves,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} or with princes, possessors of gold,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who fill their houses with silver.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Or like a buried stillborn I\u8217?d be,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like babes who never saw light.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
There the wicked cease their troubling, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and there the weary repose.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All together the prisoners are tranquil, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they hear not the taskmaster\u8217?s voice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

The small and the great are there, {\super


19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the slave is free of his master.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why give light to the wretched {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and life to the deeply embittered,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who wait for death in vain, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
dig for it more than for treasure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who rejoice at the tomb, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
are glad when they find the grave?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8212?To a man whose way is hidden, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and God has hedged him about.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} For before my bread my moaning comes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my roar pours out like water.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} For I feared a thing\u8212?it befell me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
what I dreaded came upon me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} I was not quiet, I was not still,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I had no repose, and trouble came.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
Annul the day that I was born}. The Job poet displays a virtuosity that transcen
ds all other biblical poetry. Thus, the very first words of the poem begin with
a strong accent for emphasis of feeling and an emphatic alliteration: {\b
{\i
yo}}{\i
\u8217?vad} {\b
{\i
yom}} {\i
\u8217?i}{\b
{\i
wa}}{\i
led} {\b
{\i
bo}}. The initial verb (intransitive in the Hebrew) means to die or to be lost,
and therefore \u8220?perish,\u8221? used by the King James Version and several m
odern translations, is semantically accurate but in regard to diction is a bit f
ussy and lacks the directness of the Hebrew. A couple of modern translators have
opted for \u8220?damn,\u8221? but {\i
yo\u8217?vad} is neither an expletive nor does it imply damnation, which is not
a biblical idea. The force of what follows is that Job would like to expunge the
day of his birth from the calendar, which is a contextual justification for \u8
220?annul.\u8221? This choice sacrifices the initial stress but does yield an ia
mbic cadence.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and the night that said, \u8220?A man is conceived.}\u8221? Day and night are a
formulaic word-pair in biblical poetic parallelism. But in a spectacular deploym
ent of the pattern of intensification that generally characterizes the relations
hip between the first and second verset in a line of biblical poetry, Job asks n
ot only that the day of his birth be expunged but, nine months earlier, the very
act of conception that led to the birth. The phrase \u8220?the night that said\
u8221? might also be construed as a third-person singular with unspecified subje
ct standing in for a passive: \u8220?the night when it was said.\u8221? From thi
s point on, the poet proceeds to work over first the day, then the night, summin
g up language to expunge each in turn.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
darkness\u8230?cloud-mass\u8230?day-gloom}. In calling up different terms for th
e blocking out of light, the poet reflects a richness of lexical resources that
makes him stand out among biblical poets. The most unusual term here is {\i
kimrirey yom}, \u8220?day-gloom,\u8221? probably derived from an Aramaic root th
at means \u8220?darkness,\u8221? and perhaps referring to an eclipse, though tha
t is not certain. The oddness of the English rendering here is meant to intimate
the strangeness of the word in the Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
let that night be barren, / let it have no song of joy}. The line moves in a met
onymic slide from the wished-for barrenness of Job\u8217?s mother to the night o
f conception as barren and joyless.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
the day-cursers\u8230?those ready to rouse Leviathan}. As will happen again and
again in the poem, the poet switches into a mythological register. Leviathan is
the fearsome primordial sea-monster subdued by the god of order in Canaanite myt
hology. For this reason, some scholars prefer to read \u8220?Yamm-cursers\u8221?
for \u8220?day-cursers,\u8221? assuming the Hebrew {\i
yam} instead of {\i
yom}. In either case, the cursers are mythological or magical agents.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Let its twilight stars go dark}. In this triadic line, we have a temporal sequen
ce of (a) light fading in the evening, (b) a night of hoping for a daybreak that
never comes, (c) a dawn that does not come.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the eyelids of dawn}. This exquisite and surprising image\u8212?another hallmark
of this poet\u8217?s originality\u8212?simultaneously indicates the first crack
of light on the eastern horizon and the movement of the awakening person\u8217?
s eyes taking in the first light of day. The metaphor will recur late in the poe
m in the most unanticipated context.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
the belly\u8217?s doors}. The Hebrew says \u8220?my belly,\u8221? an ellipsis fo
r \u8220?my mother\u8217?s belly.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
wretchedness}. This recurrent term in Job, {\i
\u8216?amal}, is here put forth as a virtual synonym for \u8220?life\u8221? or \
u8220?the world.\u8221? Job\u8217?s anguish could scarcely be expressed more com
pactly.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
knees welcome me}. The simplest explanation is a reference to the mother\u8217?s
knees, parted as the newborn emerges.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
build ruins for themselves}. In this brilliantly compact formulation of the futi
lity of all human endeavor, kings build great edifices for themselves that are d
estined to turn to ruins. One thinks of Shelley\u8217?s \u8220?Ozymandias.\u8221
?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
stillborn\u8230?babes who never saw light}. Here the poem refers directly back t
o the idea of dying at birth in verse 11.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
buried stillborn}. Many render {\i
tamun} as \u8220?hidden,\u8221? which is what the word means in earlier biblical
Hebrew, but the term in this Late Biblical text, as the context makes clear, ha
s traveled toward the sense of \u8220?buried\u8221? that it has in rabbinic Hebr
ew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
There the wicked}. The catalogue of human types (wicked, weary, prisoners, slave
s, taskmaster) reveals a vision of life that involves hierarchies of domination
and acts of exploitation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
Why give light}. The Hebrew says, \u8220?Why should he give light,\u8221? but it
is not clearly the case, as many assume, that the pronoun refers to God. As els
ewhere, the unspecified third-person singular may function as a passive, and thu
s the translation keeps the ambiguity of grammatical reference.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\i
deeply embittered}. The Hebrew {\i
nefesh} (\u8220?life-breath,\u8221? \u8220?essential self\u8221?) is an intensif
ier, hence \u8220?deeply.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
treasure}. The Hebrew {\i
matmon} (\u8220?something buried\u8221?) derives from the same root as \u8220?bu
ried\u8221? in verse 16.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
the tomb}. The Masoretic text reads {\i
gil}, \u8220?joy.\u8221? This translation adopts a commonly proposed emendation,
{\i
gal}, literally, \u8220?grave mound.\u8221? A scribe may have been led into the
error by the proximity of a verb of rejoicing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
to a man}. This phrase appears to refer back to the verb at the beginning of ver
se 20, \u8220?Why give\u8230??\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
hedged him about}. In the Adversary\u8217?s words in 1:10, this very verb referr
ed to God\u8217?s protection of Job. Here, it is pointedly turned around to mean
that God has blocked Job on every side.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
not quiet\u8230?not still\u8230?no repose\u8230?trouble came}. The poem ends cli
mactically with a string of terms expressing constant perturbation, the very opp
osite of the condition of peaceful non-existence for which Job longs.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b

{\qc
4\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Eliphaz the Temanite spoke out and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If speech were tried against you, could you stand it? {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet who can hold back words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, you reproved many, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and slack hands you strengthened.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The stumbler your words lifted up, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and bended knees you bolstered.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
But now it comes to you and you cannot stand it, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
it reaches you and you are dismayed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is not your reverence your safety, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your hope\u8212?your blameless ways?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Recall, pray: what innocent man has died,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and where were the upright demolished?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} As I have seen, those who plow mischief,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
those who plant wretchedness, reap it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Through God\u8217?s breath they die,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
before his nostrils\u8217? breathing they vanish.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} The lion\u8217?s roar, the maned beast\u8217?s sound\u8212?\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
and the young lions\u8217? teeth are smashed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} The king of beasts dies with no prey,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the whelps of the lion are scattered.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} And to me came a word in secret,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my ear caught a tag-end of it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} in musings from nighttime\u8217?s visions\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when slumber falls upon men.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Fear called to me, and trembling,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all my limbs it gripped with fear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And a spirit passed over my face, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
made the hair on my flesh stand on end.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
It halted, its look unfamiliar, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
an image before my eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
stillness, and a sound did I hear:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Can a mortal be cleared before God, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
can a man be made pure by his Maker?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, His servants He does not trust, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His agents He charges with blame.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All the more so, the clay-house dwellers, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

whose foundation is in the dust,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


who are crushed more quickly than moths.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From morning to eve they are shattered, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
unawares they are lost forever.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Should their life-thread be broken within them,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they die, and without any wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
If speech were tried against you}. Eliphaz\u8217?s opening words register an awa
reness that Job is likely to resist all reproof.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
Look, you reproved many}. The opening rhetorical strategy is to pay Job a kind o
f backhanded compliment: he was known as a man who gave encouragement to the fai
ling and also did not hesitate to rebuke those guilty of misdeeds. He should, th
en, be prepared to accept justified reproof himself, but Eliphaz fears this is n
ot the case (\u8220?But now it comes to you and you cannot stand it\u8221?).\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
Is not your reverence your safety}. The whole line is cast in an elegant chiasm
(ab
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw14\pich13
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140d0b0d1414141414141414141414141414141414141414
141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414ffc0001108000d000e03
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3f0069f05e7b88e09d58eb6266ef5dad8f4e434163b53c36
67ad54498aa6e43cddac90a7d491cfdecaa0b7c6fd155bce61b90e6729f8b9f6c062e24d28a30453
589dcebcbb4c8ca8a3c80aaa49decb0fd7d106ee7d70bf3d
eaff004ffb076751afd6c6c990f734125c556aaec23fe8dda858795d123df5e4a57d1a698fa55eac
458c5046b12973b3a51a1b3f27c7a23fffd9
}}
\u225?): reverence-safety-hope-blameless ways. Job should have nothing to fear
from warranted rebuke because his God-fearing life and his integrity have always
given him security and hope. If he reaffirms these virtues, in the light of his
friends\u8217? reproof, he will still be all right, despite all that has befall
en him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Recall}. This verb is symptomatic of Eliphaz\u8217?s argument. The knowledge tha
t the innocent are never overtaken by disaster is something we have always known
, and need only recall. If Job is plunged in a sea of disasters, there must be g
ood reason for it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
plow\u8230?plant\u8230?reap}. This conventional agricultural metaphor marks a st
rict line of causality in the moral realm: just as the planted seed will grow ac

cording to its kind, evil acts will produce a harvest of calamity for their perp
etrators.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
The lion\u8217?s roar}. The lexical wealth of the Job poet defies translation. T
here are five different biblical words for lion\u8212?{\i
\u8217?aryeh},
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw62\pich27
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434912a2b6ee0920b36e08072f79a66b419fe95583e5561bae493c9597db5a53472434147153bcac
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c5556cac1432d1c56cb0bdc8a2c9eca08698d548ca1b7064792b78a861c4769d886e3c58a7b4db59
721ba68a697d4dcaaa0b9e699b4dd8a2a9f6dd94680f766f
74f1af8056923e640e2ad26cbf50de027f4f732bede75af3cb2497a7b9e278d50d1c2269e9a2491e
ba6323cca644550c22448c7d428064607915dc108fa3b84d
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386c973b73dbab2d5596f4a98b66e41a58ceea55cab9521f
9a1d97ebe0f2221f1cd0db5633a8763c929aa5de96c38bc78bdaadd22f2f6b109033cbdc2df66758
e14fc6e0467c9e447414b3e9484fa4d946193e5f58d3de6b
ea6e4974869446639e6ae15a5e58f9913373548d892018d38809c9892ad30e87ceda9f63cdaaf28a
aa8aea0b6d45154c494e91fba92696091e40db9edaed4d12
0451fb479624b1242d60d35b3d8135271387298bf57e692d75f6a255551574d0d40f6f0bac458929
0aa2206f00b213e0b11d047d37a6c9adaba692dbb30aca0a
ec329e5a212a52a345534f253454ec891331584aa431f061cb8fdf70e5d89099c3f42570f7cfcd36
4354c994d44b3451ac2aab421a961a641f9265289026c58f
f2de3724f413da3ba66349b00b1e366eb35e5ed96fa6b70aa923112b470461138c4090bbec49f249
2c7727c00177e80e80e80e813f87a0f96175f654df2820f6
bef7b4bdeecf2e5dbe7b72e3cbcf1df6dfcf40e740740741ffd9
}}
, {\i
kefir}, {\i
layish}, and {\i
lavi\u8217?}\u8212?and all five of them are used in these two lines. The King Ja
mes Version, in a strategy of desperation, associated different terms with lions
of different ages, but no one really knows what the original differentiations w
ere, or if there were any. (This translation, in a gesture to tradition, adopts
just one of the 1611 inventions, \u8220?young lions\u8221? for {\i
kefirim}.)\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the young lions\u8217? teeth are smashed}. The force of both lines is that even

such fearsomely powerful beasts can be reduced by God to impotence, their whelps
scattered with no prey to nurture them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
and to me came a word in secret}. Eliphaz presents his perception of man\u8217?s
inevitably flawed stature before God as the revelation of a scary night-vision.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
A spirit}. The Hebrew
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cf241e17a45150ecfe9d809a70a8075eca9dbb062a0ac29f25cf2c5bd5b7186dcb2682e704b69b95
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49e0040c3fe20ae8d8467f995d512ba93eed931fc52d49d51a7f7c34b4f1b3aa921a4a9672c5b928
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b09a18d638a969e1e3f6485ec81a79a15e1d9dba8fc8107b10a5b6e7d71b06dbfc416e15aaead660
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1f293caab10aaca07b828f51a0d07f49ef062167b7d2e6b5
915f6d193be4d4976968639103bd54f50f03c1d80646350fc9edd8958cf3ec500add29f64fe5f74a
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cff0e85807495c1e42487af5039f4e34574159ed9f48b7c7
4df313d638259ea2a5fb3c8ec49663fe0e493e8000070000001a226e80d01a0340680d07ffd9
}}
can also mean \u8220?breath\u8221? or \u8220?wind,\u8221? but the context of no
cturnal terror surely argues for a spectral apparition.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
its look unfamiliar}. Literally, \u8220?I did not recognize its look.\u8221?\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
Can a mortal be cleared before God}. These are the words of the spirit speaking
to Eliphaz.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
servants\u8230?agents}. These are the courtiers of the celestial entourage and t

he divine messengers, the \u8220?angels\u8221? of traditional terminology.\par\p


ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
clay-house dwellers}. The clay house, as both ancient and modern commentators ha
ve noted, is the human body, a transient habitation with a foundation in dust, a
s the account of the creation of the first human being in Genesis 2 reminds us.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
From morning to eve}. This is a hyperbolic representation of the brevity of the
human life span.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
their life-thread}. The Hebrew {\i
yeter} is a cord that can be either a tent-cord (which is how some interpreters
understand it here) or a bowstring. One gets the sense of some essential cord wi
thin the human body, the breaking of which immediately leads to death. The image
strongly conveys the fragility of man\u8217?s physical existence, which at any
moment can come to an end.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
they die, and without any wisdom}. Eliphaz, of course, means to impart conventio
nal wisdom to Job. But the greater part of humankind, he proposes, is cut off by
sudden death before attaining true wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\h
yphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
5\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
C}all out, pray: will any answer you, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to whom of the angels will you turn?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For anger kills a fool, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the simple, envy slays.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I have seen a fool striking root\u8212? {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
all at once his abode I saw cursed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His children are distant from rescue {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and are crushed in the gate\u8212?none will save.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Whose harvest the hungry eat {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from among thorns they take it away,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the thirsty pant for their wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For crime does not spring from the dust, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor from the soil does wretchedness sprout.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} But man is to wretchedness born\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like sparks flying upward.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Yet I search for El\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to God I make my case,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Who does great things without limit\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
wonders beyond all number,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
10} Who brings rain down on the earth\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and sends water over the fields.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Who raises the lowly on high\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the downcast are lifted in rescue.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Thwarts the designs of the cunning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their hands do not perform wisely.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} He entraps the wise in their cunning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the crooked\u8217?s counsel proves hasty.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} By day they encounter darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as in night they go groping at noon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He rescues the simple from the sword, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from the hand of the strong, the impoverished,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the indigent then has hope, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and wickedness clamps its mouth shut.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, happy the man whom God corrects. {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Shaddai\u8217?s reproof do not spurn!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For He causes pain and binds the wound, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He deals blows but His hands will heal.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In six straits He will save you, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in seven harm will not touch you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In famine He redeems you from death, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in battle from the sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From the scourge of the tongue you are hidden, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you shall fear not assault when it comes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} At assault and starvation you laugh,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the beast of the earth you fear not.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} With the stones of the field is your pact,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the beasts of the field leagued with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} And you shall know that your tent is peaceful,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
probe your home and find nothing amiss.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} And you shall know that your seed is abundant,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your offspring like the grass of the earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} You shall come to the grave in vigor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as grain-shocks mount in their season.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Look, this we have searched, it is so.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hear it, and you\u8212?you should know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
I have seen a fool striking root\u8212?/ all at once his abode I saw cursed}. Th
is line summarizes the moral calculus of mainline Wisdom literature that the thr
ee companions bring to bear against Job: the prosperity of the fool or the wrong
doer is illusory and ephemeral. The Hebrew of the second verset says literally,
\u8220?all at once his abode I cursed,\u8221? and this translation understands t

his as an ellipsis for the speaker\u8217?s perception that the house has been su
ddenly cursed. Others emend the verb to read \u8220?is cursed,\u8221? eliminatin
g the first-person singular.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
crushed in the gate}. The gates of the town were the place for enacting justice.
They were also where a victorious enemy entered.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
from among thorns}. The Hebrew is obscure, and the text looks corrupt here.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
For crime does not spring from the dust}. Moral mischief is perpetrated by consc
ious human agents; it does not just spring up spontaneously like grass or weeds.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
But man is to wretchedness born}. This pronouncement may have a double edge. Man
\u8217?s fate is misery; but, given Eliphaz\u8217?s moralism, he may also be say
ing that wretchedness is the predictable consequence of the perversity of human
nature.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
like sparks flying upward}. The Hebrew {\i
beney reshef} is understood by some to be an explicitly mythological reference b
ecause Reshef is the Northwest Semitic god of pestilence and the underworld. How
ever, with the emphasis here on man as a source of trouble, the concrete image o
f sparks makes better sense: just as a fire sends burning sparks swirling upward
, man creates wretchedness all around him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Yet I search for El}. Eliphaz is now quick to assert his own piety, in contrast
to the general rule of troublemaking humankind that he has just expressed. What
follows is a celebratory catalogue of God\u8217?s power and providential acts, c
ast, as we might expect, in rather traditional poetry\u8212?in fact, reminiscent
of Psalms. The Job poet cannily devises for each of the three companions poetry
that has its moments of strength but is often rather conventional, in keeping w
ith their worldview. The startling originality of Job\u8217?s poetry stands out
in contrast.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
By day they encounter darkness, / as in night they go groping at noon}. This lin
e is another instance of the Job poet\u8217?s fondness for chiastic structures:
a (day), b (encounter), c (darkness),
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}}
(night),
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31411322243243ffc4001501010100000000000000000000
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67ad54498aa6e43cddac90a7d491cfdecaa0b7c6fd155bce61b90e6729f8b9f6c062e24d28a30453
589dcebcbb4c8ca8a3c80aaa49decb0fd7d106ee7d70bf3d
eaff004ffb076751afd6c6c990f734125c556aaec23fe8dda858795d123df5e4a57d1a698fa55eac
458c5046b12973b3a51a1b3f27c7a23fffd9
}}
(go groping), \u225? (noon).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
the simple from the sword}. The Masoretic text appears to say \u8220?from the sw
ord from their mouth.\u8221? The only way to save this reading would be to drop
the second \u8220?from\u8221? as a dittography, thus yielding \u8220?from the sw
ord of their mouth,\u8221? which is a possible biblical metaphor. This translati
on follows Pope, who emends {\i
mipihem}, \u8220?from their mouth,\u8221? to {\i
peta\u8217?im}, \u8220?the simple.\u8221? Perhaps \u8220?mouth\u8221? at the end
of the next line influenced the copyist to make a mistake here.\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
He causes pain and binds the wound}. This whole line is particularly addressed t
o Job\u8217?s present predicament of terrible suffering. Job is encouraged to im
agine that his agony is \u8220?reproof\u8221? from God, Who will heal him when h
e mends his sinful ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
In six straits He will save you}. This celebration of God\u8217?s providential c
are for the just, which continues to the end of verse 26, is again reminiscent o
f Psalms. Compare, for example, Psalm 91.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
From the scourge of the tongue}. It is also possible to construe this phrase, as
many interpreters have done, to mean: \u8220?When the tongue [that is, of sland
er] goes wandering.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
assault}. The primary sense of the Hebrew {\i

shod} is \u8220?plunder,\u8221? but in the present context, the element of viole


nce implied by the term is salient.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
find nothing amiss}. The verb
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11120700132114152231084116254223ffc4001501010100
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29b3613b183a414bad36cb4992a23384b4d25052818192af91c00552dd7c4979de15ee3bacc9aad1
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5ebb16dbf002529046d491848049511fb3fbe83de80e812556cca356ee4a1dc1360a5fac50fbfedf
28ad414c779010ee00383b2401e41fa18f3d03be80e80e80
e80e83ffd9
}}
commonly means \u8220?to offend\u8221? (King James Version, \u8220?sin\u8221?),
but its original sense, derived from archery, is \u8220?to miss the mark.\u8221
? The likely idea here is that when the just man looks into his house, everythin
g is in order.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
in vigor}. The meaning of the Hebrew
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw49\pich21
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dbcfb8e2de24fd52ce965d4b26b5a5260d734da5e31e32559216e79afa94bee0fd481c503190f2af
d4f4945ab76a36b44f662e94d3da6dcb294b715f953dd87e
9a2c7650a3fbd0971d5b8427254e328f7c1041be9dd7b5f035ef888dc598b6a2cea4ae6eb9119281
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afb8cb8dc20111dc6de7590b642cacb67824770acf73f6ed
d0143a0fffd9
}}
has long been disputed. The only other time it appears in the Bible is also in
Job (30:2), where it is matched in the poetic parallelism with \u8220?strength,\
u8221? and hence the inference about what it means. If that inference is correct
, then Eliphaz is saying that the just man remains hale and hearty until his dea
th, which is simply a natural process of coming to an end, like the harvest invo
ked in the second verset.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
we have searched}. This first-person plural epitomizes Eliphaz\u8217?s stance: h
e speaks with the assurance of collective wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and you\u8212?you should know}. The second-person pronoun, generally omitted bef
ore a conjugated verb, is emphatic, {\i
we\u8217?atah da\u8216?-lakh}, pointing the finger at Job: as for you, you shoul
d certainly know this home truth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\
page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
6\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job spoke out and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could my anguish but be weighed, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my disaster on the scales be borne,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they would be heavier now than the sand of the sea. {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Thus my words are choked back.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For Shaddai\u8217?s arrows are in me\u8212? {\super

4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their venom my spirit drinks.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The terrors of God beset me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does the wild ass bray over his grass, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the ox bellow over his feed?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is tasteless food eaten unsalted, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
does the oozing of mallows have savor?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My throat refuses to touch them. {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They resemble my sickening flesh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} If only my wish were fulfilled,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my hope God might grant.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} If God would deign to crush me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
loose His hand and tear me apart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} And this still would be my comfort,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I shrink back in pangs\u8212?He spares not.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet I withhold not the Holy One\u8217?s words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} What is my strength, that I should hope,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and what my end that I should endure?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Is my strength the strength of stones,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
is my flesh made of bronze?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Indeed, there is no help within me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and prudence is driven from me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The blighted man\u8217?s friend owes him kindness, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
though the fear of Shaddai he forsake.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My brothers betrayed like a wadi, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like the channel of brooks that run dry.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They are dark from the ice, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
snow heaped on them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When they warm, they are gone, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the heat they melt from their place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The paths that they go on are winding, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they mount in the void and are lost.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The caravans of Tema looked out, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the convoys of Sheba awaited.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Disappointed in what they had trusted, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they reached it and their hopes were dashed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} For now you are His.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You see panic and you fear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} Did I say, Give for me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with your wealth pay a ransom for me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} and free me from the hands of the foe,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

from the oppressors\u8217? hands redeem me?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
24} Instruct me\u8212?as for me, I\u8217?ll keep silent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
and let me know where I went wrong.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} How forceful are honest words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet what rebuke is the rebuke by you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} Do you mean to rebuke with words,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
treat the speech of the desperate as wind?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Even for the orphan you cast lots,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and haggle for your companion.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} And now, deign to turn toward me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To your face I will surely not lie.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Relent, pray, let there be no injustice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Relent. I am yet in the right.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} Is there injustice on my tongue?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does my palate not taste disasters?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
are choked back}. The unusual verb {\i
la\u8216?u} appears to derive from {\i
lo\u8216?a}, gullet. Others understand it to mean \u8220?spewed out.\u8221?\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
venom}. God, violating the ancient equivalent of a Geneva Convention, uses poiso
ned arrows.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
the wild ass bray\u8230?the ox bellow}. The answer to these rhetorical questions
is of course \u8220?no\u8221?: an animal has no need to make noise when it is g
iven food. This phenomenon of natural eating in the animal realm is then antithe
tically complemented by the idea in the next line that flavorless food is inedib
le for humans.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
My throat refuses to touch them}. For Job in his suffering, all food has become
nauseating.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
They resemble my sickening flesh}. The translation is an educated guess. The syn
tax of the Hebrew is crabbed, and the last word of the line,
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}}
, could mean either \u8220?flesh\u8221? or \u8220?bread.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
If God would deign to crush me}. The violence of this whole shocking line is pro
bably an expression of the extremity of Job\u8217?s suffering: given all he has
undergone, he wishes that God would get done with the business and utterly destr
oy him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
I shrink back in pangs\u8212?He spares not}. The translation reproduces the enig
matic character of the Hebrew. Many interpreters seek to save coherence by const
ruing this as \u8220?unsparing pangs,\u8221? but the word for \u8220?pangs\u8221
? is feminine,
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}}
(singular in the Hebrew), whereas the verb \u8220?spare\u8221? is conjugated in
the masculine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Yet I withhold not the Holy One\u8217?s words}. Most commentators understand thi
s as Job\u8217?s words against God, but \u8220?words\u8221? and \u8220?the Holy
One\u8221? are tied together in the construct state (the Hebrew equivalent of a
genitive). Job may be saying that even in his acute anguish he never suppressed
the words of God\u8217?s ethical injunctions, knowing that he lived by them, wha
tever God had done to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
endure}. The literal sense is \u8220?make my life-breath long.\u8221? Since else
where, shortness of life-breath means impatience, this is probably an antonym, \
u8220?patience.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
The blighted man\u8217?s}. The Hebrew {\i
mas} is obscure and hence the translation conjectural, following a proposal by P
ope.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
My brothers betrayed like a wadi}. The wadi is a desert ravine. In the rainy sea
son it fills with water and gives the appearance of a flowing stream, but in the
summer, when no rain falls in this region, it turns into a dry channel.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
They are dark from the ice}. The Job poet is distinctive among biblical poets in
his searching interest in natural phenomena. Having introduced the striking ima
ge of the wadi that goes dry in the summer as a representation of betrayal, he g
oes on with it for the next five lines, keenly attending to different manifestat
ions of the annual cycle. The water in the wadi here\u8212?the landscape might b
e northern Israel bordering on the mountains of Lebanon, or perhaps the high cou
ntry of Iran\u8212?is darkened by the ice on its surface.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

17. {\i
in the heat they melt}. Evidently, the melting of the ice and the heaped-up snow
is telescoped with the evaporation of water that follows.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
Tema\u8230?Sheba}. Sheba is in the southwest end of the Arabian Peninsula, Tema
in the north, and in fact caravans went from one to the other on a trade route.
The geography is nicely appropriate for Job as \u8220?a dweller of the East.\u82
21?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
looked out\u8230?awaited}. Apparently, they are looking for a water-source in th
e desert as they travel, so the wadi image is continued.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
You are His}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?You are no,\u8221? which makes no
sense as a biblical usage. For {\i
lo\u8217?}, \u8220?no,\u8221? this translation reads {\i
lo}, \u8220?to Him\u8221? or \u8220?His.\u8221? The idea, then, would be that Jo
b\u8217?s friends have gone over to God\u8217?s side.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
You see panic and you fear}. You see the devastation I have suffered, and afraid
that it might befall you as well, you hasten to become advocates for the puniti
ve God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
Does my palate not taste disasters?} The literal sense of the Hebrew verb is \u8
220?understand.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2
\afs28
{\b
{\qc
7\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
D}oes not man have fixed service on earth, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and like a hired worker\u8217?s his days?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Like a slave he pants for shade, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a hired worker he waits for his pay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Thus I was heir to futile moons, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and wretched nights were allotted to me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Lying down, I thought, When shall I rise?\u8212? {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Each evening, I was sated with tossing till dawn.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My flesh was clothed with worms and earth-clods, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my skin rippled with running sores.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My days are swifter than the weaver\u8217?s shuttle. {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They snap off without any hope.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Recall that my life is a breath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Not again will my eyes see good.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} The eye of who sees me will not make me out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Your eyes are on me\u8212?I am gone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
9} A cloud vanishes and goes off.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Thus, who goes down to Sheol will not come up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} He will not return to his home.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His place will not know him again.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} As for me, I will not restrain my mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would lament with my spirit in straits\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would speak when my being is bitter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Am I Yamm or am I the Sea Beast,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that You should put a watch upon me?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} When I thought my couch would console me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that my bed would bear my lament,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} You panicked me in dreams\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in visions You struck me with terror.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And my throat would have chosen choking, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my bones\u8212?death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am sickened\u8212?I won\u8217?t live forever. {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let me be, for my days are mere breath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What is man that You make him great {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and that You pay heed to him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You single him out every morning, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
every moment examine him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How long till You turn away from me? {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You don\u8217?t let me go while I swallow my spit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What is my offense that I have done to You, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
O Watcher of man?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why did You make me Your target,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I became a burden to You?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} And why do You not pardon my crime\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let my sin pass away?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For soon I shall lie in the dust.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You will seek me, and I shall be gone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
fixed service}. The more common meaning of the Hebrew {\i
tsava\u8217?} is \u8220?army.\u8221? By extension, the word also refers to any s
et term of service.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
shade\u8230?pay}. These terms are coordinated. The slave or the hired hand works
in the hot sun all day, longing for the relief of shade, which he is likely to
get only at evening, when he completes his work in the field. At the end of the
day\u8217?s work, he would also receive his pay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
futile moons\u8230?wretched nights}. These words anticipate the account of torme

nted insomnia in verse 4 and of nightmares in verse 14.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}


{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
flesh\u8230?skin}. The language here clearly picks up the affliction with a terr
ible skin disease from the frame-story in Chapter 2.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
My days are swifter than the weaver\u8217?s shuttle. / They snap off without any
hope}. The shuttle moves back and forth rapidly, and the image illustrates the
Job poet\u8217?s remarkable resourcefulness in drawing figurative language from
unexpected semantic fields, including technology. His virtuosity is also evident
in an untranslatable pun: the word for \u8220?hope,\u8221? {\i
tiqwah}, also means \u8220?thread.\u8221? Awareness of the pun dictates the choi
ce of the verb \u8220?snap off\u8221? in the translation. The brevity of human l
ife and the irreversibility of death are a constant theme in Job\u8217?s argumen
t with God. Death as the inexorable end is central in verses 7\u8211?10.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
Am I Yamm or am I the Sea Beast?} Yamm is the sea-god of Canaanite mythology. Fi
gured as a sea-monster, he is also called Tanin (as in the second name here), Ra
hab, and Leviathan. In some versions, the monster has seven heads. Yamm is subdu
ed by Baal, the weather-god, and imprisoned so that he cannot rise up to overwhe
lm the land. Thus Job, acutely aware of the brevity of his life as mortal man, r
hetorically asks the deity whether he is to be thought of as an undying monstrou
s god to be kept imprisoned under eternal guard. Variations of this potent myth
will continue to crop up in the poem.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
You panicked me in dreams}. Job\u8217?s troubled restless nights, entirely under
standable given all he has suffered, are here attributed to God as still another
form of torture. In the ancient Near East, dreams were generally thought to com
e from the gods.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
my throat would have chosen choking}. Because the multivalent {\i
nafshi} is bracketed with \u8220?choking,\u8221? and parallel to \u8220?my bones
,\u8221? its use as a term for throat seems likely here, though it could also me
an \u8220?my being.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
mere breath}. Here the term {\i
hevel} favored by Qohelet is used.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
What is man that You make him great}. This whole line looks like a sardonic cita
tion\u8212?and reversal\u8212?of Psalm 8:5\u8211?6: \u8220?What is man that You
should remember him / and the son of man that You pay him heed. // And you make
him little less than the gods, / with glory and grandeur You cloak him?\u8221? I
nstead of the psalmist\u8217?s marveling over man\u8217?s pre-eminence in creati
on, Job goes on to say, bitterly, that since man is such an inconsequential crea
ture, it makes no sense for God to single him out\u8212?for such scathing, unbli

nking scrutiny.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
while I swallow my spit}. This startling phrase is another instance of the power
ful physiological concreteness of Job\u8217?s poetry.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
I became a burden to You}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?to myself,\u8221? but
this is a famous case of a {\i
tiqun sofrim}, a euphemistic scribal correction. That is, the scribes did not wa
nt to write the virtually blasphemous phrase that Job had become a burden to God
, so they substituted the first-person pronoun for the second person.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
For soon I shall lie in the dust. / You will seek me, and I shall be gone}. Job
invokes the previously expressed idea of the brevity of human life as grounds fo
r asking God to relent from persecuting him: against the background of eternity,
Job\u8217?s life will be over in but a moment, so why should God persist in mak
ing that ephemeral moment such a miserable one?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pa
rd\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
8\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Bildad the Shuhite spoke out and he said, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How long will you jabber such things?\u8212? {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the words of your mouth, one huge wind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would God pervert justice, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would Shaddai pervert what is right?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If your children offended Him, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He dispatched them because of their crime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If you yourself sought out El, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and pleaded to Shaddai,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if you were honest and pure, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
by now He would rouse Himself for you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and would make your righteous home whole.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Then your beginning would seem a trifle {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your latter day very grand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} For ask, pray, generations of old,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
take in what their fathers found out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} For we are but yesterday, unknowing,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for our days are a shadow on earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Will they not teach you and say to you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from their heart bring out words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Will papyrus sprout with no marsh,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

reeds grow grand without water?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
12} Still in its blossom, not yet plucked,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
before any grass it will wither.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Thus is the end of all who forget God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the hope of the tainted is lost.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Whose faith is mere cobweb,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a spider\u8217?s house his trust.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} He leans on his house and it will not stand,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he grasps it and it does not endure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8212?He is moist in the sun, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his tendrils push out in his garden.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Round a knoll his roots twist, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on a stone house they take hold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If his place should uproot him {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and deny him\u8212?\u8220?I never saw you,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
why, this is his joyous way, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from another soil he will spring.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, God will not spurn the blameless, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor hold the hand of evildoers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your lips with a shout of joy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Your foes will be clothed in disgrace, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the tent of the wicked gone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
Would God pervert justice, / would Shaddai pervert what is right?} Bildad\u8217?
s complacent confidence in the traditional moral calculus is epitomized here not
only in the substance of the statement but in the mechanically formulaic nature
of the language. Throughout the speeches of Job\u8217?s three critics, the poet
performs a delicate balancing act in assigning them boilerplate poetry that ref
lects their conventional mind-set (see the comment on verse 8) and giving them s
ome striking lines in which his own extraordinary poetic powers are manifest. As
instances of this second category, one might consider \u8220?we are but yesterd
ay\u8221? in verse 9 or the elaboration of the image of the spider\u8217?s web i
n verses 14 and 15.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
He dispatched them because of their crime}. Eliphaz, the first of the three frie
nds to speak, began with a diplomatic gesture toward Job. Now Bildad brutally te
lls a just bereaved father that his children all were killed by God because they
must have committed some great offense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
For ask, pray, generations of old}. The formulaic language of this entire verse
is reminiscent of these lines from the Song of Moses: \u8220?Remember the days o
f old, / give thought to the years of times past. // Ask your father, that he ma
y tell you, / your elders, that they may say to you. (Deuteronomy 32:7).\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
For we are but yesterday, unknowing}. Because our lives are a fleeting moment, w
e can have no real knowledge, for which we must turn to the age-old wisdom of ou
r forebears.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
for our days are a shadow on earth}. This lovely phrase also happens to be formu
laic, occurring in Psalms and elsewhere.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
Will papyrus sprout with no marsh}. There is an iron law in the moral realm as i
n nature. Just as the plant needs water to grow, a man cannot survive unless he
is rooted in virtue. Only the righteous man is \u8220?like a tree planted by str
eams of water\u8221? (Psalm 1).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
grow grand}. Pointedly, the poet uses the same verb, {\i
yisgeh}, that is attached at the end of verse 7 to the prospect of Job\u8217?s f
lourishing if he mends his ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
the end}. The Masoretic text here reads
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, \u8220?the paths,\u8221? but the reading of the Septuagint


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2ad8d6f26d99af8ad5a4a6d0cbf390c243eea11be0952c0e4a09d9d0274367a0ffd9
}}
(the same consonants with the order of the {\i
r} and {\i
h} reversed) makes more sense.
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2e555d1156e860c64d8161264259df2f6c39ae413bf3c77adf9e837fa0ffd9
}}
means \u8220?end\u8221? and, by extension, \u8220?destiny.\u8221?\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
\u8212?He is moist in the sun}. The subject here seems to switch from those who
forget God to the virtuous man (hence the introduction of the dash in the transl
ation). Perhaps, if one recalls the antithesis between the righteous and the wic
ked in Psalm 1, a phrase of transition, such as \u8220?Not so the righteous,\u82
21? was lost in transcription. In any case, the phrase \u8220?moist in the sun\u
8221? means that he remains moist even in the blazing sun.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
Round a knoll his roots twist, / on a stone house they take hold}. This line, de
veloping the pushing out of the tendrils from the previous line, is another inst
ance of the Job poet\u8217?s keen eye on the processes of nature as he elaborate
s his images.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
this is his joyous way, / from another soil he will spring}. The resilience\u821
2?even in the face of disaster\u8212?of the righteous man goes beyond the laws o
f nature: uprooted, he will somehow find other soil from which to grow.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
God will not spurn the blameless, / nor hold the hand of evildoers}. At the end
of his speech, Bildad again invokes stereotypical language, reminiscent of many
psalms and of the Book of Proverbs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
the tent of the wicked gone}. This concluding verset, formulaic in itself, picks
up the image of the wicked man\u8217?s flimsy habitation of cobweb from verses
14 and 15.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
9\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Job spoke out and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Of course, I knew it was so:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
how can man be right before God?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Should a person bring grievance against Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He will not answer one of a thousand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Wise in mind, staunch in strength,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who can argue with Him and come out whole?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} He uproots mountains and they know not,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
overturns them in His wrath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} He makes earth shake in its setting,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and its pillars shudder.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He bids the sun not to rise, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the stars He seals up tight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He stretches the heavens alone {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and tramples the crests of the sea.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He makes the Bear and Orion, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the Pleiades and the South Wind\u8217?s chambers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He performs great things without limit {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and wonders without number.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, He passes over me and I do not see, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
slips by me and I cannot grasp Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, He seizes\u8212?who can resist Him? {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who can tell him, \u8220?What do You do?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God will not relent His fury. {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Beneath Him Rahab\u8217?s minions stoop.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And yet, as for me, I would answer Him, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would choose my words with Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Though in the right, I can\u8217?t make my plea. {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would have to entreat my own judge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Should I call out and He answer me, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would not trust Him to heed my voice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Who for a hair would crush me\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and make my wounds many for naught.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

18} He does not allow me to catch my breath\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


as He sates me with bitterness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} If it\u8217?s strength\u8212?He is staunch,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and if it\u8217?s justice\u8212?who can arraign Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Though in the right, my mouth will convict me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am blameless, yet He makes me crooked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} I am blameless\u8212?I know not myself,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I loathe my life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} It\u8217?s all the same, and so I thought:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the blameless and the wicked He destroys.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} If a scourge causes death in an instant,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He mocks the innocent\u8217?s plight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The earth is given in the wicked man\u8217?s hand, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the face of its judges He veils.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If not He\u8212?then who else?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And my days are swifter than a courier. {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They have fled and have never seen good,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
slipped away like reed ships, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like an eagle swooping on prey.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I said, I would forget my lament. {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would leave my grim mood and be gladdened,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I was in terror of all my suffering. {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I knew You would not acquit me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I will be guilty. {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why should I toil in vain?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Should I bathe in snow, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
make my palms pure with lye,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} You would yet plunge me into a pit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my robes would defile me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} For He is not a man like me that I might answer Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
that we might come together in court.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} Would there were an arbiter between us,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who could lay his hand on us both,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
34} who could take from me His rod,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and His terror would not confound me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
35} I would speak, and I will not fear Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for that is not the way I am.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
be right before God}. \u8220?Right\u8221? (Hebrew verbal root {\i
ts-d-q}) here and elsewhere means being vindicated in a court of law. Thus the o
pening line announces the metaphor of legal disputation that dominates this whol
e chapter and recurs later in Job\u8217?s argument. His sense of justice leads h

im to the legal metaphor, but he bitterly recognizes that he will never have his
day in court because the two parties involved are absolutely unequal. God the a
ccuser will always overwhelm him with His superior power and hold him guilty, wh
atever the facts of the case. One detects a fundamental idea that will lead to K
afka\u8217?s {\i
The Trial}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
He uproots mountains}. These lines, down to the end of verse 10, invoke traditio
nal poetic language generally used to celebrate God\u8217?s power, as in many of
the psalms and in Eliphaz\u8217?s words (5:9\u8211?16), one line of which (5:9)
is actually reproduced here (verse 10). But Job turns around the meaning of the
traditional celebration of God: the divine power is deployed to dismay man and
to take unfair advantage of him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
bids the sun}. The catalogue of God\u8217?s sundry powers moves up vertically fr
om earth to sky.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and the stars He seals up tight}. If the darkening of the sun in the first verse
t could refer to an eclipse, a natural phenomenon, this intensification in the s
econd verset is altogether apocalyptic.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
the South Wind\u8217?s chambers}. After the constellations, these may be mytholo
gical.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
Rahab\u8217?s minions}. Rahab is another name for the primordial sea-monster, an
d so the minions (literally, \u8220?helpers\u8221?) are his mythological henchme
n. The subduing of Rahab\u8217?s minions, like the trampling on the crests of th
e sea in verse 8, has its background in the conquest of the sea-god by the weath
er-god in Canaanite mythology.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
for a hair}. The Hebrew {\i
bise\u8216?arah} has a homonym and so could be construed, as many interpreters d
o, to mean \u8220?in a storm.\u8221? (That is the word used for \u8220?whirlwind
\u8221? or \u8220?storm\u8221? at the beginning of God\u8217?s speech in 38:1.)
But the poetic parallelism with \u8220?for naught\u8221? in the second verset ar
gues for the sense of \u8220?for a hair\u8221?\u8212?that is, a mere trifle.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
If it\u8217?s strength\u8212?He is staunch}. This line repeats the terms bracket
ed together in verse 4. As elsewhere, the Job poet has a keen eye for verbal and
imagistic continuities in his poem.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
the blameless and the wicked he destroys}. This single verset compactly summariz
es Job\u8217?s argument against the mainline biblical notion of God\u8217?s just
ice. Observing the reality of human events, including, of course, the disasters
that have beset him, he sees no neat system of reward for the virtuous and punis

hment for the transgressor: the purported system of divine justice is essentiall
y arbitrary.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
He mocks the innocent\u8217?s plight}. The Hebrew uses a plural noun, which is r
epresented as a singular here to accord with the singular \u8220?wicked man\u822
1? in the next line. God\u8217?s mockery of the innocent makes him not just arbi
trary but sadistic.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
The earth is given in the wicked man\u8217?s hand}. Job now steps up his argumen
t: God is not merely arbitrary; he actually tilts the conduct of the world to fa
vor the wicked and prevents earthly judges (second verset) from seeing wrongdoin
g.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
my days are swifter than a courier}. In the two lines that begin here, the poet
adopts an alternate strategy to the one of elaborating a single image through se
veral lines that we observed in the previous chapter. Instead, he gives us three
different images for swiftness in quick succession: from earth (the courier) to
water (the reed ships) to sky (the eagle), with the last metaphor expressing th
e most violently rapid motion, and one that is not connected with human beings a
s are the two preceding ones.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
be gladdened}. The verb {\i
\u8217?avligah} appears only in Job and hence its meaning is uncertain. A differ
ent understanding, \u8220?restrain myself,\u8221? has become the general sense o
f the verb in modern Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
in snow}. The translation follows the consonantal text ({\i
ketiv}), which reads {\i
bemo sheleg}. The marginal correction ({\i
qeri}) reads {\i
bemey sheleg}, \u8220?in snow waters.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
make my palms pure with lye}. This is an especially violent instance of the patt
ern of intensification in second versets. Snow (or, snow water) would be pure, b
ut the extreme cleansing measure of lye could do terrible damage to the palms.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
plunge me into a pit}. The clear implication is a pit filled with foul muck.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
an arbiter\u8230?who could lay his hand on us both}. This impossible fantasy und
erscores the actual maddening disparity between Job and the God who is persecuti
ng him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
35. {\i

I would speak, and I will not fear Him, / for that is not the way I am}. The wor
ding of the second verset here is rather obscure, and divergent interpretations
(and emendations) have been proposed. The general sense of the line, though, is
clear: Job will not let the terror of God confound him or silence him. He still
wishes to voice his protest, not succumbing to fear. In light of this, perhaps t
he force of the second verset is, as this translation understands it: I am not t
he kind of person to be subdued by fear of God\u8217?s power, and so I will spea
k out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
10\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
M}y whole being loathes my life. {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let me give vent to my lament.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let me speak when my being is bitter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I shall say to God: Do not convict me. {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Inform me why You accuse me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is it good for You to oppress, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to spurn Your own palms\u8217? labor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on the council of the wicked to shine?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Do You have the eyes of mortal flesh, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
do You see as man would see?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Are Your days like a mortal\u8217?s days, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Your years like the years of a man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that You should search out my crime {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and inquire for my offense?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You surely know I am not guilty, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but there is none who saves from Your hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Your hands fashioned me and made me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and then You turn round and destroy me!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Recall, pray, that like clay You worked me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to the dust You will make me return.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Why, You poured me out like milk\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and like cheese You curdled me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} With skin and flesh You clothed me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with bones and sinews entwined me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Life and kindness you gave me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Your precept my spirit kept.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet these did You hide in Your heart; {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I knew that this was with You:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I offended, You kept watch upon me {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and of my crime would not acquit me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I was guilty, alas for me, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and though innocent, I could not raise my head,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sated with shame and surfeited with disgrace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Like a triumphant lion You hunt me, {\super


16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
over again wondrously smite me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You summon new witnesses against me {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and swell up Your anger toward me\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
vanishings and hard service are mine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And why from the womb did You take me? {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I\u8217?d breathe my last, no eye would have seen me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} As though I had not been, I would be.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From belly to grave I\u8217?d be carried.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} My days are but few\u8212?let me be.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Turn away that I may have some gladness\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} before I go, never more to return,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to the land of dark and death\u8217?s shadow,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} the land of gloom, thickest murk,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
death\u8217?s shadow and disorder,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
where it shines thickest murk.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Let me give vent}. The Hebrew verb {\i
\u8216?azav} usually means \u8220?to forsake,\u8221? and hence the meaning here
is uncertain. The translation follows a proposal of Pope, but not with great con
viction.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Do You have the eyes of mortal flesh}. Job\u8217?s complaint against God for per
secuting him has two complementary sides. On the one hand, since God enjoys the
perspective of divinity, it makes no sense for Him to treat Job as though He wer
e an ignorant and angry human being. On the other hand (verses 20\u8211?23), sin
ce Job is a mere mortal whose days are few, it is unreasonable that this brief l
ife span should be loaded with misery.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Your hands fashioned me and made me}. Picking up the word \u8220?hand\u8221? fro
m the end of the previous verse is a bridge to a new segment of the text\u8212?s
uch repetition of terms to mark the transition from one textual unit to another
is a characteristic compositional move in the Bible in both poetry and prose. Th
e poet launches on one of the most remarkable evocations of the sheer creatureli
ness of man in biblical literature.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and then You turn round}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?together all around,\u
8221?
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c428e14a58663b61b472528a9474001b2a2493fc924f41ffd9
}}
. This translation follows the reading of the Septuagint, which has
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw106\pich27
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010100000000000000000000000000000001ffc40014110100000000000000000000000000000000

ffda000c03010002110311003f00fa84d92c5e26fd2c51b1
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}}
, a phrase that makes better sense in context.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
like clay You worked me}. The poet picks up the image of God\u8217?s creating th
e first human from clay in Genesis 2 and, characteristically, gives it artisanal
concreteness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and to the dust You will make me return}. This notion of man\u8217?s inevitable
mortality (compare 1:23) is a constant theme of Job\u8217?s.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i

poured me out like milk / and like cheese You curdled me}. In keeping with his o
wn vivid sense of metaphor and of reality\u8212?and again in the chiastic formul
ation he favors\u8212?the Job poet now goes beyond the figure of God the potter
taken from Genesis. The embryo begins in a conjoining of fluid and protoplasm an
d then begins to take on the solidity of flesh, like milk congealing into cheese
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
and Your precept my spirit kept}. Given the way biblical syntax functions, it is
also possible to switch subject and object around here (as most interpreters do
): Your precept [providence?] kept my spirit, But the formulation sounds like se
veral lines in Psalm 119, where it is the human being, or his spirit, who keeps
God\u8217?s precept ({\i
pequdah}).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
Yet these did You hide in Your heart}. Despite all God\u8217?s seeming benefacti
ons in giving Job physical shape and substance and afterward support, He all alo
ng hid hostile intentions toward his lovingly fashioned creature.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
guilty\u8230?innocent}. Job bitterly complains that he is damned if he does, dam
ned if he doesn\u8217?t by this inimical God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
like a triumphant lion}. The syntactically obscure Hebrew of the received text h
ere seems to say: \u8220?He triumphs, like a lion You hunt me.\u8221?\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\i
over again wondrously smite me}. The translation is an interpretive guess about
the enigmatic Hebrew, which literally reads: \u8220?You came back, You do wonder
s against [?] me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
vanishings and hard service are mine}. This entire clause is one of the notable
puzzles in Job. The second of the two nouns is the same word used at the beginni
ng of Chapter 7 (and rendered there, because of the immediate context, as \u8220
?fixed service\u8221?). The first noun,
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw60\pich23
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390b25b61e722b3f792984b9ed4a8196fa0280f0a0875041f7001aded4e575b67de7ef666d2f8469
501a895298a5012e351e246fb9714e7cf2266242b96b451c
06f86c829e75c57c4fd3e69e1994caef72366334242dd298edd8dc3e5c5ad4a278953424addd124b
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28483fda00051c9c7e0d9621da0633ba98710e4fdc3b1c8d88d70c24395f5c572ec911cf31b47328
8e14dfcf2e241fc741d9352fd6c0aa86cc761aa78c1a0598
4a4258f491f03d3ff1ff005f1f3a3d1144e52fad904ec65cc32ad7834e82e4c953145a2dc89ae3e4
bacb9178fbb983ea170ef64907cf9e82f24e274735bac6e4
5357bedd5b897a021d8a85088b48d254d023d84024029d103a0963639530c5888f570d8162b53937
d38e84fdd2c8e254ee87bc91e0956fc74031c371e6eaeb20
ff0041ad15f52e25f8114436fd286e201095b28d69b500a50053a2028ff3d028708c8aabea2fb9d8
ce7944e484d061cc5a405b32db0db86cde534ca86b67f6db
69e0543c1f5c7127dda071cfc5696d6c1a9d369e04c9cd71f4e4c88a85b88e2494e9446c689247f1
be8279f455b6b2e0ca9b5f1664a80e17a23f2184ad71d652
5254da88da09048d8d1d1d741159c25c87d2a4d6c1980275ce4b9c543c9f1fb6af1ff7e7a0ffd9
}}
, derives from a verb that means to slip away, to vanish, or to change. What Jo
b may be saying is that his existence has become durance vile (\u8220?hard servi
ce\u8221?) in which everything he would cling to slips between his fingers (\u82
20?vanishings\u8221?).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
And why from the womb did You take me?} This verse and the next obviously pick u
p the theme and some of the language of the death-wish poem in Chapter 3 (in par
ticular 3:11\u8211?13).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21\u8211?22. {\i
dark\u8230?death\u8217?s shadow\u8230?gloom\u8230?murk}. These lines also recall
the death-wish poem of Chapter 3 in deploying a whole series of synonyms for da
rkness, though with a difference: in the earlier poem, darkness was wished for;
here it functions as an expression of the absolute extinction of life that await
s every human being in death\u8217?s realm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
thickest}. The usual function of the Hebrew {\i
kemo} is as the preposition of comparison, \u8220?like,\u8221? but that would yi
eld here \u8220?gloom like murk,\u8221? which does not make much sense. {\i
Kemo}, however, occasionally occurs in poetic texts as an intensifier rather tha
n as a preposition, and this translation construes it that way both here and in
its recurrence in the next verse.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
where it shines thickest murk}. This is construed by some as a second-person sin
gular referring to God, \u8220?and You shine,\u8221? though a third-person femin
ine singular verb (the identical conjugated form) referring to \u8220?land\u8221
? at the beginning of the verse seems more likely. In any case, this concluding
image is a strong oxymoron (not a characteristic figure of biblical poetry): in
the grim realm of death, shining itself is darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\p
ar\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28

{\b
{\qc
11\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Zophar the Naamathite spoke out and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Shall a swarm of words be unanswered, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and should a smooth talker be in the right?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Your lies may silence folk, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you mock and no one protests.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And you say: my teaching is spotless, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I am pure in your eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet, if only God would speak, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He would open His lips against you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would tell you wisdom\u8217?s secrets, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for prudence is double-edged.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And know, God leaves some of your crime\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
forgotten.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Can you find what God has probed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
can you find Shaddai\u8217?s last end?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Higher than heaven, what can you do,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
deeper than Sheol, what can you know?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Longer than earth is its measure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and broader than the sea.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Should He slip away or confine or assemble,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who can resist Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For He knows the empty folk,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He sees wrongdoing and surely takes note.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} And a hollow man will get a wise heart\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when a wild ass is born a man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} If you yourself readied your heart\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and spread out your palms to Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} if there is wrongdoing in your hand, remove it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let no mischief dwell in your tents.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For then you will raise your face unstained, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you will be steadfast and will not fear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For you will forget wretchedness, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like water gone off, recall it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And life will rise higher than noon, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you will soar, you will be like the morning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And you will trust, for there is hope, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will search, and lie secure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You will stretch out, and none make you tremble, {\super

19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and many pay court to you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And the eyes of the wicked will pine, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
escape will be lost to them,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their hope\u8212?a last gasp of breath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
Shall a swarm of words be unanswered}. The third of the friends immediately stri
kes an impatient note, beginning with a frontal attack on Job and making no dipl
omatic gesture toward him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
smooth talker}. Literally, \u8220?a man of lips.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
open His lips}. This idiom is probably chosen to jibe with the mocking reference
to Job as a \u8220?man of lips\u8221? in verse 2.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
prudence is double-edged}. The application of \u8220?double-edged\u8221? (or per
haps simply \u8220?double\u8221?), {\i
kiflayim}, is not entirely clear. Some would emend it to {\i
pla\u8217?im}, yielding \u8220?prudence is wondrous.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\i
God leaves some of your crime forgotten}. Zophar blithely assumes that Job is gu
ilty of some crime so great that, even with all he has suffered for it, God has
mercifully not exacted punishment for it to the full extent of the divine law.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Can you find what God has probed}. The next three verses are boilerplate languag
e for the poetic celebration of God\u8217?s world-embracing knowledge and power
contrasted to man\u8217?s puny grasp. When God begins to speak from the whirlwin
d, He will strike a similar theme, but in an entirely different poetic register
and conceptual frame.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
Should He slip away or confine or assemble}. Interpretive attempts to find tight
logical coherence in this sequence of three verbs have not been persuasive. It
is best to understand them as three different instances of how God does whatever
He pleases\u8212?disappears, imprisons, brings people together\u8212?without ma
n\u8217?s being able to control or affect His actions.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
a hollow man will get a wise heart / when a wild ass is born a man}. This pungen
t remark sounds, as Pope has suggested, like the invocation of a proverb.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
If you yourself readied your heart}. These words introduce an exhortation, which
will continue to the end of Zophar\u8217?s speech, for Job to turn back from hi
s evil ways in the expectation that God will then forgive him and restore him to
well-being and tranquility.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
you will raise your face unstained}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?w
ithout blemish,\u8221? and Zophar may well be referring not only to the supposed
moral taint in Job but to the fact that he has been hideously disfigured by his
skin disease.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
12\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Oh yes, you are the people,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with you wisdom will die!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} But I, too, have a mind like you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am no less than you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and who does not know such things?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} A laughingstock to his friend I am,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who calls to his God and is answered,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a laughingstock of the blameless just man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} The smug man\u8217?s thought scorns disaster,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
readied for those who stumble.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The tents of despoilers are tranquil, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
provokers of El are secure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whom God has led by the hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet ask of the beasts, they will teach you, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the fowl of the heavens will tell you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or speak to the earth, it will teach you, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the fish of the sea will inform you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who has not known in all these {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that the LORD\u8217?S hand has done this?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In Whose hand is the breath of each living thing, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the spirit of all human flesh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does not the ear make out words, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the palate taste food?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In the aged is wisdom, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in length of days understanding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
With Him are wisdom and strength, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He possesses counsel and understanding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, He destroys and there is no rebuilding, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
closes in on a man, leaves no opening.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Why, He holds back the waters and they dry up,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sends them forth and they turn the earth over.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} With Him is power and prudence,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

His the duped and the duper.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
17} He leads counselors astray\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and judges He drives to madness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} He undoes the sash of kings\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and binds a loincloth round their waist.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} He leads priests astray,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the mighty He misleads.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} He takes away speech from the trustworthy,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and sense from the elders He takes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} He pours forth scorn on princes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the belt of the nobles He slackens,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} lays bare depths from the darkness\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and brings out to light death\u8217?s shadow,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} raises nations high and destroys them,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
flattens nations and leads them away,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
stuns the minds of the people\u8217?s leaders, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
makes them wander in trackless wastes\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they grope in darkness without light, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He makes them wander like drunken men.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
you are the people}. The sarcastic thrust of the line is evident: the friends ha
ve repeatedly claimed to be the voice of the wisdom of the generations and of so
ciety in general, and Job now bitterly turns this claim back against them.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
mind}. The Hebrew means \u8220?heart,\u8221? but here its function as the organ
of understanding in biblical physiology is clearly salient.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\i
who does not know such things?} The literal sense is \u8220?who does not have su
ch things?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
who calls to his God and is answered\u8230?the blameless just man}. All this is,
of course, a sarcastic reference to Job\u8217?s three reprovers.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
The smug man\u8217?s thought scorns disaster}. This is an interpretive guess at
the Hebrew, which is extremely crabbed. The translation assumes that the obscure
{\i
\u8216?ashtut} is a shortened or defective form of {\i
\u8216?eshtonot}, \u8220?thoughts.\u8221? Something along the lines of the const
ruction proposed here makes sense in context because the smug man scorning disas
ter and showing contempt for one who stumbles neatly applies to Job\u8217?s frie
nds.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
The tents of despoilers are tranquil}. Job\u8217?s perception that the wicked of
ten prosper, seemingly helped by God, is a direct rejoinder to the complacent mo
ral calculus of the friends.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Yet ask of the beasts}. It is the common knowledge of all creation, Job argues,
that God\u8217?s power causes everything. This sounds like a pious opening, in k
eeping with the view of the three companions, but he goes on to say that God\u82
17?s power is exercised destructively and capriciously.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
In Whose hand}. This entire verse is a virtual quotation of pious tradition\u821
2?quoted in order to be subverted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
In the aged is wisdom}. This verse and the next are a mocking imitation of the w
ords of the three companions, and what the lines seem to say is abruptly reverse
d beginning in verse 14.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
the waters\u8230?dry up\u8230?they turn the earth over}. As Job sees it, God\u82
17?s power over creation is exerted chiefly in acts of destruction. The Voice fr
om the Whirlwind will provide a strong rejoinder to this view.\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
the duped and the duper}. The literal sense of the cognate Hebrew verbs is \u822
0?the one who errs and the one who leads him to err.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
counselors\u8230?judges}. Those who should exercise wisdom are catastrophically
deprived of it by God. In the following verses, other figures of authority\u8212
?kings, elders, priests, the trustworthy\u8212?are also undone by God.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
lays bare depths from the darkness}. In the account of creation at the beginning
of Genesis, God resoundingly calls forth light from the primordial darkness. He
re He does exactly the opposite.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
stuns}. Literally, \u8220?removes.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
trackless wastes}. The \u8220?wastes\u8221? here, {\i
tohu}, are the same term used for the primordial void in Genesis 1. Job continue
s the boldly heretical idea that God, far from being a beneficent Creator establ
ishing order, uses His violent power perversely to mislead humankind.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
like drunken men}. The Hebrew uses a singular noun.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\pa
r\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
13\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
W}hy, my eye has seen all,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my ear has heard and understood.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} As you know, I, too, know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am no less than you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Yet I would speak to Shaddai,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I want to dispute with God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} And yet, you plaster lies,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you are all quack-healers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Would that you fell silent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and this would be your wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} Hear, pray, my dispute,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to my lips\u8217? pleas listen closely.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Would you speak crookedness of God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and of Him would you speak false things?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would you be partial on His behalf, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would you plead the case of God?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would it be good that He probed you, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as one mocks a man would you mock Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He shall surely dispute with you {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if in secret you are partial.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will not His majesty strike you with terror, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and His fear fall upon you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Your pronouncements are maxims of ash, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your word-piles, piles of clay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Be silent before me\u8212?I would speak, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
no matter what befalls me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why should I bear my flesh in my teeth, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my life-breath place in my palm?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, He slays me, I have no hope. {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet my ways I\u8217?ll dispute to His face.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Even that becomes my rescue,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for no tainted man comes before Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Hear, O hear my word\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my utterance in your ears.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
18} Look, I have laid out my case,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I know that I am in the right.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Who would make a plea against me?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would be silent then, breathe my last.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Just two things do not do to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
then would I not hide from Your presence.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Take Your palm away from me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let Your dread not strike me with terror.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Call and I will reply, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or I will speak, and answer me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How many crimes and offenses have I? {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My offense and my wrong, inform me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why do You hide Your face, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and count me Your enemy?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would You harry a driven leaf, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a dry straw would You chase,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that You should write bitter things against me, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
make me heir to the crimes of my youth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And You put my feet in stocks, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
watch after all my paths,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the soles of my feet make a mark.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And man wears away like rot, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a garment eaten by moths.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Why, my eye has seen all}. Job repeats the rhetorical move with which he began h
is speech (12:3), ever using one identical phrase, \u8220?I am no less than you.
\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
dispute}. The Hebrew verb, which can also mean \u8220?reprove,\u8221? here has a
legal connotation, and language expressing Job\u8217?s desire to confront God i
n a court of law recurs through this chapter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
plaster lies}. This idiom is also used in Psalms 119:69. It may derive from the
idea of covering over the truth, as with plaster.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
quack-healers}. The relevance of this epithet is that Job\u8217?s companions see
k to \u8220?heal\u8221? his grievous ills by telling him he has done wrong and t
hat he will be restored to well-being if he renounces his evil ways.\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Would you be partial on His behalf?} This is the crux of Job\u8217?s argument ag
ainst his pious reprovers. The law commands that no partiality be shown in judgm
ent (see Leviticus 19:15), and this includes tipping the legal scales to make Go

d seem just. To Job, this is \u8220?crookedness,\u8221? \u8220?false things,\u82


21? and God Himself will not tolerate it. The rebuke to the three friends by God
in the closing of the frame-story bears out Job in this regard.\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
dispute}. The leading edge of the verb here is probably \u8220?reprove,\u8221? b
ut the translation preserves the continuity of terms in the Hebrew with verses 3
and 6.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
your word-piles, piles of clay}. All translations of the obscure Hebrew are conj
ectural. The construction here links {\i
gabey} with the rabbinic {\i
gibuv}, \u8220?heap\u8221? or \u8220?pile,\u8221? and adds \u8220?word\u8221? in
terpretively.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
my life-breath place in my palm}. Elsewhere, this is an idiom for putting onesel
f in great danger, but the parallelism with the first verset would seem to highl
ight the physical concreteness of the image.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Look, He slays me, I have no hope}. The intended sense of his famous line is amb
iguous. This translation follows the consonantal received text ({\i
ketiv}). The marginal correction ({\i
qeri}) changes {\i
lo\u8217?} (no) to {\i
lo} (for him), yielding, \u8220?though He slay me, I will hope for Him.\u8221? O
thers, without much warrant, understand the verb
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}}
as though it were a phonetically similar verb,
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, and translate \u8220?though He slay me, I will not quake.\u8221?\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
for no tainted man comes before Him}. Job, of course, is firm in his conviction
that he himself is untainted, and so he is perfectly ready to stand before God.
Thus, his very willingness to dispute with God is his \u8220?rescue.\u8221?\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
I would be silent then, breathe my last}. If anyone could really muster a case a
gainst Job, he would renounce his argument and be prepared to give up the ghost.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
Just two things do not do to me}. The Hebrew, moving from the second-person plur
al in earlier verses to the second-person singular, makes it clear that Job is n
ow turning in direct address to God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i

then would I not hide from Your presence}. That is, if You stopped intimidating
me with Your overwhelming power (verse 21), I would be able to face You and make
a case for my own defense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
let Your dread not strike me with terror}. These words are only a seeming contra
diction to Job\u8217?s previous assertions that he is spoiling to have his day i
n court with God. He is in fact eager to do that, but he also feels overwhelmed
by the sheer power of his divine persecutor, and so He pleads with God not to go
on terrorizing him as a necessary pre-condition to his laying out his legal cas
e.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
My offense and my wrong}. The order of the two Hebrew nouns is reversed for the
sake of the rhythm in English.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
stocks\u8230?paths\u8230?make a mark}. These are three discrete metaphors (if th
e feet are in stocks, logically there is no need to watch after the paths of the
supposed miscreant), though they are all related as images of imprisonment or s
urveillance, and all three figures of speech are associated with feet (the middl
e image because in biblical idiom it is always feet that go on paths). It is lik
ely that the marking of the soles of the feet refers to some sort of branding or
tattooing that would be an indelible sign that the person is a felon.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
And man wears away like rot}. This entire verse actually belongs together with t
he first verse of the next chapter (the chapter divisions are late medieval and
not intrinsic to the original biblical texts). Some scholars place this verse af
ter 14:2. The Hebrew reads \u8220?And he wears away like rot,\u8221? with the ge
neric term {\i
\u8217?adam}, \u8220?man,\u8221? occurring at the beginning of the next line (14
:1): \u8220?Man born of woman, / scant of days and sated with trouble.\u8221?\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
14\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
M}an born of woman,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
scant of days and sated with trouble,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} like a blossom he comes forth and withers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and flees like a shadow\u8212?he will not stay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Even on such You cast Your eye,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and me You bring in judgment with You?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} [Who can make the impure pure?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
No one.]\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Oh, his days are decreed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the number of his months are with You,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his limits You fixed that he cannot pass.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

6} Turn away from him that he may cease,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


until he serves out his day like a hired man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For a tree has hope: {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
though cut down, it can still be removed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and its shoots will not cease.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Though its root grow old in the ground {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and its stock die in the dust,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from the scent of water it flowers, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and puts forth branches like a sapling.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
But a strong man dies defeated, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
man breathes his last, and where is he?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Water runs out from a lake, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a river is parched and dries up,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} but a man lies down and will not arise,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
till the sky is no more he will not awake\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will not rouse from his sleep.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Would that You hid me in Sheol,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
concealed me till Your anger passed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
set me a limit and recalled me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} If a man dies will he live?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All my hard service days I shall hope\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
until my vanishing comes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Call out and I shall answer you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for the work of Your hand You should yearn.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} For then You would count my steps,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You would not keep watch over my offense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} My crime would be sealed in a packet,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You would plaster over my guilt.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And yet, a falling mountain crumbles, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a rock is ripped from its place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Water wears away stones, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
its surge sweeps up the dust of the earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the hope of man You destroy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You overwhelm him forever, and he goes off, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You change his face and send him away.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If his sons grow great, he will not know. {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And should they dwindle, he will not notice them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
But the flesh upon him will ache, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his own being will mourn for him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
Even on such You cast Your eye}. Job, having evoked traditional biblical languag
e for the brevity of human existence (\u8220?scant of days and sated with troubl
e, / like a blossom he comes forth and withers, / and flees like a shadow\u8221?
), now asks God: how could You devote such terrible scrutiny to this ephemeral c

reature and how could you want to bring him to judgment? The verb rendered as \u
8220?cast\u8221? is literally \u8220?open.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. This verse has been bracketed because it looks dubious, and the second verset
is too short to scan as poetry. Some have seen this as a marginal gloss that cr
ept into the text.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
that he may cease}. A small emendation would convert this verb into an imperativ
e, \u8220?cease\u8221? (that is, leave him be), which would fit better with \u82
20?turn away from him.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
until he serves out his day like a hired man}. Job picks up the image he used ea
rlier of human life as hard labor, with the worker longing for the day to come t
o an end.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
For a tree has hope}. Here the poet begins another of his fascinating forays int
o nature. Though he is of course aware that all things in nature eventually peri
sh, he finds in the arboreal realm a strong image of survival that contrasts wit
h the human condition. The cutting down of part of the trunk of a failing tree i
n order to allow it to regenerate appears to have been a known procedure in anci
ent agriculture.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
from the scent of water it flowers}. This quiet lyrical statement embodies a fin
e hyperbole: the very scent of water is enough to make the tree blossom.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
But a strong man dies defeated}. The noun {\i
gever} usually indicates man in his virile strength, and is cognate with {\i
gibor}, warrior. The adjective \u8220?strong\u8221? has been added here because
there is an intended antithesis with \u8220?defeated\u8221? at the end of the ve
rset. That verb usually means \u8220?to be weak,\u8221? but in Exodus 32:18 it i
ndicates defeat and is contrasted with \u8220?triumph\u8221? ({\i
gevurah}, another cognate of {\i
gever}). Since it would make little sense for the strong man to be weak after de
ath, the probable sense is that he dies, finally defeated by death.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
a lake}. The Hebrew {\i
yam} more often means \u8220?sea,\u8221? but it can also mean \u8220?lake,\u8221
? and it makes much better sense for a lake to run dry than the sea.\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
till the sky is no more he will not awake}. This emphatic vision of the irrevoca
bility of death, reiterated by Job, might conceivably be a rejoinder to a new id
ea of an afterlife beginning to emerge in the later biblical period, though the
ephemerality of human life is a theme struck by many biblical writers, early and
late.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
hid me in Sheol}. Job is surely not talking about survival after death, but rath
er, as elsewhere in biblical poetry, he invokes Sheol as a deep dark cavern belo
w the ground where one might hide.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
until my vanishing comes}. Some understand
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}}
as \u8220?my relief,\u8221? but the primary sense of the verbal root is to be g
one or slip away, with \u8220?change\u8221? as a secondary sense. Perhaps the po
et is playing on both meanings of the term. See the comment on 10:17.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i

For then You would count my steps}. Some scholars emend this clause as \u8220?Fo
r then You would not count my steps\u8221? in order to bring it into neat parall
elism with the second verset. It might, however, have a positive meaning: Amos H
akham has proposed that the image is of a solicitous parent counting the steps o
f a toddler.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
sealed in a packet\u8230?plaster over my guilt}. The most plausible reading is t
hat in this wished-for condition in which God would finally relent, any accusati
ons against Job would be sealed and covered up\u8212?in effect, expunged from th
e legal record.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
and the hope of man You destroy}. There is a pointed contrast between the solid
elements of nature\u8212?mountain, rock, stones, earth\u8212?that are neverthele
ss overturned, and the fragility of human hope. At the same time, these metaphor
s suggest an analogy between the awesome forces of destruction in nature and God
\u8217?s implacability toward man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
goes off}. Here and elsewhere, this is a euphemism for death\u8212?one that high
lights the irrevocable disappearance of the man who dies.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\i
You change his face}. Ibn Ezra plausibly understands this as a reference to the
rictus of the face distorted in death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
But the flesh upon him will ache}. In order to concretize the awful bleakness of
death, the poet uses what may be a poetic conceit or perhaps the trace of a fol
k-belief: the newly dead, his flesh turned rigid and then quickly the object of
decay, experiences a kind of after-image of life that is nothing but pain. In an
y event, the idea is clear that the dead man knows nothing of the fate of the of
fspring in whom he invested so many expectations but is instead locked into the
anguish of his own physical extinction.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphp
ar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
15\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Eliphaz the Temanite spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Will a wise man speak up ideas of hot air\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with the east wind fill his belly?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Who disputes through speech will not avail\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from words will get no profit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} So you thwart reverence,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
take away prayer to God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} For your crime guides your mouth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you choose the tongue of the cunning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} Your own mouth condemns you, not I,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

and your lips bear witness against you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


Are you the first man to be born, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
before the hills were you spawned?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Did you listen at God\u8217?s high council, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
take away wisdom for yourself?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What do you know that we don\u8217?t know, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
understand, that is not with us?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The gray-haired and the aged are with us, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
far older than your father.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Are God\u8217?s consolations too little for you, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the word that He whispered to you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How your heart has taken you off, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
how your eyes have prompted you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that you should turn your hot air against God {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let out words from your mouth!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What is man that he should merit {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and that he born of woman should be in the right?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, His holy ones He does not trust, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the heavens are not pure in His eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All the more, one vile and foul, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
man who drinks mischief like water.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} I shall declare to you, listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and what I saw I shall recount,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} what the wise men have told\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and have not concealed from their fathers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} To them alone the land was given,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
no stranger passed in their midst.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} All the wicked man\u8217?s days he quakes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and few years are set aside for the tyrant.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} The sound of fear is in his ears,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in peacetime the despoiler overtakes him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} He trusts not to come back from darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he is targeted by the sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} He wanders for bread\u8212?where is it?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He knows that the dark day awaits him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} Failing and foe bring him terror,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
overwhelm him like a king set for siege.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} For he reached out his hand against God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Shaddai he assaulted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He rushes against him in neck-armor, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

with his thickly bossed shield.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


His face is covered with fat, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his loins are layered with blubber.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He dwells in ruined towns, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in houses where no one lives\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that are readied for rubble-heaps.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He gets no riches, his wealth will not stand, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his yield does not bend to the earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He does not turn away from darkness, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his shoots the flame withers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he turns away in the breath of his mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} Let the wayward not trust in vain things,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for in vain will his recompense be.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} Untimely he will wilt,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his boughs will not be green.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} He will shed his unripe fruit like a vine\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and cast off his bloom like an olive tree.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
34} For the crowd of the tainted is barren,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fire consumes bribery\u8217?s tent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
35} Pregnant with wretchedness, giving birth to crime,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their belly prepares deceit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
hot air}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?wind.\u8221? The parallel te
rm in the second verset, \u8220?east wind,\u8221? is a hot, blighting wind that
blows from the desert. It is noteworthy that in this second round of the debate,
Eliphaz, whose first speech (Chapter 4) began diplomatically, launches a fronta
l assault against Job, denouncing him as a juggler of empty words and then an im
pious sinner (verses 4\u8211?6).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
take away}. The somewhat odd verb, which means to remove something from a whole
or to subtract, is picked up in a slightly different sense in verse 8, when Job
is sarcastically asked whether he has taken away wisdom from the divine council.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
Your own mouth condemns you}. Job\u8217?s staunch defense of his own integrity a
s well as his challenge to God is taken by Eliphaz as clear evidence that he is
an impious liar.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Are you the first man to be born}. Again, the wisdom of the ages, and of age (co
mpare verse 10), is invoked as an argument against what the friends construe as
Job\u8217?s arrogant presumption.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
God\u8217?s consolations\u8230?the word that He whispered to you}. No mention of

such solicitous address by God to Job has been made, but the conventionally pio
us Eliphaz may assume that God always whispers messages of consolation, even to
egregious sinners like Job.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
turn your hot air against God\u8230?let out words}. This line is a pointed verba
l echo of verses 2 and 3 and has been translated to make that clear, as it is in
the Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Why, His holy ones He does not trust}. The holy ones, {\i
qedoshim}, would be angelic beings, members of the celestial entourage. Perfecti
on is God\u8217?s alone, and His uncompromising gaze finds defects in all other
beings, celestial and terrestrial.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
To them alone the land was given}. The relevance of this whole verse to Eliphaz\
u8217?s argument is unclear. Perhaps he means to say that the sages of old, from
whom he and his companions have inherited their wisdom, were free from the misl
eading influences of foreign presences, and hence their wisdom was irreproachabl
e.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
Failing and foe}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?foe and distress,\u8
221? but the two Hebrew terms are locked together in alliteration, {\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
ar ume}{\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
ukah}, an effect the translation tries to imitate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
set for siege}. The noun {\i
kidor} appears only here. Guesses at its meaning have been made through proposed
Semitic cognates, but the sense remains uncertain.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
For he reached out his hand against God, / and Shaddai he assaulted}. If this ge
neral portrait of the wicked man is intended by Eliphaz to refer at least by imp
lication to Job, the image of a martial assault on God is truly extravagant. Tur
-Sinai has proposed that these lines hark back to the Canaanite creation myth, i
n which the assailant against El, the sky-god (that is the term for God used her
e), would be a mythic warrior allied with the primordial sea-monster.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
in neck-armor}. The Hebrew simply says \u8220?in neck.\u8221? The translation, w
ith an eye to the parallel phrase in the second verset, follows the proposal of
Tur-Sinai and Pope that the word is an ellipsis for armor worn to protect the ne
ck.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
fat\u8230?blubber}. The image of a fat warrior may seem incongruous, but excessi

ve fat in Psalms is an image of wicked complacency and self-indulgence. The bord


erline, moreover, between being fat and robust is a little vague in the ancient
Near East (one might perhaps think of the aggressive build of an NFL lineman).\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
He dwells in ruined towns}. After the wicked man\u8217?s presumption in assaulti
ng God, he is doomed to a fate of misery, living among ruins, failing in all his
endeavors (verses 29\u8211?34).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
he turns away in the breath of his mouth}. This translation reproduces the enigm
atic character of the Hebrew, where each word is intelligible but they make litt
le sense together. The verb \u8220?turns away,\u8221? {\i
yasur}, is identical with the verb at the beginning of the first verset, where i
t is used with a negative, but its meaning in this verset is unclear. The conten
tion of many interpreters that it refers to death (\u8220?pass away\u8221?) flie
s in the face of its use elsewhere in the Bible, where it always refers to turni
ng away or swerving from a set trajectory or disengaging from someone or somethi
ng. Perhaps, if the received text here is authentic, it might mean that the evil
man through his own empty and self-deluding talk swerves from the right path.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
recompense}. Or \u8220?transformation.\u8221? The translation is somewhat conjec
tural.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
wilt}. The Masoretic text has {\i
timalei\u8217?}, \u8220?you will fill,\u8221? which makes little sense either gr
ammatically or semantically. This translation assumes an emendation to {\i
yimol}, \u8220?he will wilt\u8221? or \u8220?he will wither.\u8221?\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
16\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I have heard much of this sort,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
wretched consolers are you all.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is there any end to words of hot air, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or what compels you to speak up?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I, too, like you, would speak, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
were you in my place\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would din words against you, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and would wag my head over you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would bolster you with my speech, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my lips\u8217? movement would hold back pain.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} Should I speak, my pain would not be held back,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
should I desist, it would not go away from me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
7} But now He has worn me out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You devastate all my people.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} And You crease my face, it becomes a witness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my gauntness deposes against me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} His wrath tore me apart, seethed against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He gnashed His teeth against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my foe\u8217?s eyes glare at me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} They gaped with their mouths against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in scorn they struck my cheeks,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
together they close ranks round me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} God delivers me to a wrongdoer\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lets me fall in the hands of the wicked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I was tranquil\u8212?he shook me to pieces, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
seized my nape and broke me apart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
set me up as a target for Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His archers gathered around me. {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He pierces my kidneys, pitiless,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He spills my gall to the ground.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He breaches me breach upon breach, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
rushes at me like a warrior.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Sackcloth I sewed for my scabs, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I thrust my horn in the dust.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My face was reddened from weeping, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on my eyelids\u8212?death\u8217?s shadow,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for no outrage I had done, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my prayer had been pure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Earth, O do not cover my blood, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let there be no place for my scream.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Even now, in the heavens my witness stands,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
one who vouches for me up above.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} My advocates, my companions!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Before God my eye sheds tears.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Let a man dispute with God\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a human with his fellow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} For a handful of years will come,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on the path of no return I shall go.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
{\b
17}.1} My spirit is wrecked,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my days flicker out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Graves are what I have.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
din}. The root of this verb

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looks as though it were the same as the common Hebrew verb that means \u8220?to
join,\u8221? but, as J. J. Finklestein has shown, it actually derives from a di
fferent root (a palatal consonant
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rather than a guttural one) that indicates \u8220?noise.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\i
wag my head over you}. Here the gesture appears to indicate mockery rather than
sympathy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
I would bolster you with my speech}. The Hebrew says \u8220?my mouth.\u8221? The
switched attitude here is a little confusing. First Job said that, were his fri
ends in his place, he would speak just as they have done, dinning accusatory wor
ds into their ears. Now he says he would comfort them. Perhaps he wants to sugge
st that, unlike them, he would follow accusation with genuine consolation.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
hold back pain}. The Hebrew says merely \u8220?hold back,\u8221? but the verb in
immediate context may be an ellipsis since \u8220?pain\u8230?held back\u8221? a
ppears in the next line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
my pain would not be held back}. This is another slightly disorienting shift. Jo
b, having taken up the fantasy that he and his three interlocutors would be in r
eversed positions, now drops it abruptly, for it has made him think again of his
own unrelenting anguish. Now he returns to the familiar theme of his intolerabl
e suffering: whether he speaks or is silent, it will not leave him.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
You devastate all my people}. The reference could well be to Job\u8217?s dead ch
ildren and servants. The switch from third person to second person between the t
wo versets is fairly common in biblical usage.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
crease my face\u8230?my gauntness}. Job\u8217?s ravaged body, a highly visible e
xternal sign of his suffering, has been construed as incriminating evidence that
he must have done something to deserve it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
tore me apart}. This violent verb is used for predatory animals rending their pr
ey.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
my foe\u8217?s eyes glare at me}. The literal sense of the verb is \u8220?to hon
e\u8221? or \u8220?to sharpen.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
They gaped}. Though Job sees God as his real persecutor, here he imagines a crow
d of enemies\u8212?in all likelihood, God\u8217?s henchmen\u8212?who attack him
and humiliate him. The three friends have, of course, arrogated to themselves th
e role of such henchmen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i

shook me to pieces\u8230?broke me apart}. In the Hebrew, the two verbs of violen


t assault resemble each other phonetically and morphologically: {\i
wayefarpereini}, {\i
wayefatspetseini}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
breaches me\u8230?rushes at me}. The two versets neatly illustrate the general p
attern in biblical poetry of introducing narrative development between the first
verset and the second: in the martial metaphor, first the defensive walls are b
reached, then the warrior rushes forward through the breach in attack.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
scabs}. Many interpreters, on the basis of Aramaic and Arabic cognates, understa
nd this simply as \u8220?skin\u8221? (this is the sole occurrence of the noun {\
i
geled} in the Bible). But in rabbinic Hebrew the word means the scab over a woun
d, and that seems more directly relevant to Job\u8217?s plight.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\i
my horn}. As repeatedly in Psalms and elsewhere, the horn is a symbol of strengt
h.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
Let there be no place}. Within the earth itself there should be no place to hide
the scream or cry. The conjunction of the earth\u8217?s not covering the blood
and not muffling the scream is probably a reminiscence of God\u8217?s words to C
ain, \u8220?Your brother\u8217?s blood cries out [the same verbal root as here]
from the soil\u8221? (Genesis 4:10). This allusion would implicitly cast God in
the role of the archetypal murderer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
my witness stands}. The Hebrew simply uses the implied verb \u8220?to be.\u8221?
The witness up above is surely not God but rather the impartial mediator or jud
ge for whom Job has already expressed a longing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
My advocates, my companions!} If the received text is correct here, the only way
to understand these words is as a bitingly sarcastic address to the three compa
nions.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
Let a man dispute with God, / and a human with his fellow}. The Hebrew is somewh
at obscure. The meaning may be: would that a man might have a confrontation in c
ourt with God just as he would with a human accuser or legal adversary.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
{\b
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
My spirit is wrecked}. This triadic line, though set at the beginning of the nex
t chapter in the conventional division into chapters, clearly concludes this who

le section of Job\u8217?s complaint.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar


}{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
17\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
S}o help me, mockery is with me, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in their galling my eye wakes through the night.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Come, stand pledge for me, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who will offer his handshake for me?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Since their heart You hid from reason, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and so You will not exalt them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For profit he informs on friends, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his sons\u8217? eyes waste away.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He has made me a byword of peoples, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
spit in the face, I became.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} My eye is bleared from anguish,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my limbs are all like shadow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} The upright are outraged by this,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the innocent roused over the tainted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} The righteous will cling to his way,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the clean of hands augment in strength.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} And yet, all of you, return and come,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but I won\u8217?t find a wise man among you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} My days have passed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my plans pulled apart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the desires of my heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Night they would turn into day,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?Light is near\u8221?\u8212?in the face of darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
13} If I hope for Sheol as my home,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that I might cushion my couch with darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} to the Pit I would say, \u8220?My father you are;\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my mother and sister, the worm,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
where then is my hope,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my good\u8212?who can glimpse it? {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
altogether in the dust will it plunge? {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
So help me}. The Hebrew {\i
\u8217?im lo\u8217?} (ostensibly, \u8220?if not\u8221?) is here the formula for
beginning a solemn oath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
my eye wakes through the night}. The sense of the clause is unclear. The simple
meaning of the verb is \u8220?to spend the night.\u8221? The phrase might sugges

t insomnia because of excitation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
heart\u8230?reason}. As often elsewhere, the heart is invoked as the organ of un
derstanding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
For profit he informs on friends}. This verset is the first of several in this c
hapter that are not readily intelligible and probably reflect a glitch in scriba
l transmission. The literal sense of the three Hebrew words is \u8220?for-a-port
ion he-tells friends.\u8221? This translation, like all others, is no more than
a guess.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
spit in the face}. The Hebrew {\i
tophet} is obscure. The translation, mindful of a possible Aramaic cognate, inte
rprets it as an act of humiliation parallel to \u8220?a byword of peoples,\u8221
? only more extreme.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
The righteous will cling to his way}. Though in the previous verse Job mentions
the outrage of the upright over his unwarranted suffering, this celebration of t
he staunchness and the augmented strength of the righteous sounds more like the
three friends than like Job, and it is possible that the entire verse doesn\u821
7?t belong here.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
Night they would turn into day}. Though some critics see this verse as anomalous
in context, it makes plausible sense as a withering characterization by Job of
the \u8220?comfort\u8221? his three friends have been offering him. Thus, Bildad
has said (8:5\u8211?7) that if Job would only seek God wholeheartedly, his latt
er days would be far more glorious than his beginnings. For the suffering Job, s
uch language amounts to saying that \u8220?light is near\u8212?in the face of da
rkness.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
If I hope for Sheol as my home}. This desire for release from anguish through de
ath is perfectly consonant with the death-wish poem (Chapter 3) with which Job b
egan his complaint.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
my good}. The Masoretic text has {\i
tiqwati}, \u8220?my hope,\u8221? which is the last word of the first verset and
the immediately preceding word in the Hebrew text. Repetition of this sort is no
t common in biblical poetry, and one suspects dittography (the inadvertent scrib
al duplication of a word or of letters in sequence). This translation follows th
e Septuagint, which appears to have used a Hebrew text that read {\i
tovati}, \u8220?my good.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol}. The Hebrew construct plural term {\i
badey} is obscure in context. Elsewhere, {\i

bad} is a pole, as in the poles used to carry the sanctuary, so \u8220?bars\u822


1?\u8212?perhaps the bars that shut the gates of the underworld\u8212?might be a
ppropriate here. This is also the surmise of the Revised Standard Version. The a
ntecedent of \u8220?it\u8221? is \u8220?my hope\u8221? in the previous verse. Si
nce the hope Job had expressed was to go down to Sheol, he may be saying, bitter
ly, that his hope is nowhere to be seen because it has plunged into the realm of
extinction without him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\
s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
18\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Bildad the Shuhite spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} How long till you both put an end to words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Consider, and then we may speak.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Why are we reckoned as beasts,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
besotted in your eyes?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Who tears himself apart in his wrath\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for you shall the earth be forsaken\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the rock ripped from its place?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Yes, the light of the wicked will gutter,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the spark of his flame will not shine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} Light goes dark in his tent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his lamp gutters before him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His vigorous strides are straitened, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his own counsel flings him down.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For his feet are caught in a net {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he treads on a tangle of lines.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The trap grips his heel, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the trip-cord seizes him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A rope is hidden for him in the ground, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his snare upon the path.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All round terrors befright him, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and they scatter at his feet.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His vigor turns to hunger, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
disaster ready at his side.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Eating his limbs and skin, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Death\u8217?s Firstborn eats his limbs,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
tears him from his tent, his stronghold, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and sends him off to the King of Terrors.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} He dwells in a tent not his,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his abode is strewn with brimstone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Below, his roots dry up,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and above, his foliage withers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
17} His remembrance is lost from the earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
no name has he abroad.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} They thrust him from light to darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from the world of men drive him out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} No son nor grandson in his kinfolk,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and no remnant where he sojourned.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} At his fate, latecomers are dumbstruck\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and old-timers are seized with dread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Surely these are the dwellings of evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and this the place of him who knew not God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
you both}. The Hebrew verbs in this verse and the next are plural, and the trans
lation follows Raymond Scheindlin in assuming that Bildad is addressing Eliphaz
and Zophar. He would then be expressing impatience with them: how long will you
go on with your ineffectual speech, behaving as though the three of us were imbe
ciles, when the response to Job\u8217?s outrageous stance is plain and clear, as
I shall now demonstrate?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
an end}. The Hebrew {\i
qintsey} is anomalous, and this rendering reflects a tradition of Hebrew comment
ators going back to the Middle Ages that links it with {\i
qeits}, \u8220?end.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Who tears himself apart}. As the reference switches to a single person, we reali
ze that the guilty party is Job.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
for you shall the earth be forsaken}. There is, Bildad angrily contends, an esta
blished order of things that Job in his egotistical presumption seeks to overtur
n.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
For his feet are caught in a net}. As elsewhere in the poetry of the three frien
ds, Bildad resorts to the boilerplate language of Psalms that describes the disa
ster inevitably awaiting the wicked man. At the same time, one sees here the ric
h resourcefulness of synonymity of the Job poet, who in three lines of verse dep
loys six different terms for a trap.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
they scatter at his feet}. The received text reads \u8220?scatter him,\u8221? bu
t \u8220?him\u8221? is not a logical object of \u8220?scatter.\u8221? The Septua
gint reads \u8220?they trip him up at his feet.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
His vigor turns to hunger}. More literally, \u8220?his vigor becomes hungry.\u82
21? The term {\i
\u8217?on}, \u8220?vigor,\u8221? is the same word associated with the once confi
dent strides of the wicked man in verse 7.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i

limbs}. This is the same doubtful term, {\i


badim}, that appears in 17:16, so the translation is conjectural, though referen
ce to a body part attached to skin seems probable.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Death\u8217?s Firstborn.} This is clearly a mythological figure, as is the King
of Terrors in the next verse. The Hebrew term for death, {\i
mawet} (in the construct form {\i
mot}), is identical with the name of the Canaanite god of death, Mot. The vivid
cannibalistic image of Death gnawing away at the limbs of the transgressor is no
t conventional language.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
He dwells in a tent not his}. This could well be a continuation of the mythologi
cal imagery: the wicked man is torn from his own tent, where he thought himself
secure, and dragged down to the realm of the King of Terrors, where he finds him
self in an abode of chaos and dissolution strewn with brimstone (an agent of des
truction).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
They thrust him}. These anonymous plural figures are emissaries of destruction,
perhaps henchmen of the King of Terrors.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the world of men}. The Hebrew {\i
tevel} indicates the inhabited world\u8212?hence \u8220?of men\u8221? in the tra
nslation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
No son nor grandson}. The cutting off of a man\u8217?s hereditary line is, of co
urse, an ultimate curse in the biblical world.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
his fate}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?his day.\u8221?\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\i
latecomers\u8230?old-timers}. The terms,
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}}
and {\i
qadmonim}, refer to latter-day or recent people and to people from earlier times
or predecessors. Exegetical efforts to align these terms with west and east are
unconvincing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
Surely these}. The patness of Bildad\u8217?s concluding formulation neatly refle
cts the confident complacency of his ethical outlook.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\
par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
19\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How long will you cause me grief {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and crush me with words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Ten times now you have shamed me, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you do not blush to spurn me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And if in fact I have erred, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with me shall my error lodge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If in fact you vaunt over mea {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and reprove me with my disgrace,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

know, then, that God has undone me {\super


6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and encircled me with His net.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, I scream \u8220?Outrage!\u8221? and I am not answered, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I shout and there is no justice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My path He blocked and I cannot pass, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on my ways He set darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} My glory He stripped from me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and took off the crown from my head.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} He shattered me on all sides\u8212?I am gone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He uprooted my hope like a tree.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} His wrath flared up against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He reckoned me one of His foes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Together His troops have come,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
laid siege-works up against me\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and encamped around my tent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} My brothers He distanced from me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my comrades turned strangers to me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} My dear ones withdrew, my friends forgot me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Those who dwelled in my house and my slave-girls\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
reckoned me as a stranger,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I was an alien in their eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} To my servant I called and he did not answer,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with my mouth I pleaded to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} My breath became strange to my wife,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I repelled my very own children.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Even little ones despised me\u8212? {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when I rose, they spoke against me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All my intimates reviled me, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
those I loved have turned against me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My bones stuck to my skin and my flesh, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I escaped with the skin of my teeth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Mercy, have mercy on me, my companions, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for God\u8217?s hand has blighted me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why do you hound me like God, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and of my flesh you are not sated?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would, then, that my words were written, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that they were inscribed in a book,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with an iron pen and lead {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to be hewn in rock forever.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
But I know my redeemer lives, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

and in the end he will stand up on earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
26} and after they flay my skin,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from my flesh I shall behold God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} For I myself shall behold,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my eyes will see\u8212?no stranger\u8217?s,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my heart is harried within me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} Should you say, \u8220?How more can we hound him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The root of the thing rests in him.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Fear the sword,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for wrath is a sword-worthy crime,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
so you may know there is judgment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
How long will you cause me grief}. Job\u8217?s opening formulation is an explici
t rejoinder to the beginning of Bildad\u8217?s immediately preceding speech (18:
2), \u8220?How long till you both put an end to words.\u8221? The term \u8220?wo
rds,\u8221? {\i
milim}, also appears in Job\u8217?s speech, at the end of this verse.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
I scream \u8220?Outrage!\u8221?} Screaming this word,
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}}
, would have been a desperate call for help when, say, a person was attacked by
thugs. There is an implicit narrative momentum in the sequence of lines that be
gins here. First, Job is assailed and screams for help; then he tries to run awa
y but his path is blocked; then he is seized, stripped, and shattered on all sid
es. Verse 11 summarizes this whole development, and then Job moves on from the m
etaphor of being mugged or attacked by brigands to a military metaphor (verse 12
).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
My brothers He distanced from me}. As elsewhere, Job\u8217?s personal losses and
physical affliction are painfully compounded by his becoming a social pariah, a
state to which the scathing rebuke of the three companions has clearly contribu
ted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
To my servant I called and he did not answer}. Together with the estrangement fr
om his social peers, Job has lost the authority that his wealth enabled him to e
njoy: the people who had been his household staff\u8212?in all probability, \u82
20?servant\u8221? implies slave status, like the feminine term in the previous v
erse\u8212?treat him like a stranger and ignore him. Even children (verse 18) mo
ck him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
with my mouth I pleaded}. Though this sounds a little awkward, the obtrusion of
the mouth prepares the way for Job\u8217?s foul breath in the next verse.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
My breath\u8230?I repelled}. Job is probably thinking of the disgusting symptoms
of his disease. It is perhaps poetic license for him to invoke his children, al
l of whom have been killed. \u8220?My very own children\u8221? is literally \u82
20?the children of my belly.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
intimates}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?people of my council.\u822
1?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
I escaped with the skin of my teeth}. Because teeth don\u8217?t have skin, some
scholars have tried to emend the text. But poetry need not be bound by anatomica
l logic. The verse should be read as vivid hyperbole: I was so ravaged by diseas
e and deprivation, turned into mere skin and bones, that all I came away with wa
s the (essentially nonexistent) skin of my teeth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
hound me like God}. The frequently used term for \u8220?God,\u8221? {\i
\u8217?el}, could also be understood as \u8220?a god,\u8221? and this is how Sch
eindlin generally treats it. But the point seems to be that there is one God who
is perversely persecuting Job, not that the gods in general are inimical to man
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\i
of my flesh you are not sated}. Job represents his three reprovers as ghastly ca
nnibals.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
an iron pen and lead}. The lead, initially puzzling, was explained by Rashi as t
he material used to darken the incised letters in order to make them more visibl
e, and archaeology now offers some confirmation of this idea.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
I know my redeemer lives}. This famous line, long the subject of Christological
interpretation, in fact continues the imagery of a legal trial to which Job reve
rts so often. The redeemer is someone, usually a family member, who will come fo
rth and bear witness on his behalf, and the use of \u8220?stand up\u8221? in the
second verset has precisely that courtroom connotation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
and after they flay my skin, / from my flesh I shall behold God}. Amos Hakham bo
ldly relates this strong line to Job\u8217?s wish to incise his words in stone,
paraphrasing it as follows: \u8220?The scars and the bruises in my flesh are the
writing God inscribes in my flesh instead of the inscription I sought to make.\
u8221? If Hakham is right, Job would be representing himself here somewhat like
the condemned man in Kafka\u8217?s \u8220?In the Penal Colony\u8221? who is mean
t to come to an illuminating understanding of his crime through the terrible mac
hine that inscribes his transgression on his flesh. Job, however, does not conce
de that he has sinned, so the idea he expresses is that through all his sufferin
g, through the tatters of his lacerated flesh, he will in the end behold God, co
me face-to-face with his divine persecutor and finally vindicate himself.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
my heart is harried within me}. The Hebrew says literally \u8220?my kidneys come
to an end [or, long] within me.\u8221? This involves a prominent alliteration,
{\i
kalu kilyotay}, that the translation tries to approximate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
there is judgment}. The very last word of Job\u8217?s speech is problematic. The
Masoretic editors were not entirely sure whether it should be pronounced {\i
shadun} or {\i
sheidin} or perhaps something in between. Consequently, interpretations have var
ied wildly. Some see a reference to demons, {\i
sheidim}, or to a pagan god. This translation follows a tradition that goes back
to a couple of the ancient versions and to Rashi in the Middle Ages that constr
ues the enigmatic term as {\i
shedin}, that there is judgment, or law.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyph
par }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
20\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Zophar the Naamathite spoke out and he said: {\super

1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
So my thoughts give me a rejoinder, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
by dint of my inner sense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I have heard the reproof to my shame, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a spirit from my mind lets me answer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
This have you known of old, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from when man was set upon earth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For the wicked men\u8217?s gladness is fleeting, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the tainted man\u8217?s joy but a moment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Though his summit ascend to the heavens, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his head reach up to the clouds,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like his turd, he is lost forever, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
those who see him will say, \u8220?Where is he?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Like a dream he flies off, none will find him, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he will melt like a nighttime vision.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} The eye that observed him will do it no more,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor again will his place behold him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} His sons will placate the poor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his hands will give back his wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} His bones that were full of youth\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with him will lie in the dust.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Should evil be sweet in his mouth\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he hide it under his tongue,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} should he cherish it, not let it go,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and hold it back on his palate,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} his food will turn in his innards\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
vipers\u8217? bile in his gut.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Goods he swallowed he will vomit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from his belly God will expel them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} He will suck the venom of vipers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the tongue of the asp will slay him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} He will see no streams of rivers\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and brooks of honey and curds.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} He will give back gain, not swallow it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like the goods, their value, and take no pleasure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} For he crushed, he forsook the poor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he stole a house that he did not build.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For he will not know quiet in his belly, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with his treasure he will not escape.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
There is no remnant of his food, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

so he cannot hope to have bounty.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


When his need is filled he feels distressed\u8212? {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
every wretched man\u8217?s hand comes against him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let him fill his belly, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He will send against him His burning wrath\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to rain down upon him as he eats.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Should he flee from the iron weapon, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a bow of bronze will pierce him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Unsheathed, it comes out through his back, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the blade through his gall,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
casting terror upon him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Sheer darkness lurks for his treasured larks, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a fire unfanned consumes him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the remnant of his tent is smashed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} The heavens will lay bare his crime\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and earth will rise up against him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} A torrent will take down his house,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
pouring out on the day of His wrath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} This is the wicked man\u8217?s share from God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the inheritance God has willed him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
by dint of my inner sense}. Beginning with this clause, the language of Zophar\u
8217?s entire speech is at many points unusually crabbed, and as a result some o
f the translation is conjectural. The term
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}}
here has been construed by some to mean \u8220?hurry\u8221? or \u8220?agitation
,\u8221? though it seems more likely that it carries its other meaning of \u8220
?sense\u8221?\u8212?Zophar confidently declaring that his own theologically corr
ect intuition has clearly instructed him how to answer Job.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
a spirit from my mind}. Literally, \u8220?my understanding.\u8221?\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
like his turd, he is lost forever}. The preceding lines about the ephemerality o
f the wicked man\u8217?s success are boilerplate Wisdom poetry. Here, however, Z
ophar expresses his idea with scatological pungency. \u8220?Turd\u8221? makes a
vivid counterpoint to \u8220?heavens\u8221? and \u8220?clouds\u8221? in the prec
eding line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
his food will turn in his innards\u8212?/ vipers\u8217? bile in his gut}. This c
onstitutes a strong culminating reversal of the extended description (verses 12
and 13) of the wicked man selfishly and sensually preserving in his mouth the sw
eet taste of his ill-gotten bounty.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
from his belly God will expel them}. The literal sense of the phrase is \u8220?f
rom his belly God will reduce him to poverty [or, take away all his gain].\u8221
? The belly is featured prominently throughout this tirade as the bodily image o
f the wicked men\u8217?s greed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
like the goods, their value, and take no pleasure}. This entire verset is extrem
ely cryptic in the Hebrew. It might possibly mean that he will have to give back
(first verset) both the goods he has wrongfully seized or their full value with
out having had the chance to enjoy them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
with his treasure}. There are widely varying constructions of this phrase, but i
t seems likely that the {\i
bet} before
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7f5577036c06ce813e37c07fffd9
}}
, \u8220?treasure,\u8221? is a {\i
bet} of agency. The sense, then, is that his ill-gotten wealth will be of no hel
p to him on the day of disaster.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
he cannot hope to have bounty}. Again, the translation is conjectural.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
as he eats}. The literal sense of
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is \u8220?in his meat\u8221? or \u8220?in his flesh.\u8221? There are varying i
nterpretations of the word here (some relate it to weaponry), but it would appea
r to carry forward the theme of the greedy man who stuffs his belly and then com
es to grief.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
a bow of bronze}. This is, of course, an ellipsis for the arrow shot from the br
onze bow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
Unsheathed}. As the verb indicates, we have now switched to a different weapon,
from bow to sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
lurks for his treasured larks}. The Hebrew uses two phonetically related terms b
oth of which have the core sense of \u8220?hide\u8221? and the second of which o
ften means \u8220?treasured\u8221? (that is, hidden because treasured\u8212?perh
aps here the man\u8217?s children). The two Hebrew words in immediate sequence a
re {\i
tamun} (frequently associated with traps) and {\i

tsefunaw} (singular {\i


tsafun}).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
21\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hear, O hear my word, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let this be your consolation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bear with me while I speak, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and after I speak you may mock.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is my complaint directed to man, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and why should I not be impatient?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Turn to me and be appalled, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
put your hand over your mouth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when I recall and am dismayed, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and shuddering grips my flesh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why do the wicked live, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
grow rich and gather wealth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Their seed is firm-founded before them, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their offspring before their eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Their homes are safe from fear, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and God\u8217?s rod is not against them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Their bull breeds and brings no miscarriage,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their cow calves and does not lose her young.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} They send out their little ones like a flock,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their children go dancing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} They carry the timbrel and lyre\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and rejoice at the sound of the flute.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} They pass their days in bounty,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in an instant they go down to Sheol.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} And they say to God, \u8220?Turn away from us,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
we have no desire to know Your ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Who is Shaddai that we should serve Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and what use for us to entreat Him?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Look, their bounty is not in their hands\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the counsel of the wicked is far from me!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} How often does the lamp of the wicked gutter\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their disaster come upon them\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
does He portion out shares in His wrath,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and are they as straw in the wind {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and chaff that the storm has snatched?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Does God set aside for His sons His affliction? {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let Him pay him back that he may know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let his own eyes see his collapse, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let him drink from Shaddai\u8217?s seething venom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For what will he care for his home when he\u8217?s gone, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the number of his months broken off?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will he teach knowledge to God, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will he judge those on high?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
One person dies full of innocence, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
completely tranquil and at peace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} His udders are filled with milk,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the marrow of his bones still moist.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} Another dies with a bitter heart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he has never enjoyed good.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} Together in the dust they lie,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the worm will cover them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Look, I know your plans,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your violent schemes against me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} When you say, \u8220?Where is the nobleman\u8217?s house,\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
and where is the tent of the wicked\u8217?s abode?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\super
29} Have you not asked the wayfarers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their tokens you cannot mistake?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} For on disaster\u8217?s day harm is held back,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the day when wrath is unleashed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who will tell to his face his way, {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and for what he did, who will pay him back?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And he is borne off to a sepulcher {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on the grave-mound someone keeps watch.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The clods of the brook are sweet to him, {\super
33}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and every man is drawn after him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and before him\u8212?beyond all number.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And how do you console me with mere breath, {\super
34}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when your answers are naught but betrayal?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
consolation}. Job\u8217?s use of this word is probably sarcastic: the friends, h
aving purportedly come to \u8220?console\u8221? or \u8220?comfort\u8221? Job, ha
ve vilified him; his rejoinder now will set them straight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
put your hand over your mouth}. This is a sign of horror (the Hebrew says \u8220

?put hand over mouth\u8221?).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Why do the wicked live}. The thriving of the wicked is the theme on which Job ex
pands for the rest of this speech, in direct refutation of his three reprovers\u
8217? pat notion that the wicked always get their just deserts.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
They pass their days in bounty, / and in an instant they go down to Sheol}. Afte
r the elaborate picture of the wicked enjoying all the delights of worldly exist
ence, rejoicing in their offspring (the greatest blessing in the biblical scale
of values) and surrounded by material abundance, they are granted a quick and pa
inless death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Who is Shaddai that we should serve him}. The formulation of this arrogant quest
ion may echo Pharaoh\u8217?s words to Moses and Aaron, \u8220?Who is the LORD th
at I should heed his voice?\u8221? (Exodus 5:2).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
their bounty is not in their hands}. This whole verse looks like a parenthetical
interjection by Job: the riches of the wicked are not their own doing, and Job
himself is far from sharing their arrogant dismissal of God. Nevertheless, they
prosper.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
portion out shares in His wrath}. The Hebrew
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw73\pich22
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8f01ffd9
}}
means both \u8220?pangs\u8221? and \u8220?shares,\u8221? but the verb \u8220?po
rtion out\u8221? suggests that \u8220?shares\u8221? is the leading edge of the p
un.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
straw in the wind\u8230?chaff that the storm has snatched}. This image is a stoc
k figure in Wisdom literature to represent the fate of destruction awaiting the
wicked. Compare, for example, Psalm 1:4: \u8220?Not so the wicked, / but like ch
aff that the wind drives away.\u8221? Job\u8217?s argument, here and elsewhere,
is that such language may sound good, but it does not jibe with the facts of exp
erience.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
Let Him pay him back}. The second \u8220?him\u8221? refers to the wicked man, wh
o, alas, is not paid back by God for his evil and hence never knows that there a
re consequences for wrongdoing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
his collapse}. The Hebrew {\i
kido} is anomalous, and the translation here follows an interpretive consensus t
hat has been argued for on various grounds. One might emend the word to {\i
be\u8217?eido}, {\i
\u8217?eid} meaning \u8220?disaster\u8221? (it occurs in verse 30) with the init
ial {\i
be} used idiomatically before the object of the verb \u8220?to see.\u8221?\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
seething venom}. The Hebrew means both \u8220?venom\u8221? and \u8220?smoldering
wrath,\u8221? and so the translation adds \u8220?seething\u8221? to convey the
double sense of the Hebrew pun.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
when he\u8217?s gone}. Literally, \u8220?after him.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

23. {\i
full of innocence}. Many translations render the noun {\i
tom} as something like \u8220?vigor\u8221? on the basis of the context here, but
elsewhere it always means \u8220?innocence\u8221? or \u8220?blamelessness\u8221
? (as in the frame-story of Job).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
udders}. The Hebrew {\i
\u8216?atinim} occurs only here in the biblical corpus. The parallelism with the
second verset requires a body part, and the Targum first understood it as udder
s (the established meaning of the word in modern Hebrew). It may seem incongruou
s to attach udders to a man, but the poet is probably thinking metaphorically of
the fecundity of milch-cows, and may also want to suggest a satirical image of
the prospering wicked man fat from all he has eaten, with breast-like protuberan
ces on his chest.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
Together in the dust they lie}. This idea is akin to a notion reiterated by Qohe
let\u8212?that life portions out prosperity and misery arbitrarily, while in the
end all share the fate of rotting in the grave.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
the nobleman\u8217?s house\u8230?the wicked\u8217?s abode}. Job was once a prosp
ering nobleman. The fact that his house has been brought to ruin is adduced by t
he three reprovers as evidence that all along he has been wicked and now has got
ten what he deserves.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
Have you not asked the wayfarers}. People who have traveled about and observed w
hat actually happens in human affairs would be able to tell the three companions
that, contrary to their complacent view, it is typically the wicked who thrive.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
harm is held back}. That is, the wicked are unscathed, even as disaster\u8212?st
orm, fire, marauders\u8212?sweeps away the innocent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
a sepulcher}. The Hebrew plural {\i
qevurot}, instead of the simple singular {\i
qever}, \u8220?grave,\u8221? suggests something grand: even in death the grandeu
r of the wicked is not diminished.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
after him\u8230?before him}. The image is of numberless throngs of admirers of t
he wicked man gathered round his burial rite.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
34. {\i
how do you console me with mere breath}. The verb \u8220?console,\u8221? in an e
nvelope structure, loops back to \u8220?your consolation\u8221? at the beginning
of this poem. {\i
Hevel}, \u8220?mere breath,\u8221? is the term repeatedly insisted on by Qohelet

, meaning something utterly devoid of substance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\i
betrayal}. This is the last, bitter word of Job\u8217?s speech: what is especial
ly galling to him is that the three figures he thought were his friends have bec
ome his harsh denouncers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {
\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
22\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Eliphaz the Temanite spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Will a man avail with God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will the discerning avail with Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Does Shaddai desire that you be in the right,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or profit if your ways are blameless?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Is it for your reverence that He reproves you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
comes to judgment against you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Why, your evil is great,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and there is no end to your crimes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} For you take pawn from your brother for naught,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and strip the naked of their clothes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} No water do you give to the famished,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from the hungry you hold back bread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And the strong-armed possesses the land, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the privileged dwells upon it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Widows you send off empty-handed, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the arms of the orphans are crushed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And so there are traps all around you, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sudden fear will strike you with terror,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or darkness, where you cannot see, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a spate of water will cover you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is not God in the height of the heavens? {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
See the topmost stars that are lofty.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And you say, \u8220?What does God know? {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through thick cloud can He judge?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Clouds are His shelter\u8212?He does not see, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the rim of the heavens He walks.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would you keep the age-old path {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on which wrongdoers trod,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who are shriveled before their time, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their foundation pours out like a river?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who say to God, \u8220?Turn away from us,\u8221? {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and what can Shaddai do to them?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

When He has filled their homes with bounty\u8212? {\super


18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the counsel of the wicked be far from me!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} The righteous shall see and rejoice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the innocent shall mock them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Their substance is surely destroyed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their remnant the fire consumes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Be accustomed to Him, be at peace,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and through this will your comings be blessed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} Take, pray, from His mouth instruction,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and set His utterances in your heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} If you come back to Shaddai, you\u8217?re restored,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
if you banish evil from your tent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} and lay your gold down in the dust,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on a brook-bordered rock your Ophir treasure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} and Shaddai will be your gold,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
heaped up silver for you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For then you\u8217?ll take pleasure in Shaddai,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and lift up your face to God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You will entreat Him and He will hear you, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your vows you will pay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You will decree and it will come to be, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and light will gleam on your ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When they sink low and you say \u8220?Pride,\u8221? {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who casts his eyes down He rescues.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He lets the guilty escape, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he escapes through your spotless palms.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
Why, your evil is great, / and there is no end to your crimes.} Eliphaz\u8217?s
entire speech is suffused with a sense of unreflective moral certitude. Since Go
d gets no benefit from a man\u8217?s righteousness (verses 2\u8211?4), it follow
s \u8220?logically\u8221? that a man afflicted by God, as Job has been, is guilt
y of unspeakable crimes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
take pawn from your brother for naught.} Eliphaz now launches on a catalogue of
crimes that, like his poetry, is heavily formulaic: taking away clothes from the
indigent (presumably, the clothes are the pawn\u8212?see Exodus 22:25), withhol
ding bread and water from the hungry and thirsty, allowing the manipulation of t
he legal and economic system by the powerful, oppressing the widow and the orpha
n.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
strip the naked of their clothes.} This translation, like the King James Version
, mirrors the wording of the Hebrew, which is, of course, a prolepsis: these vic
tims become naked when they are stripped of their clothes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
And so.} It follows as an inevitable consequence of all these unspeakable crimes
that Job is condemned to terrible torment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
Is not God in the height of the heavens}? These words begin an impious speech th
at Eliphaz puts in Job\u8217?s mouth: because God is high above, far removed fro
m man and surrounded by thick cloud in His celestial abode, He surely cannot see
what man does down below, and so a sinner like Job imagines he can act with imp
unity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
and what can Shaddai do to them.} The first verset is the quoted speech of the w
rongdoer; this second verset is essentially free indirect discourse\u8212?that i
s, someone\u8217?s speech conveyed in the third person.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
the counsel of the wicked be far from me.} This clause is identical with 20:16B.
It makes more sense in context here than in Job\u8217?s speech, so one may susp
ect that it was inadvertently introduced into Chapter 20 in scribal transcriptio
n.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
be accustomed to Him.} This is the usual meaning of the verb {\i
hasken.} The sense may be to enter into a habitual relationship of closeness wit
h God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
blessed.} The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?be good.\u8221?\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
restored.} Literally, \u8220?be built\u8221? (or \u8220?rebuilt\u8221?).\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
lay your gold down in the dust.} Many interpreters understand this to mean, cons
ider your gold as dust, but the preposition {\i
\u8216?al} (\u8220?on,\u8221? or more idiomatically here in English, \u8220?in\u
8221?) argues for the literal sense: Job is exhorted to strip himself of all his
worldly possessions and to make God alone (verse 25) his treasure. Of course, d
isaster has already stripped him of his wealth; so either there is a disconnect
with the frame-story, or Eliphaz is assuming that such a vicious exploiter as Jo
b would have somehow continued to hide ill-gotten gains.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\i
Ophir treasure.} Ophir, to the south of the Land of Israel, was celebrated for i
ts fine gold. The Hebrew says simply \u8220?Ophir.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i

lift up your face}. Here this is a gesture of prayer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
gleam}. Almost all the English versions say \u8220?shine,\u8221? but the Hebrew
{\i
nagah} is a specialized poetic word for giving off light.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
When they sink low and you say \u8220?Pride.\u8221?} Both this verse and the nex
t are rather crabbed in the Hebrew and so the translation is conjectural. (To be
gin with, it is far from certain that the cryptic {\i
gewah} means \u8220?pride\u8221? here.) The translation tentatively reconstructs
the meaning as follows: The repentant Job encounters people fallen on bad times
and condemns them for having been proud (as in \u8220?Pride goes before a fall,
\u8221? Proverbs 16:18). When these unfortunates then embrace humility (\u8220?w
ho casts his eyes down\u8221?), God rescues them. Though they were guilty (the m
eaning of {\i
\u8217?i-naqi} in the next verse has been much contested), God enables them to e
scape from their disaster, granting them that favor because He takes into consid
eration the intervention on their behalf of the now blameless Job (\u8220?he esc
apes through your spotless palms\u8221?). All this is no more than an educated g
uess about the meaning of these two stubbornly obscure lines.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
23\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Even now my complaint is defiant,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His hand lies heavy as I groan.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Would that I knew how to find Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that I might come to where He dwells.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} I would lay out my case before Him\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and would fill my mouth with contentions.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} I would know the words that He answered me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and would grasp what He said to me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} With great power would He debate me?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
No! He alone would pay heed to me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} There the upright can contend with Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would get away for all time from my Judge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, to the east I go, and He is not there, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to the west, and I do not discern Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To the north where He acts, and behold Him not, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He veils the south, and I do not see Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For He knows the way with me, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
tests me\u8212?I come out as gold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To His steps my foot held fast, {\super

11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His way I kept, and I did not swerve.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From His lips\u8217? command I did not turn, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in my bosom I stored His mouth\u8217?s dictates.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Yet He wants but one thing\u8212?and who can divert Him? {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What he desires He will do.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For He will finish out my fixed tally, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and much more of the same is with Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} So I am dismayed before Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I look, am afraid of Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} And God has made my heart quail,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Shaddai has dismayed me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} For I am not severed from darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my face the gloom has covered.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
His hand lies heavy as I groan}. This is the first of a series of obscure clause
s in this speech. The literal sense is \u8220?my hand was heavy on my groan.\u82
21? The translation emends \u8220?my hand,\u8221? {\i
yadi}, to \u8220?His hand,\u8221? {\i
yado}, a very small difference in Hebrew script. The preposition \u8220?on\u8221
? before \u8220?groan\u8221? is understood to mean something like \u8220?in the
midst of\u8221?\u8212?hence, \u8220?as I groan.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
lay out my case}. Job again resorts to his fantasy of meeting God for a fair leg
al argument in court.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
He alone would pay heed to me}. The Hebrew says literally \u8220?pay [or \u8220?
put\u8221?] in [against?] me.\u8221? An ellipsis or omission is assumed here: pa
y heed ({\i
sim lev}). The idea seems to be that if only Job could have his day in court wit
h God, his divine persecutor would put aside His advantage of overwhelming power
and pay attention to Job\u8217?s argument in his own defense.\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
east\u8230?west}. These directional terms, like the ones in the next verse, can
also refer to forward, backward, left, and right, and interpreters are divided a
s to which set of references is intended here. Since Job has spoken about search
ing out the place where God dwells (verse 3), the points of the compass seem mor
e likely, and it makes more sense for God to \u8220?veil\u8221? (verse 9) the so
uth than the right hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
To His steps my foot held fast}. It must be said that the language of this verse
and the next sounds more like a conventionally pious Wisdom psalm (compare Psal
m 119) than like Job. Given the relatively undistinguished poetry of this chapte
r and its textual difficulties, one might suspect that at least some of this tex
t has been smuggled in from another source.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
in my bosom}. The translation reads
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instead of the Masoretic
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw76\pich24
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01010100000000000000000000000000000001ffc400151101010000000000000000000000000000
0041ffda000c03010002110311003f00f515dbdad6273b09
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fbb4975a5ab7ad04b43faf8e8a4cafc2d8a5ec4f6070bbe0197ae5fae764b6fa74a875f0902c1e4a
53e4f375e6994a801c897909f2509d859189e69719d7737b
a17732c2aa89bc627228aa9bbe7346a1bfb569e76598fe02d6f29f2399753ed69291e3915046c8f1
1c17b6e9ec763c0a16caaf5c94dceb8414c970b0c4a96b71
b6ca53c5d765a9a514b694f32b1a07490004576571ab2cfea37bab6d1cbd4b4164511587903529e8
35eca10820eb7e9bca78007c7a8f28f85201002728c4e161
5f43b5587c979b5ddbec358cad440fb545ad9ba96e4ba37a4a8b4a9323dc0f821c1e0ef429be4db4
0b1faa7edcb319c2e51e3d8bcf72a2236a495c85baec78ad
3eda763925484c9015f010cad7be2ad905b5f781f77e9973eee73131a7730c8a15acc89bf71abaf6
14f35191c09da0212849293adbef1dfc9d04deefe234388f
6f3b03db69de9b61fb2ab84b548513c6340684b7ca11e4171c5476dbf0391f57437bd10d9e9b94d3
d5a9a44fb4875ef38d8752ccc7d0d2f89f83c5441fd11ff8
7a239998bd35843b5892aa20498b6c08b161e8c85a268280d90f248d39b42427ddbf6803e0741925
63d553a7d7ce93590e44dafe5f6725d610a72372002bd351
1b46c2403c75bd0ff3a0852b04c6a764ac645271eaa9190309e0d5b3b09a54a6d3e3c25d29e40781
e01fd7413e5d156cfb383652aba249b1821c1125bac254ec
70b002c36b2368e5c53bd11be237f1d02dd652fdfd865b8f59e1957171271c43b1dddb4eb56ca781
5ca53b1f8fb541c27655be7cb97fbd01d9f8a525ad4b1573
69e04cac614da9a84fc542d96ca082829411a052402343c6bc7419ff00075df984db7e3e2fe552c7
da89de8a7d70cf2e5e9f3d72e1bf3c77adf9e8289fa96c66
aeb30018ce318b2da9194e4555f95fe3f4ab59547339a5c990f961b3b1e9b6e05295e4827fde8abd
64d1d658d940b3935d16458410b1125bcc254f470e01cc36
a23923904a77ad6f88dfc74407c9f1e72da7b6f228e8acc25a08f5ad124b83c93c47fc6af6f9dfcf
c93d07ffd9
}}
, \u8220?from my statute [tally?].\u8221? This reading is reflected in the Sept
uagint and the Vulgate. A scribal error might have been triggered by the occurre
nce of
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw41\pich24
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ffda000c03010002110311003f00da544dd544f771ea15fb
ee47ae818ee25022c99921694368765497e43ca5b8af1f6311f609d0094f61d14e99598d041a06af
24de56c7a474214dd93b2db4c6585fc08709e242b635a3df
7d1175db782c59c7ae766c76ec2436b75988b7521d7109d725251bd903927640edb1fcfa082e726a
7c712daadad60d5a5c3a419b250c8578f1c88df91fe4741c
1ce327929c3512f15bcc763d9ce7d88f5b2ee9f2a82fb8b7929fd3050a056a50e494849d9511d018
7419060e5cdd055fb87f566736b9502b6fa5b1591dd40299
72e2c7660b3a1df9252eb65083dbee75cec78a15d155b30c0a9f17f6bbe9960d264467dc167498c4

a932569fa66d7f50dbf3d4d157da494b4f20a813ae2a4820
f2d81c6359147c93de55e583a5e79dadc521d7d7444a86d0dca94f3ae3c507c6d3110b2b27e0b693
a0a3a5001db7aaf36c7daf679ea057486e4e6b96c6b15c55
a46d55b010ebb1e23442be040e00208eefbeb3a2399007fea1e3989e0133d07c6e7b5058316c5865
87249e4a69a8101e71098e9fc2d4f2230d206d7dbce923a0
7c7efcdff673ff00d55ffce881f81428b595946336d8554b18685b4b864fe8bccd99741724172371
d20a5dfeadf327979df4043618c53db418b0a754c1990e23
88763c791190e36cad1f05212469253f823b8fc7413b34d5f1ad24d933063356325086df9886521e
7529df04a9606d406ce813db67a0447b89c6eb2b31fa2c6f
1bc5dc63f8872eaa977468295c5ee3b729321e7df2c3677bfa7e254aefb58df63d14f597455b3ece
0d94aae8926c608704496eb0953b1c2c00b0dac8da39714e
f446f88df8e88bdd07ffd9
}}
in verse 14.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
He wants but one thing}. The literal sense is \u8220?He is in one.\u8221?\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
He will finish out my fixed tally}. The probable reference is to the tally of Jo
b\u8217?s afflictions. The same verb and object, {\i
hishlim}
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw32\pich24
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0805050404050a070706080c0a0c0c0b0a0b0b0d0e12100d
0e110e0b0b1016101113141515150c0f171816141812141514ffdb00430103040405040509050509
140d0b0d1414141414141414141414141414141414141414
141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414ffc00011080018002003
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000000000000000000000001ffc40014110100000000000000000000000000000000ffda000c0301
0002110311003f00da544dd544f571dc2bf7dc8f5d031dc4
a045933242d286d0eca92fc8794b715f1fa311f609d0094f03a29e4d5fd63d4c8b76ec623952b683
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a1cdf1c78956fec7fd1d065d8397374157ea1fbb339b5ca8
15b7d2d8ac8eea014cb97163b3059d0e7c92975b2841e3f675ce0f8a15d144f6cf0b35f927633b65
2dc1271bc5f1a97672900131a7dbc65456c8dfc38195ca75
607202d3bfe9be007ee87712ea177133dc931a98aadacb35d076ee15c275ed7e7b935efc99482a1e
2a31d12948f23b4fb88293bf0500164ee2b306c73aecbf6f
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9efdd240fb3be79e88b0cfc669ed60310a6d4c199098d7b519f8c85b6de8788f1491a1c1238fa3d0
716788d15de3cba1b1a5ae9f44b6c34aac9515b7232903e1
25a5029206871ae813e109b5f5538bb106a2c22e378d62b39a8f21baa7da82997224329f692e7806
c14b5195c6fe1600f9e8afffd9
}}
, occur in Exodus 5:14 in reference to the tally of bricks of the Hebrew slaves
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and much more of the same is with Him}. God has an abundance of further nasty th
ings that he can inflict on human beings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
my face}. The received text reads \u8220?from my face\u8221? (or \u8220?from my
presence\u8221?), {\i
mipanay}, but the suspect initial {\i
mem} (\u8220?from\u8221?) before the word for \u8220?face\u8221? is probably a d
ittography induced by the occurrence of {\i
mipney} (\u8220?from\u8221? or \u8220?from before\u8221?) in the first verset.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
24\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
W}hy are dire times not stored by Shaddai {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and those who know Him behold not his days?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They set aside boundary-stones, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a flock they steal and pasture it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The orphans\u8217? donkey they drive off, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they take in pawn the widow\u8217?s ox.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
[They steal the orphan from the breast, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the poor man\u8217?s suckling they take in pawn.]\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They push the paupers from the road,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
together the earth\u8217?s poor go in hiding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Why, like wild asses in the wilderness\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they go forth on their task\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
searching for food,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the steppe offers bread to the lads.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} In the field they harvest their fodder,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
glean leavings from the wicked\u8217?s vineyard,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} naked, pass the night with no garment\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and no clothing in the cold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} By the mountain stream they are soaked\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and unsheltered they hug a rock.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Naked, they go round with no garment,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and hungry, they carry the sheaf.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} In the groves they make olive oil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they trample the winepresses and they thirst.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} From the town the folk groan,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the dying breath of the fallen cries out,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and God finds no cause for blame.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} They joined the rebels against the light,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they did not know its ways,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and they did not dwell in its paths.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By light the murderer rises, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he slays the poor and the indigent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and at night he is like a thief.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The adulterer\u8217?s eye watches for twilight, {\super

15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
saying, \u8220?No eye will make me out.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He puts a mask on his face.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They tunnel by dark into houses. {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By day they seal themselves up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They do not know light. {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For morning to all them is death\u8217?s shadow\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when they know the terrors of death\u8217?s shadow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Let him be swiftly swept off on the waters,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
cursed be his field in the land.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let him not turn on the vineyard path.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Parched land and heat steal away the snow;\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Sheol, those who offend.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Let the womb forget him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He is sweet to the worm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let him no more be recalled,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let wickedness break like wood.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Let his mate be barren and not give birth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
left a widow denied of good.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He who hauled bulls with his strength {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will stand up and not trust in his life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Though God grant him safety on which he relies, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His eyes are on their ways:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They are on top a moment and are gone. {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Laid low, like the weeds they shrivel,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and like heads of grain they wither. {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If it be not so, who will give me the lie,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and render my word as naught?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Why are dire times not stored by Shaddai}. In this verse, the individual words a
nd their syntactical connection are perfectly clear, but the meaning remains obs
cure. \u8220?Dire\u8221? has been added interpretively to \u8220?times,\u8221? f
ollowing one prevalent construction of the verse. The sense then would be, why d
oes God fail to reserve a time of punishment for the wicked, and why does He not
allow His faithful to see His days of judgment?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
They}. The reference switches to the wicked, the ones Shaddai should punish.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
They steal the orphan from the breast}. This verse, bracketed to indicate it is
probably out of place, does not seem to belong between verses 8 and 10, which ar
e part of a description of the destitute who have been forced to flee to the wil
derness, but it does fit here in the report of victimizing widows and orphans.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

5. {\i
like wild asses}. The \u8220?like\u8221? is merely implied in the Hebrew. Those
who are now like these untamed beasts are the destitute who have run off to the
badlands in order to escape persecution.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the steppe offers bread to the lads}. The impoverished young are driven to forag
e in the wilderness for whatever sustenance they can find.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
fodder}. The term, generally indicating animal feed, reflects the bleak circumst
ances to which these destitute refugees have been reduced.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
hungry, they carry the sheaf}. They labor for landowners, carrying sheaves of gr
ain from which they cannot partake. The same idea is expressed in the next verse
in the image of trampling grapes while going thirsty.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
God finds no cause for blame}. This summarizing clause succinctly states Job\u82
17?s indictment of divine justice: the poor go hungry and thirsty, brutally expl
oited by the ruthless rich; multitudes of murdered people cry out in their death
-throes; yet God sees nothing awry.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
By light the murderer rises}. Some interpreters, through a rather forced invocat
ion of a rabbinic idiom, claim that {\i
\u8217?or} means \u8220?evening,\u8221? not \u8220?light.\u8221? But the plain m
eaning of the line, in complementary parallelism, is that the murderer gets up i
n broad daylight to commit his crime impudently, and then at night, in a differe
nt criminal style, sneaks around to do more of the same.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
By day they seal themselves up}. The reference is not entirely clear. Perhaps th
e clause suggests that after tunneling into the house, the thieves shut and shut
ter it in daylight so they can ransack its contents with impunity. This would pr
ovide a practical explanation for \u8220?They do not know the light\u8221?\u8212
?both night and day they work in darkness. At the same time, these words obvious
ly catch up the larger symbolic significance of the criminals\u8217? status as \
u8220?rebels against the light.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
For morning to all them is death\u8217?s shadow}. In the perverted world of the
criminals, they fear the light that would expose them as others fear the darknes
s of death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
Let him be swiftly swept off on the waters}. The passage that runs from here to
the end of verse 24 is one of the most notoriously obscure in the Book of Job. S
ome scholars think it belongs in its entirety either to Chapter 25 (where a siza
ble section of Bildad\u8217?s speech has obviously been lost) or to Chapter 26.

Such radical transporting of chunks of text is based on risky conjecture, and so


it seems best to leave the passage where it is, construing the verbs as curse-f
orms (their form in the Hebrew gives no clear indication of their mode): may all
these dire things befall the wicked whose offenses have just been enumerated.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
swiftly swept off}. The Hebrew says only \u8220?swift.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\i
Let him not turn on the vineyard path}. The wicked man, his own field cursed, is
condemned to wander in wasteland, not to enjoy a pleasant stroll through any fr
uitful vineyard.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
steal away the snow}. The Hebrew says \u8220?snow waters,\u8221? telescoping the
snow and its melting and evaporation, but that phrase sounds cumbersome in Engl
ish.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Sheol, those who offend}. That is, just as the desert heat melts the snow, the u
nderworld takes away those who offend. But this entire line has probably been da
maged because there are five accented syllables in the first verset and just two
in the second verset, an extreme imbalance that is not admissible in biblical v
ersification.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
womb\u8230?worm}. In a neat encompassing maneuver, the line moves from womb to t
omb in cursing the life of the wicked man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
He who hauled bulls with his strength}. This rendering is an educated guess at t
he meaning of the Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
in his life}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?in life,\u8221?
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw69\pich23
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9986d4b6d4f391ceb4f2500ecb6763ee035e479e82a7b83914c8585d94dc76e71f81631de4329997
cf1f62d283a94b8874a1408571e49037f914efa0617eeabe
2d9c5ad7a7c666c25254a8f11c792975e091b514209da801f3a1e3a015464d4f903f3d9abb58364f
57bfeda6370e4a1d5467b40fa6e0493c15a20f13a3a23a0e
5eed1dd0462fdd2ee4cc842e1cb4cbed3f6fd537c5c5d8496d5eca3f149f1c8a63a109ff00a0f594
4f151d15ef609a8fdbfca91dbeb5b16ac1eed9d055d642aa

697fe5976b31a5bf21f6db51fb804706d0bf8424c8d948e7d0233b66ddf7d3de40b8a88b6177dc5e
e5b0976243ff006dd6956686d0d93e400a89079281f212b2
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d586d0b44572cde6921ad93a4a9a6dd08424fe086791f20058ad1fbc6d51e1398f62f28aa8a86581
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1f03414bf50b414d575fdabc46dd4c7bdc8f2d6e64e75c714a404b4e39652cb493bd95b8da194803
97171291bfc485ae418fc7cbfeadeaa1d7b0f473518ac89b
6738021d4fbf92da128f509e49594425a1291f8256a29292900817e976d2a2440cd730810947f745
f3cfc78f5cc734b1023010a1821200485371bd409fe9cfeb
4486db5583637453fdf5663f575d3787a7ee62426da738e80e3c929075a006bfa03a225271ba84df
2ef1357085d2d911956423a3dca9a0761b2e6b971d9278ef
5d02ee59853b1b0e6e2613538dc1b7af7d126a516507fd14577969c584b601428b6b752149d1daff
00a24106218d5426e5fb7155085b3ec88ef4f11d1ebb8d0d
e9b539ae452367c13af3d0448f81e33169e3d4b18ed4b35519f125882dc1692c34e85720e25013c5
2a07cf2037bf3d02f33155dc3cce3ccb0a5722d4e2b3dd5d
73d2dc6d465cdf4d6c29f4250a51421b438f2073d289593c404a4a81c25d156cfb383652aba249b1
821c1125bac254ec70b002c36b2368e5c53bd11be237f1d0
159ad891e6c898d4565a9724212fc8436038e84ef8052be55ad9d6fe367fbe8034b43598dc14c2a9
ae8957092a52c4784c2596c29476a3c5200d924927f9e83f
ffd9
}}
(with an unusual Aramaic ending), but some manuscripts more plausibly have
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw76\pich23
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83d10f1c331066b5ab5b29d09a4dbde4d5594d0a4a5450b2

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361e4a5f524fa60a53c88f8516d20fdb405dbc7aa99b19d6
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94aaf6d984da130ca810a2c809d364ecef8eb7be80054b0a
cef2d66f67542e1c0a1764c7ab54a5b6b5bef925a764a4214ae09094ad08d90a21c739253f4ec368
4e37509be5de26ae10ba5b2232ac84747b95340ec365cd72
e3b24f1deba095763d554f55fb5c0ad8706b38a93eca33086d9d2bfc870000d1d9df8f3be83c31ea
a4c7af6056430c5714984d08e8e314a53c525b1ad2343c0e
3ad0f1d010e83fffd9
}}
, \u8220?in his life.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
Though God grant him safety}. The Hebrew reads merely \u8220?he,\u8221? but the
antecedent that makes the best sense of this sentence is God. The idea, then, wo
uld be that God may accord the wicked temporary security, but He continues to sc
rutinize their acts (the Hebrew swings from singular to plural as it does elsewh
ere in the passage), and retribution will come. It must be said that this view s
ounds more like one of the three friends than like anything we would expect from
Job. Perhaps we can justify verses 22\u8211?24 as integral to Job\u8217?s speec
h by seeing them as statements impelled by the momentum of the preceding series
of curses against the wicked: having wished them to be swept away and driven int
o the grave, Job now indulges in a kind of fantasy that his wishes will really b
e fulfilled, that the triumphant wicked will actually get their just deserts fro
m God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
like the weeds}. The received text reads \u8220?like all,\u8221? {\i
kakol}. But the Qumran text of the Aramaic Targum shows {\i
kayabla\u8217?}, \u8220?like the weed,\u8221? which might reflect {\i
kayablit} in the Hebrew, and that reading is followed here.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
25\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Bildad the Shuhite spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Dominion and fear are with Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who makes peace in His heights.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Is there a number to His brigades,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on whom does His light not rise?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} And how can man be right with God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
how can he born of woman be clear?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, the moon itself does not give light, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the stars are not clear in his sight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How much more, man the maggot, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and humankind the worm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The shades shudder down below, {\super
{\b

26.5}}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the waters and their denizens.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Sheol is naked before Him, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Perdition is without garb.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He stretches Zaphon over the void, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hangs earth over emptiness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
bundles water in His clouds, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the scud does not burst below,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} covers the face of the throne,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
spreads His cloud upon it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} draws a circle over the water\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to the border of light and darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} The heavens\u8217? pillars quaver,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
are dumbfounded by His roar.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Through His power He subdued Yamm,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in His cunning He smashed Rahab.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} With His wind He bagged the Waters.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His hand cut down the elusive Serpent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Why, these are but the least of His ways,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the tag-end of the word that is heard of Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And His might\u8217?s thunder who can grasp?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bildad\u8217?s speech as we have it in the received text\u8212?only six verses\u
8212?is inordinately brief, less than a third the length of the other speeches i
n the debate, and a section, or sections, of it almost certainly have been displ
aced or lost in the process of scribal copying. This translation follows a commo
n proposal in transposing 26:5\u8211?14 to Bildad\u8217?s discourse here. Those
verses, which are wholly devoted to a rhapsodic celebration of God\u8217?s cosmi
c powers, are altogether implausible as part of Job\u8217?s speech, though that
is how they are assigned in the received text.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
who makes peace in His heights}. This clause, which was later adopted in the Jew
ish liturgy for the conclusion of the {\i
kadish}, may well refer, as Pope has suggested, to God\u8217?s victory in a prim
ordial battle of gods. The reference to \u8220?brigades\u8221? in the next line
suggests that idea, and if in fact 26:5\u8211?14 is a direct continuation of thi
s speech, the invocation of a triumphant warrior god there would be a further de
velopment of this mythological plot.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
on whom does His light not rise}. As the next two lines make clear, these words
suggest that God\u8217?s searching scrutiny holds all beings, terrestrial and ce
lestial, to account.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
the moon itself does not give light}. In God\u8217?s stern judgment, even the br
ight moon is considered to be dim.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i

the stars are not clear}. The Hebrew uses a strategic pun because the verb {\i
zaku} can mean both \u8220?to be pure\u8221? (or \u8220?innocent\u8221?) and \u8
220?to be bright.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
{\b
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
down bel}ow. This adverb is moved here from the beginning of the second verset,
where the Masoretic cantillation marks place it, to the end of the first verset,
where it makes better sense and rhythm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
Sheol is naked before him}. Even the depths of the underworld are exposed to God
\u8217?s searching gaze. (Compare 25:3.)\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Zaphon}. Zaphon is the mountain dwelling of Baal, the Syro-Canaanite weather-god
. This mythological reference sets the stage for the invocation of the battle wi
th the primordial sea-monster in verses 11\u8211?13.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
below}. The Hebrew says \u8220?below them,\u8221? the third-person plural suffix
referring back to \u8220?clouds\u8221? in the first verset.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
draws a circle over the water / to the border of light and darkness}. The essent
ial idea is that God circumscribes the roiling sea, preventing it from surging o
ver the dry land. The border of light and darkness would have to be the horizon,
which may not be logically correct but is poetically evocative as an image of f
ixing a vast boundary on the sea, from the horizon to\u8212?implicitly\u8212?the
edge of the land.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
Yamm\u8230?Rahab}. These, as we have seen earlier, are different names for the m
enacing sea-god who is subdued by YHWH (or, in the Canaanite version, Baal), Who
pushes back the forces of chaos and establishes the created order.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
With His wind He bagged the Waters}. The Hebrew here is somewhat obscure, but a
construction that continues the picture of a primordial battle against the sea-m
onster seems plausible. Thus, following Tur-Sinai, the translation understands t
he anomalous {\i
shifrah} to be a cognate of the Akkadian term that means \u8220?net,\u8221? and
instead of the Masoretic {\i
shamayim}, \u8220?heavens,\u8221? {\i
sam mayim}, \u8220?He put the Waters [in a net, {\i
shifrah}],\u8221? is assumed. The Water is given an upper-case {\i
W} here because it appears to be a poetic epithet for Yamm.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b

{\qc
26\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job spoke up and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How have you helped without power, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
rescued by an arm without strength?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} How have you counseled without wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and abundantly proffered advice?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} To whom have you told words,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and whose breath has come out of you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Chapter 26 and 27 sharply reflect the damaged state of the text of the whole seq
uence of chapters leading to Job\u8217?s last confession of innocence. As noted
in Chapter \u8220?The Book of Job\u8221?, only the first four verses of Chapter
26 can plausibly be attributed to Job. The formula that begins Chapter 27, \u822
0?And Job again took up his theme,\u8221? would seem to signal the end of the de
bate proper and the introduction of Job\u8217?s long confession of innocence tha
t runs to the end of Chapter 31. But verses 8\u8211?23 of Chapter 27 are an emph
atic declaration in the style of the three reprovers that God invariably punishe
s the guilty. Attempts to save these verses as Job\u8217?s discourse by reading
them as irony are forced and quite unconvincing. One of the three friends must b
e the speaker, and the most likely suspect, as many scholars have inferred, is Z
ophar, whose contribution to the third round of debate is missing from the recei
ved text. A bracketed formulaic sentence introducing these lines as Zophar\u8217
?s speech has been added in the translation before verse 8. Verses 8\u8211?23, h
owever, could not be the entirety of Zophar\u8217?s speech because the passage b
reaks off abruptly and is about half the length of the other speeches in the deb
ate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
helped without power}. Some understand this to mean: help someone who has no pow
er. Given the parallelism, however, with offering counsel without wisdom in the
next line, it is far more likely to refer to pretending to help when the one off
ering help is powerless to do so. What remains puzzling is that the second perso
n is singular where one would expect Job to address all three friends.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2\u8211?4. These verses break off, to be followed by a new formula for introduci
ng Job\u8217?s speech. Either a long section has been lost, or these lines belon
g somewhere in a previous speech of Job\u8217?s.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\p
ard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
27\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job again took up his theme and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By God, Who denied me justice {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and by Shaddai Who embittered my life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as long as my breath is within me, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and God\u8217?s spirit in my nostrils,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my lips will never speak evil; {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

nor my tongue ever utter deceit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


Far be it from me to declare you right, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
till I breathe my last I will not renounce my virtue.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To my rightness I cling, I will not let go, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my heart has not caused reproach all my days.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let my enemy be deemed a wicked man {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my adversary a wrongdoer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
[And Zophar the Naamathite spoke up and he said:]\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For what hope has the tainted to profit, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when God takes away his life?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will God hear his scream {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when disaster befalls him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Will he delight in Shaddai,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will he call upon God at all times?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Let me teach you with God\u8217?s own force,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
what is with Shaddai I will not conceal.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Look, all of you have beheld it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and why do you spew empty breath?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} This is the wicked man\u8217?s share with God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the portion that oppressors take from Shaddai.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} If his sons be many, it is for the sword,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his offspring will go without bread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} His survivors will be buried in the death-plague,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his widows will not keen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Should he heap up silver like dust\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and like mud lay up apparel,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} he\u8217?ll lay up, and the just man will wear it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the silver the blameless share out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} He will build his house like the moth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a shack that a watchman puts up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Rich he lies down\u8212?it\u8217?s not taken away.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He opens up his eyes and it\u8217?s gone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Terror will take him like water; {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
by night the storm snatches him up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The east wind bears him off and he\u8217?s gone, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
it sweeps him away from his place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
It flings itself on him unsparing, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from its power he strives to flee.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
It claps its hands against him, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and hisses at him from its place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i

By God\u8230?by Shaddai}. Job begins his confession of innocence by pronouncing


a solemn oath in the name of the very deity who has been persecuting him.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
For what hope has the tainted to profit}. This speech begins with a recurrent ce
ntral theme of the friends\u8217? verbal assault on Job: the man who has pollute
d himself through evil acts will never really profit from them because God\u8217
?s stern retribution will overtake him (as it has overtaken Job).\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
Let me teach you with God\u8217?s own force}. This smug assumption that the spea
ker knows what God knows about good and evil, reward and punishment, is characte
ristic of the friends.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
Look, all of you have beheld it, / and why do you spew empty breath?} These impa
tient words make sense coming from Zophar as the last of the three reprovers to
speak in the debate. He turns to his two friends and berates them for not making
their case against Job more forcefully clear to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
his widows will not keen}. The plural, of course, presupposes polygamy. Presumab
ly, the widows will not mourn because they have no use for their good-for-nothin
g husband.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
it\u8217?s not taken away}. The referent of the Hebrew verb is ambiguous, but it
seems likely that it refers to the rich man\u8217?s wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
like water}. Though some emend this word, thinking it an odd simile, it may simp
ly refer to the way a flood overwhelms a person or sweeps him away\u8212?a very
common image for death or disaster in Psalms. \u8220?Water\u8221? and \u8220?sto
rm\u8221? would then be parallel terms for destruction in the two versets.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
the east wind}. As elsewhere (including the frame-story), the east wind, blowing
from the desert, parches and blights.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
claps its hands\u8230?hisses}. Both are conventional gestures of scorn, but at t
he same time the sounds of clapping and hissing or whistling neatly evoke the vi
olent motion of the storm-wind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\pa
ge } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
28\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

1} {\b
Y}es, there\u8217?s a mine for silver\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a place where gold is refined.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Iron from the dust is taken\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from stone the copper to smelt.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
An end has man set to darkness, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and each limit he has probed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the stone of deep gloom and death\u8217?s shadow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He breaks under a stream without dwellers, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
forgotten by any foot,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
remote and devoid of men.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The earth from which bread comes forth, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and beneath it a churning like fire.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The source of the sapphire, its stones, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and gold dust is there.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A path that the vulture knows not {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor the eye of the falcon beholds.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The proud beasts have never trod on it, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor the lion passed over it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To the flintstone he set his hand, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
upended mountains from their roots.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through the rocks he hacked out channels, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all precious things his eye has seen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The wellsprings of rivers he blocked. {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
What was hidden he brought out to light.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} But wisdom, where is it found,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and where is the place of insight?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Man does not know its worth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and it is not found in the land of the living.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} The Deep has said, \u8220?It is not in me,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the Sea has said, \u8220?It is not with me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} It cannot be got for fine gold,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor can silver be paid as its price.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} It cannot be weighed in the gold of Ophir,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in precious onyx and sapphire.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Gold and glass cannot equal it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor its worth in golden vessels.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Coral and crystal\u8212?not to be mentioned,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
wisdom\u8217?s value surpasses rubies.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Ethiopian topaz can\u8217?t equal it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in pure gold it cannot be weighed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

20} And wisdom, from where does it come,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


and where is the place of insight?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} It is hidden from the eye of all living,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from the fowl of the heavens, concealed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Perdition and Death have said, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?With our own ears we heard its rumor.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God grasps its way, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He knows its place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For He looks to the ends of the earth, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
beneath all the heavens He sees,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to gauge the heft of the wind, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to weigh water with a measure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He fixes a limit for rain {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a way for the thunderhead.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Then He saw and recounted it, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
set it firm and probed it, too.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} And He said to man:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, fear of the Master, that is wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the shunning of evil is insight\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Yes, there\u8217?s a mine for silver}. This rhapsodic celebration of divine wisd
om is clearly not part of the debate between Job and his three reprovers, and th
e strong scholarly consensus is that it is an editorial interpolation, perhaps w
ith the aim of introducing a pious view of wisdom in this book that is such a ra
dical challenge to the guiding assumptions of Wisdom literature. Robert Gordis,
noting some affinities with the general poetic language of Job, imagines that th
is is an earlier composition by the Job poet, which he decided to insert here as
a kind of interlude before Job\u8217?s final confession of innocence. That prop
osal, though beguiling, is fanciful: this looks like the work of another poet wi
th a very different worldview. As a hymn to divine wisdom, however, it does exhi
bit considerable poetic force.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
silver\u8230?gold}. These precious substances appear later in the poem in the li
st of objects of value that cannot equal the worth of wisdom. The mining of silv
er and gold and then the smelting of copper also introduce the notion of man\u82
17?s technological resourcefulness. As the lines that follow vividly declare, ma
n searches out all the remote places of the earth, sinking mine-shafts into the
depths of the ground, damming rivers, everywhere in ardent pursuit of treasure.
Yet all this brilliant technology is nothing in comparison to the value of real
wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
a place where gold is refined}. The movement from the source of silver in the fi
rst verset to the place of refining gold in the second verset participates in th
e general pattern of narrative development between the two halves of lines in bi
blical poetry.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
An end has man set to darkness}. The Hebrew says merely \u8220?he has set\u8221?
the implied antecedent, \u8220?man,\u8221? has been added for the sake of clari
ty. Given the image in the third verset of stone as the abode of darkness, what
is probably suggested here is that man, tunneling into stone for precious minera

ls, opens it to the light, or, perhaps, brings torchlight down into the mines.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
breaks under a stream}. This is a poetic image of digging tunnels under rivers.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
beneath it a churning like fire}. Thought it is unlikely that the poet had any n
otion of the earth\u8217?s molten core, he seems to have had a sense of what is
beneath the surface of the earth as a realm of fluid unstable forces, while the
surface above provides humankind its daily bread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
The proud beasts have never trod on it}. The places that man the restless miner
reaches in his quest for precious minerals are so remote that even wild animals
do not live there. The existence of copper mines in the rocky desert region near
the Gulf of Aqaba might have encouraged this image.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
But wisdom, where is it found}. All this human searching into the dark and remot
e places of the earth may discover treasure but not what is far more precious, w
isdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
fine gold}. This is the first of four different Hebrew terms for gold that the p
oet deploys in the next five lines.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
And wisdom, from where does it come}. The use of this entire line as a refrain i
s in keeping with the celebratory purpose of the poem.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
Perdition and Death}. This mythological pair answers to the pair, Deep and Sea,
in verse 15. The effect of both is to give a cosmic sweep to the celebration of
divine wisdom: it is not to be found in the sea or the great abyss or the underw
orld realm of death but only with God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
to gauge the heft of the wind}. The wind, of course, cannot be weighed\u8212?exc
ept by God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
to weigh water with a measure}. Several English versions render this as \u8220?m
ete out water with a measure.\u8221? The point, however, is not that God doles o
ut measures of water but rather that He alone, as Creator, can weigh the huge ma
ss of the primordial waters.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
Then He saw and recounted it}. The past tense of the verbs indicates that this a
ct of divine reflection comes at the end of the process of creation, a process i
ntimated in verses 24\u8211?26. The poet may have in mind the reiterated \u8220?

And He saw that it was good\u8221? in the first account of creation. The recount
ing, then, might be the authoritative narrative of creation in Genesis.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
set it firm}. This is the verb regularly used for establishing things on a firm
foundation\u8212?houses, dynasties, the world.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and probed it, too}. God not only set creation on a firm foundation but also, th
rough His unique wisdom, searched out and understood every one of its components
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
And He said to man}. This clause (two words in the Hebrew) is an extra-metrical
introduction to the concluding line of the poem. Extra-metrical elements, especi
ally for the introduction of direct speech, are fairly common in prophetic poetr
y.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the Master}. The Hebrew uses {\i
\u8217?adonai} here, and only here, in the Book of Job, which has led some schol
ars to think it is textually suspect. Many manuscripts read YHWH, but that divin
e name is also not used in Job until the Voice from the Whirlwind. Since by the
Late Biblical period YHWH was pronounced as though it were {\i
\u8217?adonai}, that may have led to the switch here, though it is hard to know
which term was the original one.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
fear of the Master\u8230?the shunning of evil}. The reiterated question in the r
efrain of where is wisdom is now given a resonant answer at the very end of the
poem. But such neat confidence is alien to the Job poet, even where he evokes Go
d\u8217?s speech at the end of the book.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyph
par }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
29\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Job again took up his theme and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would that I were as in moons of yore, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as the days when God watched over me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He shined his lamp over my head, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
by its light I walked in darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as I was in the days of my prime\u8212? {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God an intimate of my tent,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when Shaddai still was with me, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
all around me my lads;\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} when my feet bathed in curds\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the rock poured out streams of oil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} when I went out to the city\u8217?s gate,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the square I secured my seat.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Lads saw me and took cover,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the aged arose, stood up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Noblemen held back their words,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

their palm they put to their mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
10} The voice of the princes was muffled,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their tongue to their palate stuck.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} When the ear heard, it affirmed me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the eye saw and acclaimed me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} For I would free the poor who cried out,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the orphan with no one to help him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} The perishing man\u8217?s blessing would reach me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the widow\u8217?s heart I made sing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Righteousness I donned and it clothed me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a cloak and a headdress, my justice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Eyes I became for the blind,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and legs for the lame I was.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} A father I was for the impoverished,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a stranger\u8217?s cause I took up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} And I cracked the wrongdoer\u8217?s jaws,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from his teeth I would wrench the prey.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And I thought: In my nest I shall breathe my last, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my days will abound like the sand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My root will be open to water, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and dew in my branches abide,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my glory renewed within me, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my bow ever fresh in my hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To me they would listen awaiting {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fall silent at my advice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
At my speech they would say nothing further, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and upon them my word would drop.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They waited for me as for rain, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and gaped open their mouths as for showers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I laughed to them\u8212?they scarcely trusted\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but my face\u8217?s light they did not dim.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I chose their way and sat as chief,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} I laughed to them\u8212?they scarcely trusted\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
but my face\u8217?s light they did not dim.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} I chose their way and sat as chief,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I dwelled like a king in his brigade\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when he comforts the mourning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
And Job again took up his theme}. With the repetition of this formula from 27:1,
we are back on track with Job\u8217?s concluding confession of innocence.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

3. {\i
when He shined his lamp over my head}. The concrete image is of God \u8220?watch
ing over\u8221? Job solicitously, holding a lit oil lamp (which would have been
a wick in oil in a shallow concave ceramic dish) above him so that he can walk s
afely through the dark.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
God an intimate of my tent}. Literally, \u8220?When God\u8217?s council [that is
, His exclusive intimate company] was at my tent.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
my lads}. Though the Hebrew {\i
ne\u8216?arim} could refer either to Job\u8217?s seven dead sons or to his retai
ners, the latter meaning is more likely because the context here is Job\u8217?s
recollection of the imposing standing in society he enjoyed before all the disas
ters befell him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
curds\u8230?oil}. These are, of course, hyperbolic expressions of affluence. Com
pare Deuteronomy 32:13: \u8220?He suckled him honey from the crag / and oil from
the flinty stone.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
the city\u8217?s gate\u8230?the square}. The square before the city\u8217?s gate
was the place where justice was deliberated, and Job, as the leading notable of
the community\u8212?compare verses 8\u8211?11\u8212?would have had a regular pl
ace there.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
affirmed me}. The verb {\i
\u8217?asher} literally means to say {\i
\u8217?ashrey}, \u8220?happy is he.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
I would free the poor}. Exercising his role in administering justice, Job acted
on behalf of the helpless\u8212?the poor, the orphan, the widow, the man about t
o perish, the handicapped, the victim of wrongdoing (verses 12\u8211?17).\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
In my nest I shall breathe my last}. As a consequence of a life dedicated to vir
tuous acts, Job thought he had every reason to expect he would die a tranquil de
ath in the bosom of his family.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
my days will abound like the sand}. The Hebrew word for \u8220?sand,\u8221?
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}}
, has a homonym that means \u8220?phoenix,\u8221? and many interpreters have be
en attracted to that meaning because the phoenix is eternal, reborn out of its o
wn ashes. However, Job is not imagining eternal life, only a very long life, and
the equation between (grains of) sand and things so abounding, or so many (the
verbal stem {\i
r-b-h}, as here) that they are innumerable, is a common biblical idiom.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
within me}. The literal sense of the Hebrew preposition is \u8220?with me\u8221?
or \u8220?alongside me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
my bow ever fresh in my hand}. The poet probably has in mind that after very ext
ended usage, the bowstring begins to go slack and the wood of the bow loses its
spring, but this bow\u8212?a metaphor for Job\u8217?s strength\u8212?is constant
ly renewed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
At my speech they would say nothing further}. This verse and the previous one pi
ck up the theme of verses 9 and 10. Some critics have proposed moving these line
s to earlier in the poem for the sake of seamless continuity, but such wholesale
rearrangement of the text seems neither necessary nor warranted.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\i
my word would drop}. The \u8220?dropping\u8221? is of a liquid, and is close to
\u8220?drip,\u8221? an image of blessed fructification in a semi-arid region tha
t was reflected in verse 19 and is vividly developed in verse 23.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
I laughed to them\u8212?they scarcely trusted}. This whole verse is the one obsc
ure juncture in an otherwise transparent chapter. The interpretation assumed in
this translation is that Job, expatiating to his listeners, expresses a joyfulne
ss that they in their plight can hardly trust, yet they do not presume to object
to his buoyant mood. The verb understood here as \u8220?dim\u8221? has given ri
se to widely divergent constructions and hence to very different readings of the
line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
when he comforts the mourning}. Some critics, puzzled by this clause, have drast
ically emended the Hebrew, but it seems reasonably intelligible as it stands in
the received text: Job, like a king in the midst of his royal brigade, offers co
mfort to those of his men who have suffered losses\u8212?metaphorically, the los
s of comrades fallen in battle\u8212?as in general he has rescued victims, fough
t on behalf of orphans and widows, and so forth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\p
ard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
30\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd now mere striplings laugh at me {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whose fathers I spurned\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to put with the dogs of my flock.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The strength of their hands\u8212?what use to me? {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From them the vigor has gone:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In want and starvation bereft {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they flee to desert land,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the darkness of desolate dunes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
plucking saltwort from the bush, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the roots of broomwood their bread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} From within they are banished\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
people shout over them as at thieves.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} In river ravines they encamp,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
holes in the dust and crags.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Among bushes they bray,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
beneath thornplants they huddle.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Vile creatures and nameless, too,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they are struck from the land.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} And now I become their taunt,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I become their mocking word.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} They despised me, were distant to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from my face they did not spare their spit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For my bowstring they loosed and abused me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
cast off restraint toward me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} On the right, raw youths stand up,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they make me run off\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and pave against me their roadways of ruin.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} They shatter my path,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my disaster devise,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and none helps me against them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Like a wide water-burst they come, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the shape of a tempest they tumble.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Terror rolls over me, {\super


15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
pursues my path like the wind,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my rescue like a cloud passes on.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And now my life spills out, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
days of affliction seize me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
At night my limbs are pierced, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my sinews know no rest.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
With great power He seizes my garment, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
grabs hold of me at the collar.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He hurls me into the muck, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and I become like dust and ashes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I scream to You and You do not answer, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I stand still and You do not observe me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You become a cruel one toward me, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with the might of Your hand You hound me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} You bear me up, on the wind make me straddle,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
break me apart in a storm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} For I know You\u8217?ll return me to death,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the meetinghouse of all living things.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} But one would not reach out against the afflicted\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if in his disaster he screamed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} Have I not wept for the bleak-fated man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sorrowed for the impoverished?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For I hoped for good and evil came.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I expected light and darkness fell.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} My innards seethed and would not be still,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
days of affliction greeted me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} In gloom did I walk, with no sun,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I rose in assembly and I screamed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Brother I was to the jackals,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
companion to ostriches.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} My skin turned black upon me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my limbs were scorched by drought.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} And my lyre has turned into mourning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my flute, a keening sound.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
mere striplings}. The Hebrew says \u8220?ones younger than I\u8221? or, more lit
erally, \u8220?lesser than I in days.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
whose fathers I spurned}. The society in which Job was once one of the greatest
of those who dwell in the East is hierarchical in regard both to social-economic
standing and to age. Even the fathers of Job\u8217?s mockers would have been be
neath his notice, unfit to run with his sheep dogs, and how much more so their h

alf-baked sons.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
the strength of their hands\u8212?what use to me?} Job\u8217?s mockers assail hi
m in the ostensible vigor of their youth, but he imagines that it will vanish in
a moment, and he proceeds to elaborate a fantasy of the striplings turned into
miserable pariahs banished to the wilderness (verses 3\u8211?8).\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
the darkness of desolate dunes}. The Hebrew shows prominent alliteration and wor
dplay: {\i
\u8217?emesh sho\u8217?ah umesho\u8217?ah}. The last two words would literally m
ean something like \u8220?desolation and desolateness.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
from within}. The Hebrew {\i
min-gew} is the first of a whole series of obscure places in this chapter. Some
interpreters, arguing from a proposed Northwest Semitic cognate, understand it t
o mean \u8220?from the community.\u8221? In rabbinic Hebrew, {\i
gew} or {\i
go} can mean \u8220?inside,\u8221? and that linguistic connection seems less of
a stretch than the purported Semitic cognate. \u8220?Within\u8221? then would re
fer to home, companionship, the boundaries of civilized habitation.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
they bray}. The Hebrew verb {\i
yinhaqu}, generally used for donkeys, nicely conveys the reduction of the banish
ed men to brutishness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
And now I become their taunt}. Job, having vividly conjured up the wretched fate
deserved by, or about to overtake, his young mockers, now bitterly turns to the
unrestrained derision to which they are subjecting him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
my bowspring they loosed}. The slackening of the bowspring is an image of depriv
ation of power, of unmanning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
they make me run off}. Literally, \u8220?they send off my feet.\u8221?\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
my path}. The translation reads {\i
netivati}, \u8220?my path,\u8221? with several manuscripts and the Syriac versio
n, instead of the Masoretic {\i
nedivati} (\u8220?my nobility\u8221??).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i

my rescue like a cloud passes on}. There is no need to see, as many interpreters
have done, an exotic meaning in {\i
yeshu\u8216?ati}, which everywhere else means \u8220?rescue.\u8221? Job, cast in
to deepest desperation, sees a fleeting vision of his hoped-for rescue sailing o
ff from him like a cloud.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
my limbs are pierced}. One might also understand this as \u8220?He pierces my li
mbs,\u8221? the antecedent being God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
With great power He seizes my garment}. The wording of this entire verse is obsc
ure, and hence any translation is conjectural.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
You do not observe me}. The received text reads \u8220?You observe me,\u8221? bu
t various manuscripts as well as the Vulgate show the negative.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
storm}. The marginal gloss ({\i
qeri}) instructs us to read the word in the Hebrew consonantal text, {\i
tushiwah}, as {\i
tushiah}, \u8220?wisdom\u8221? or \u8220?prudence,\u8221? but it is more likely
a variant spelling of {\i
teshu\u8216?ah}, \u8220?uproar\u8221? or \u8220?storm.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
the afflicted\u8230?he screamed}. The verse as it stands in the received text is
opaque. The translation reads {\i
\u8216?ani}, \u8220?the afflicted,\u8221? for the Masoretic {\i
\u8216?i}, \u8220?heap of ruins,\u8221? and {\i
shiwea\u8216?}, \u8220?he screamed,\u8221? for {\i
shua\u8216?}, \u8220?nobleman.\u8221? If all this is correct, the idea would be
that no one would abuse a helpless suffering person\u8212?so why does God persec
ute me in this way?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
bleak-fated}. Literally, \u8220?hard of day.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
Brother I was to the jackals}. In a painful reversal, the fate of brutalization
and banishment from society that Job conjured up for his mockers has befallen hi
m instead.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
31\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A} pact I sealed with my eyes\u8212? {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I will not gaze on a virgin.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And what is the share from God above, {\super

2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the portion from Shaddai in the heights?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is there not ruin for the wrongdoer, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and estrangement for those who do evil?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does He not see my way, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all my steps count?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Have I walked in a lie, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
has my foot hurried to deceit?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let Him weigh me on fair scales, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that God know my blamelessness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If my stride has strayed from the way, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my heart gone after my eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or the least thing stuck to my palms,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} let me sow and another shall eat,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my offspring torn up by the roots.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} If my heart was seduced by a woman,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and at the door of my friend I lurked,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} let my wife grind for another\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and upon her let others crouch.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For that is lewdness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and that is a grave crime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} For it is fire that consumes to Perdition,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in all my yield eats the roots.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} If I spurned the case of my slave\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or my slave-girl, in their brief against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} what would I do when God stands up,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and when He assays it, what would I answer?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Why, my Maker made him in the belly,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and formed him in the selfsame womb.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Did I hold back the poor from their desire\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or make the eyes of the widow pine?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Did I eat my bread alone,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and an orphan not eat from it?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For from my youth like a father I raised him, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from my mother\u8217?s womb I led him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I saw a man failing, ungarbed, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and no garment for the impoverished,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
did his loins not then bless me, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from my sheep\u8217?s shearing was he not warmed?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I raised my hand against an orphan, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when I saw my advantage in the gate,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

let my shoulder fall out of its socket {\super


22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my arm break off from its shaft.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For ruin from God is my fear, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and His presence I cannot withstand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If I made gold my bulwark, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fine gold I called my trust,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if I rejoiced that my wealth was great {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and that abundance my hand had found,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if I saw light when it gleamed {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the moon gliding grand,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} and my heart was seduced in secret,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my hand caressed my mouth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} this, too, would be a grave crime,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for I would have denied God above.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} If I rejoiced at my foe\u8217?s disaster,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and exulted when harm found him out\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} yet I did not let my mouth offend\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to seek out his life in an oath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} Did the men of my tent ever say,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?Would that we were never sated of his flesh.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
32} The sojourner did not sleep outside.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My doors to the wayfarer I opened.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} Did I hide like Adam my wrongdoings,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to bury within me my crime,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
34} that I should fear the teeming crowd,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the scorn of clans terrify me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
fall silent and keep within doors?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would that I had someone to hear me out. {\super
35}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Here\u8217?s my mark\u8212?let Shaddai answer me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let my accuser indict his writ.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would bear it upon my shoulder, {\super
36}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
bind it as a crown upon me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The number of my steps I would tell Him, {\super
37}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a prince I would approach him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If my soil has cried out against me, {\super
38}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and together its furrows wept,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if I ate its yield without payment, {\super
39}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and drove its owners to despair,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
40} instead of wheat let nettles grow,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and instead of barley, stinkweed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Here end the words of Job.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
A pact I sealed with my eyes}. After the catalogue of woes in the previous secti
on of this final speech, Job begins a series of affirmations of the scrupulously
virtuous life he led. Not only did he avoid promiscuity (verse 9), but he even
strictly refrained from gazing with lust at nubile women. This profession of inn
ocence is interrupted in verses 2\u8211?4 by a declaration\u8212?not exactly in
keeping with what Job says elsewhere\u8212?that God watches wrongdoers from abov
e and punishes them. Some scholars have proposed moving around various verses in
this chapter in order to produce better continuities, but all such surgical pro
cedures on the text are necessarily conjectural.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
Have I walked}. This line initiates a whole series that employs the Hebrew form
that indicates swearing an oath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
sow\u8230?eat\u8230?torn up by the roots}. In an agricultural society, these ima
ges are standard metaphors for all forms of endeavor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
let my wife grind for another}. The verb here is a kind of violent pun. Grinding
in a small stone hand mill is a domestic activity regularly performed by the wo
man in preparing food for her husband and family. But the crouching of other men
over her in the second verset turns the grinding into a representation of the s
exual act.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
If I spurned the case of my slave}. Job moves on from sexual morality to social
justice. Even a slave has legal rights and may bring a suit against his master,
and Job says that in the days of his prosperity he always honored those rights.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
the selfsame womb}. Job, of course, does not mean that he and the slave had the
same mother but rather that they share the same human condition, each having bee
n formed in the womb. Hence, despite the economic disparity, an existential pari
ty obtains between them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
from my mother\u8217?s womb I led him}. The received text says \u8220?led her,\u
8221? a difference of one syllable in a suffix, which some then understand to re
fer to the slave-girl in the second half of verse 13. Such a distant antecedent
seems unlikely, and it is more plausible to emend the suffix. The \u8220?mother\
u8217?s womb\u8221? is obviously a hyperbole, Job declaring that from his earlie
st days he looked after the poor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
did his loins not then bless me}. The loins, now comfortably wrapped in the garm
ent Job provides, are the poetic enunciator of the blessing.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
my advantage in the gate}. The gate is where courts of justice were conducted. T
he term rendered here as \u8220?advantage\u8221? is in most other contexts \u822
0?rescue,\u8221? the idea being that you come out on top.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
let my shoulder fall out of its socket}. This would be measure-for-measure justi
ce, a retaliation for raising one\u8217?s hand against the orphan.\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
light when it gleamed\u8230?the moon gliding grand.} As the erotic language of t
he next line makes clear, this would be an ecstatic response to the moon, perhap
s as manifestation of a deity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
my hand caressed my mouth}. The gesture is both sensual and cultic. We should ke
ep in mind that Job, for all his quarrel with God, remains a staunch monotheist.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
this, too, would be a grave crime}. It is fitting that the same term of condemna
tion used for adultery in verse 11 is presented here in connection with succumbi
ng to the pagan-erotic seduction of the moon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
If I rejoiced at my foe\u8217?s disaster}. Job\u8217?s profession of innocence h
ere goes beyond the norm of biblical morality, which often (as in Psalms) is hap
py to express exultation when disaster overtakes an enemy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
\u8220?Would that we were never sated of his flesh.\u8221?} The victim of this m
etaphoric cannibalism would have to be the helpless and the unhoused\u8212?perha
ps explicitly the sojourner and the wayfarer of the next line.\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
Did I hide like Adam my wrongdoings}. This would be the first human after eating
the forbidden fruit and trying to hide from God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
35. {\i
Would that I had someone to hear me out}. Job reverts to the idea of having his
day in court with God that he repeatedly favored earlier.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\i
Here\u8217?s my mark}. The mark is probably the mark with a personal seal by whi
ch a person would authenticate a legal document.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

36. {\i
I would bear it upon my shoulder}. So confident is Job that the accusations agai
nst him are baseless that he would proudly wear the writ of indictment as an orn
ament.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
37. {\i
The number of my steps I would tell Him}. Job would readily report everything he
has done because he is confident, as he said in verses 5 and 6, that he never w
alked in a lie or allowed his stride to stray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
like a prince}. The Hebrew {\i
nagid} puns on {\i
agidenu}, \u8220?I would tell him,\u8221? the two words sharing the same root.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
39. {\i
drove its owners to despair}. Some would like to understand this as \u8220?its t
enants\u8221? because Job has just referred to the soil as his, but the Hebrew {
\i
be\u8216?alim} means \u8220?owners.\u8221? Perhaps the possessive attached to \u
8220?soil\u8221? refers to renting soil (note the reference to payment). It is c
onceivable that a wealthy man like Job, besides the plots he owned outright, mig
ht have rented additional fields in order to grow crops for profit.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
40. {\i
stinkweed}. It is notable that the last angry word of Job\u8217?s argument in hi
s own defense is \u8220?stinkweed,\u8221? {\i
bo\u8217?shah}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Here end the words of Job}. This is a formal marker of closure and may well be o
riginal in the text. At this point, one might expect God\u8217?s response to Job
. Instead, as we shall now see, someone else intervenes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
32\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd these three men left off answering Job because he was right in his {\super
1} own eyes. And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite from the clan of Ram {\sup
er
2} flared up in anger, against Job his anger flared, for his claiming to be in t
he right more than God. And against his three companions his anger {\super
3} flared because they had not found an answer that showed Job guilty. And Elihu
waited out Job\u8217?s words, for they were his elders. And Elihu saw {\super
4,5} that the three men could utter no answer, and his anger flared.\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} And Elihu the son of Barachel spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am young in years,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you are aged.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Therefore was I awed and feared\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to speak my mind with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} I thought, Let years speak,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

and let great age make wisdom known.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
8} Yet it is a spirit in man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Shaddai\u8217?s breath that grants insight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} It is not the elders who are wise\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor the aged who understand judgment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Therefore do I say, O listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I, too, will speak my mind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Look, I have waited for your speech,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hearkened to your understandings,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
while you tested words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} And I attended to you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and, look, Job has no refuter,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
none to answer his talk among you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Should you say, \u8220?We have found wisdom\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God will confound him, not man,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he has not made his brief to me, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with your words I would not answer him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8212?they take fright, they no longer respond, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
words leave them in the lurch\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I waited, for they did not speak, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for they stood and no longer responded.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I, too, will speak out my part, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I will speak my mind, I, too.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For I am full up with words, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the wind in my belly constrains me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, my belly is like unopened wine, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like new wineskins it bursts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Let me speak that I may be eased,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let me open my lips and speak out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} I will show favor to no man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor flatter any person.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} For if I knew how to flatter,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my Maker would soon take me away.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
Elihu}. Though some scholars have tried to save the Elihu speeches as an integra
l part of the book, the plausible consensus is that it is an interpolation, the
work of another poet. No hint of Elihu\u8217?s presence is made in the frame-sto
ry at the beginning, and he is equally absent from the closing of the frame in C
hapter 42. The poetry he speaks is by and large not up to the level of the poetr
y in the debate between Job and his three reprovers, and there is a whole series
of Hebrew terms that appear only in the Elihu speeches. His name, though feasib
le in biblical usage, appears to be satirically devised as an intimation of his
impatiently presumptuous character. The literal meaning of Elihu the son of Bara
chel the Buzite from the clan of Ram is \u8220?He-is-my-God the son of God-has-b
lessed the Scornful One from the High Clan.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
waited out Job\u8217?s words}. The implication is that he waited out both Job\u8
217?s words and those of the three companions, but it is Job\u8217?s argument th
at he wants to refute.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
could utter no answer}. Literally, \u8220?there was no answer in the mouth.\u822
1?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
I am young in years, / and you are aged}. This invocation of relative ages lines
up with the traditional notion, repeatedly mentioned by the three companions, t
hat wisdom lies with the elders.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Yet it is a spirit in man}. Elihu, having listened impatiently to the ineffectua
l arguments of his three elders, now rejects the idea that wisdom resides with t
he aged and instead contends that it derives from God\u8217?s gift of the spirit
in a person, without regard to age.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
God will confound him, not man}. The literal sense of the verb represented as \u
8220?confound\u8221? is \u8220?push back,\u8221? \u8220?drive away.\u8221? In at
tributing this statement to the three reprovers, Elihu shows them admitting the
failure of their own arguments.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
he has not made his brief to me}. If he had done so, Elihu contends, I would hav
e answered him in words quite different from yours. A small emendation of the in
itial Hebrew word here, \u8220?not,\u8221? yields a subjunctive statement: \u822
0?had he made his brief to me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
they take fright}. This entire verse is set out here between dashes because it i
s a narrative statement about the three friends and not part of Elihu\u8217?s di
rect address to them. Whether it is a glossing interpolation or part of the poet
\u8217?s expository strategy is unclear. If the latter, we might read it as a ki
nd of aside to the audience by Elihu.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
I, too, will speak out my part, / I will speak my mind, I, too}. Such repetitiou
sness is characteristic of Elihu\u8217?s speeches and of a piece with his bombas
tic character.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
the wind in my belly constrains me}. This metaphoric representation of the impat
ient urge to speak as an explosive condition of flatulence is surely satiric, at
least in effect and perhaps in intent. It is extended in the image of bursting
wineskins in the next line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
new wineskins}. The wine, still fermenting in the new skins, which are not yet s
upple with use, threatens to burst them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
Let me speak that I may be eased}. This verset continues the idea of speech as r
elease from painful flatulence.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
I will show favor to no man.} As Elihu, concluding his rebuke to the three frien
ds, prepares to launch his frontal assault on Job, he intimates that they have b
een too kind to this reprobate, something that he, representing himself as a per
fectly objective person, will not do.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
my Maker would soon take me away}. The Hebrew verb at the end puns on \u8220?sho
w favor,\u8221? {\i
lasei\u8217?t panim} (very literally, \u8220?to bear a face\u8221?), because \u8
220?take away\u8221? (or \u8220?bear off\u8221?) is also {\i
lasei\u8217?t}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
33\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
B}ut hear, Job, my speech, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and hearken to all my words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, I\u8217?ve opened my mouth, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my tongue speaks on my palate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My heart\u8217?s truth\u8212?what I say, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my lips utter lucid knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God\u8217?s spirit has made me, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Shaddai\u8217?s breath has quickened me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If you can answer me, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lay it out before me, take your stance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, I am like you to God, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from clay I, too, was pinched.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, fear of me does not dismay you, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my urging does not weigh upon you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Why, you said in my ears,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the sound of words I heard:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} \u8220?Pure I am with no wrong,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
guiltless, I am free of crime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Look, He finds pretexts against me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He counts me His enemy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} He puts my feet in stocks,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

He watches all my ways.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
12} Look, where you fail to be right I will answer you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
for God is greater than man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Why do you contend with Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if He answers not all of man\u8217?s words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} For God speaks in one way\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or in two, and no one perceives Him:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} In a dream, a night\u8217?s vision,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when slumber falls upon men,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in sleep upon their couch.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Then He lays bare the ear of men,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and terrifies them with reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to make humankind swerve from its acts {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to put down pride in a man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that he save himself from the Pit {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his life from the Current.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And he is chastened with pain on his couch\u8212? {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
shuddering in his bones unrelenting.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His life-breath despises bread, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his gullet, desirable food.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His flesh wastes away before one\u8217?s eyes, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his bones, once unseen, are laid bare.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And his being draws near to the Pit, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his life-breath to the Killers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If he had an advocate, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
one spokesman out of a thousand,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to declare for man his uprightness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he could pity him and say, \u8220?Redeem him {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from going down to the Pit. I found ransom.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} His flesh would become sleeker than in youth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he\u8217?d return to the days of his prime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} He entreats God, Who grants him favor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he sees His face with a joyous cry\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He restores to man his right standing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} He sings out to men and says,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?I offended, perverted what\u8217?s straight,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and it was not worth it for me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} He redeemed his being from crossing to the Pit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his life-breath enjoys the light.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Look, all this God performs\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
twice or thrice with a man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
30} to bring back his being from the Pit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to glow in the light of life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} Attend, Job, listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
be still and I will speak.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} If there are words, answer me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Speak, for I would find you in the right.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} If not\u8212?you, listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
be still, and I will teach you wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
But hear, Job, my speech.} Elihu now turns from the three friends to the man he
considers to be the malefactor. Much of this speech is formulaic, and rather rep
etitious, and the poetry is undistinguished, lending plausibility to the surmise
that this is not the work of the Job poet.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
God\u8217?s spirit}. Elihu appears to refer not merely to his own creaturely con
dition but to the fact (see 32:8) that God has inspired him with insight.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Look}. It is almost a verbal tic that Elihu begins so many sentences with the os
tensive particle ({\i
hineh} or {\i
hen}), which in his case expresses an impatient sense that he knows it all.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
fear of me does not dismay you}. The self-assured Elihu is indignant that Job sh
ows no signs of quailing before the reproof that Elihu administers, certain of i
ts rightness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Pure I am with no wrong}. The speech attributed to Job, which continues to the e
nd of verse 11, is in fact a paraphrase of several declarations of innocence and
complaints about God\u8217?s relentlessness that Job made in the course of the
debate with the three friends.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
all of man\u8217?s words.} The Hebrew says merely \u8220?all of his words,\u8221
? but the likely antecedent of \u8220?his\u8221? is \u8220?man\u8221? at the end
of verse 12, so that word has been added for clarity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
For God speaks in one way}. The fact of the matter, Elihu argues, is that God re
ally answers man in more than one way, but unwitting humans don\u8217?t realize
they are being addressed. The particular mode of divine communication then stipu
lated is dream visions.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
terrifies them with reproof}. The Hebrew here is obscure. Instead of the Masoret
ic

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cbefbd0384212d21284242109180948c003fa1a0ffd9
}}
(\u8220?He seals\u8221??), this translation reads, with the Septuagint,
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw70\pich23
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94c36c442827653dae3c35bfc6ba096ef15a4c969ff49b7a
7816b57edff466c543cc7b7f8fb140a7c7e3c78e82c0a4ae4d39a910228aa2c98e608653d82d11a2
8e1ae3c48246b5ad741d2a8eb553614c35f14cb82dad9892
0b29ee476d7c79a1b56b694ab82360681e29dfc0e8395f475b50fcd7e0d7c584f4d77bf29c8eca5b
53ee6b5cd6401c95afc9d9e83fffd9
}}
, \u8220?terrifies them.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
its acts}. The Hebrew uses a singular noun. A long exegetical tradition, beginni
ng in Late Antiquity, assumes that what is implied is evil acts.\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
the Current}. The translation concurs with one line of interpreters who conclude
that the Hebrew
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw57\pich22
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40e7372fb19caedf1caf626a1d79d8cc2c265084eb6eb8cf5b4e290920908f7001d1d700c4e03fff
d9
}}
, which can mean \u8220?weapon\u8221? as well as \u8220?stream,\u8221? is a par
allel to the Pit and refers to a mythological river, such as the one known in Me
sopotamian mythology that marks the boundary of the realm of death.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
before one\u8217?s eyes}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?from sight.\
u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
the Killers}. If the received text is accurate, this would refer to angels of de
struction in Sheol.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
Redeem him / from going down to the Pit}. This whole line is also awkward in the
Hebrew and doesn\u8217?t scan as poetry. This is the least of the textual diffi
culties in this chapter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
become sleeker}. The Hebrew verb is anomalous and may reflect a corrupted text,
so the translation is conjectural.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
sings out}. The form of the verb is peculiar and its meaning somewhat uncertain.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
Attend, Job, listen to me}. Characteristically, this speech of Elihu\u8217?s end
s not with poetic imagery or genuine argumentation but with emphatic exhortation
, in a repetitious series of declarations that Job should be silent and listen t

o the wisdom that Elihu is about to impart to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par


\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
34\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A}nd Elihu spoke up and he said: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Listen, you sages, to my words, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you who know, O hearken to me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For the ear probes words {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as the palate tastes in eating.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let us take us a case to court, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let us know what is good between us.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For Job has said, \u8220?I\u8217?m in the right, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and God has diverted my case.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He lies about my case, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I\u8217?m sore-wounded from His shaft for no crime.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
7} Who is a man like Job,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lapping up scorn like water?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} He consorts with wrongdoers\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and walks with wicked men.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} For he has said, \u8220?What use to a man\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to find favor with God?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Therefore, discerning men, hear me:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
far be from God any wickedness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from Shaddai any wrong.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For a man\u8217?s acts He pays him back,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and by a person\u8217?s path He provides him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Surely God does not act wickedly,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Shaddai does not pervert justice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Who assigned the earth to Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and placed the whole world with Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Should He set His mind on man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his living breath He would gather to Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} All flesh would expire together,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
man to the dust would return.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} If you understand, then listen to this,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hearken to the sound of my words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Would one who hates justice hold sway,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would you call the great Righteous One wicked?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does one say of a king \u8220?scoundrel,\u8221? {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

\u8220?wicked\u8221? of the nobles?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


Who did not show favor to princes {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor was partial to rich over poor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for they all are the work of His hands.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In a moment they die, at midnight, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a people\u8217?s upturned, passes on,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the mighty swept off, by no hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For His eyes are on a man\u8217?s ways, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all his steps He does see.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
There is no dark and no death\u8217?s shadow {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
where wrongdoers can hide.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For He sets no fixed time for man {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to come in judgment with God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He smashes the unlimited mighty {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and puts others in their place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Therefore He knows their deeds, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
overturns them, in a night they are crushed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For their wickedness He strikes them\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in a place where all can see,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} because they turned away from Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all His ways they did not grasp,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} bringing the poor man\u8217?s scream before Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the scream of the lowly He heard.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Should He be silent, who could condemn Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Should He hide His face, who could glimpse Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whether a nation or a man?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} \u8212?rather than a tainted man ruling,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
than snares for the people.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} Did he ever say to God,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?I shall bear my punishment and not sin,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} I did not see\u8212?You must instruct me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if I have done wrong, I won\u8217?t do it again\u8221??\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
Should He by your dictates mete out justice, {\super
33}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for it is you who reject or choose, not I?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And what do you know?\u8212?speak.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Discerning men will say to me {\super
34}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a wise man listening to me:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?Job speaks without knowledge, {\super
35}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his words are without any sense.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would that Job might be tested forever {\super
36}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for responding like villainous men.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

For he adds to his offense, {\super


37}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
makes crime abound among us,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and compounds his talk against God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
Listen, you sages}. True to character, Elihu lines himself up with the sages but
also suggests that he knows even better than they.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Let us take us a case to court}. Elihu\u8217?s desire to argue his case against
Job in quasi-legal terms borrows from the metaphor of legal disputation that Job
has frequently used and anticipates the polemic quotation of Job\u8217?s legal
imagery in verses 5 and 6.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
He lies about my case}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?I lie,\u8221? but the {\
i
yod} signaling the third person may have been dropped by a scribe because the pr
evious word ends with a {\i
yod} (haplography).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
sore-wounded from His shaft}. The Hebrew is syntactically cramped and cryptic, l
iterally reading \u8220?sore-wounded my shaft.\u8221? Presumably the shaft, shot
by God, is \u8220?mine\u8221? because it has pierced Job\u8217?s body.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
what use to a man / to find favor with God}. These words are in fact a succinct
summary of Job\u8217?s argument about the arbitrariness of God\u8217?s justice.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
who assigned the earth to Him.} That is, God alone, having no superiors, is resp
onsible for ruling the earth, and thus one can expect that He will do so justly.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
the great Righteous One}. The translation follows the lead of most interpreters,
who understand this as a designation of God, though the Hebrew phrase {\i
tsadiq kabir} sounds a little odd in biblical usage as a divine epithet.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
Does one say of a king \u8220?scoundrel.\u8221?} Elihu\u8217?s theological conse
rvatism is reinforced by his social and political conservatism: whoever rules is
right.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
In a moment they die, at midnight}. God as the world\u8217?s impartial judge wor
ks in unanticipated ways. The wicked may prosper, but then they are swept off to
destruction in the blink of an eye, in the middle of the night. This assertion
jibes with a view often reiterated in Psalms.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
He sets no fixed time}. The received text appears to say \u8220?He does not set
still\u8221? (or \u8220?yet\u8221?). But the puzzling \u8220?still,\u8221? {\i
\u8216?od}, is probably a haplography obscuring {\i
mo\u8216?ed}, \u8220?fixed time,\u8221? since the preceding word, \u8220?sets,\u
8221? {\i
yasim}, ends with a {\i
mem}. The {\i
\u8216?ayin} and the {\i
waw} of {\i
mo\u8216?ed} would then have been scribally reversed to produce an erroneous {\i
\u8216?od}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
For their wickedness}. Textual difficulties proliferate from here through verse
31. Instead of the Masoretic {\i
resha\u8216?im}, \u8220?the wicked,\u8221? this translation reads {\i
rish\u8216?am}, \u8220?their wickedness.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
in a place where all can see}. The literal sense is \u8220?in a place of seers.\
u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
Should He be silent}. If the translation mirrors the meaning of the Hebrew, whic
h is not entirely certain, the sense is: even if God chooses to be silent and hi
de His presence, His justice is never in question.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30.\u8212?{\i
rather than a tainted man ruling}. This entire verse remains obscure.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
bear my punishment}. \u8220?Punishment,\u8221? perhaps the most likely object of
the verb, is merely implied.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
who reject or choose, not I}. Again, the Hebrew wording is rather crabbed and th
e meaning far from certain. The evident sense is a sarcastic challenge to Job: i
s it you who makes the decisions about the implementation of justice in the worl
d and not God? The sudden switch from third-person reference to God to the first
person (\u8220?not I\u8221?) is a little disorienting but an allowable procedur
e in biblical usage.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
34. {\i
Discerning men}. Elihu concludes this speech as he began it by invoking the supp
ort of the wise for his argument.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
36. {\i
like villainous men}. The received text reads \u8220?in\u8221? (or \u8220?agains
t\u8221?) \u8220?villainous men,\u8221? but the Septuagint and some Hebrew manus
cripts show \u8220?like.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\pa
ge } {\s2 \afs28

{\b
{\qc
35\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Elihu spoke up and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Is this what you count as justice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you say, \u8220?I am more right than God\u8221??\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} That you should say, What use is it to you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
what shall I gain from my offense?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} I will answer you in words,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your companions with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Look to the heavens and see,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the sky that is high above you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} If you offended, how do you affect Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if your crimes be many, what do you do to Him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} If you\u8217?re in the right, what do you give Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or what could He take from your hand?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} On a man like yourself your wickedness acts,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and on a human being your righteousness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From much oppression they cry out, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
call for help from the arm of the powerful.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And none says, \u8220?Where is God my Maker, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who gives us melodies in the night,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
instructs us more than the beasts of the earth, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Then they cried out\u8212?and He did not answer\u8212? {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from evil men\u8217?s haughtiness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
But to falseness God will not listen, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Shaddai will not behold it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How much more, when you say, you don\u8217?t behold Him, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the case is before Him and you await it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and now, His wrath requites nothing, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He knows nothing of any crime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} And Job\u8212?with mere breath he opens his mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Devoid of knowledge, he heaps up words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
What use is it to you, / what shall I gain from my offense?} The line shifts fro
m second-person reference to Job in the first verset to first-person citation of
Job in the second verset, a switch permissible in biblical usage though disconc
erting to the English reader. Job\u8217?s gaining from his offense is a little c
ryptic, but the evident sense is that he feels it makes no difference whether he
is virtuous or sinning, and he has no special motive to offend because he gets
nothing from it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
Look to the heavens and see}. The invocation of the vastness of the heavens prep
ares the ground for the contention (verses 6\u8211?8) that man\u8217?s actions h
ave no effect on God high above.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
acts}. A verb to this effect is merely implied in the Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
From much oppression they cry out}. This sudden switch to the suffering multitud
es is intended to make the argument that many undergo terrible affliction but on
ly Job accuses God for his suffering.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
Who gives us melodies in the night}. Many modern interpreters prefer to understa
nd the noun {\i
zemirot} as deriving from a (rare) homonymous root {\i
z-m-r} that means \u8220?strength.\u8221? There is nothing, however, in the imme
diate context to indicate that \u8220?strength\u8221? is the more likely meaning
. By opting for the meaning \u8220?melodies,\u8221? one accords the poet of the
Elihu passages his first line of haunting poetry in an otherwise lackluster perf
ormance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
But to falseness God will not listen}. Job has been objecting that God refuses t
o listen to his complaint. Elihu\u8217?s rejoinder is that when a complaint is e
ntirely baseless, God will of course refuse to listen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
and now, His wrath requites nothing}. This entire line is completely opaque in t
he Hebrew. A very literal translation of this first verset is \u8220?And now tha
t there is nothing, His wrath requites [or singles out].\u8221?\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\i
and He knows nothing of any crime}. The word represented as \u8220?crime,\u8221?
{\i
pash}, is unintelligible, and the translation assumes, with many critics, that i
t was originally {\i
pesha\u8216?}, \u8220?crime,\u8221? the last consonant having been somehow dropp
ed in scribal transcription. Even so, the clause sounds garbled and scarcely in
keeping with biblical idiomatic usage. A literal rendering: \u8220?And he knows
nothing in [of?] crime very much.\u8221? In any case, this line is meant to be a
summary of Job\u8217?s impious words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
And Job}. The switch from second person to third person at the end of this speec
h has a certain rhetorical logic: Elihu, having rebuked Job in direct address, n
ow refers to him, contemptuously, in these summarizing words in the third person
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
36\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\b
A}nd Elihu went on to say: {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Wait for me a bit while I tell you {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that there are still words on God\u8217?s behalf.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I shall speak my mind far and wide, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and show that the right\u8217?s with my Maker.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For, indeed, my words are no lie, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
one perfect in knowledge is with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, God is great, He does not despise us, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
great in power and understanding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He will not let the wicked live, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He grants justice to the afflicted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He does not take His eye off the righteous {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor off kings for the throne,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whom He seats on high forever.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And if captives are in fetters {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
ensnared in the bonds of affliction,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} He tells them their acts,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their crimes, which grow great.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} And He lays bare their ear to reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and says they must turn from wrongdoing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} If they obey and serve,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they will finish their days in bounty\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their years in pleasantness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} And if they obey not, they will cross the Current,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and expire unawares.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} And the tainted in heart keep up anger,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they do not cry out when He binds them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} They die in youth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
perish among catamites.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} He frees the afflicted through their affliction\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and through oppression He lays bare their ear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} He even drew you away from the straits,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a broad place unconfined beneath you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your table heaped with rich fare.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And you were filled with the case of the wicked, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the case and the ruling on which they depend.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For look out, lest he lure you with riches, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lest great bribery lead you astray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will your wealth matter to Him in straits {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all the efforts of power?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Do not pant for the night, {\super


20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for peoples to vanish from where they are.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Watch out, do not turn to wrongdoing, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
which you chose instead of affliction.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, God looms on high in His power. {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who is like Him as a teacher?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who has assigned Him His way, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and who has said, \u8220?You have done wrong?\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Recall that you exalt His deeds {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
which men have espied.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All humankind has beheld Him, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
man looks from afar.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Why, exalted is God, and we know not, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the number of His years is unfathomed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} For He draws down drops of water,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they are distilled in the rain of His wetness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} as the skies drip moisture,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
shower on abounding humankind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Can one grasp the spread of cloud,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the roars from His pavilion?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} Why, He spreads over it His lightning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the roots of the sea it covers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} For with them He exacts justice from peoples,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
gives food in great abundance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Lightning covers His palms, {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He commands it to hit the mark.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His roaring tells about Him, {\super
33}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His zealous wrath over evil acts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
one perfect in knowledge is with you}. Elihu is referring to himself, with chara
cteristic lack of modesty. Ever bombastic, he begins this fourth discourse with
a three-line windup (verses 2\u8211?4) entirely devoted to announcing his own wi
sdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
despise us}. The object of the verb is merely implied in the Hebrew.\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\i
power and understanding}. The Hebrew says literally \u8220?power of heart,\u8221
? but the heart is clearly referred to here as the organ of understanding.\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
their crimes}. It is Elihu\u8217?s complacent assumption that if someone is subj

ected to captivity or some other terrible misfortune (verse 8), it must be becau
se he is being punished for some crime that he has committed.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
the Current.} As in 33:18, the probable reference of the Hebrew
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898e1ecd62e1b66337c085238b5c788e2402343c11e3a09a
c5156c6b39364cd7c56ac65210d3f2d0c252f3c84fed4ad606d406ce813e37d0681dba9349dc6a1c
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96cfea042403c48f04f40989484a4000003c003eba0fffd9
}}
is to a mythological river marking the border of the realm of death.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
catamites}. The Hebrew {\i
qedeishim} is in dispute. Though it has often been understood as a term for homo
sexual cult-prostitutes, some scholars deny there was any practice of cultic pro
stitution, male or female, in the ancient Near East. The parallelism with \u8220
?youth\u8221? here is obscure. If the term does refer to male prostitutes, perha
ps Elihu assumes that they would have been cut off at an early age because of th
eir promiscuity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
frees the afflicted through their affliction}. The evident idea is that the expe
rience of suffering leads to a new and liberating insight in the sufferers\u8212
?into what they have done and how they must change.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
you were filled with the case of the wicked}. The Hebrew wording, reflected in t
his translation, is somewhat obscure. Textual difficulties become more and more
dense as the chapter goes on.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
For look out}. With many scholars, this translation reads
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}}
(an Aramaicism for \u8220?look\u8221?) instead of the Masoretic

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}}
, \u8220?anger.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
lest he lure you.} The \u8220?he\u8221? would be one of the wicked.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
Will your wealth matter to Him in straits}. The translation supposes {\i
lo} (to Him) instead of the Masoretic {\i
lo\u8217?} (\u8220?not\u8221?). In any case, the meaning of the whole is uncerta
in.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
for peoples to vanish}. Literally, \u8220?for peoples to go up.\u8221? The possi
ble sense of all this is, don\u8217?t count on a sudden upheaval in the middle o

f the night, when whole peoples are suddenly destroyed, and your own fortune cha
nged.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
instead of affliction}. Affliction, one recalls, is, in Elihu\u8217?s view (vers
e 15), an agency of moral correction.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
For He draws down drops of water}. A prime instance of God\u8217?s greatness, be
held by humankind (verse 25), is His bringing the rains to sustain life.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
wetness}. The term {\i
\u8217?eid} occurs only here and in the second creation story, Genesis 2:6, wher
e it refers to the moisture rising from the primeval earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
the roars from His pavilion}. The pavilion, {\i
sukah}, is the heavenly abode of the deity in Canaanite mythology, and the roars
from it are the sound of thunder.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
His lightning}. The usual sense of the Hebrew {\i
\u8217?or} is \u8220?light,\u8221? but the Elihu poet, both here and in verse 32
, uses this instead of the common word {\i
baraq}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the roots of the sea it covers.} The verb here is a little odd, but the idea see
ms to be that God\u8217?s lightning penetrates even to the roots of the sea.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
For with them He exacts justice from peoples}. \u8220?Them\u8221? refers to the
just mentioned thunder and lightning, which are the traditional weapons of the s
ky-god in pre-Israelite mythology.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
gives food in great abundance}. The two versets of this line express respectivel
y the acts of the God of judgment and of the God of mercy. He brings down a thun
dering assault of punishment on wayward nations but provides sustenance to human
kind at large. The opposing acts are associated because the lightning occurs in
rainstorms, and the gentler rains (see verses 27 and 28) water the earth to make
it fruitful.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
Lightning covers His palms}. The lightning bolts rest on God\u8217?s palms befor
e He hurls them at their target.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
His roaring tells about Him}. The translation of this cryptic verset is an educa
ted guess, based on the surmise that this line is a continuation of the thunder
imagery and that the rumbling of the thunder is heard as a manifestation of God\
u8217?s awesome power. The second verset in the original sounds altogether like

gibberish, an effect mirrored\u8212?inadvertently?\u8212?in the King James Versi


on for the entire line: \u8220?The noise thereof showeth concerning it, the catt
le also concerning the vapour.\u8221? This translation tries to rescue the verse
t from pure gibberish by emending {\i
miqneh}, \u8220?cattle,\u8221? to {\i
meqanei\u8217?}, \u8220?to be zealous,\u8221? and revocalizing {\i
\u8216?oleh} (\u8220?going up\u8221??) as {\i
\u8216?awlah}, \u8220?wrongdoing\u8221? or \u8220?evil act.\u8221?\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
37\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
F}or this, too, my heart trembles,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and it leaps from its place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Hear, O hear His voice raging\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the murmur that comes from His mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Beneath all the heavens He lets it loose\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His lightning to the corners of earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} After it roars a voice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He thunders in the voice of His grandeur,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He does not hold them back as His voice is heard.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
God thunders wondrously with His voice, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
doing great things that we cannot know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For to the snow He says: \u8220?Be on earth,\u8221? {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and rain in torrents, the rain of His mighty torrents.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Every man He shuts in, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that all men know His deeds.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And the beast comes into its lair, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in its den it dwells.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From the sky-chamber comes the tempest, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from the winds\u8217? dispersal the cold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From God\u8217?s breath the ice is made, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and wide waters turn solid.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
With heavy moisture He loads the cloud, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the thunderhead scatters His lightning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and round about it spins in its designs {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to perform all that He charges them\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the face of inhabited earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whether for a scourge to His earth, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whether for mercy, He makes it happen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hearken to this, O Job, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
stand, and take in the wonders of God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Do you know when God directs them, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and His thunderhead\u8217?s lightning shines?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Do you know of the spread of cloud, {\super


16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the wonders of the Perfect in Knowledge,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when your garments feel warm\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as the earth is becalmed from the south? {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Will you pound out the skies with Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
which are strong as a metal mirror?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Let us know what to say to Him!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
We can lay out no case in our darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Will it be told Him if I speak,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will a man say if he is devoured?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} And now, they have not seen the light,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
bright though it be in the skies,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as a wind passes, making them clear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} From the north gold comes;\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
over God\u8212?awesome glory.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} Shaddai, whom we find not, is lofty in power,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in judgment and great justice\u8212?He will not oppress.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\super
24} Therefore men do fear Him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He does not regard all the wise of heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
For this, too, my heart trembles}. This chapter is the completion of Elihu\u8217
?s fourth speech. The prominence of thunder and lightning as manifestations of G
od\u8217?s awesome power is a direct continuation of the lightning theme that is
at the center of 36:29\u8211?32. In evoking God\u8217?s power in the natural wo
rld, the Elihu section moves beyond hectoring exhortation and almost rises to th
e level of poetry, though the language in biblical terms is still relatively rou
tine for this subject, with many parallels to Psalms. The editor of the book may
have been drawn to insert the Elihu passages precisely here because this conclu
ding section of the fourth speech is a kind of prelude to the Voice from the Whi
rlwind, resembling it thematically though scarcely its equal in poetic power.\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
His voice raging}. As in Canaanite poetry, often mirrored in Psalms, the rumblin
g of thunder is understood as the voice of the deity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
hold them back}. This translation understands the unusual verb {\i
\u8216?aqev} as the equivalent of the rabbinic {\i
\u8216?akev}, \u8220?to hold back\u8221? or \u8220?restrain.\u8221? The pronoun
\u8220?them\u8221? then refers to the bolts of lightning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Every man He shuts in}. The torrential rains compel every man to take shelter.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
From God\u8217?s breath}. In the vivid anthropomorphism of the imagery, God\u821
7?s cooling breath, passing over the water, turns it to ice.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Do you know}. This repeated question anticipates the challenge to Job\u8217?s li
mited human knowledge in the Voice from the Whirlwind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
Will you pound out the skies with Him}. The prevalent notion in the ancient Near
East was that the sky was a great slab ({\i
raqia\u8216?}, the \u8220?vault\u8221? of Genesis 1, a noun derived from the Heb
rew verb that means to pound out). Since that verb appears only here in this par
ticular conjugation, some interpreters understand it as \u8220?soar to the skies
\u8221? (the sense that this conjugation of the root has in modern Hebrew). Howe
ver, the reference to the solidity of the skies in the second verset makes the s
ense of pounding out a metallic slab more likely.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
a metal mirror}. Mirrors were made not from glass but from polished bronze.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
in our darkness}. The Hebrew says, somewhat cryptically, \u8220?from darkness,\u
8221? and \u8220?our\u8221? has been added interpretively. The sense seems to be
that we humans in our ignorance are unable to articulate a legal argument again
st God, and you, Job, will surely not be able to tell us how to do it.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
will a man say if he is devoured}. Paltry man, standing before the all-powerful
deity, has nothing to say in the face of the prospect of being overwhelmed and d
estroyed by God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
they have not seen the light}. \u8220?They\u8221? refers to people in general. E
ven under clear skies, their limited human perception prevents them from seeing
the bright light of the sun.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
From the north gold comes}. The claim of many interpreters that this refers to \
u8220?the golden rays of the sun,\u8221? in the New Jewish Publication Society (
JPS) translation, is unconvincing both because the Hebrew sounds very much like
a literal reference to gold and because the north is definitely not the directio
n from which the sun comes. Pope has proposed that behind this verset is the ima
ge of Baal\u8217?s palace on Mount Zaphon (that is, North Mountain), a structure
made out of gold, silver, and lapis lazuli. The verset would then be an apt par
allel to the invocation of the glorious nimbus around God in the second verset.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
He will not oppress}. Some interpreters revocalize the Hebrew verb to yield \u82

20?He will not answer.\u8221? That is, though God is just, we cannot expect Him
to address mere mortals. This reading would be in keeping with man\u8217?s inabi
lity to gain access (\u8220?find out\u8221?) to the lofty deity. But the emphasi
s on divine justice in this verset argues for the sense of \u8220?will not oppre
ss.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
Therefore men do fear Him}. They fear Him (the Hebrew verb means both \u8220?to
fear\u8221? and \u8220?to revere\u8221?) because He is at once lofty in power an
d just.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
He does not regard all the wise of heart}. As the Hymn to Wisdom concluded in Jo
b 28:28, \u8220?fear of the Master, that is wisdom,\u8221? and God has no specia
l regard for those who imagine they have attained understanding independently th
rough the exercise of intellect. This final line would be a last rebuke to Job,
who has had the presumption to think he knows how the system of divine justice s
hould work and hence has dared to challenge God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\p
ard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
38\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind and He said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
2} Who is this who darkens counsel\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in words without knowledge?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Gird your loins like a man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that I may ask you, and you can inform Me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Where were you when I founded earth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Tell, if you know understanding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who fixed its measures, do you know, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or who stretched a line upon it?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In what were its sockets sunk, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or who laid its cornerstone,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when the morning stars sang together, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who hedged the sea with double doors, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when it gushed forth from the womb.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when I made cloud its clothing, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and thick mist its swaddling bands?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} I made breakers upon it My limit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and set a bolt with double doors.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} And I said, \u8220?Thus far come, no farther,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
here halt the surge of your waves.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Have you ever commanded the morning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
appointed the dawn to its place,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

13} to seize the earth\u8217?s corners,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


that the wicked be shaken from it?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} It turns like sealing clay,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
takes color like a garment,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} and their light is withdrawn from the wicked,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the upraised arm is broken.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Have you come into the springs of the sea,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the bottommost deep walked about?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Have the gates of death been laid bare to you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the gates of death\u8217?s shadow have you seen?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Did you take in the breadth of the earth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Tell, if you know it all.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Where is the way that light dwells,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and darkness, where is its place,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that you might take it to its home {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and understand the paths to its house?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You know, for were you born then, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the number of your days is great!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Have you come into the storehouse of snow, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the storehouse of hail have you seen,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
which I keep for a time of strife, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for a day of battle and war?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By what way does the west wind fan out, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the east wind whip over the earth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who split a channel for the torrent, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a way for the thunderstorm,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to rain on a land without man, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
wilderness bare of humankind,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} to sate the desolate dunes\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and make the grass sprout there?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} Does the rain have a father,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or who begot the drops of dew?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} From whose belly did the ice come forth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to the frost of the heavens who gave birth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} Water congeals like stone,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the face of the deep locks hard.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} Can you tie the bands of the Pleiades,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or loose Orion\u8217?s reins?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} Can you bring constellations out in their season,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lead the Great Bear and her cubs?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

33} Do you know the laws of the heavens,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


can you fix their rule on earth?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
34} Can you lift your voice to the cloud,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that the water-spate cover you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
35} Can you send lightning bolts on their way,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and they will say to you, \u8220?Here we are!\u8221??\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who placed in the hidden parts wisdom, {\super
36}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
or who gave the mind understanding?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who counted the skies in wisdom, {\super
37}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the jars of the heavens who tilted,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when the dust melts to a mass, {\super
38}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the clods cling fast together?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Can you hunt prey for the lion, {\super
39}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
fill the king of beast\u8217?s appetite,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when it crouches in its den, {\super
40}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lies in ambush in the covert?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who readies the raven\u8217?s prey {\super
41}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when its young cry out to God\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and stray deprived of food?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
the whirlwind}. Though the Hebrew {\i
se\u8216?arah} probably means simply \u8220?storm,\u8221? this translation choic
e, and the consequent phrase, the Voice from the Whirlwind, have been so deeply
embedded in the imagination of speakers of English after the King James Version
that it seems wise not to tamper with it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
Who is this who darkens counsel}. With God\u8217?s speech as the climax of the b
ook, the Job poet takes a risk that only a supreme artist confident in his geniu
s could do. He had already created for Job the most extraordinarily powerful poe
try to express Job\u8217?s intolerable anguish and his anger against God. Now, w
hen God finally speaks, the poet fashions for Him still greater poetry, which th
us becomes a poetic manifestation of God\u8217?s transcendent power and also an
image-for-image response to the death-wish poem that frames Job\u8217?s entire a
rgument. The unusual phrase \u8220?darkens counsel\u8221? is not merely an indic
ation of speaking ignorantly (as the parallel in the second verset spells out) b
ut a rejoinder to the spate of images of darkness blotting out light in the deat
h-wish poem of Chapter 3. In pointed contrast to that poem, the opening section
of the Voice from the Whirlwind introduces images of light and then traces a dyn
amic interplay between light and darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Where were you when I founded earth}. God\u8217?s speech moves in a narrative pr
ogression from cosmogony (38:4\u8211?21) to meteorology (38:22\u8211?38)\u8212?w
hich is to say, the play of natural forces across the created world invoked in t
he cosmogonic section\u8212?to zoology (38:39\u8211?39:40)\u8212?which is to say
, the panorama of living creatures thriving in the play of the natural forces of
creation\u8212?to zoology with a mythic heightening (40:15\u8211?41:26).\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
a line}. This is the builder\u8217?s line, used to construct straight angles.\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
when the morning stars sang together}. The verb for singing, {\i
ron}, is from the same root as {\i
renanah} \u8220?glad song,\u8221? which Job (3:7) wished to expunge from the nig
ht he was conceived. The morning stars are also a counterpoint to the stars of d
awn on the night of conception that Job wished never to appear. This splendid vi
sion of the celestial beings joining in joyous song in celebration of creation i
s not intimated in other biblical accounts of how God created the world.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
hedged the sea}. The idea of blocking, or imprisoning, the fiercely raging sea,
which continues in some of the subsequent lines, shows the trace of the Canaanit
e creation myth. But the verb chosen here is the same one Job used (3:23) in his
complaint that God had closed off all routes to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the womb}. This metaphor for the sea as the matrix of creation is the first of a
whole series of birth images that answer to the language of the death-wish poem
, in which Job expresses the desire never to have been born, for the womb to hav
e been his tomb. Here, by contrast, an awesome surge of energy comes forth from
the womb of creation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
swaddling bands}. This utterly original metaphor depicts the sheets or strips of
white mist hovering over the primordial sea, and because swaddling bands are us
ed for infants, it extends the imagery of birth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
morning\u8230?dawn}. Looking beyond the primordial sea to the earth, the poet be
gins, strategically, with images of light\u8212?again, precisely what Job wanted
to extinguish forever.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
to seize the earth\u8217?s corners}. Evidently, it is light that takes hold of t
he far corners of the earth, \u8220?shaking out,\u8221? or exposing, the wicked
who hide in night\u8217?s darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
It turns like sealing clay.} The antecedent of \u8220?it\u8221? is the earth: ju
st as the unshaped matter of sealing clay becomes a distinct form when the seal
is stamped on it, the earth, shapeless in darkness, assumes distinct form as the
light of day spreads over it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
takes color}. The Masoretic {\i
yityatsvu}, \u8220?take a stand,\u8221? makes no sense, and it is emended here t
o {\i
titstaba\u8216?}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

19. {\i
Where is the way that light dwells, / and darkness, where is its place}. The poe
t naturally begins with light, but in the complementary parallelism of the line,
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
You know, for you were born then}. This whole line is of course a sarcastic addr
ess to Job, whose minuscule life span could not measure up to the vastness of ti
meless creation. It also echoes back ironically against Job\u8217?s wish never t
o have been born.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
which I keep for a time of strife}. The storehouses of snow and hail are manifes
tly mythological locations where God stockpiles these elements as weapons for fu
ture combat against some unspecified cosmic foe.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
the west wind fan out}. The noun {\i
\u8217?or} usually means \u8220?light,\u8221? but that sense is hard to reconcil
e with the verb, which may have a military connotation, as in Genesis 14:15, whe
re it means to fan out or deploy. Some construe it as \u8220?lightning,\u8221? t
hough that use of the term is restricted to the Elihu speeches and accords neith
er with the verb nor with the poetic parallelism. This translation deems likely
the scholarly proposal that in this instance {\i
\u8217?or} reflects the Aramaic {\i
\u8217?oriya}, \u8220?west wind.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
to rain on a land without man}. It is one of the many enigmas of God\u8217?s cre
ation that rain pours down on places utterly devoid of human habitation. This id
ea is in keeping with the radical rejection of anthropocentrism, elsewhere assum
ed in biblical thought, that informs God\u8217?s poem.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
desolate dunes}. See the comment on the identical phrase in 30:3, Chapter \u8220
?The Book of Job\u8221?.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
a father\u8230?begot}. Again, the poet invokes imagery of conception and birth i
n answer to Job\u8217?s expressed desire to expunge them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
whose belly\u8230?who gave birth}. The birth imagery now moves from father to mo
ther. In keeping with the boldness of the poet, it is a daring move because it e
vokes a virtually oxymoronic picture of hard cold ice coming out of a womb.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
constellations}. Many interpreters, going back to the King James Version and bef
ore it, construe the Hebrew {\i
mazarot} as the name of an unidentified constellation, but it seems more likely

that it is a dialectic variant of {\i


mazalot}, which simply means \u8220?constellations.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
their rule}. The Hebrew suffix indicates \u8220?his\u8221? or \u8220?its,\u8221?
which has led some to identify God as the antecedent. But the plausible anteced
ent is the stars, thought to govern or predict the affairs of men. This could be
a small scribal error, though fluid switching between singular and plural is ra
ther common in biblical usage.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
36. {\i
the hidden parts\u8230?the mind}. The meaning of the two nouns here,
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and {\i
sekhwi}, have long been disputed. Some think they refer to birds, the ibis and t
he rooster, or even to mythological figures.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
37. {\i
Who counted the skies}. What is probably assumed is a multiplicity of heavens (i
n the Pseudepigrapha and in some rabbinic legends they are seven in number).\par

\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the jars of the heavens who tilted}. This is an original image of the source of
rain. Elsewhere, as in the Flood story, there are casements in the vault of the
heavens that are opened to let down the rain.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
38. {\i
the clods cling fast together}. This image of rain-soaked clods of earth turned
into an amalgam of mud completes the meteorological section of the poem. After r
ain, snow, hail, ice, wind, and the patterns of the stars, the poet is ready to
turn to the animal kingdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
39. {\i
the lion\u8230?the king of beast\u8217?s appetite}. The Hebrew actually switches
from the singular in the first verset to a plural in the second verset (see the
comment on verse 33) and then continues in the plural in the next line. The tra
nslation keeps all these references in the singular in order to avoid confusion
for the English reader. Many modern translations show \u8220?lioness,\u8221? pre
sumably because it is the lioness who does the hunting, but the Hebrew nouns in
both halves of the verse are masculine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphp
ar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
39\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
D}o you know the mountain goats\u8217? birth time,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
do you mark the calving of the gazelles?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Do you number the months till they come to term\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and know their birthing time?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} They crouch, burst forth with their babes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
their young they push out to the world.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Their offspring batten, grow big in the wild,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they go out and do not return.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Who set the wild ass free,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the onager\u8217?s reins who loosed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} whose home I made in the steppes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his dwelling-place flats of salt?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} He scoffs at the bustling city,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the driver\u8217?s shouts he does not hear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} He roams mountains for his forage,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and every green thing he seeks.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Will the wild ox want to serve you, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
pass the night at your feeding trough?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bind the wild ox with cord for the furrow, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will he harrow the valleys behind you?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Can you rely on him with his great power {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and leave your labor to him?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Can you trust him to bring back your seed, {\super


12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
gather grain on your threshing floor?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The ostrich\u8217?s wing joyously beats. {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Is the pinion, the plume, like the stork\u8217?s?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For she leaves her eggs on the ground, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in the dust she lets them warm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And she forgets that a foot can crush them, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a beast of the field stomp on them\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
harsh, abandons her young to a stranger, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in vain her labor, without fear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} For God made her forgetful of wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He did not allot her insight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Now on the height she races,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
she scoffs at the horse and its rider.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Do you give might to the horse,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
do you clothe his neck with a mane?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Do you make his roar like locusts\u8212?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his splendid snort is terror.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} He churns up the valley exulting,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in power goes out to the clash of arms.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} He scoffs at fear and is undaunted,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
turns not back before the sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} Over him rattles the quiver,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the blade, the javelin, and the spear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} With clamor and clatter he swallows the ground,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and ignores the trumpet\u8217?s sound.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} At the trumpet he says, \u8220?Aha,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from afar he scents the fray,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the thunder of captains, the shouts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Does the hawk soar by your wisdom, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
spread his wings to fly away south?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By your word does the eagle mount {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and set his nest on high?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
On the crag he dwells and beds down, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the crest of the crag his stronghold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From there he seeks out food, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from afar his eyes look down.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His chicks lap up blood, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
where the slain are, there he is.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
the mountain goats\u8217? birth time}. Continuing the images of a creation teemi

ng with births that is a thematic rejoinder to Job\u8217?s language longing for


death, the poet offers a vivid vignette of the birthing of mountain goat and gaz
elle.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
burst forth}. The literal meaning of the Hebrew verb is \u8220?split open,\u8221
? a word choice that strikingly conveys the poet\u8217?s sense that the procreat
ive drive in nature (and the nurturing one as well) cannot be separated from vio
lence.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
they go out and do not return}. The separation of the young from their mothers,
a biological imperative, prepares the way for the subsequent images of feral fre
edom in the wild, beyond the realm of human control.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
the ostrich\u8217?s wing joyously beats}. This entire verse is notoriously obscu
re. Modern scholars are generally agreed that the bird in question is an ostrich
, though the term used here is not the usual {\i
bat-ya\u8216?anah} but rather a kind of poetic epithet, \u8220?wing of song,\u82
21? or perhaps, better, \u8220?screech-wing,\u8221? a designation alluding to th
e loud sounds the ostrich makes. The somewhat enigmatic verb {\i
ne\u8216?elasah} appears to derive from a root associated with joy, or perhaps j
oyful movement (in Proverbs 7:18 it appears in a verb for sex).\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\i
Is the pinion, the plume, like the stork\u8217?s?} Although each Hebrew word of
this verset is understandable, they make little sense together and hence any tra
nslation is no more than a guess. A very literal rendering of the Hebrew would s
ound like this: \u8220?is a pinion a stork and plume.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
For she leaves her eggs on the ground}. This notion that the ostrich abandons al
l the eggs she lays and does not stay to hatch them is no more than ancient folk
zoology.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
harsh, abandons her young to a stranger}. The translation is an interpretive sur
mise. The literal, cryptic sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?She hardened [the verb
is in the wrong grammatical gender] her young to [someone?] not hers.\u8221?\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
in vain her labor, without fear}. This reproduces the Hebrew literally. The labo
r in vain would refer to her going to the trouble of laying these neglected eggs
. Perhaps the cryptic \u8220?without fear\u8221? might mean that she exhibits no
fear, though she should, about what might happen to her offspring.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
God made her forgetful of wisdom}. The ostrich, abandoning her young, is one of
the enigmas of nature, suggesting that there is no readily discernible moral pat
tern in the order of creation. Other creatures, as the poem has already shown an
d will show again, lavish care on their offspring.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
she races}. The verb {\i
hamri\u8217?} occurs only here. The Aramaic translations understood it to mean \
u8220?soar\u8221? (and in modern Hebrew it is used for a plane\u8217?s taking of
f from the ground), but ostriches don\u8217?t fly. The translation is a guess ba
sed on context.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
roar like locusts}. The poet seems to be thinking of the great clamorous sound\u
8212?a frightening sound\u8212?made by a vast swarm of locusts.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
With clamor and clatter}. The translation emulates the strong alliteration of th
e Hebrew, {\i
ber\u225?\u8216?ash wer\u243?gez}, though the second Hebrew term is closer to \u
8220?rage\u8221? or a state of disturbance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
soar}. The unusual Hebrew verb is cognate with {\i
\u8217?evrah}, \u8220?pinion,\u8221? a poetic term for \u8220?wing,\u8221? so it
is conceivable that it refers not to the act of flight but, like the second ver
set, to spreading wings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
the crag}. This remote, inaccessible habitat of the bird of prey complements the
uninhabited steppes where the wild ass lives.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
His chicks lap up blood}. One of the remarkable aspects of the Job poet\u8217?s
vision of nature is that it so completely unsentimental. The creatures of the wi
ld (with the exception of the peculiar ostrich) are endowed with an instinct to
nurture their young. For carnivores, however, that nurture involves violence\u82
12?destroying living creatures in order to sustain life in the offspring. The co
ncluding image, then, of God\u8217?s first speech is of the fledgling eagles in
the nest, their little beaks open to gulp down the bloody scraps of flesh that t
heir parent has brought them. The moral calculus of nature clearly does not jibe
with the simple set of equations and consequences laid out in Proverbs and in P
salms.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
40\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
A}nd the LORD answered Job and He said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Will he who disputes with Shaddai be reproved?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who argues with God, let him answer!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} And Job answered the LORD and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Look, I am worthless. What can I say back to You?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My hand I put over my mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
5} Once have I spoken and I will not answer,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
twice, and will not go on.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} And the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind and He said:\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\super
7} Gird your loins like a man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let me ask you, and you will inform Me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Will you indeed thwart My case,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hold Me guilty, so you can be right?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} If you have an arm like God\u8217?s,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with a voice like His you can thunder,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
put on pride and preeminence, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and grandeur and glory don.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let loose your utmost wrath, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
see every proud man, bring him low.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
See every proud man, make him kneel, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
tramp on the wicked where they are.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bury them in the dust together, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
shut them up in the grave.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And I on my part shall acclaim you, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for your right hand triumphs for you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, pray: Behemoth, whom I made with you, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
grass like cattle he eats.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Look, pray: the power in his loins,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the virile strength in his belly\u8217?s muscles.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} He makes his tail stand like a cedar,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his balls\u8217? sinews twine together.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} His bones are bars of bronze,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
his limbs like iron rods.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} He is the first of the ways of God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let his Maker draw near him with His sword!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} For the mountains offer their yield to him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
every beast of the field plays there.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Underneath the lotus he lies,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the covert of reeds and marsh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} The lotus hedges him, shades him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the brook willows stand around him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} Look, he swallows a river at his ease,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
untroubled while Jordan pours into his mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could one take him with one\u8217?s eyes, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with barbs pierce his nose?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Could you draw Leviathan with a hook, {\super


25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with a cord press down his tongue?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could you put a lead line in his nose, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and with a fishhook pierce his cheek?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would he urgently entreat you, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
would he speak to you gentle words?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Would he seal a pact with you, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that you take him as lifelong slave?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could you play with him like a bird, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and leash him for your young women?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could hucksters haggle over him, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
divide him among the traders?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Could you fill his skin with darts, {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a fisherman\u8217?s net with his head?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Just put your hand upon him\u8212? {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you will no more recall how to battle.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
And the LORD answered Job and He said}. After completing the poetic sweep of the
great panorama of creation from the beginning of things to the world of living
creatures, God turns in direct confrontation to Job, who now (verses 4 and 5) is
abashed and renounces his challenge to God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Gird your loins like a man}. As the LORD launches on His second speech, He repea
ts verbatim the opening formula of the first speech. He then proceeds to turn ar
ound Job\u8217?s language of a legal dispute (verse 8) and to ask Job sarcastica
lly whether he is capable of exercising God\u8217?s power (verses 9\u8211?14).\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
pride and preeminence\u8230?grandeur and glory}. The translation follows the dou
ble alliteration of the Hebrew: {\i
{\b
g}a\u8217?on we{\b
g}ovah\u8230?we{\b
h}o{\b
d} we{\b
h}a{\b
d}ar.}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
your utmost wrath}. The Hebrew says literally \u8220?the wraths of your fury,\u8
221? but, as elsewhere, the locking together of synonymous nouns in the construc
t state is an intensifier.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
the grave}. The Hebrew {\i
tamun} means literally \u8220?the hidden [place?],\u8221? but this is evidently

an epithet for the grave (or, perhaps, the underworld), especially since the ver
bal stem {\i
t-m-n}, also used at the beginning of the line, means both to hide and to bury.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Behemoth}. The Hebrew word means \u8220?beast.\u8221? It is in plural form, poss
ibly a plural of intensification or majesty, but the noun is treated as singular
and masculine (indeed, spectacularly masculine) throughout. Behemoth clearly ta
kes off from the Egyptian hippopotamus, but in his daunting proportions, his fie
rce virility, and his absolute impregnability, he represents a mythological heig
htening of the actual beast, just as Leviathan is even more patently a mythologi
cal heightening of the Egyptian crocodile. The fact that the poet probably never
laid eyes on these fabled beasts but knew of them through travelers\u8217? yarn
s no doubt facilitated this transition from zoology to myth. Whether there is so
me counterpart to Behemoth in Canaanite or Sumerian myth, as some have claimed,
is a matter of dispute.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
loins\u8230?virile strength}. Both terms point to sexuality\u8212?the loins by m
etonymy and \u8220?virile strength\u8221? because the Hebrew term {\i
\u8217?on} is characteristically used for sexual potency.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
makes his tail stand like a cedar}. The exiguous tale of the hippopotamus scarce
ly fills this bill, but in all likelihood \u8220?tail\u8221? is a euphemism for
a different part of the male animal\u8217?s anatomy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
balls}. The rare
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189281b8eb5207f8a16107e3a235e3475d065563c8928a5b
6bfafaa91964486965db08d1c1f496a48f592c2d639a5b5281f1bf200df4029c171a440b3829c7aa
930acdd2f4f8c2135e9cb709d95ba9e3a5a8903655b3d02f
2b13a49d675d65269abe458d6a548852dd8a853d152400434b23680401be247d74008c4e8db83690
934d5e98768a7573e388a80dcc539b0e9753ad3857b3cb96
f7b3bdf40bae82adcad8f5cbad88aaf8e5b53310b092d345b50536528d6871525253a1e08047d740
6452d7b770edb260464dabac222b9383290fad94294a4365
7ae450952d64277a056a23ecf4014f475b8f43312aabe2d6452b539e843652d239a8ed4ae29006c9
f24fefa0ffd9
}}
has long been understood\u8212?and was so understood by the King James translat
ors, who rendered it as \u8220?stones\u8221?\u8212?as an Aramaicism reflecting
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw60\pich24
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da000c03010002110311003f00f51e45cd7c5b28b5cfce8c
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}}
, testicle.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
Let his Maker draw near him with His sword.} More literally, \u8220?bring His sw
ord near to him.\u8221? The verset is a little enigmatic, but it is usually unde
rstood to mean that only Behemoth\u8217?s Maker would dare to approach him with
a sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
the lotus\u8230?the covert of reeds and marsh}. This native habitat of the hippo
potamus is distinctly Egyptian.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
swallows}. The verb usually means \u8220?to oppress.\u8221? The hyperbolic sense
here may be that Behemoth demolishes a whole river in one long, easy gulp.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
untroubled}. Literally, \u8220?he is secure.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Jordan}. In biblical poetry, which constantly needs synonyms because of its depe
ndence on semantic parallelism, both Jordan and the Nile ({\i
ye\u8217?or}) are used as terms for \u8220?river.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
Leviathan.} Though associated with the crocodile of the Nile, Leviathan (Ugariti
c {\i
lotan}, Hebrew {\i
liwyatan}) is a prime actor in Canaanite mythology as a sea-monster, and in keep
ing with his role here in the climactic passage of the poem, he is more prominen
tly mythological than Behemoth. There is no formal introduction or indication of
transition for the Leviathan section, but the \u8220?barbs\u8221? of the last B
ehemoth line and the hook of the first Leviathan line create a linkage.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
lead line}. The Hebrew {\i
\u8217?agmon} usually means \u8220?reed,\u8221? so this rendering is a guess bas
ed on context.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
Could you fill his skin with darts}. This notion of the absolute invulnerability
of Leviathan to all human weapons\u8212?which caught Melville\u8217?s attention
in {\i
Moby-Dick}\u8212?is elaborated in 41:19\u8211?21.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and a fisherman\u8217?s net with his head}. The translation follows the Hebrew,
which in the first verset has Leviathan\u8217?s skin as the object of the verb \
u8220?fill\u8221? and here has, as the object of the same verb, a fisherman\u821

7?s net, into which Leviathan\u8217?s head would be put.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}


{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
you will no more recall how to battle}. The Hebrew syntax is somewhat cryptic, t
hough the general sense seems clear. Very literally, it reads, \u8220?Recall bat
tle, you will do no more.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\p
age } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
41\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
L}ook, all hope of him is dashed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at his mere sight one is cast down.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} No fierce one could arouse him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and who before Me could stand up?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Who could go before Me in this I\u8217?d reward,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
under all the heavens he would be mine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} I would not keep silent about him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
about his heroic acts and surpassing grace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who can uncover his outer garb, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
come into his double mail?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who can pry open the doors of his face? {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All around his teeth is terror.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His back is rows of shields, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
closed with the tightest seal.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Each touches against the next, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
no breath can come between them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Each sticks fast to the next, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
locked together, they will not part.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
His sneezes shoot out light, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his eyes are like the eyelids of dawn.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Firebrands leap from his mouth, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sparks of fire fly into the air.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} From his nostrils smoke comes out,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
like a boiling vat on brushwood.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} His breath kindles coals,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and flame comes out of his mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Strength abides in his neck,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and before him power dances.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} The folds of his flesh cling together;\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hard-cast, he will not totter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} His heart is cast hard as stone,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

cast hard as a nether millstone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
17} When he rears up, the gods are frightened,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when he crashes down, they cringe.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Who overtakes him with sword, it will not avail,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor spear nor dart nor lance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Iron he deems as straw,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and bronze as rotten wood.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} No arrow can make him flee,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
slingstones for him turn to straw.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Missiles are deemed as straw, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he mocks the javelin\u8217?s clatter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Beneath him, jagged shards, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he draws a harrow over the mud.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He makes the deep boil like a pot, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
turns sea to an ointment pan.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Behind him glistens a wake, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he makes the deep seem hoary.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He has no match on earth, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
made as he is without fear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All that is lofty he can see. {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He is king over all proud beasts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
all hope of him is dashed}. That is, any hope to vanquish Leviathan will be frus
trated.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
one is cast down}. The translation is an interpretive inference from a single wo
rd in the Hebrew, {\i
yutal}, \u8220?will be cast.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
arouse him}. The same verb is used with Leviathan as its object in 3:8, \u8220?r
eady to rouse Leviathan.\u8221? One suspects it was part of the mythological sce
nario.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
Who could go before Me in this I\u8217?d reward}. The Hebrew is cryptic. The pos
sible meaning is that God alone has the power to subdue Leviathan, but if a mort
al man could really do it, God would abundantly reward him.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
I would not keep silent about him}. These words would seem to refer to the hypot
hetical hero who would vanquish Leviathan, though they are ambiguous enough that
they might refer to Leviathan himself. In that case, instead of the conditional
\u8220?I would not keep silent,\u8221? the translation would require a simple i
ndicative, \u8220?I will not keep silent.\u8221? \u8220?Heroic acts,\u8221? howe
ver, sounds more appropriate for a human.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
outer garb\u8230?double mail}. The description of the fabled beast begins with p
hysical features of the crocodile\u8212?here, its plated armor. The second noun
in the received text is {\i
risno}, \u8220?his reins,\u8221? but the Septuagint reading, {\i
siryono}, \u8220?his armor,\u8221? is more plausible.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
the doors of his face}. These are, of course, his powerful jaws.\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
back}. The received text reads {\i
ga\u8217?awah}, which means \u8220?pride,\u8221? but both the Septuagint and the
Vulgate used a Hebrew text that must have read, more plausibly, {\i
gewah}, \u8220?back.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
His sneezes shoot out light}. At this point, the poet clearly moves from the Egy
ptian crocodile to a mythological fire-breathing dragon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\i
and his eyes are like the eyelids of dawn}. This verset is one of the most arres
ting\u8212?and daring\u8212?moves of the Job poet. He had used this altogether s
triking image at the beginning of the book, in Job\u8217?s death-wish poem (3:9,
and see the comment on that verse). Now he brings it back, not hesitating to lo
cate an image of exquisite beauty at the heart of terror. It is precisely this p
aradox that epitomizes his vision of Leviathan\u8212?a frightening and alien cre
ature\u8212?yet, in God\u8217?s creation, also a thing of beauty.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
fly into the air}. More literally, \u8220?escape.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
power dances}. The precise meaning of the noun {\i
de\u8217?avah} is a little in doubt. Some construe it as \u8220?violence\u8221?
or \u8220?terror.\u8221? The verb {\i
taduts} usually means \u8220?to exult.\u8221? Some ancient versions show {\i
taruts} (a small orthographic difference), \u8220?runs.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
nether millstone}. In the biblical-poetic pattern of intensification from first
verset to second, the beast\u8217?s heart is at first hard as stone, then hard a
s a nether millstone, which would have to be especially hard and heavy in order
to bear the pressure of grinding.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
rears up\u8230?crashes down}. Both words in the Hebrew are semantically ambiguou

s, and so this interpretation is conjectural.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
sword}. This paradigmatic weapon then triggers a whole catalogue of weapons that
would be useless against Leviathan.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
arrow}. The Hebrew uses a poetic epithet, \u8220?son of the bow.\u8221?\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
Missiles}. The mysterious
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}}
appears only here, and all that is known about it is that it must be some sort
of weapon. Modern Hebrew has adopted it for \u8220?cannon.\u8221?\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
Behind him glistens a wake}. The last visual sighting of Leviathan is of his wak
e as he churns through the water and out of the field of human vision. It is not
able that this whole poem, which began with the light of the morning stars and a
question about where light dwells, concludes with a wake shining on the surface

of the abyss.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
He is king over all proud beasts}. The same phrase, {\i
beney}
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}}
, \u8220?proud beasts,\u8221? occurs in 28:8, in the Hymn to Wisdom. Since ther
e it refers to beasts, it is reasonable to assume that the meaning here is the s
ame. What is remarkable about this whole powerfully vivid evocation of Leviathan
is that the monotheistic poet has taken a figure from mythology, traditionally
seen as the cosmic enemy of the god of order, and transformed it into this daunt
ing creature that is preeminent in, but also very much a part of, God\u8217?s te
eming creation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
42\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
1} {\b
A}nd Job answered the LORD and he said:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} I know You can do anything,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and no devising is beyond You.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} \u8220?Who is this obscuring counsel without knowledge?\u8221?\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
Therefore I told but did not understand,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
wonders beyond me that I did not know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} \u8220?Hear, pray, and I will speak.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let me ask you, that you may inform me.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
By the ear\u8217?s rumor I heard of You, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and now my eye has seen You.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Therefore do I recant, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And I repent in dust and ashes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And it happened after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that {\super
7} the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: \u8220?My wrath has flared against you
and your two companions because you have not spoken rightly of Me as did My ser
vant Job. And now, take for yourselves seven bulls and {\super
8} seven rams and go to My servant Job, and offer a burnt-offering for yourselve
s, and Job My servant will pray on your behalf. To him only I shall show favor,
not to do a vile thing to you, for you have not spoken rightly of Me as did my s
ervant Job.\u8221? And Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the {\super
9} Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went out and did according to all that the
LORD had spoken to them, and the LORD showed favor to Job. {\super
10} And the LORD restored Job\u8217?s fortunes when he prayed for his companions
, {\super
11} and the LORD increased twofold all that Job had. And all his male and female
kinfolk and all who had known him before came and broke bread with him in his h
ouse and grieved with him and comforted him for all the harm that the LORD had b
rought on him. And each of them gave {\super
12} him one kesitah and one golden ring. And the LORD blessed Job\u8217?s latter
days more than his former days, and he had fourteen thousand sheep and six thou
sand camels and a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand she-asses. And he had sev
en sons and three daughters. And he called the {\super
13} {\super
14} name of the first one Dove and the name of the second Cinnamon and the name
of the third Horn of Eyeshade. And there were no women in {\super
15} the land so beautiful as Job\u8217?s daughters. And their father gave them a
n estate among their brothers. And Job lived a hundred and forty years after {\s
uper
16} this, and he saw his children and his children\u8217?s children, four genera
tions. And Job died, aged and sated in years. {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
I know You can do anything}. Job\u8217?s final recantation begins by a recogniti
on of God\u8217?s omnipotence, though it might be noted that he had conceded thi
s attribute all along in his complaint against God, raising doubts not about div
ine power but about divine justice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
\u8220?Who is this obscuring counsel without knowledge?\u8221?} Job is directly

quoting God\u8217?s first words to him in 38:2 (only substituting a synonymous v


erb). He does this in order to grant the validity of God\u8217?s challenge to hi
m.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
wonders beyond me that I did not know}. The wonders are the spectacular vision o
f God\u8217?s complex creation, from cosmogony to Leviathan, that has been vouch
safed to Job through the Voice from the Whirlwind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Let me ask you, that you may inform me.} Job again quotes from the beginning of
God\u8217?s speech to him, 38:2, in order to concede the justice of God\u8217?s
position.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
By the ear\u8217?s rumor I heard of You, / and now my eye has seen you}. \u8220?
The ear\u8217?s rumor\u8221? is literally \u8220?the hearing of the ear,\u8221?
and picks up the imperative \u8220?hear\u8221? of the previous line. The seeing
of the eye is a testimony to the persuasive power of the poetry that God has spo
ken to Job out of the whirlwind. Through that long chain of vividly arresting im
ages, from the swaddling bands of mist drifting over the primordial sea at creat
ion to the fearsomely armored Leviathan, whose eyes are like the eyelids of dawn
, Job has been led to see the multifarious character of God\u8217?s vast creatio
n, its unfathomable fusion of beauty and cruelty, and through this he has come t
o understand the incommensurability between his human notions of right and wrong
and the structure of reality. But he may not see God Himself because God addres
ses him from a storm-cloud.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
you have not spoken rightly of Me as did My servant Job}. The three companions h
ad repeatedly proffered lies\u8212?about Job and about the divine system of just
ice\u8212?in order to preserve their pat notion of reward and punishment. They w
ere, in effect, corrupted witnesses on God\u8217?s behalf. Though the LORD from
the whirlwind roundly rebuked Job for his presumption, Job in the debate, unlike
his three companions, had remained honest to his own observation of reality and
his awareness of his own acts; so, even in his presumption, he had spoken \u822
0?rightly\u8221? about God, had clung to his integrity. Thus God pointedly conti
nues here to call Job His \u8220?servant,\u8221? as He did in his exchanges with
the Adversary.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
the LORD showed favor to Job}. That is, God accepted Job\u8217?s intercession on
behalf of the three companions because of Job\u8217?s integrity.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
the LORD increased twofold all that Job had}. As countless readers have objected
, this doubling of property is scarcely adequate compensation for all Job\u8217?
s sufferings, and even more so, the ten new children scarcely heal the wound of
the loss of the first ten lives. But the book ends in the folktale world of the
frame-story, where everything is reduced to schematic patterns and formulaic num
bers, and perhaps in this world such a question cannot properly be asked.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i

all his male and female kinfolk}. The Hebrew says \u8220?all his brothers and hi
s sisters,\u8221? but the narrative context suggests that the broader biblical m
eaning of this kinship term is likely here.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
broke bread}. Literally, \u8220?ate bread [that is, food].\u8221?\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\i
grieved with him and comforted him}. These are precisely the actions performed b
y the three companions in 2:12, but here they are actually restorative, and brea
king bread together marks the return of the pariah Job to the human community.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
kesitah}. An evidently valuable coin mentioned in several other biblical texts,
though nothing more is known about it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
one golden ring}. The {\i
nezem} is a large ring, worn on the ear or nose, not on a finger.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
Dove\u8230?Cinnamon\u8230?Horn of Eyeshade}. These strange and lovely names (the
sons remain anonymous and no names were assigned to Job\u8217?s children in the
opening frame-story) are mystifying. The Hebrew names {\i
Yemimah}, {\i
Qetsi\u8216?yah}, {\i
Qeren hapukh} have no currency elsewhere in the Bible. The writer may have wante
d to intimate that after all Job\u8217?s suffering, which included hideous disfi
gurement as well as violent loss, a principle of grace and beauty enters his lif
e in the restoration of his fortunes. Thus, the three daughters have names assoc
iated with feminine delicacy and the arts of attraction, and they are said to be
the most beautiful women in the land.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
gave them an estate among their brothers}. This was not the standard biblical pr
actice of inheritance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
children}. {\i
Banim} can mean either \u8220?sons\u8221? or \u8220?children,\u8221? but the pro
minent attention just given to Job\u8217?s three daughters suggests that the mor
e inclusive sense is intended. It may be especially fitting that Job, having beg
un his complaint by wishing that his own birth could be eradicated, at the end i
s witness to a chain of births of his offspring.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\p
ard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
PROVERBS\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
INTRODUCTION\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\b
A}lthough Proverbs, in contrast to Job and Qohelet, strikes certain recurrent no
tes of traditional piety and evinces great confidence in a rational moral order
that dependably produces concrete rewards for virtue and wisdom, it is in some w
ays, like Job and Qohelet, not altogether a likely book for inclusion in the can

on. The Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 30B) in fact brackets Proverbs with Qohelet a
s a text that perhaps might have been excluded from the canon\u8212?in particula
r because it comprises contradictory assertions. The sequence of verses 4 and 5
in Chapter 26 is a vivid case in point: \u8220?Do not answer a dolt by his folly
/ lest you, too, be like him. // Answer the dolt by his folly, / lest he seem w
ise in his own eyes.\u8221? What, then, the earnest reader may wonder, is one to
do about answering a dolt? It is probably misguided to argue for a dialectic or
subtly complementary relationship between these two admonitions. The contradict
ion between them stems from the anthological character of the book: the two sayi
ngs have been culled either from folk-tradition or from the verbal repertory of
Wisdom schools and have been set in immediate sequence by the anthologist becaus
e of the identical wording\u8212?first in the negative and then in the positive\
u8212?of the initial clause of each saying.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The Book of Proverbs is not merely an anthology but an anthology of anthologies.
It is made up of six discrete units, each marked editorially as such at the beg
inning, with notable differences of emphasis and style among the units. Chapters
1\u8211?9 form a kind of general prologue to the subject of the instruction of
wisdom. Michael V. Fox, in his two indispensable Proverbs volumes in the Anchor
Bible Series, argues persuasively that this first unit was the last one composed
, either in the Persian period or in the Hellenistic period. It is strikingly di
fferent from the collections of one-line, two-verset proverbs that follow in dep
loying poems that extend to all or a good part of a chapter. These include the v
ivid narrative about the seductress that takes up Chapter 7 and the allegorical
representation of Lady Wisdom in Chapter 8 and of the contrasting figures of Lad
y Wisdom and Lady Folly in Chapter 9. The recurring theme in this initial unit t
hat the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom also sets it apart from the
subsequent collections, in which wisdom is more typically thought of without the
ological trappings as a transmissible human craft. Finally, the prominence here
of the Mentor and the inexperienced youth he seeks to instruct recedes or disapp
ears as the book moves on to the one-line proverbs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The second grouping, introduced like the first with the phrase \u8220?the prover
bs of Solomon,\u8221? runs from the beginning of Chapter 10 to 22:16. Many schol
ars think that this double ascription of the book to Solomon, celebrated in 1 Ki
ngs 5:12 for his prodigious production of proverbs, may have encouraged its incl
usion in the canon, though that claim is hard to assess. In the one-line proverb
, the symmetrical logic of poetic parallelism predominates, with most of the pro
verbs exhibiting either neatly matching statements in the two versets or emphati
c antitheses. After this unit, which is the longest collection in the anthology
of anthologies, a short unit begins that is marked with the exhortation, \u8220?
Bend your ear and hear the words of the wise,\u8221? the phrase \u8220?the words
of the wise\u8221? evidently serving as a kind of title. This grouping provides
the most vivid evidence of the international character of Wisdom literature bec
ause a large part of it, as scholars have long recognized, is a recasting of the
sayings of Amenemope, a second-millennium Egyptian text, which may have reached
the Hebrew writer through the mediation of an Aramaic version. After this, 24:2
3 begins with the declaration, \u8220?These, too, are from the wise,\u8221? whic
h indicates a new source, of which perhaps only a fragment is included because i
t ends or breaks off after eleven verses.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The first verse of Chapter 25 then provides a valuable historical clue about the
editorial process of these collections: \u8220?These, too, are the proverbs of
Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judea transcribed.\u8221? Hezekiah re
igned in Jerusalem in the late decades of the eighth century BCE. The men of Hez
ekiah would have been court scribes, and in fact there is a good deal of emphasi
s in this unit, which runs to the end of Chapter 29, on kings and how one should
comport oneself in their presence. The verb \u8220?transcribed,\u8221? {\i
he\u8216?etiqu,} does not imply original composition but rather an activity such
as collating and copying or transferring from another source, which means that
the original formulation of at least some of these proverbs might have occurred
generations, perhaps even quite a few generations, before the time of Hezekiah,
however unlikely the ascription to Solomon. Finally, Chapters 30 and 31 comprise

, as Fox aptly calls them, a series of four \u8220?appendices\u8221? to the book


proper. Each is quite different in style and emphasis from everything that prec
edes it in the completed anthology, and though the appendices are clearly drawn
from different literary sources, there is no confident way of concluding whether
they are later sources or just exotic ones. The first appendix, 30:1\u8211?14,
is \u8220?The words of Agur, son of Yaqeh,\u8221? a figure about whom nothing is
known. The style is vatic, and the idea that God alone possesses wisdom runs co
unter to the prevailing notion in the rest of the book of wisdom as a teachable
craft. The second appendix (30:15\u8211?38) is made up of a series of riddling e
pigrams cast in a three-four numerical pattern (\u8220?Three things are there th
at are not sated, / four that do not say \u8216?Enough!\u8217?\u8221?) occasiona
lly found elsewhere in biblical poetry and ultimately going back to Canaanite po
etic style. The third appendix, 31:1\u8211?9, \u8220?The words of Lemuel, king o
f Massa,\u8221? is a set of instructions of a queen mother to her royal son. At
the very end of the book (31:10\u8211?31), we have an alphabetic acrostic poem c
elebrating the ideal wife\u8212?an interesting editorial choice for the conclusi
on of a book that has featured male mentors instructing young men and has repeat
edly warned against seductresses and complained of shrewish wives.\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
The Book of Proverbs, then, is by no means cut from whole cloth, and consequentl
y generalizations about its outlook and literary character will not hold for all
parts of the anthology. By and large, the underlying conception of wisdom is th
oroughly pragmatic, and, in keeping with the characteristic direction of Wisdom
literature, it does not reflect particular Israelite interests. The recurring te
rm {\i
torah} does not refer to any divinely inspired text but simply means \u8220?teac
hing\u8221? or \u8220?instruction\u8221? and is closely coordinated with the con
stantly reiterated {\i
musar}, \u8220?reproof\u8221? or \u8220?discipline.\u8221? This basically untheo
logical orientation, in which neither revelation nor covenant has any role, migh
t conceivably have been another potential obstacle to the book\u8217?s inclusion
in the canon that was nevertheless overcome by the rabbinic sages. (The one bri
ef component of the anthology that does sound fully \u8220?canonical\u8221? in t
his regard is Agur\u8217?s pious poem exalting God\u8217?s transcendent greatnes
s and affirming the nullity of human wisdom.)\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The book is poetry from end to end, but what kind of poetry is it? In line with
its composite nature, it is not the same in all its segments. The acrostic poem
at the end praising the \u8220?worthy woman\u8221? is a rapid sequence of narrat
ive vignettes exhibiting the good woman in a chain of energetic actions on behal
f of her household, acquiring flax and wool and weaving them, rising before dayb
reak to set out on her rounds of commerce, and so forth. The poems of the first
nine chapters abound in incipiently narrative developments\u8212?Lady Wisdom cal
ling out from the heights to invite the throngs to attend to her instruction, th
e Mentor spelling out step-by-step the disasters to which the Stranger Woman (pr
esumably, a lascivious married woman) will lead a young man, the antithetical ev
ocation in an extended metaphor of the delights of conjugal love.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
The large central core of the book, however, from Chapter 10 to the end of Chapt
er 29, which gathers together one-line proverbs from a variety of sources, is th
e part of the book in which the poetry is liable to pose the greatest difficulti
es for modern readers. The one-line proverbs are either didactic admonitions or,
somewhat less frequently, observations about social and ethical behavior. Some
of the sayings in the second category are quite shrewd and evince lively satiric
perceptions. The admonitions, on the other hand, show a good deal of predictabi
lity, founded as they are on what the writers assume to be tried-and-true princi
ples for guiding a person through life. As a result, the poetry is sometimes boi
lerplate language, a rehearsal of traditional formulas. This is a limitation tha
t the author of Job, perhaps the most original of biblical poets, obviously noti
ced, putting in the mouths of the three friends many complacent pronouncements a
bout the rightness of the moral order that sound like this line from Proverbs (1

0:3): \u8220?The LORD will not make the righteous man hunger, / but the desire o
f the wicked He rebuffs.\u8221? Poetry in all cultures serves a mnemonic functio
n\u8212?in systems that have rhyme, the rhyme helps you remember the line that c
omes after its rhyming counterpart. In the semantic parallelism of biblical poet
ry, the match in meaning (and often in rhythm and syntax) helps you remember the
second verset after the first. If there were in fact Wisdom schools in ancient
Israel, it is easy enough to imagine how the formulation of ethical and pragmati
c principles in poetry helped students to memorize them. Thus, the line \u8220?C
heating scales are the LORD\u8217?s loathing, / and a true weight-stone His plea
sure\u8221? (11:1) occurs several times with minor variations. Unlike the sundry
claims about the righteous and the wicked, it is unassailable as an ethical pri
nciple. One would hardly call it great poetry, but the poetic parallelism does s
erve to inscribe the saying in memory with the aim of being a kind of ethical pr
ophylaxis: should you ever be tempted to enhance your profits in a sale of goods
by using a crooked scale or an underweight marked stone, this saying is meant t
o come to mind and dissuade you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Many other proverbs are grounded not in ethics but in purely prudential consider
ations, such as the reiterated exhortations not to give your bond for someone yo
u don\u8217?t know\u8212?for example, \u8220?He will surely be shattered who giv
es bond for a stranger, / but he who hates offering pledge is secure\u8221? (11:
15). Here, too, the rather mechanical parallelism is an aid to memory, serving a
prophylactic function in the economic sphere rather than in the ethical realm.
The least interesting of the proverbs, as the one just cited may suggest, amount
to poetic formulations of truisms. It seems scarcely necessary, for example, to
be reminded, as we are by several different proverbs, that warfare needs to be
conducted with considered strategy and expert military advisers, or that a perso
n too lazy to provide for himself will end up in want.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
This last instance of the lazy man, however, also illustrates how poetry in the
Book of Proverbs often goes beyond a purely mnemonic function to serve as a vehi
cle of enlivening perception. Within the tight formal constraints of the one-lin
e aphorism, dynamic and revelatory relationships emerge between the two halves o
f the line, generating what I have elsewhere called a poetry of wit. (The freque
nt celebrations in the book of the power of language invite from the audience a
fine attentiveness to the play of language in the poetry.) Very often in biblica
l poetry, the second verset does not simply echo the first verset, as it does in
the three lines quoted above, but instead introduces some sort of heightening o
r focusing development of it, which in Proverbs frequently is a small surprise o
r discovery. \u8220?A door turns on its hinge / and a sluggard on his bed\u8221?
(26:14). Here, as in many other proverbs, the relation between the first verset
and the second is that of a riddle to its solution. That is, the assertion in t
he first half of the line is either so obvious (of course, a door turns on its h
inge) that one wonders why it needs to be said at all, or it is perplexing, whic
h makes one wonder for a different reason. The second half of the line then prov
ides a sharply focused (and sometimes satirical) explanation. In this instance,
the sluggard is revealed turning back and forth on his bed and getting nowhere,
like the door, while the comparison also invites us to think of the contrast bet
ween people going in and out of the doorway as the door opens and closes and the
sluggard unwilling to move from his bed. Here is a different riddle-proverb abo
ut the lazy man, in which the riddling first verset is enigmatic, to be explaine
d in the second verset: \u8220?Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
/ thus the sluggard to those who send him\u8221? (10:26). In formulations of thi
s sort, the riddle form of the line is especially prominent: what is as noxious
or irritating as vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes?\u8212?a lazy man wh
om you have the misfortune to use on an errand. A third proverb on the sluggard
illustrates the lively variety of the riddle form. The line begins, \u8220?The s
luggard hides his hand in the dish.\u8221? This action sounds bizarre, and one w
onders why anyone would want to do such a thing. Then the second half of the lin
e explains, \u8220?he won\u8217?t even bring it up to his mouth\u8221? (19:24).
This is, of course, an extravagant and amusing satiric hyperbole: the man is so
lazy that, having plunged his hand into the dish, he is incapable of exerting th

e effort required to bring the food to his mouth. Thus, the fantastically exagge
rated image becomes a representation of how laziness leads to a failure to provi
de for one\u8217?s own basic needs, a notion couched in more realistic terms, su
ch as having nothing to harvest when crops are not planted, in other proverbs.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The satiric perspective, to round out this sampling of proverbs on the sluggard,
is not limited to riddling but can be brought to bear through a technique of mi
niaturist caricature: \u8220?The sluggard said, \u8216?A lion\u8217?s outside /
in the square. I shall be murdered!\u8217?\u8221? (22:13). These words, of cours
e, are a trumped-up excuse for his not leaving his house (or, perhaps, his bed):
in the wonderful extravagance of the dialogue that the poet puts in the mouth o
f the sluggard, he fears that the fictitious lion prowling in the streets threat
ens not to devour but to murder him, as though it were a malevolent assassin and
not merely a beast of prey.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Many of the proverbs set out an antithesis between the first verset and the seco
nd, and the tight confines of the one-line aphorism often generate a powerful en
ergy of assertion in the antithesis. Thus: \u8220?A worthy woman is her husband\
u8217?s crown, / but like rot in the bones she who shames\u8221? (12:4). The fir
st verset praising the good wife verges on platitude, but then the antithetical
second verset produces a small shock: a crown is a noble thing yet also an exter
nal ornament (perhaps an allusion to the fortunate husband\u8217?s enhanced repu
tation); rot in the bones is something internal, and devastating. This whole eff
ect is strongly reinforced by the antithetical chiasm: worthy woman (a) / crown
(b) // bone-rot (
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) / shaming woman (\u225?). Sometimes, the contrasting second verset takes on a
surprising vividness against the foil of the first verset: \u8220?Drawn-out lon
ging sickens the heart, / but desire come true is a tree of life\u8221? (13:12).
By itself, the second clause might seem a bland truism, but after the sickening
of the heart of unfulfilled desire, it conveys a strong sense of how sustaining
it is to have one\u8217?s longings consummated. In some antithetical proverbs,
there is also narrative development from the first verset to the second: \u8220?
Bread got through fraud may be sweet to a man, / but in the end it fills his mou
th with gravel\u8221? (20:17). The idea that pleasures reaped through wrongful a
cts will eventually be followed by a comeuppance for the wrongdoer is a clich\u2
33? of Wisdom literature. Here, however, the powerfully concrete image of delect
able food that turns into a mouthful of gravel endows the familiar idea with poe
tic force.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A traditional proverb pattern that occurs with some frequency in the collection
is \u8220?better X\u8221? (first verset) \u8220?than Y\u8221? (second verset). T
his is actually a variation on the antithetically structured line and similarly
draws its expressive power from the bold juxtaposition of opposites. Here are tw
o characteristic examples: \u8220?Better a meal of greens where there is love /

than a fatted ox where there is hatred\u8221? (15:17) and \u8220?Better a dry cr


ust with tranquility / than a house filled with feasting and quarrel\u8221? (17:
1). Though some of these proverbs may give the impression of the rehearsal of ro
te learning, many others\u8212?perhaps the two instances just cited among them\u
8212?are arresting not just because of the concise poetic wit but also because t
hey appear to derive from shrewd and considered reflection on moral behavior and
human nature and sometimes from introspection as well. If some of these maxims
may seem too pat, one is startled to come across this proverb: \u8220?The heart
knows its own bitterness, / and in its joy no stranger mingles\u8221? (14:10). T
he book as a whole, after all, works on the assumption that knowledge and experi
ence are eminently transmissible and teachable and that everyone draws on the sa
me fund of set moral principles. In this instance, however, the anthologists hav
e included a very different perception\u8212?that each person\u8217?s experience
is ultimately incommensurable, that one\u8217?s inward sorrows and delights hav
e no adequate reflection in the lexicon of the social realm. Occasionally, despi
te the general adherence of the collection to moral certitude, one encounters a
proverb that registers the stubborn ambiguity of human experience, as in this de
nsely packed line: \u8220?Like water face to face / thus the heart of man to man
\u8221? (27:19). The first verset evidently means to say that water gives back a
person his own reflected image, and so the second verset would seem to assert t
hat a man may know the heart of another by pondering what is in his own heart. B
ut water, after all, is an unstable mirror, its surface liable to be troubled by
wind or tide, its chromatic layers darkening or transforming the image, and hen
ce the reflection of heart to heart may be a tricky or undependable business.\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Rendering these pithy Hebrew maxims in English presents a special challenge. The
distinctive lexical stamp of the Book of Proverbs is marked by its use of a set
of overlapping terms for wisdom on the one hand and for foolishness or stupidit
y on the other. Michael V. Fox has exerted heroic scholarly effort to make nice
distinctions among these approximate synonyms, but it is doubtful that the preci
se semantic contours of each of the recurring terms can be recovered with much c
onfidence. The general term for wisdom is
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, which has a practical orientation, being used in other contexts for the \u822
0?wise\u8221? application of a craft by a skilled worker, but which in Chapters
8 and 9 is given cosmic resonance. Three other terms, {\i
\u8216?ormah, mezimah,} and
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, usually have connotations of calculation, shrewdness, or cunning, here put in
a positive light. Of the sundry terms for the lack of wisdom, the one that has
a clear connotation is {\i

peti}, represented in this translation as \u8220?dupe,\u8221? because it derives


from a verbal root associated with seduction and hence suggests gullibility. By
and large, the present translation uses the same English equivalent for each me
mber of these two clusters of related terms, although there are moments when the
immediate context has necessitated abandoning consistency.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
The more pervasive challenge to the translator of Proverbs is that the expressiv
e vigor of these sayings depends to such a large degree on their wonderful compa
ctness, an effect reinforced by sound-play (alliteration, assonance, an occasion
al ad-hoc internal rhyme). Most of this sound-play inevitably disappears in the
English, though some efforts have been made in this version to reproduce it, at
least approximately. Because of the fundamental structural difference between bi
blical Hebrew and modern English, it often takes eight to ten words to say in En
glish what is expressed in four Hebrew words. There is no escape from this lingu
istic quandary, but I have sought to narrow the gap between the two languages by
avoiding (with just a few exceptions) polysyllabic words, by trying wherever po
ssible to keep the number of accents\u8212?typically, three per verset\u8212?clo
se to that in the Hebrew, and by reproducing something of the compression of for
mulation of the Hebrew without resort to explanatory or paraphrastic maneuvers i
n the translation. However imperfect the results, I would hope these procedures
will bring readers closer than do earlier English versions to the concise forcef
ulness of the Hebrew. The speed, the occasional abruptness, the gnomic character
of the original seem worth emulating\u8212?hence renderings such as \u8220?like
water face to face, / so the heart of man to man.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
1\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
T}he proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel. {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To know wisdom and reproof, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to understand discerning maxims.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To accept the reproof of insight, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
righteousness, justice, and uprightness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} To give shrewdness to the simple,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to a lad, knowledge and cunning.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Let the wise man hear and gain learning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the discerning acquire designs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} To understand proverbs and adages,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the words of the wise and their riddles.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Wisdom and reproof dolts despise.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Hear, my son, your father\u8217?s reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not forsake your mother\u8217?s teaching.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} For they are a garland of grace on your head\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a necklace round your throat.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My son, should offenders seduce you, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
do not be willing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Should they say, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

\u8220?Go with us, let us lie in wait for blood,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


stalk the innocent for no reason.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let us swallow them live like Sheol, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the blameless like those gone down to the Pit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
All precious treasure we shall find, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
we shall fill our houses with loot.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Your lot you should throw in with us, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
one purse we all shall have.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My son, do not go on a road with them, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
hold back your foot from their path.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} For their feet run to evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and they hurry to shed blood.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} For the net is spread out for no reason\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the eyes of each wing\u232?d thing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Yet they lie in wait for their own blood,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they lurk for their own lives.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Thus are the ways of all who chase gain,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
its possessor\u8217?s life it will take.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Wisdom cries out in the streets,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the squares she lifts her voice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} At the bustling crossroads she calls,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at the entrance to the town\u8217?s gate says her sayings:\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
How long, dupes, will you love being duped, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and scoffers lust scoffing,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fools hate knowledge?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Turn back to my rebuke. {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Look, I would pour out my spirit to you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I would make my words known with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Because I called and you resisted, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I reached out my hand and none paid heed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you flung aside all my counsel, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you did not want my rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I, too, shall laugh at your ruin, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I shall mock when what you feared comes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when what you feared comes like disaster, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your ruin like a whirlwind descends,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when straits and distress come upon you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Then they will call me and I shall not answer, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they will seek me and they will not find me.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Because they have hated knowledge, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the LORD\u8217?s fear they did not choose.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

They did not want my counsel, {\super


30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
they spurned all my rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And they ate from the fruit of their way, {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and from their own counsels they were sated.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} For the waywardness of dupes will kill them\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the smugness of fools will destroy them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} But who heeds me will dwell secure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and tranquil from the fear of harm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel}. This editorial headnote
for the book follows the Late Biblical practice of ascribing texts to famous fig
ures from the national past. In this case, the ascription was obviously encourag
ed by the legendary wisdom reported of Solomon in 1 Kings, including his having
composed many proverbs. In fact, the collections of sayings and longer poems ass
embled in the book were written in all probability centuries after Solomon, with
the earliest stratum going back, perhaps, to the eighth century BCE, though som
e individual proverbs may well have been older.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
proverbs}. The Hebrew {\i
mishley}\u8212?which actually means \u8220?proverbs of\u8221?\u8212?became the p
revalent title for the book in Jewish tradition. The term, which suggests some s
ort of artful expression, usually poetic, has no entirely satisfactory English e
quivalent because it variously means proverb, parable, poetic theme, rhapsodic u
tterance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
To know wisdom and reproof}. The series of infinitive phrases, which runs from h
ere to the end of verse 4 and is picked up again in verse 6, is quite untypical
of literary syntax in the Bible. It is presumably used because it lays out an ag
enda for the book, with everything from the beginning through verse 9 constituti
ng a formal prelude to the book proper. \u8220?Reproof,\u8221? {\i
musar}, and the matching term \u8220?rebuke,\u8221?
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, are prominently featured because the pedagogical assumption of the book is th
at the unsuspecting young need to be warned of life\u8217?s dangers and scolded
for their susceptibility to temptation\u8212?a process that will be repeatedly e
vident, beginning here in verses 10\u8211?19.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
shrewdness\u8230?cunning}. This book uses in a positive sense a cluster of terms
\u8212?\u8220?designs\u8221? in the next verse belongs to the cluster\u8212?that
in other contexts have a connotation of deviousness and scheming. (\u8220?Shrew
dness,\u8221? {\i
\u8216?ormah}, for example, is the word used for the primeval serpent in Genesis
3:1.) Such usage fits in with the pragmatic curriculum of Proverbs. Intelligenc
e of the most practical sort, involving an alertness to potential deceptions and
seductions, is seen as an indispensable tool for the safe, satisfying, and ethi
cal life, and a fool is repeatedly thought of as a dupe.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
riddles}. This is the same term,
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, that is used in the Samson story. Some of the one-line proverbs, as we shall
see, are actually cast as riddles, with the first verset posing the riddle and t
he second verset the solution. The burden of the entire line is that fine attent
iveness is required to take in fully the words of the wise, and that idea is bor
ne out by the compressed wit exhibited in many of the proverbs.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge}. This summarizing statement
reflects a distinctive Israelite emphasis not evident in analogous Wisdom texts
in Egypt and Mesopotamia.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Hear, my son}. The persona of the Mentor now emerges, addressing his inexperienc
ed disciple\u8212?as he will repeatedly do later\u8212?as \u8220?son,\u8221? in
keeping with the precedent of Egyptian Wisdom writings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
offenders}. One immediately sees why the traditional rendering of
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}}
as \u8220?sinners,\u8221? perpetuated in many modern translations, is not quite
right. These are offenders in the strict criminal sense, a gang of violent thug
s. This monitory poem runs to the end of verse 19, followed by Wisdom\u8217?s fi
rst speech, which takes up fourteen verses till the end of the chapter. Continuo
us poems of roughly this length constitute the first nine-chapter unit of the bo
ok. Then there is a shift to one-line proverbs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
do not be willing}. The two-word Hebrew verset looks textually suspect, reflecti
ng a rhythmic imbalance with the first verset.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
Should they say}. This formula for introducing speech, as elsewhere in biblical
poetry, seems to be extra-metrical.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
Blood\u8230?innocent}. These two terms, distributed between the two versets, are
, as Michael V. Fox neatly observes, a breakup of a bound collocation, \u8220?bl
ood of the innocent,\u8221? {\i
dam naqi}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
swallow them live like Sheol}. The implication of \u8220?blood\u8221? in the pre

vious line is spelled out: the thugs\u8217? plan is to murder their victims and
then seize their wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
one purse we all shall have}. The thugs appeal to the young man not only on the
basis of profit (\u8220?precious treasure\u8221?) to be had but also for the cam
araderie in crime that they offer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
road\u8230?path}. Though these terms and related synonyms are a figure for a way
of behavior, they are also literal here: the bandits want to draw the young man
with them on a road where they will lie in wait for victims.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
For the net is spread out for no reason}. The unwitting birds do not imagine tha
t the fowlers\u8217? net spread below them is meant to entrap them.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
Yet they lie in wait for their own blood}. Most interpreters, seeing an implied
analogy between the unwitting birds and the na\u239?ve young drawn into crime, u
nderstand this to mean that the criminals do not imagine that they will be caugh
t by the dire consequences of their own crime, do not realize that they are thei
r own ambushers. This would be in keeping with an idea stressed in Proverbs\u821
2?and vehemently rejected in Job\u8212?that there is a built-in moral mechanism
that leads from crime to disaster for its perpetrators. Similarly in the next ve
rse, ill-gotten gain is said to take \u8220?its possessor\u8217?s life.\u8221?\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
Wisdom cries out in the streets}. Lady Wisdom, an important personage in the fir
st large unit of Proverbs, is as close to an allegorical figure as the Hebrew Bi
ble comes. Attempts to derive her from the Greek {\i
Sophia} are questionable, and it is by no means clear that any of this book was
written as late as the Hellenistic period. Female figures as symbols of nations\
u8212?most notably, Zion\u8212?are common in biblical literature, but not as emb
odiments of abstractions. Perhaps the centrality of the quality of wisdom in thi
s poetic book led to a feminine personification. The Hebrew
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is a feminine noun, though here it appears in a plural form,
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, construed grammatically as a singular (like Behemoth in Job). This could be a
plural of intensification or an archaic form.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
bustling crossroads}. This translation follows a proposal by Fox. The literal se
nse is \u8220?chief [or head] of the bustlings,\u8221? which he plausibly constr
ues as an ellipsis.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
flung aside}. The verb is elsewhere used for unbinding the hair, so it literally
means something like to put in disarray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
straits and distress}. The Hebrew similarly features alliteration, {\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
arah ume}{\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
ukah}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
ate from the fruit of their way}. As in verses 18 and 19, the idea is that they
had to taste the bitter consequences of their own evil acts.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\i
from their own counsels they were sated}. This verset extends the idea of eating
the dire consequences of crime. \u8220?Counsels,\u8221? {\i
mo\u8216?etsot}, antithetically picks up the \u8220?counsel\u8221? of Wisdom (ve

rse 30) that was spurned, the two words here being different noun formations fro
m the same root.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
33. {\i
who heeds me will dwell secure}. Again and again, Proverbs pushes the notion tha
t there is a pragmatic payoff for following the precepts of wisdom: those who do
so will enjoy untroubled lives, secure from harm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par
\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
2\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
M}y son, if you take up my sayings, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my commands you store within you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to make your ear hearken to wisdom, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
incline your heart to discernment,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for if you call out to understanding, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
raise your voice to discernment,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if you seek it like silver, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
search for it like treasure,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
then will you understand the LORD\u8217?s fear, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and you will find the knowledge of God.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For the LORD gives wisdom, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from His mouth, discerning knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He stores for the upright prudence, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a shield to those who walk blameless,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} to keep the paths of justice\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He watches the way of His faithful.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Then you will understand righteousness, justice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and uprightness, each pathway of good.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} For wisdom will enter your heart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and knowledge be sweet to your palate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Cunning will watch over you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
discernment will keep you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} to save you from a way of evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from a man who speaks perversely.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} They forsake the paths of uprightness\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to go in the ways of darkness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} they rejoice to do evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
delight in evil\u8217?s perverseness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} whose paths are crooked,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and twisted in their pathways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To save you from a stranger-woman, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

from a smooth-talking alien woman,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


who forsakes the guide of her youth {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the pact of her God forgets.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For her house leads down to death {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and to the shades, her pathways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} All who come to her will not return,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will not attain the paths of life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} So that you walk in the way of the good,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the paths of the just you keep.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} For the upright will dwell on earth\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the blameless survive on it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} But the wicked are cut off from the earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and traitors torn away from it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
take up my sayings}. Here, as elsewhere, the Mentor presents himself as an autho
ritative figure who is the dependable source of wisdom for his as yet untutored
disciple.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
then will you understand the LORD\u8217?s fear}. Since the fear of the LORD is r
epresented definitionally as the beginning of wisdom, the converse is also true:
a person, by making a strenuous and sincere effort to discover wisdom, will com
e to understand what fear of the LORD is, for He (verse 6) is the one who ultima
tely imparts all wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
a shield}. The notion that wisdom protects one from mishaps is of a piece with t
he general conception of wisdom\u8217?s possessing pragmatic advantages.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
for wisdom will enter your heart}. Here and above, in verse 2, the English reade
r should recall that the heart is conceived as the seat of understanding (rather
like \u8220?mind\u8221?), though it also is associated with emotion.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
cunning}. See the comment on 1:4. It may be useful to keep in mind that \u8220?c
unning\u8221? in English is not always a negative term. Consider, for example, s
uch usages as \u8220?cunning design.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
perversely}. The Hebrew {\i
tahapukhot} suggests things topsy-turvy, upended from their proper place. Prover
bs repeatedly uses antithetical spatial metaphors for the good and the evil life
. The former is a straight way; the latter is perverse, topsy-turvy, or, as in v
erse 15, crooked and twisted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

13. {\i
They forsake the paths of uprightness}. The Hebrew here and in the next verse us
es a plural participial form: \u8220?forsaking the paths.\u8221? This entire fir
st piece of admonition to the young man is quite general, warning him to stay aw
ay from bad people. The unit that begins with verse 16 is more specific\u8212?a
warning of the dangers of the sexual seductress.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
twisted}. That is, both the paths and the men who go on them are twisted.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
stranger-woman}. The meaning of the Hebrew {\i
zarah} has been much debated. The usual English designation, \u8220?strange woma
n,\u8221? is misleading because it implies that she is strange\u8212?that is, so
mehow bizarre. She is not, as some have claimed, a prostitute because verse 17 i
ndicates that she is married. There is also scant suggestion that, as others hav
e argued, she is a foreigner, even though the parallel term in this line, {\i
nokhriyah}, \u8220?alien woman,\u8221? often means foreigner. In cultic contexts
, a {\i
zar} is someone prohibited from entering the sacred zone of the sanctuary becaus
e he is not a priest. That sense is relevant to our text: the married woman, bec
ause she is contracted to another man, is prohibited to the susceptible youth. T
he paired term {\i
nokhriyah}, then, in the poetic parallelism, probably has the force of \u8220?an
other man\u8217?s wife\u8221?\u8212?alien in a sexual rather than a national sen
se.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
the guide of her youth}. Though some render {\i
\u8217?aluf} as \u8220?companion,\u8221? the point is, in this patriarchal socie
ty, that the husband is expected to provide moral guidance for his wife, which i
n this case she has flagrantly ignored. The verbal root of the Hebrew noun means
\u8220?to instruct\u8221? and has no association with companionability.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the pact of her God}. Given the context of abandoning her husband-guide, the mos
t likely reference is to the marriage contract, or perhaps, by extension, to the
divine prohibition of adultery.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
her house leads down to death}. More literally, \u8220?stoops down\u8221? or \u8
220?tilts down.\u8221? It is unnecessary to emend {\i
beytah}, \u8220?her house,\u8221? to {\i
netivatah}, \u8220?her path,\u8221? as some have proposed, because the phrase of
fers a vivid image of the house of the adulteress\u8212?her husband may be away
on business, as in Chapter 7\u8212?as a death trap: you enter it and find yourse
lf on a chute sliding down into the realm of death. The writer seems to assume t
hat adultery leads to death as a condign punishment, though he might have in min
d the consequence of the husband\u8217?s vengeance (compare 7:23).\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
All who come to}. The Hebrew makes a pointed pun because to come into a woman me
ans to have sex with her. The house leading down to death is thus metonymically

linked with the woman\u8217?s body leading to death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
the upright will dwell on earth}. The multivalent Hebrew {\i
\u8217?erets} here has the sense of \u8220?earth,\u8221? not \u8220?land,\u8221?
because what is at issue is survival in life: the person who follows the ethica
l path marked out by wisdom will live long on earth while the wicked die before
their time (the next verse), like the men who succumb to the wiles of the seduct
ress.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
3\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
M}y son, do not forget my teaching, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let your heart keep my commands.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For length of days and years of life {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and peace they will add for you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Kindness and truth will not forsake you. {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bind them round your neck,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
write them on your heart\u8217?s tablet,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and find favor and good regard {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the eyes of God and man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not lean on your discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} Through all your ways know Him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and He will make your paths straight.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Do not be wise in your own eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
fear the LORD and swerve from evil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Let it be healing for your flesh\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a balm to your bones.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Honor the LORD more than your wealth\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and than the first fruits of your crop,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} and your barns will be filled with abundance,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your vats will burst with new wine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} The LORD\u8217?s reproof, my son, do not spurn,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not despise His rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} For whom the LORD loves He rebukes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and like a father his son, regards him kindly.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Happy the man who has found wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the man who acquires discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For her worth is better than silver\u8217?s worth, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and her yield better than fine gold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
More precious is she than rubies, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all your cherished things could not equal her.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

Length of days are in her right hand, {\super


16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in her left hand wealth and honor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all her paths are peace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A tree of life is she to those who grasp her, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and those who hold her are deemed happy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The LORD through wisdom founded earth {\super
19} ,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
set heavens firm through discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through His knowledge the deeps burst open, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the skies dripped dew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} My son, let these things not slip away from your eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
keep prudence and cunning,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} and they will be life to your neck\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and grace to your throat.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} Then you shall walk secure on your way,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your foot shall not be bruised.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} If you lie down, you shall not be afraid.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
You shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} You shall not fear any sudden fright,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor the plight of the wicked when it comes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For the LORD will be your trust,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will guard your foot from the snare.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Don\u8217?t hold back bounty from him who earned it\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
when it\u8217?s within your hand\u8217?s power to perform.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\super
28} Don\u8217?t say to your friend, \u8220?Go and come back,\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
and tomorrow I\u8217?ll give,\u8221? when you have it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Don\u8217?t plot harm against your fellow, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when he dwells secure alongside you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Don\u8217?t quarrel with a man for no reason {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
if he has done you no harm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Don\u8217?t envy a man of violence {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and don\u8217?t choose any of his ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For a crooked man is the LORD\u8217?s loathing, {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the upright are His intimates.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The LORD\u8217?s blight is on the house of the wicked, {\super
33}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the abode of the righteous He blesses.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
As for the scoffers, He scoffs at them, {\super
34}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

but to the humble He grants favor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


The wise inherit honor, {\super
35}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fools take away disgrace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
length of days\u8230?years of life}. This pronouncement continues the central pr
agmatic theme in Proverbs: that following the path of wisdom leads to physical w
ell-being, prosperity, and longevity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
round your neck\u8230?on your heart\u8217?s tablet}. The teachings of wisdom are
both an external ornament and something to be internalized and permanently reta
ined.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
good regard}. The Hebrew {\i
sekhel} can also mean \u8220?intelligence\u8221? (a usage carried forward in mod
ern Hebrew, where it suggests something like \u8220?common sense\u8221?). But th
e verbal root means \u8220?to see\u8221?\u8212?in many languages, there is a lin
k between seeing and understanding\u8212?as in Genesis 3:6, \u8220?the tree was
lovely to look at [{\i
lehaskil}].\u8221? In the present context, where the opinions of others is at is
sue, \u8220?regard\u8221? seems the likely meaning. Fox comes to the same conclu
sion.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
make your paths straight}. The verb could also mean \u8220?level,\u8221? meaning
you can walk on your paths without obstruction, but the antithesis of crooked p
aths (see 2:15) may make straightening the more likely meaning.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
Do not be wise in your own eyes, / fear the LORD}. Behind this admonition is the
key idea that fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
your flesh}. The Masoretic text reads {\i
shorekha}, \u8220?your navel,\u8221? which sounds bizarre, the navel not being k
nown as a focus of bodily well-being. The Septuagint evidently used a Hebrew tex
t that read, far more probably, {\i
she\u8217?eirkha}, \u8220?your flesh,\u8221? and it seems likely that the medial
{\i
\u8217?aleph} was inadvertently dropped in scribal transmission.\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
abundance}. Literally, \u8220?satiety.\u8221? The reference is to abundant grain
, paired with new wine in the second verset.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
Happy the man}. After the general exhortation to follow the words of the wise th
at takes up verses 1\u8211?12, a new unit begins here. The {\i

\u8217?ashrey} formula, \u8220?happy the man,\u8221? often marks the beginning o


f a textual unit, as in the Wisdom psalm (Psalm 1) that stands at the head of th
e canonical collection. The subject of this poetic sequence, which ends at verse
20, is a celebration of the transcendent powers of wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
her worth}. Although wisdom is not explicitly personified in 1:20\u8211?33, she
is nevertheless represented as a feminine figure, possessing two hands (verse 16
). The term for \u8220?worth\u8221? here,
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6815d11881023361a622c56d2db4d200d04a529002401ec0741fffd9
}}
, implies market value.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
rubies}. As with most precious stones in the biblical lexicon, the precise ident
ification is uncertain. In modern Hebrew, {\i
peninim} means \u8220?pearls,\u8221? which might possibly be its biblical sense.
\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
deemed happy}. The word \u8220?deemed\u8221? has been added because the passive
verb {\i
me\u8217?ushar} is the condition of the person of whom others say {\i

\u8217?ashrey}, \u8220?happy is he.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
The LORD through wisdom founded earth}. Though this could be read as a poetic fl
ourish, it begins to move toward the idea cultivated by Kabbalists and others th
at wisdom is a cosmic principle by which God works out the design of creation.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
the deeps burst open\u8230?the skies dripped dew}. This figuration of fructifyin
g creation is a benign reversal of the Flood story, where \u8220?all the wellspr
ings of the great deep burst / and the casements of the heavens were opened\u822
1? (Genesis 7:11).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
My son, let these things not slip away from your eyes}. This unit of the text, w
hich runs to verse 26, is a series of exhortations to cling to wisdom and thus e
njoy its benefits, which parallels the similar series in verses 1\u8211?12, form
ing a kind of frame around the celebration of the supernal force of wisdom in ve
rses 13\u8211?20.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
life to your neck\u8230?grace to your throat}. Because of the poetic parallelism
, the probable sense of the multivalent {\i
nefesh} here, as frequently in Psalms (see, for example, Psalm 69:2), is \u8220?
neck.\u8221? The idea of wisdom as an ornament around the neck (compare verse 3)
is common in Proverbs, but \u8220?life to your neck\u8221? sounds odd. The refe
rence might conceivably be to a life-protecting amulet, worn around the neck.\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
plight of the wicked}. That is, sooner or later, disaster will inevitably overta
ke the wicked, but a person who follows the ways of wisdom will have no reason t
o fear such catastrophe.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
Don\u8217?t hold back bounty}. These words initiate a fourth textual unit, which
is a miscellany of negative injunctions regarding behavior toward one\u8217?s f
ellow man. It must be said that this whole series borders on platitude, rather l
ike Polonius\u8217?s advice to Hamlet.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
crooked\u8230?upright}. The two Hebrew terms are pointed antonyms because \u8220
?upright,\u8221? {\i
yesharim}, is literally \u8220?straight.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
and the upright are His intimates}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?an
d the upright are with [or \u8220?part of\u8221?] His intimate circle.\u8221?\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
35. {\i
honor\u8230?disgrace}. The two Hebrew terms are antonyms not only semantically b

ut also etymologically: the word for \u8220?honor,\u8221? {\i


kavod}, derives from a root that means \u8220?weighty\u8221? or \u8220?heavy,\u8
221? and the word for \u8220?disgrace,\u8221? {\i
qalon}, derives from a root that means \u8220?light,\u8221? which is to say, of
no importance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
take away}. The Hebrew {\i
merim} (ostensibly, \u8220?raises\u8221?) is anomalous and also a singular verb
where the plural is required. Efforts to recover an original term by emendation
have been unavailing, but the poetic parallelism indicates that a word meaning \
u8220?to take possession\u8221? was intended.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard
\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
4\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
H}ear, O sons, a father\u8217?s reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and listen to discerning knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} For good learning I have given you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
do not forsake my teaching.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} For I was a son to my father,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a tender only child for my mother.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} And he taught me and said to me:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
\u8220?Let your heart hold on to my words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Keep my commands and live.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Get wisdom, get discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Do not forget nor swerve from my mouth\u8217?s sayings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\super
6} Do not forsake her and she will guard you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Love her and she will keep you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The beginning of wisdom is\u8212?get wisdom, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in all that you get, get discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Dandle her and she will exalt you, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
will honor you when you embrace her.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
She will put on your head a garland of grace, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a crown of splendor she will hand you.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hear, my son, and take my sayings, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that the years of your life be many.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
In the way of wisdom I teach you, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I guide you on pathways of rightness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When you walk, your step is not straitened. {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If you run, you will not stumble.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hold fast to reproof, don\u8217?t let go. {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Keep it, for it is your life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
On the wicked\u8217?s path do not enter, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not stride on the way of the evil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
15} Shun it, don\u8217?t pass upon it,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
turn away from it and pass on.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} For they do not sleep if they\u8217?ve done no evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
and they\u8217?re robbed of sleep if they trip no one up.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\super
17} For they break the bread of wickedness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the wine of outrage they drink.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} But the path of the righteous is like light\u8217?s radiance,\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
ever brighter till day has come.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} The way of the wicked is like darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
They know not on what they stumble.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} My son, listen to my words,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to my sayings bend your ear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Let them not slip away from your eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
guard them within your heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} For they are life to those who find them,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and healing to all their flesh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
More than anything watched guard your heart, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for from it are the ways out to life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Put away from you twisted speech {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and lips\u8217? contortion keep far from you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Let your eyes look in front, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your gaze straight before you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Level the pathway of your foot, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and all your ways will be sound.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Do not veer to the right or the left. {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Keep your foot away from evil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
For I was a son to my father}. In the tradition-oriented framework of Proverbs,
wisdom is a quality that age imparts to youth (a theme repeatedly struck by Job\
u8217?s companions), father to son. That idea is reinforced here by the introduc
tion of a third generation, the grandfather of the young man who is the object o
f instruction. Just as the Mentor was taught by his father, whose words he goes
on to quote, he will teach the young man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
A tender only child}. As an only child, he would have been a special object of p
arental attention and of solicitude for his moral education.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
Do not forsake her}. The feminine pronoun refers to wisdom, which, even without
explicit personification, is imagined as a female figure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
The beginning of wisdom is\u8212?get wisdom}. This sounds tautological, but Fox
plausibly explains that it means one must acquire the precepts of wisdom even if
at first it may be only by rote, with true comprehension dawning later.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
Dandle her}. There has been some exegetical dispute about the precise meaning of
the verb {\i
salsel} (the root probably suggests \u8220?curling\u8221?), but the manifest chi
astic structure of the line argues for some physical expression of affection: da
ndle (a), exalt (b), honor (
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458c5046b12973b3a51a1b3f27c7a23fffd9
}}
), embrace (\u225?). The next line exhibits a similar chiastic pattern.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
Hear, my son}. This formulaic exhortation, after the citation of the grandfather
\u8217?s admonitions to embrace wisdom, marks the beginning of a new unit. The s
ubject of this unit is the imperative need to avoid the company of the wicked, a
nd its governing metaphor is the two paths\u8212?the way of wisdom (verses 11\u8
211?13) and the way of the wicked (verses 14\u8211?19).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
your step is not straitened}. The translation picks up a hint from the King Jame
s Version, which follows the alliterative effect of the Hebrew, {\i
lo\u8217?-yei}{\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
ar} {\b
{\i
ts}}{\i
a\u8216?adekha}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
On the wicked\u8217?s path do not enter}. The use of \u8220?enter\u8221? suggest
s that you should not even think of setting foot on that path.\par\pard\plain\hy

phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
the bread of wickedness\u8230?the wine of outrage}. Unwilling to rest until they
have done harm, they make their ill-gotten gains their daily diet.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
like light\u8217?s radiance, / ever brighter till day has come}. This translatio
n agrees with Fox, and against many interpreters, that {\i
nekhon hayom} (literally, \u8220?the establishment of day\u8221?) does not refer
to noon but to the moment in the morning when the sun is fully risen and the da
ylight is strong. However, there is no warrant for construing {\i
\u8217?or}, the primary biblical term for light, as \u8220?dawn,\u8221? as Fox p
roposes, nor can one accept his understanding of the accompanying term, {\i
nogah}, as a \u8220?derivative luminescence,\u8221? since there are many biblica
l texts in which it is clearly a bright shining.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
My son, listen to my words}. Again this formula signals the beginning of a new t
extual unit. In this instance it is a miscellany of moral advice, involving the
need to cling to the teachings of wisdom (verses 21\u8211?23), the avoidance of
duplicitous speech (verse 24), and the importance of concentrating on the goal i
n front of you without glancing at the temptations on all sides (verses 25\u8211
?27).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
More than anything watched guard your heart}. The heart is the seat of understan
ding or, as we might say, the center of conscious intellection, and so it become
s the repository of the wisdom the young person will imbibe, and it needs to be
zealously guarded.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
the ways out to life}. This expression, which has an antithetical counterpart in
Psalm 68:21, \u8220?the ways out from death,\u8221? has a certain mythological
resonance, reinforcing the tremendous power of the human heart.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
twisted speech}. Literally, \u8220?mouth\u8217?s twistedness.\u8221?\par\pard\pl
ain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
Let your eyes look in front}. The burden of this and the two subsequent lines th
at conclude the unit is that since moral dangers and temptations swarm on all si
des, one must keep looking straight ahead and also choose a safe level path on w
hich to walk in life. This prudential advice points toward a puritanical outlook
, as in the cognate injunction in the Mishnah (Avot), \u8220?He who walks on a r
oad and says \u8216?How lovely this tree, how lovely this field,\u8217? incurs m
ortal guilt.\u8221? The idea of looking only straight ahead of you is also the e
xact opposite of Qohelet\u8217?s endeavor to explore all the realms of experienc
e in search of wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
gaze}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?eyelids.\u8221? The claim of so
me interpreters, from Late Antiquity to the present, that the term means \u8220?

eyeballs\u8221? is dubious. Because poetic parallelism requires a synonym for \u


8220?eyes,\u8221? the word for \u8220?eyelids\u8221? was enlisted: though one do
esn\u8217?t see with the eyelids, by metonymic extension the word becomes in poe
try a stand-in for eyes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\
s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
5\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
M}y son, to my wisdom hearken,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to my discernment bend your ear,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} to guard cunning\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
so that your lips may keep knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} For the stranger-woman\u8217?s lips drip honey,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
smoother than oil her open mouth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} But in the end she\u8217?s as bitter as wormwood,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
sharp as a double-edged sword.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Her feet go down to Death, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in Sheol her steps take hold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
No path of life she traces, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
her pathways wander, and she does not know.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And now, sons, hear me, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not swerve from my mouth\u8217?s sayings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Keep your way far from her {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not go near the entrance of her house,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lest you give to others your glory {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your years to a ruthless man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
lest strangers sate themselves with your vigor, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your toil\u8212?in an alien\u8217?s house,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and in the end you roar {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when your body and flesh waste away.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} And you will say, \u8220?How I hated reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my heart despised rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} And I did not heed my teachers\u8217? voice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to my instructors I did not bend my ear.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Soon I fell into every sort of harm\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the midst of the assembled crowd.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Drink water from your own well,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
fresh water from your cistern.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} Your springs will spread to the street,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the squares, streams of water.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Let them be yours alone\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and not for strangers alongside you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
18} Let your fountain be blessed,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and rejoice in the wife of your youth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Love\u8217?s doe, a graceful gazelle, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
her breasts ever slake your thirst,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
you will always dote in her love.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And why dote, my son, on a stranger-woman, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
clasp an alien woman\u8217?s lap?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For before the LORD\u8217?s eyes are the ways of a man, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He traces all his pathways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The crimes of the wicked ensnare him, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the ropes of his offense he is held.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He will die for want of reproof, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in his great doltishness he will dote.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
My son, to my wisdom hearken}. This poem begins with the usual formula of exhort
ation by the Mentor (this verse and the next). In this case, we have one continu
ous poem till the end of the chapter, a warning about the wiles of the strangerwoman and a celebration of the joys of conjugal sex. The poem is not quite narra
tive, like the matching poem of Chapter 7, despite certain narrative elements, b
ut it is remarkable in the way it elaborates its argument through metaphor.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
the stranger-woman\u8217?s lips drip honey}. The sensual ripeness of the alliter
ation in the Hebrew {\i
{\b
n}o{\b
f}e{\b
t t}i{\b
t}o{\b
fn}a sif{\b
t}ey zarah} has a nearly identical counterpart in Song of Songs 4:11. In the tra
nslation, \u8220?lips drip\u8221? is a gesture toward this cluster of sound. The
seductive lips are a counterpart to the lips that should keep knowledge in the
preceding line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
open mouth}. The literal meaning of
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is \u8220?palate.\u8221? Since it is in all likelihood not speech but kisses th
at are referred to in both halves of the line, the translation adds \u8220?open\
u8221? in keeping with the erotic enticement that the poet surely had in mind. T
he Hebrew term used, as we shall see, sets up a strategic pun that occurs later
in the poem.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
double-edged sword}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?sword of [two] mo
uths,\u8221? thus called because in biblical idiom the edge of the sword consume
s. The idiom in this way shrewdly loops back, in an antithesis, to the lips and
mouth (or palate) of the seductress.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
she does not know}. Focused as she is on sexual pleasure and the arts of seducti
on, she has no sense that she is embarked on a disastrous course, far from the s
traight way.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
and now, sons}. The Mentor temporarily switches to the plural, perhaps to genera
lize the case of this particular young man, but he then switches back to the sin
gular in the next verse.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
the entrance of her house}. More literally, this would be \u8220?the opening of
her house.\u8221? Though the admonition is literally spatial\u8212?steer clear o
f her house, don\u8217?t even think of approaching the door\u8212?an analogy is
intimated between the woman\u8217?s house and her body. (In the Talmud, this Heb
rew term,
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, becomes a designation of the vagina in some discussions of marital law.)\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
lest strangers sate themselves with your vigor}. The causal mechanism is ambiguo
us. If the woman is married, like the stranger-woman in Chapter 7, the young man
might be stripped of his resources by a husband\u8217?s suit for damages. If sh
e is single, she could turn out to be a gold digger who, exploiting his sexual o
bsession, would take him for all he\u8217?s worth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
your body and flesh waste away}. Presumably, this would be the consequence of hi
s lacking the wherewithal to nourish himself properly, though the possibility of
venereal disease should not be excluded.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
the assembled crowd}. Literally, \u8220?the assembly and congregation,\u8221? wh
ich is here construed as a hendiadys. The idea is that the real harm suffered be
cause of the stranger-woman will be compounded by public shaming.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
Drink water from your own well}. The association of the well with female fertili
ty and especially with the womb (or vagina) is reflected both in the Song of Son
gs and in the recurrent betrothal type-scene, where the young man encounters his

future bride by a well. The pure waters of the well are an antithesis to the sw
eet honey and smooth oil of the seductress\u8217?s mouth. It is not clear whethe
r the young man is already married or is being urged to enter marriage and its p
leasures before he succumbs to the lure of the stranger-woman.\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
Your springs will spread to the street}. Many critics prefer to follow the readi
ng of the Septuagint, \u8220?Lest your springs spread to the street\u8221? becau
se of the idea that the husband should enjoy his own private well, within the co
nfines of his house. But since the spring or well is associated with the woman,
it is not altogether clear what this would refer to\u8212?perhaps, by a stretch,
to a prospect that the wife would become promiscuous because of her husband\u82
17?s infidelity, which is not entirely plausible. The line might mean, as we hav
e proposed, that the consequences of the man\u8217?s drinking from his own well\
u8212?which perhaps would be his offspring\u8212?will be felt in the public real
m. The next verse, however, would seem to argue for the Septuagint reading.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
Love\u8217?s doe, a graceful gazelle}. These delicate animal images are drawn fr
om the same repertory as the animal images repeatedly used in the Song of Songs.
The \u8220?love,\u8221? attached to \u8220?doe,\u8221? {\i
\u8217?ahavim}, suggests lovemaking rather than the emotional relationship, {\i
\u8217?ahavah}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
her breasts ever slake your thirst}. Some interpreters revocalize {\i
dadim}, \u8220?breasts,\u8221? as {\i
dodim}, \u8220?lovemaking,\u8221? in keeping with the language of the Song of So
ngs. But given the emphasis in this poem on drinking, the physical image of drin
king from the breasts may be more likely.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
why dote}. It is a characteristic maneuver of biblical poetry and of biblical na
rrative to effect the move from one segment of the text to the next by repeating
a key word used in a different sense. Here, the core meaning of {\i
sh-g-h}, to give oneself to excess or wild feeling, is retained, but there is a
switch from a positive valence (the beloved wife) to a negative one (the strange
r-woman).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
lap}. The Hebrew
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is obviously a metonymy for the woman\u8217?s sexual part, and it puns on the t
erm for another orifice,
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(\u8220?palate\u8221? or \u8220?mouth\u8221?), used at the beginning of the poe
m and thus registers a small narrative progression. The allure of the seductress
\u8217?s mouth leads to dangerous sexual intimacy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
he will dote}. This concluding verb closes the circle in the representation of t
he foolish young man who makes the mistake of falling for the seductress: the He
brew, like the English, is ambiguous, leaving the reader to decide whether he is
doting on the stranger-woman in his foolishness or simply doting on the conditi
on of foolishness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \af
s28
{\b
{\qc
6\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
M}y son, if you stood pledge for your fellow man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
gave your handshake to a stranger,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} you\u8217?ve been ensnared by your mouth\u8217?s sayings,\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
trapped by your mouth\u8217?s sayings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Do this, then, my son, and escape,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
for you have fallen into your fellow man\u8217?s grasp,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
go grovel, and pester your fellow man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Give no sleep to your eyes\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
nor slumber to your eyelids.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Escape like the deer from the hunter, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the bird from the fowler\u8217?s hand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Go to the ant, you sluggard, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
see its ways and get wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For she has no foreman, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
no taskmaster nor ruler.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
She readies her bread in summer, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
stores up her food at the harvest.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
How long, O sluggard, will you lie there. {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When will you rise from your sleep?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A bit more sleep, a bit more slumber, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a bit more lying with folded arms,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and your privation will come like a wayfarer, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
your want like a shield-bearing man.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} A worthless fellow, a wrongdoing man,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
goes about with a crooked mouth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} winking his eyes, shuffling his feet,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
pointing with his fingers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} perverseness in his heart, plotting evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
ever fomenting strife.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Therefore his ruin will come suddenly,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he\u8217?ll be broken all at once beyond cure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
16} Six things are there that the LORD hates,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and seven He utterly loathes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and hands shedding innocent blood,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} a heart plotting wicked designs,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
feet hurrying to run to evil,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} a lying deposer, a false witness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
fomenting strife among brothers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Keep, my son, your father\u8217?s command, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not abandon your mother\u8217?s teaching.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bind them on your heart at all times, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
garland them round your neck.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When you walk about, it will guide you, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when you lie down, it will guard you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when you wake, it will converse with you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For a command is a lamp and teaching a light, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the way of life\u8212?stern rebukes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To keep you from your fellow man\u8217?s wife, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from the smooth tongue of an alien woman.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} Do not covet her beauty in your heart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and let her not take you with her eyelids.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For a whore\u8217?s price is no more than a loaf of bread,\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
but a married woman stalks a precious life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Can a man scoop fire into his lap\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
without his garments burning?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} Can a man walk on glowing coals\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
without his feet being scorched?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
29} Thus who comes to bed with his fellow man\u8217?s wife,\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
whoever touches her will not go scot-free.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} Let one not scorn the thief when he robs\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to fill his belly when he hungers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
If he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
all the wealth of his house he must give.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who commits adultery with a woman is senseless, {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
ruining his life, it is he who does it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Blight and disgrace he will find, {\super
33}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and his shame will not be wiped out.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For jealousy turns into a man\u8217?s wrath, {\super
34}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he will show no pity on the day of vengeance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

He will take no account of ransom, {\super


35}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will not be content, though you offer large bribes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
1. {\i
if you stood pledge}. The first unit of this chapter, ending with verse 5, is an
other of the Mentor\u8217?s pragmatic admonitions to the young man\u8212?in this
instance, not to guarantee loans for others, an imprudent act that could easily
lead one to financial ruin.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
mouth\u8217?s sayings\u8230?mouth\u8217?s sayings}. The characteristic pattern o
f biblical poetry would be to use a synonymous phrase in the second verset inste
ad of the selfsame words. In fact, the Syriac translation reads for the second v
erset \u8220?by the word of your lips,\u8221? and that may well have been the or
iginal version.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
escape}. Literally, \u8220?be saved\u8221? (in a physical, not spiritual, sense)
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
go grovel, and pester your fellow man}. The advice proffered is practical though
scarcely edifying: if you have been foolish enough to get yourself into this so
rt of fix, use whatever means you can, even if they are humiliating or unpleasan
t, to extricate yourself from your obligation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
hunter}. The Masoretic text reads {\i
miyad}, \u8220?from a hand.\u8221? This translation follows the Septuagint, whic
h used a Hebrew text that seems to have had {\i
mitsayad}, \u8220?from a hunter.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
How long, O sluggard, will you lie there}. The lazybones sprawled inert on his c
ouch is of course a sharp counterpoint to the ants scurrying about to gather the
ir food, with no need of a taskmaster to urge them on.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
11. {\i
your privation will come like a wayfarer}. The inevitable consequence of the slu
ggard\u8217?s unwillingness to bestir himself and provide for his own needs is d
estitution. The term used here for poverty, {\i
reish}, is relatively uncommon, and may derive from the verbal stem {\i
y-r-sh}, which can mean to take over someone else\u8217?s possessions (hence the
translation choice of \u8220?privation\u8221?). \u8220?Wayfarer\u8221? represen
ts the Hebrew {\i
mehalekh}, which means \u8220?one who walks about.\u8221? The most probable refe
rence is to a passerby or vagabond who breaks into an unprotected house.\par\par
d\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
a shield-bearing man}. This would be an intensification, as is the general case
for parallel terms in the second verset, of \u8220?wayfarer,\u8221? probably ref
erring to an armed brigand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i

crooked mouth}. Though the phrase indicates perverted speech, it also launches t
he pattern of distorted body parts that is continued in the next line.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
eyes\u8230?feet\u8230?fingers}. These gestures are evidently expressions of atte
mpted seduction or deception, but as they are catalogued, they clearly represent
the worthless fellow as someone who makes himself look grotesque.\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
Six things\u8230?seven}. This numerical pattern\u8212?six, or indeed seven, and
elsewhere, three, or indeed four\u8212?is used several times in Proverbs and occ
asionally in the Prophets. The miscellaneous character of the list accords with
the miscellaneous character of this whole unit, which runs from verse 12 through
verse 19.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17\u8211?18. {\i
eyes\u8230?tongue\u8230?hands\u8230?heart\u8230?feet}. These lines pick up the u
se of body parts in verses 12 and 13 to create a small catalogue of immoral acts
and stances, each associated with the agency of a particular physical organ or
member.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
Keep, my son, your father\u8217?s command}. The unit that begins here, a warning
against the dangers of adultery, is relatively long and has a formal exordium t
hat takes up four verses (20\u8211?23). The adding of mother to father points to
a solid conjugal couple contrasting to adulterers.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
walk about\u8230?lie down\u8230?wake}. The language alludes to Deuteronomy 18:19
, where it is the words of God\u8217?s teaching (not, as here, that of human men
tors) that must be remembered at all times.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
stern rebukes}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?rebukes of reproof,\u8
221? but, as elsewhere, the effect of joining synonyms in the construct state is
an intensification, hence \u8220?stern.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
your fellow man\u8217?s wife}. The Masoretic text reads {\i
\u8217?eshet ra\u8217?}, \u8220?wife of an evil man,\u8221? but the phrase is se
mantically problematic. The Septuagint has {\i
re\u8216?a} (merely a difference of vocalization), \u8220?fellow man,\u8221? whi
ch is quite convincing as the authentic version.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
smooth tongue}. Literally, \u8220?smoothness of tongue.\u8221? The clear referen
ce is to her seductive words.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
covet}. The Hebrew verb probably has the force here of \u8220?lust,\u8221? but i
t is the same verb used in the Decalogue in the prohibition of adultery, and so

it is appropriate to follow the translation choice adopted for the Decalogue.\pa


r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
her eyelids}. Here the common poetic synonym for \u8220?eyes\u8221? has special
relevance\u8212?the fluttering of the eyelids seductively.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
a whore\u8217?s price\u8230?a loaf of bread}. The expression is no doubt hyperbo
lic (in Genesis 38 Tamar stipulates a kid\u8212?rather more valuable than a loaf
of bread\u8212?as the price of her sexual favors): if you want sex, you could g
et it from a whore for mere pennies, whereas the real cost of sex with a married
woman will be the destruction of your life (\u8220?a married woman stalks a pre
cious life\u8221?). The poet is not suggesting that the adulteress is a delibera
te killer, but rather that her cheating on her spouse will bring down the murder
ous wrath of her husband (verses 34 and 35) on her lover.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
scoop fire into his lap}. Pointedly, \u8220?lap\u8221? is linked by metonymy to
the sexual organ. Fox neatly notes that \u8220?the line\u8217?s assonance and al
literation are evocative of the hissing and crackling of fire\u8221?\u8212?
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}}
{\i
\u8217?ish \u8217?esh}
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.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
who comes to bed with}. Literally, \u8220?who comes into.\u8221? The idiom, howe
ver, refers not just to penetration but to the full sexual act, with the usual i
mplication of a man\u8217?s having sex with a woman for the first time.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
not go scot-free}. Literally, \u8220?not be innocent.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
Let one not scorn the thief}. The two verses here on the thief seem to interrupt
the disquisition on the dangers of adultery, which resumes with verse 32. The c
onnection may be in the next verset, \u8220?to fill his belly [literally, \u8220
?throat\u8221? or \u8220?appetite\u8221?] when he hungers\u8221? and the prospec
t of impoverishment invoked in the next line: the thief takes what does not belo
ng to him because he is hungry, a more elemental appetite than the lust that imp
els the adulterer, who takes a woman who is not his; the likely consequence for
the thief is being stripped of all he possesses, whereas the adulterer\u8217?s f
ate is shame, possible destitution (if the husband demands damages), and even de
ath (if the husband\u8217?s jealous rage turns lethal).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
adultery with a woman}. The redundant \u8220?with a woman\u8221? in the Hebrew c
reates metrical balance with the second verset, but the word also brings us back
to the evocation of the seductive married woman in verses 24\u8211?26.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
senseless}. Literally, \u8220?lacking heart,\u8221? the heart here figuring as t
he seat of reason.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
34. {\i
jealousy turns into a man\u8217?s wrath}. Literally, \u8220?jealousy is a man\u8
217?s wrath.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \a
fs28
{\b
{\qc
7\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
M}y son, keep my sayings,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and store up my commands within you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} Keep my commands and live,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my teaching like the apple of your eye.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} Bind them on your fingers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
write them on the tablet of your heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\super
4} Say to Wisdom, \u8220?You are my sister,\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and call Discernment a friend.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} To keep you from a stranger-woman,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
from a smooth-talking alien woman.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
6} For from the window of my house,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
through my lattice I looked down,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} and I saw among the dupes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
discerned among the young men a witless lad,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
passing through streets, by the corner, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
on the way to her house he strides,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at twilight, as evening descends, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in pitch-black night and darkness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And, look, a woman to meet him, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
whore\u8217?s attire and hidden intent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Bustling she is and wayward, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in her house her feet do not stay.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Now outside, now in the square, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and by every corner she lurks.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
She seizes him and kisses him, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
impudently says to him:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} \u8220?I had to make well-being offerings,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
today I\u8217?ve fulfilled my vows.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} And so I\u8217?ve come out to meet you,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to seek you, and I\u8217?ve found you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} With coverlets I\u8217?ve spread my couch,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
dyed cloths of Egyptian linen.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} I\u8217?ve sprinkled my bed with myrrh,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with aloes and cinnamon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Come, let us drink deep of loving till morn,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
let us revel in love\u8217?s delights.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} For the man is not in his house,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he\u8217?s gone on a far-off way.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The purse of silver he took in his hand, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at the new moon he\u8217?ll return to his house.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
She sways him with all her talk, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
with her smooth speech she leads him astray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He goes after her in a trice, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as an ox goes off to the slaughter,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as a stag prances into a halter.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Till an arrow pierces his liver, {\super

23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
as a bird hastens to the snare,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
not knowing the cost is his life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} And now, sons, listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and attend to my mouth\u8217?s sayings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} Let your heart not veer to her ways,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not go astray on her paths.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
26} For many the victims she has felled,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
innumerable all whom she has killed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} Through her house are the ways to Sheol,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
going down to the chambers of Death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
My son, keep my sayings}. This poem, a unified structure that takes up the entir
e chapter, is framed by a five-line exordium, with the specific topic introduced
in verse 5, and a four-line conclusion (verses 24\u8211?27), in which the speak
er points the moral of his story. What unfolds in between these frames is the cl
osest to a sustained narrative that one finds in Proverbs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpa
r} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
from the window of my house, / through my lattice I looked down}. The Mentor enj
oys a spatially superior position, able to survey the street scene below where s
exual dangers await the unwitting, he himself sheltered from curious eyes by the
lattice through which he peers. As he goes on with his story, however, he moves
from visual observation to novelistic invention in the vivid dialogue he provid
es for the seductress. His post of observation in his house is a counterpoint to
the house of the stranger-woman with its lethal dangers. The narrative will be
defined in part by the two thematic key words, \u8220?house\u8221? and \u8220?wa
y.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
at twilight\u8230?in pitch-black night and darkness}. This line is a vivid insta
nce of the deployment of narrative development from the first verset to the seco
nd in lines of biblical poetry. When the young man goes into the streets, headin
g in the direction of the seductress\u8217?s house\u8212?whether intentionally o
r inadvertently\u8212?evening is falling. In the next moment\u8212?one might rec
all that sunset is quick in the latitude of the Land of Israel\u8212?it is alrea
dy night, under the cloak of which the arts of seduction can be exercised with i
mpunity. The word for \u8220?pitch black\u8221? is {\i
\u8217?ishon}, otherwise the apple of the eye (as in verse 2)\u8212?that is, the
darkest part of the eye. It is a characteristic procedure of biblical narrative
and poetry to repeat the same word with a different meaning as a move is effect
ed from one segment of the text to the next.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
whore\u8217?s attire}. Since she is a married woman, not a professional prostitu
te, the reference is probably to provocative attire, not to clothing explicitly
marked for the practice of prostitution.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
hidden intent}. Literally, \u8220?guarded of heart.\u8221? The translation follo
ws an apt suggestion by Fox.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

11. {\i
in her house her feet do not stay}. In this society, a woman\u8217?s place is in
her home. Her going out into the streets is an expression of her sexual restles
sness (no doubt encouraged by the extended absence of her husband).\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
She seizes him and kisses him}. Her role as sexual aggressor is manifest.\par\pa
rd\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
I had to make well-being offerings}. The point is not merely her hypocrisy in la
unching an overture to adultery fresh from the temple service but also that she
is proposing to him a sumptuous meat dinner as a prelude to sex. The {\i
shelamim}, well-being offerings, would have only in part been burnt on the altar
with another part of the animal reserved for feasting.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
With coverlets I\u8217?ve spread my couch, / dyed cloths of Egyptian linen}. Now
she moves to the site of sexual consummation, explaining that she has lavishly
prepared her bed with luxurious cloths imported from Egypt, scented with aromati
c spices (verse 17) imported from Arabia and the East (probably India). It is cl
ear that the seductress has means of affluence at her disposal, in all likelihoo
d provided by her husband\u8217?s activities as a merchant (see verse 20).\par\p
ard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
let us drink deep of loving till morn}. The word for \u8220?loving,\u8221? {\i
dodim}, refers explicitly to lovemaking, and the drinking of {\i
dodim} is a phrase used in the Song of Songs. Counting on his youthful vigor, sh
e is offering him a whole night of continuous sex.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
For the man is not in his house}. This reference to her husband\u8212?not \u8220
?my man\u8221? or \u8220?my husband\u8221? but \u8220?the man\u8221?\u8212?is va
guely contemptuous. This line neatly counterparts the two thematic key words, \u
8220?house\u8221? and \u8220?way.\u8221? While the man is on a far-off way, his
house can become a love nest of adultery.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
The purse of silver}. This detail equally suggests that the husband is a prosper
ous merchant and that he will be away for a long time. Some interpreters see in
it a hint that she is requesting money from the young man, though that is not a
necessary inference.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
at the new moon}. Many understand the Hebrew {\i
keseh} to mean full moon, but the term clearly reflects the verbal root that mea
ns \u8220?to cover,\u8221? which would accord far better with the new moon. If t
his assumption is correct, the story would unfold in the early days of the lunar
month, when the moon is still a sliver and it is quite dark at night. That woul
d give the wayward wife and the young man almost four weeks to drink deep of lov
e\u8217?s pleasures.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
a stag prances into a halter}. The received text at this point is garbled. The N
ew Jewish Publication Society, for example, renders it \u8220?as a fool for the
stocks of punishment,\u8221? not translating the first, incomprehensible word {\
i
ukhe\u8216?ekhes}, and producing an unlikely parallel to the preceding verset ab
out the ox going to slaughter. Instead of the Masoretic {\i
ukhe\u8216?ekhes \u8217?el-musar \u8217?ewil}, this translation adopts a propose
d emendation {\i
ukhe\u8216?akes \u8217?el-musar \u8217?eyal}, which involves merely a revocaliza
tion of the first word and deleting the {\i
waw} in the last word, with revocalization. {\i
Musar} in this animal context would not mean \u8220?reproof,\u8221? as it does e
lsewhere in Proverbs, but \u8220?rope\u8221? or \u8220?halter\u8221? (the meanin
g of this word in Job 13:18).\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
an arrow pierces his liver}. This may be simply an image of a fatal wound, thoug
h biblical Hebrew links the liver with sexual desire, so it could conceivably re
fer to venereal disease. Otherwise, the fate of death would be at the hands of t
he vengeful husband. It is a reflection of the pragmatic orientation of Proverbs
that the Mentor warns against adultery not as a violation of a divine commandme
nt but as an act that can have lethal consequences.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
Through her house are the ways to Sheol}. Here at the end, the key terms \u8220?
house\u8221? and \u8220?way\u8221? are pointedly brought together. Her house tur
ns out to hide a kind of metaphoric trapdoor\u8212?perhaps underneath that bed w
ith its fancy linens\u8212?opening on a chute that takes one down to the realm o
f death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
8\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
L}ook, Wisdom calls out, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and Discernment lifts her voice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
At the top of the heights, on the way, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at the crossroads, she takes her stand,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
by the gates, at the city\u8217?s entrance, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at the approach to the portals, she shouts:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
To you, men, I call out, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my voice, to humankind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Understand shrewdness, you dupes, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and fools, make your heart understand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Listen, for I speak noble things, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
my mouth\u8217?s utterance\u8212?uprightness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For my tongue declares truth {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my lips loathe wickedness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} In the right are all my mouth\u8217?s sayings,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

nothing in them is twisted or crooked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
9} They are all plain to the discerning\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and straightforward for those who find knowledge.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} Take my reproof rather than silver,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and knowledge is choicer than fine gold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For wisdom is better than rubies,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
all precious things can\u8217?t match her worth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} I, Wisdom, dwell in shrewdness,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and cunning knowledge I find.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} Fear of the LORD is hating evil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Pride, haughtiness, an evil way,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and perverse speech do I hate.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} Mine is counsel and prudence,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I am Discernment, mine is might.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} Through me kings reign,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and rulers decree righteous laws.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through me princes hold sway,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and nobles, all the judges of earth. {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I, all my lovers I love,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my seekers do find me. {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Riches and honor are with me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
long-lasting wealth and righteousness. {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
My fruit is better than all fine gold,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my yield, than the choicest silver. {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
On the path of righteousness I walk,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
within the ways of justice, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to pass substance on to my lovers,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and their storehouses to fill. {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} The LORD created me at the outset of His way,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the very first of His works of old.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} In remote eons I was shaped,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
at the start of the first things of earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} When there were no deeps I was spawned,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when there were no wellsprings, water-sources.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Before mountains were anchored down, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
before hills I was spawned.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He had yet not made earth and open land, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the world\u8217?s first clods of soil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When He founded the heavens, I was there, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He traced a circle on the face of the deep,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He propped up the skies above, {\super

28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He powered the springs of the deep,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He set to the sea its limit, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
that the waters not flout His command,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
when He strengthened the earth\u8217?s foundations.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
30} And I was by Him, an intimate,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
I was His delight day after day,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
playing before Him at all times,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} playing in the world, His earth,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and my delight with humankind.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
32} And now, sons, listen to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
happy who keeps my ways.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
33} Listen to reproof and get wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and do not cast it aside.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
34} Happy the man who listens to me,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to wait at my doors day after day,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to watch the posts of my portals.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
35} For who finds me has found life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and will be favored by the LORD.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
36} And who offends me lays waste his life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
all who hate me love death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
At the top of the heights, on the way}. The figure of Lady Wisdom positions hers
elf up above\u8212?evidently, in a variety of places\u8212?where she can be wide
ly heard down below, and she stands by the crossroads and at the entrance to the
city (verse 3), where there are many passersby who will hear her voice. The imp
lication is that wisdom is not a hidden or esoteric treasure but something plain
ly accessible\u8212?in the metaphor used here, proclaimed\u8212?to all.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
my mouth\u8217?s utterance}. More literally, \u8220?my mouth\u8217?s opening.\u8
221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
my lips loathe wickedness}. Literally, \u8220?the loathing of my lips is wickedn
ess.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
twisted or crooked}. Throughout the speech of Lady Wisdom, as elsewhere in Prove
rbs, there is an emphatic thematic contrast between the crooked and the straight
.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
plain\u8230?straightforward}. Again, the notion is stressed that wisdom is unive
rsally accessible\u8212?indeed, transparent. The term rendered as \u8220?straigh
tforward\u8221? could also be translated rather literally as \u8220?what is stra
ight\u8221? or \u8220?straightness.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
I, Wisdom, dwell in shrewdness}. This is not really tautological. The quality of
wisdom is predicated on the exercise of a kind of savvyness\u8212?shrewdness or
cunning. See the comment on 1:4.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
perverse speech}. Literally, \u8220?a mouth of perversities.\u8221?\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
through me kings reign}. Here begins a new emphasis about the importance of wisd
om, prepared for by the mention of \u8220?might\u8221? at the end of the previou
s line. Wisdom is a crucial prerequisite for statecraft, and only through it are
rulers able to exercise effective governance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
all the judges of earth}. The Masoretic text reads \u8220?all the judges of just
ice [{\i
tsedeq}],\u8221? but many Hebrew manuscripts as well as two ancient translations
show instead \u8220?earth\u8221? ({\i
\u8217?erets}), which sounds better in context. It seems likely that a scribe in
advertently reproduced {\i
tsedeq} from the end of the previous line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
all fine gold}. The Hebrew uses two synonyms for gold, neither of them the stand
ard word.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
to pass substance on to my lovers}. As elsewhere, Proverbs assumes that the exer
cise of wisdom leads to prosperity, among other good things.\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
The LORD created me at the outset of His way}. Although Lady Wisdom is still spe
aking, the section from here through verse 31 looks like a new poem or, at the v
ery least, a distinct new segment of the same poem. The speech from verse 1 thro
ugh verse 21 is a celebration by Wisdom of her powers\u8212?her gift of plain an
d accessible discourse, the preciousness of her words, her indispensability as a
guide to all who govern, the material benefits she conveys to her followers. It
must be said that much of the poetry of this section deploys boilerplate langua
ge, echoing quite similar formulations\u8212?or even formulas\u8212?that one enc
ounters elsewhere in Proverbs. The poem that begins with verse 22 has a cosmic f
ramework rather than a pragmatic one: Lady Wisdom\u8217?s self-celebration goes
back to the role she played as God\u8217?s intimate before He launched on the wo
rk of creation. This cosmic and cosmogonic prominence of Wisdom may well have pr
ovided a generative clue for the prose-poem about the Logos (\u8220?In the begin
ning was the word\u8230?\u8221?) in the first chapter of John\u8217?s Gospel. In
rabbinic tradition, it was a trigger for the idea that God made the world by fo
llowing the blueprint of the Torah, which pre-existed creation; and later the Ka
bbalah would elaborate this notion with a theosophic apparatus. This cosmic visi
on, moreover, is articulated in soaring poetry that seems quite unlike the poetr

y of the preceding section.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\i
the very first of His works of old}. Or \u8220?before His works of old.\u8221? I
t is not entirely clear whether the poet intends this as a literal account of th
e order of creation, which is how this line was understood by later Jewish and C
hristian tradition, or whether this whole idea of the primordial presence of Wis
dom is a kind of mythic hyperbole to express Wisdom\u8217?s crucial importance i
n the order of things.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
When there were no deeps}. The story of creation in Genesis 1, of course, begins
with God\u8217?s breath hovering over the face of the deep, so Lady Wisdom want
s to take us back to the moment of her gestation that is antecedent to the begin
ning of creation proper.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
water-sources}. This translation emends the Masoretic {\i
nikhbedey mayim} (heavy with [?] water) to {\i
nivkhey mayim}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
anchored down}. The denotation of the Hebrew verb is to set something in its soc
kets or on its foundations.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
traced a circle on the face of the deep}. The reference is probably to the horiz
on that surrounds the sea, visually marking its limits.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
propped up}. Literally, \u8220?fortified,\u8221? \u8220?strengthened.\u8221?\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
that the waters not flout His command}. The literal configuration of the Hebrew
idiom is \u8220?not cross His mouth.\u8221? This is a recurrent notion of cosmog
onic poetry in the Bible, ultimately harking back to the Canaanite creation myth
in which the sea-god, Yamm, is subdued by the weather-god, Baal. As in the Voic
e from the Whirlwind in Job 38 and in many psalms, the LORD pronounces a decree,
setting a boundary to the sea and not allowing it to go up on the dry land.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
strengthened}. The Masoretic text reads
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw68\pich24
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0805050404050a070706080c0a0c0c0b0a0b0b0d0e12100d
0e110e0b0b1016101113141515150c0f171816141812141514ffdb00430103040405040509050509
140d0b0d1414141414141414141414141414141414141414
141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414ffc00011080018004403
011100021101031101ffc4001a0000010501000000000000
00000000000005020406070803ffc4002e1000010402010302040505000000000000020103040506
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1501010100000000000000000000000000000001ffc4001411010000000000000000000000000000
0000ffda000c03010002110311003f00da18cad5c2f8afee
65ec892cd755e398d56c07e54b9082d36f4979f92f1119afb7d811f7b544d207edd157ac0bcadb4a

86ada158459756eb5ebb7398784d836f5be6868bc5475e77
bd744565dface680be1fbb897b0a657deb3515131c448f205e6c648b04a004a2aa88bc883c2fea8b
ae80f76a46a307c330cc0cad61a5e5751456d2b8e487cd18
36d0013be9ef92a724f25ad6d7ebd04b99bfab917322a1ab288edb46685f7e003e2afb4d9781326f
7c84574ba554d2eba0e9596f06e9871eaf9b1e7b2dba6c9b
919d17045c05e260aa2aba21545454faa2a79e807379ce36f59a57064156760a7e9a4419adabaa5b
54e3c396f7b454d6bedd038b3caa96965b516c6e204094f2
6db624ca06ccd37ada092a2af9544f1faf4053a0ca9dacb98a323bc7dcbb18a73e339984c8f535c2
82476326336dc1611b1f3c89498506d175a570d553c0aa14
370bc62ef08c8fb59da1b02ad58d4d8dc8ca6ce34a986cc59f64e4b5556c3405eab51dc75d73d3d2
27961575c53a0efde5a2890bb5b75f2334329c8bb899ad34
39f223b44d459648fc7156194f722b211a328112117d1c525ded040f49895ef7c5a62f05c3190b86
533b3e5ccf4915f996d665e837e1365b4623c935d7b40151
3f28fb419e21715951de5ef1de5538d958d5c5878c4557110dd5361a3993263df750139a0a44bada
b7c536a429d043fb5d958c5ec4f62b03af9d2a1379ccc27e
dee4a4272269c65fb398d0be9afea9a90b444889af50d055087da164acb6b33f8a2ede57d4b11dbc
4318c7ecace08b0d88b66ea93311b75bd7f8f838f806b48b
c4d5362a2bd047f15b8934ff0009d9565573116db3ecd8ac01eae34427a4cf79c763c6af44f3e1a1
406b8fd051b32f09c97a0d0b81c29189e078cd3de5a04cb7
83571a34b96f1a2148781a103717fe88497f9e88775f846395367f8941a0ab8563c3d3f9b8f09b6d
de3ad71e683bd6bc6b7f4e81591e178f661f29f8f51565df
ca39eac7fc461b723d13ff0060e68bc57f74f3d00fee0b1322e34336931685955dd63adbf5b5d29d
6e3a0b9bf4c8db74c551b2168dcd2a7d5363b4e5d0186f1d
aa6af1eba0ac86170f342c396031c1241b62bb102735c945155748abaf3d026362f4d0deb3763d4c
161db42e53cdb8c0252d78f1dbaa89ef5e3e3ddbf1e3a065
6981e2f6d450ea2c71ca99d4f0081c8b024c069d623907e456db5151151fb693c7dba0abfb6cf3d9
0fc4af71eecebace2d646a6a9a7ab932ab64478ef802befb
ead19820968e400e9177ec5fb27455b6c629491adced99a780d5a1a9294e08a02f92922212a9a272
5da2222f9fb7442ace11c87c486b60cc441d7392e7124f2b
e3fb65e3f9fbf41fffd9
}}
, \u8220?traced\u8221? (or \u8220?inscribed\u8221?), which looks suspiciously l
ike an inadvertent replication of
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw63\pich24
ffd8ffe000104a46494600010101004800480000ffdb004300030202030202030303030403030405
0805050404050a070706080c0a0c0c0b0a0b0b0d0e12100d
0e110e0b0b1016101113141515150c0f171816141812141514ffdb00430103040405040509050509
140d0b0d1414141414141414141414141414141414141414
141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414ffc00011080018003f03
011100021101031101ffc4001b0001000105010000000000
0000000000000704020305060801ffc4002b10000104020103040202020300000000000102030405
06111200072108131431224115321651335261ffc4001501
010100000000000000000000000000000001ffc40014110100000000000000000000000000000000
ffda000c03010002110311003f00ecdc1a453557a95ef1e4
32e6c7aba6c7eb2a6a1d973649432dbcb4bb2df5296e1e23f17a30277fa03f5d14f0d5ed6bf4e8b6
6ec22b954b683e89c97d25853646c2c2f7c4a48fdef5d101
1eacdea4ee0f676057d7c987722f723aca069f8aea64207bb3d94c84f8253bf690ea4fed2397d79e
8a7383925459daceac876b0a5d940e3f2e1b1210b7a3f2f2
9f7100ed1bfd6c0df44596731a093576164cde56bb5d5eb71a992d12db2cc65a06d697160e9053b1
b048d6fcf41915ce8edc332d521a4c408f74be5603611adf
2e5f5ad79df41029f2ea2c89f719aabaafb379a1b71b8729b75481bd6c8493af3e3a0aa36554b36d
5cac8f7101fb26c90b86d4a429e4903641403b1a046fc7ef
a0e60ed1dd0462fdd2ee4cc842e1cb4cbed3fc7ea9be2e2ec24b6af851f8a4f8e4531d084ffd07bc
a278a8e8a87da1a0b9c3735a9ed84b995aaafedb6255afb6
c5a48532c49b0925e2ece09e24bc867da2840e49082e28ef7c4a42f6498a308cdfb4f8d505b3f696
79064f6b9859ddb51434dbaeb70cb2a9284ff50da3e4b296
4fe6096db04aff0025f41b176ba1d2659ea13b9d3184fc6ad851e2e115ed45242dd4c50b93396a23
cf1f764a5a2e1f3c811cb911d01058d8575afa4db282c488

b0a367d9a29560b86ea196988b2ee12c34d158f08263a1048d7fc6dac129241e81f32ecee0e49dea
c631bb173f8dc56aa81dcb254496d942a6382425884380fe
c9410e3bedff0060bf63690ad0e88309d7f973985fa92ceabb955e472ed6263f0a42027dcac8ad33
1d0b5920fdb065c9714413f9217a3a03a2b6ef50f84cc9b8
a603da1ed9be69ae92ff00cb6a746d155542623ba95485ab4745d5ad2d6cf95975c3e74ae81feab0
6c6e8a7fceacc7eaeba6f0f6fe4c484db4e71d01c792520e
b400d7fa03a23cbec131aca6c20cfbac7aaade7403ca2499f09a7dd8e7fdb6a524941f27eb5f7d04
5cb69ada459d15963ec52a6c23cc4353a55a30a53bfc728e
df6d85a7ca5c252d91bfc4f1f23eb4195abc6ea68e54f935d570abe4d83c644c7a2c7434b92e9fb5
b852015abff4ecf41198c1f1c8d56cd6b38fd5b55ccc812d
a86884d8650f05720ea5013a0b0af3c80defcf414e43478f39321dfdb53c29b3eab6624e72089126
372d03ed1092b493e37c7efa034f4a10a5bfd9c5cbbbac9d
5f69776f6b6b3a0db427633a832663aea50a43a9048f6d6d8deb5e343eba295a971aa8c6db751515
50aad0e905c4c28e8642c81a1b09037a1e3a23ffd9
}}
in 27B and is not a verb that makes much sense with \u8220?foundations\u8221? a
s its object. The Septuagint evidently had a Hebrew text that read
{\*\shppict{\pict\jpegblip\picw72\pich24
ffd8ffe000104a46494600010101004800480000ffdb004300030202030202030303030403030405
0805050404050a070706080c0a0c0c0b0a0b0b0d0e12100d
0e110e0b0b1016101113141515150c0f171816141812141514ffdb00430103040405040509050509
140d0b0d1414141414141414141414141414141414141414
141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414ffc00011080018004803
011100021101031101ffc4001b0000020203010000000000
0000000000000405060700010802ffc4002c10000104020103030402020300000000000102030405
0611120007211322310814415115321623526162ffc40015
01010100000000000000000000000000000001ffc400151101010000000000000000000000000000
0041ffda000c03010002110311003f00ecdc1a453557d4af
78f2197363d5d363f595350ecb9b24a196de5a5d96fa94b70f11ed7a30277f803f1d157c357b5afd
3a2d9bb08ae552da0fa2725f49614d91b0b0bdf12923f3bd
74454bf53595544cfa65ee15cd6cc8b6e98f552db88f43752fa132ca14d360712429497163da77ee
03c6fa2a73817f09875263b82316505169534f199455a642
3ee12c34da5b0bf4b7cb8fb40deb5d10f2c727a6a79488d3eda0c192b4f34b3264a1b5a93e7c8048
24783e7fe8f402c9cf3198736aa1bf9154b12ed9a2fd7c77
273497263635b5b292adb89f727ca763dc3f7d0336ed613b15f92898c2e3b0a5a1d792ea4a1b5209
0b0a3bd02920820fc1077d0035198d05fcb5c5abbcadb294
8495a98892db756948201252924800a93e7ff43f7d07b4e5748ab73542e201b40ae2608948f5f7ae
5ae1be5bd027e3e3a0e61ed1dd0462fdd2ee4cc842e1cb4c
bed3fc7ea9be2e2ec24b6afb28fc527c72298e8427fe03d6513c5474507da1a0b9c3735a9ed84b99
5aaafedb6255afb6c5a48532c49b0925e2ece09e24bc867d
22840e49082e28ef7c4a40feebe3d0e8bb5147454b35790db67bdc081225cefb6f49ab191eba6538
b4a4100470d434a028295a6db1ee715e54075e4fa7c6bea5
63c990b54c4601893f29f7129e52a75858b9b24848d93e8c1756af1a4a55b1a4a7c0888e59993395
fd1dc4448b0892efbb8c2b937561b42d115cb379a486b64e
92a69b7421093fd10cf23e400b157167965dbac865c6c0dc38db8e58c2624ccfe6430bf420e8a1ae
2dbdbe4b5849080469202d67e0256424b0ca71797dd9c570
7ae975b5ddbdc768a4e452588ea088d25e6a5fdab0d78f6ad0d3a890e293e7fd89649fc6ca834ccb
7258903ea9fb975cd38d6415d118a8ab6c340ae1371a0090
011e76b4998a5ac7e1408f2123a09af74b14631aed776f7b5b879f5af2c6e2ade66434a2b752d459
4ccb9762eafc93bf48f2715fd96fa46c958042f1aac1b1ba
29ff007d598fd5d74de1e9fdcc484db4e71d01c792520eb400d7e80e88d5f6098d65361067dd63d5
56f3a01e5124cf84d3eec73fb6d4a49283e4fc6be7a017b8
34d6d69425ec6d8a556510dc4bb5b22f5853ac30b2a09715ecf7a4968b89053e7dde76363a06c9c7
2a517122d93570d36b2194c77a708e8f5dd686f4852f5c8a
46ce813af3d0071f03c662d3c7a9631da966aa33e24b105b82d25869d0ae41c4a0278a540f9e406f
7e7a05d75d9fc0f2499365dbe138edacb9cae729f9b54c3c
b7cf008dad4a412a3c1294f9fc003e074187b7f846350eaa4378a534366842bf8dfb5a96caa005ab
6a11d2846dbe44ec8401b27a0827d29c79aff6fafad6d6b6

c2aec6f327b7b47a25ac27633a94392dc0ced2e25248f410ce8fc6b43a2ad5a7c5e9b1e5babaaa88
158a7400e2a1c64345607c03c40deba23fffd9
}}
, \u8220?when He strengthened,\u8221? the difference between the two readings b
eing a single consonant.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
an intimate\u8230?His delight\u8230?playing before Him}. This line and the next
are the most original\u8212?and charming\u8212?turn that the poet gives to his c
osmogonic myth of the origins of Wisdom. Before there were creatures to occupy G
od\u8217?s attention, Wisdom was His delightful and entertaining bosom companion
. As Fox aptly notes, Wisdom does not only possess great utility (the burden of
the preceding poem) but it is fun\u8212?as, say, the scholar takes great pleasur
e in his research, the naturalist in discovering the intricacies of nature.\par\
pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
31. {\i
playing in the world\u8230?and my delight with humankind}. The same delights tha
t winsome Lady Wisdom offered to her Creator she makes available in the created
world to those who embrace her. In all likelihood, the possessive \u8220?my\u822
1? attached to delight refers to the capacity to delight that Lady Wisdom posses
ses and conveys to humankind, though it might also mean the delight she takes in
humanity.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
And, now, sons, listen to me}. This formulaic language marks the beginning of a
four-line formal conclusion, perhaps serving both poems.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
34. {\i
to wait at my doors day after day, / to watch the posts of my portals}. This ima
ge, as a few interpreters have proposed, hints at the actions of a devoted suito
r, whom we might expect to find at the residence of a charmer like Lady Wisdom.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
9\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
W}isdom has built her house, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
she has hewn her pillars, seven.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
She has slaughtered her meat, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
has mixed her wine,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
also laid out her table.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
She has sent out her young women, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
calls loud from the city\u8217?s heights:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Whoever the dupe, let him turn aside here, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the senseless\u8212?she said to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} Come, partake of my bread,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and drink the wine I have mixed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

6} Forsake foolishness and live,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


and stride on the way of discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Who reproves the scoffer takes on disgrace,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who rebukes the wicked is maimed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} Rebuke not the scoffer lest he hate you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Rebuke the wise and he will love you.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Give to the wise, he will get more wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
inform the righteous, he will increase instruction.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and knowing the Holy One is discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} For through Me your days will be many,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the years of your life will increase.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} If you get wisdom, you get yourself wisdom,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but if you scoff, you bear it alone.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} The foolish woman bustles about.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Gullibility!\u8212?and she knows nothing of it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And she sits at the entrance of her house {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in a chair on the city\u8217?s heights,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to call out to the wayfarers {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who go on straight paths:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Whoever the dupe, let him turn aside here, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the senseless\u8212?she said to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Stolen waters are sweet, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and purloined bread is delicious.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
And he does not know that shades are there, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
in the depths of Sheol, her guests.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Wisdom has built her house}. The poem that constitutes this chapter comprises tw
o antithetical units, the invitation of Lady Wisdom and the invitation of Lady F
olly. Wisdom builds a grand, welcoming house with seven pillars. That number is
not necessarily a reflection of architectural practice but rather of the formula
ic and sacred character of the number seven.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
her pillars, seven}. The inverted order reflects the poetic flourish of the Hebr
ew syntax.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
slaughtered her meat}. Literally, \u8220?slaughtered her slaughter.\u8221? Meat
was not typically everyday fare but was reserved for sumptuous feasts.\par\pard\
plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
her young women}. These are her maidservants. But in the second verset, it is Wi
sdom herself who calls out her invitation from the heights.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
Whoever the dupe}. Wisdom offers her transformative services to the naive and th
e foolish who are very much in need of them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
she said to him}. A small emendation, with warrant in the Septuagint, turns this
into \u8220?I said to him,\u8221? thus eliminating the third-person interruptio
n of Lady Wisdom\u8217?s speech.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
bread\u8230?wine}. These primary items of food and drink are, of course, symboli
c of the feast of wisdom she is offering.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
7. {\i
is maimed}. The literal sense would be \u8220?it\u8217?s his maiming [or blemish
].\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Give to the wise}. This phrase, which follows on the second verset of the preced
ing line, is clearly elliptical for \u8220?give instruction to the wise.\u8221?\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
the Holy One}. The Hebrew uses a plural (\u8220?holy ones\u8221?), which most in
terpreters understand as a plural of majesty referring to God. This is not a usa
ge conclusively visible elsewhere, and in some instances {\i
qedoshim} is an epithet for angels. The plural ending might be a scribal error.\
par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
If you get wisdom, you get yourself wisdom}. The sense of this seeming tautology
is that wisdom is an enduring acquisition, enjoyed by the wise person and benef
iting those around him, whereas scoffing isolates a person in self-disgrace and
confers no benefit. It should be said that this entire verse, coming after the l
ine of peroration in verse 11, looks out of place.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
13. {\i
The foolish woman}. Momentarily, it seems as though the figure invoked is an exe
mplary instance of human behavior, as in many lines in Proverbs, but the next ve
rse makes clear that, like Lady Wisdom, she is an allegorical representation of
a general quality.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
she sits at the entrance of her house}. Though she is strictly symmetrical with
Lady Wisdom in calling out from a house on the heights of the city, nothing is s
aid about the splendor of a many-pillared house because, understandably, the res
idence of Folly is not likely to be a grand edifice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
who go on straight paths}. Literally, \u8220?who make their paths straight.\u822
1? Lady Wisdom calls out to the foolish in order to make them wise. Lady Folly c
alls out to those going on the right path in order to lead them astray.\par\pard

\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
Whoever the dupe\u8230?and the senseless}. Lady Folly\u8217?s words repeat verba
tim those of Lady Wisdom in verse 4 but with an opposite intent. Wisdom calls to
the dupes and the thoughtless with the aim of extricating them from their haple
ss condition through her instruction. Folly calls to them\u8212?though in her ca
se she would not plausibly have uttered these derogatory terms but rather though
t them, counting on the gullibility of those she addresses\u8212?because she int
ends to exploit their naivete.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
Stolen waters are sweet, / and purloined bread is delicious}. These often quoted
words actually constitute an anti-proverb, cast in the compact aphoristic form,
with neat poetic parallelism, of the traditional proverb. The line epitomizes L
ady Folly\u8217?s seductive message: if you want to have a really good time, not
hing works better than illicit behavior.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
purloined bread}. Literally, \u8220?secret bread.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
shades are there}. The seemingly inviting house of Lady Folly with her seductive
speech spells disaster for whoever goes there, and so is a gateway to death, co
ncealing a trapdoor to the underworld, like the house of the seductress in Chapt
er 7.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
10\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
T}he proverbs of Solomon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A wise son gladdens his father,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a foolish son is his mother\u8217?s sorrow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} The treasures of wickedness will not avail,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but righteousness saves from death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} The LORD will not make the righteous man hunger,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but He rebuffs the desire of the wicked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A deceitful palm brings privation, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the diligent hand enriches.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A clever son stores up in the summer, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a disgraceful son slumbers at harvest-time.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Blessings on the righteous man\u8217?s head, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but outrage will cover the mouth of the wicked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The memory of the righteous is for a blessing, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the name of the wicked will rot.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The wise of heart takes commands, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who speaks stupidly comes to grief.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who walks in innocence walks secure, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

but who walks crooked ways is exposed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


Who winks with his eye gives pain, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and who speaks stupidly comes to grief.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The righteous man\u8217?s mouth is a wellspring of life, {\super
11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but outrage will cover the mouth of the wicked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Hatred foments strife, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but love covers up all misdeeds.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
On the discerning man\u8217?s lips wisdom is found, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a rod for the back of the senseless!\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Wise men lay up knowledge, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the dolt\u8217?s mouth is impending disaster.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} The rich man\u8217?s wealth is his fortress-city,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the disaster of the poor, their privation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} The effort of the righteous is for life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the wicked\u8217?s yield is for offense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} A path for life who observes reproof,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who forsakes rebuke leads astray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} Who covers up hatred has lying lips,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
he who slanders is a fool.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} Through much talk misdeed will not cease,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the shrewd man holds his tongue.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} Choice silver\u8212?a righteous man\u8217?s tongue,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
but the heart of the wicked is worthless.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} The righteous man\u8217?s lips guide the many,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but dolts die for lack of sense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} The LORD\u8217?s blessing will enrich,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and one increases no pain through it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
23} As doing foul things is sport for the fool,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
so is wisdom for the man of discernment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} What the wicked dreads will come upon him,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the desire of the righteous is granted.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When the storm passes, the wicked is gone, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the righteous is a lasting foundation.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
thus the sluggard to those who send him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Fear of the LORD lengthens one\u8217?s days, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the years of the wicked are short.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The longing of the righteous is a joy, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the hope of the wicked will perish.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A stronghold for the blameless is the LORD\u8217?s way, {\super

29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but disaster for the workers of crime.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The righteous man never stumbles, {\super
30}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the wicked will not dwell on earth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The mouth of the righteous puts forth wisdom, {\super
31}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a perverse tongue will be cut off.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The lips of the righteous will know to please, {\super
32}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the mouth of the wicked\u8212?perverseness.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
The proverbs of Solomon}. This is a headnote or title for the collection of sayi
ngs that runs from here to the end of Chapter 23. As is true of the Late Biblica
l practice of ascription of texts to famous figures, it is by no means clear tha
t the compiler was claiming actual authorship for King Solomon. The superscripti
on might merely be saying that these proverbs are in the manner of Solomon, the
legendary composer of many proverbs. Unlike Chapters 1\u8211?9, which comprise e
xtended poems, some of them taking up a whole chapter and some of them exhibitin
g narrative or quasi-dramatic elements, this collection consists of a miscellany
of one-line proverbs, often with no connection from one line to the next. Much
of the language is rather pat, consisting of neatly antithetical contrasts from
the first verset to the second between the wise man and the fool, the righteous
and the wicked, by and large cast in stereotypical terms. Much of this will requ
ire scant comment.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
A wise son\u8230?a foolish son}. This initial proverb is a perfect illustration
of the neatness of antithetical formulation: wise / foolish, father / mother, gl
addens / sorrow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
righteousness saves from death}. This verset would come to be chanted in Jewish
funeral processions, though the meaning of {\i
tsedaqah}, \u8220?righteousness,\u8221? had shifted to \u8220?charity,\u8221? wh
ich mourners were invited to offer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
desire}. The Hebrew {\i
hawah}, elsewhere \u8220?disaster,\u8221? is here either an equivalent of or a m
istake for {\i
\u8217?awah}, \u8220?desire.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
A clever son stores up in the summer}. As we have seen elsewhere\u8212?most nota
bly, in the observation of the ant in 6:6\u8211?8\u8212?diligence as well as hon
esty or probity is seen as a cardinal virtue in Proverbs.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar
} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
the mouth of the wicked}. Some emend \u8220?mouth,\u8221? {\i
pi}, to \u8220?face,\u8221? {\i
peney}.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
who speaks stupidly}. The literal sense of the Hebrew is \u8220?the stupid of li

ps.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
who walks crooked ways}. Literally, \u8220?who makes his ways crooked.\u8221?\pa
r\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
is exposed}. Literally, \u8220?is known.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
winks with his eye}. The reference is either to a lascivious gesture or a merely
grotesque one. According to Fox, it is an expression of hostility.\par\pard\pla
in\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
the dolt\u8217?s mouth is impending disaster}. This is the case because, by sayi
ng stupid things, he brings disaster down on himself and perhaps on those around
him as well.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
15. {\i
The rich man\u8230?the poor}. This verse illustrates how the conventionality of
wisdom in these proverbs tumbles into truism since what is said here, after all,
is that the rich man can depend on his wealth for security whereas the poor man
\u8217?s poverty makes him miserable.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
has lying lips}. The Hebrew merely implies \u8220?has.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
holds his tongue}. More literally, \u8220?holds his lips.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
one increases no pain}. Many interpreters understand the Hebrew noun {\i
\u8216?etsev} to mean \u8220?toil\u8221? or \u8220?labor\u8221? because in Genes
is 3:17 this word is linked with the pain of working the soil, but {\i
\u8216?etsev} everywhere else means \u8220?pain\u8221? or \u8220?pang.\u8221? Th
is translation therefore understands it not to mean \u8220?no toil will increase
it [the LORD\u8217?s blessing]\u8221? but that through the LORD\u8217?s blessin
g one is painlessly enriched.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
When the storm passes}. This is a bedrock assumption of Proverbs\u8212?vehementl
y contested by Job\u8212?that adversity sweeps away the wicked while the righteo
us endure. A different formulation of the same idea occurs in verse 27.\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes}. This verse exhibits a differen
t, and more interesting, pattern from the neat antithetical parallelism that gov
erns almost all the lines up to this point: the first verset lays out a simile a

nd the second verset reveals the referent of the simile. This looks rather like
a riddle form: what is it that is like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eye
s, discoloring the former and making the latter smart? The answer to the riddle
is: a fool sent on an errand, who is bound to exasperate whoever has sent him.\p
ar\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
29. {\i
for the blameless}. The translation, following the precedent of several of the a
ncient versions, revocalizes the Masoretic {\i
latom}, \u8220?for blamelessness,\u8221? as {\i
latam}, \u8220?for the blameless.\u8221? This small change yields an otherwise m
issing parallelism: the LORD\u8217?s way is a stronghold for the blameless but s
heer terror for the wicked.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
32. {\i
to please\u8230?perverseness}. The antithetical parallelism here provides a clue
to one of the connotations of {\i
tahapukhot}, \u8220?perverseness,\u8221? in Proverbs. It involves not only actin
g or speaking in a wrongheaded or contorted way but disconcerting or dismaying o
thers through such behavior, in contrast to the righteous man, whose speech has
the capacity to please others and win their goodwill.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\
par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
11\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
1} {\b
C}heating scales are the LORD\u8217?s loathing,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and a true weight-stone His pleasure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
2} With a bold face, there comes disgrace,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but wisdom is with the humble.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
3} The upright\u8217?s innocence guides them,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the falseness of traitors destroys them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
4} Wealth avails not on the day of wrath,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but righteousness saves from death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
5} The innocent\u8217?s righteousness makes his way smooth,\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
but in his wickedness the wicked man falls.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The upright\u8217?s innocence saves them, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but in disasters are traitors ensnared.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When a wicked man dies, hope perishes, {\super
7}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the longing of villains will perish.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The righteous is rescued from straits, {\super
8}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the wicked man comes in his stead.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through speech the tainted man ruins his fellow, {\super
9}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but through knowledge the righteous are rescued.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
When the righteous do well, the city exults, {\super
10}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and when the wicked perish\u8212?glad song.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Through the upright\u8217?s blessing a city soars, {\super

11}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and by the mouth of the wicked it is razed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who scorns his fellow man has no sense, {\super
12}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a man of discernment keeps silent.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The gossip lays bare secrets, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the trustworthy conceals an affair.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
For want of designs a people falls, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but there is rescue through many counselors.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
15} He will surely be shattered who gives bond for a stranger,\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
but he who hates offering pledge is secure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} A gracious woman holds fast to honor,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the arrogant hold fast to wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
17} A kindly man does good for himself,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a cruel man blights his own flesh.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
18} The wicked man makes a false profit,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who sows righteousness reaps true reward.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
19} A righteous son is for life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the pursuer of evil\u8212?for his death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
20} The LORD\u8217?s loathing are the crooked of heart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
but His pleasure, whose way is blameless.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
21} Count on it, the evil will not go scot-free,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the seed of the righteous escapes.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
22} A golden ring in the snout of a pig,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
a lovely woman who lacks good sense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The desire of the righteous is only good. {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The hope of the wicked is wrath.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
One man is spendthrift and gains all the more, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
another saves honestly but comes to want.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A benign person will flourish, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and he who slakes others\u8217? thirst, his own thirst is slaked.\par\pard\plain
\hyphpar} {
Who holds back grain the nation will damn, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but blessing on the provider\u8217?s head.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who seeks out good pursues favor, {\super
27}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who looks for evil, it will come to him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who trusts in his wealth, he will fall, {\super
28}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but like a leaf the righteous will burgeon.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who blights his house will inherit the wind, {\super
29}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the dolt is a slave to the wise of heart.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super

30} The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


and the wise man draws in people.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
31} If the righteous on earth is requited,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
how much more the wicked offender.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
Cheating scales\u8230?a true weight-stone}. Much of the wisdom of Proverbs, as i
n this verse, is oriented pragmatically toward the world of commerce or labor. S
tones marked with a fixed weight were placed on one of the two pans of the scale
and the merchandise to be sold on the other pan.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
bold face\u8230?disgrace}. The translation emulates the rhyme in the Hebrew of {
\i
zadon} (literally, \u8220?arrogance\u8221?) and {\i
qalon}, \u8220?disgrace.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
traitors}. The Hebrew {\i
bogdim} is used not in a political sense but to describe treacherous or untrustw
orthy people.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
righteousness saves from death}. This verset is identical with 10:2, leading one
to suspect that some of these lines are modular constructs from traditional say
ings.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
5. {\i
makes his way smooth}. The verb {\i
yasher} can mean either to make straight horizontally (that is, in contrast to c
rooked) or vertically (in contrast to rough, uneven). Not falling into a pot-hol
e, like the wicked in the second verset, suggests the vertical sense.\par\pard\p
lain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
8. {\i
The righteous is rescued from straits, / and the wicked man comes in his stead}.
In this instance, the two versets create a miniature narrative with an almost c
omical didactic effect: the just man is rescued or, more precisely, extricated
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from a tight spot in which he was jammed, and the wicked is promptly popped int
o that spot. This little narrative, of course, does not readily correspond to ob
servable reality.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Through speech\u8230?through knowledge}. There is a pointed contrast between tho
ughtless or perhaps devious speech (literally, \u8220?mouth\u8221?) and the know
ledge of the wise, which perhaps may not involve speech.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}
{
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
but a man of discernment keeps silent}. The antithesis to the first verset sugge
sts that there are cases where a discerning person may well feel scorn toward so
meone but is discreet enough not to express it.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
14. {\i
a people falls}. Some construe the Hebrew {\i
\u8216?am} here in the military sense that it sometimes has in narrative prose,
where it can mean \u8220?troops.\u8221? In that case, \u8220?rescue,\u8221? {\i
teshu\u8216?ah}, in the second verset would reflect its related meaning of \u822
0?victory.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
16. {\i
honor\u8230?wealth}. Elsewhere in Proverbs, these are coordinated terms, not ant
itheses.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
reaps}. The verb is only implied in the Hebrew.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
19. {\i
a righteous son}. The Masoretic text reads {\i
ken tsedaqah}, \u8220?thus righteousness,\u8221? which does not make much sense
and produces a poor parallelism with the second verset in a series of proverbs w
here the parallelism is usually neat, even pat. This translation adopts a readin
g shown in some Hebrew manuscripts as well as in the Septuagint and Syriac: {\i
ben tsedaqah} (literally, \u8220?son of righteousness\u8221?).\par\pard\plain\hy
phpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
20. {\i
whose way is blameless}. Literally, \u8220?the blameless of way.\u8221?\par\pard
\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
21. {\i
Count on it}. Literally, \u8220?hand to hand.\u8221? This appears to be a gestur
e of shaking hands in order to guarantee something.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
22. {\i
A golden ring in the snout of a pig}. This is another proverb cast in riddle for
m. This first verse gives us a bizarre and rather shocking image. The second ver
set spells out the referent of the image, the beautiful woman devoid of sense, a
nd thus becomes a kind of punch line.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
The hope of the wicked is wrath}. Although this clause makes a certain amount of
sense as it stands in the Masoretic text, many scholars adopt the reading of so
me manuscripts and of the Septuagint, {\i
\u8217?avdah}, \u8220?perishes,\u8221? instead of {\i
\u8216?evrah}, \u8220?wrath.\u8221? This would bring the verset in line with 10:
28B, which has nearly identical wording.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
25. {\i
benign person}. Literally, \u8220?person of blessing.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyph
par} {
{\i
he who slakes}. Though this is what the Hebrew verb usually means, the verset is
obscure, and the second verb rendered as \u8220?slaked\u8221? looks textually s
uspect.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
grain\u8230?provider}. Both these terms recall the story of Joseph as viceroy of
Egypt providing grain in the famine.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
he will fall}. Some prefer to read instead of the Masoretic {\i
yipol} a verb differing by one consonant, {\i
yibol}, \u8220?he will wither,\u8221? which produces a neater antithesis to the
burgeoning leaf in the second verset.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
30. {\i
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life}. It is a little problematic that f
ruit becomes tree, but perhaps the poet was drawn into a certain slackness becau
se \u8220?fruit\u8221? in biblical usage is so often a lexicalized metaphor for
\u8220?consequences,\u8221? what one produces through his acts.\par\pard\plain\h
yphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
12\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
W}ho loves reproof loves knowledge, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who hates rebuke is a brute.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The good man finds favor from the LORD, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but He will condemn the cunning schemer.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A man will not be firm-founded in wickedness, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the root of the righteous is not shaken.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A worthy woman is her husband\u8217?s crown, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but like rot in his bones a shameful wife.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The plans of the righteous are justice; {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
the designs of the wicked, deceit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The words of the wicked are a bloody ambush, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the mouth of the upright will save them.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} Overturn the wicked and they are gone,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the house of the righteous will stand.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} By his insight will a man be praised,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the crooked of heart is despised.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} Better a scorned man who has a slave\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
than one who fancies himself honored and lacks bread.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} The righteous man knows the life of his beast,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Who works his soil is sated with bread,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who pursues empty things lacks sense.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} The wicked covets the evil men\u8217?s trap,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the root of the righteous stands firm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
13} In the crime of lips is an evil snare,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the righteous comes out from straits.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
14} From the fruit of a man\u8217?s mouth he is sated with good,\par\pard\plain\
hyphpar} {

a man gets recompense for his acts.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


{\super
15} The way of a dolt seems right in his eyes,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who listens to counsel is wise.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
16} The anger of a dolt becomes known in a trice,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the shrewd man conceals his disgrace.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A faithful deposer will tell what is right, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a lying witness\u8212?deceit.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
One may speak out like sword-stabs, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the tongue of the wise is healing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
True speech stands firm always, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a mere moment\u8212?a lying tongue.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Deceit is in the heart of plotters of evil, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but counselors of peace have joy.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
No wrong will befall the righteous, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the wicked are filled with harm.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The LORD\u8217?s loathing\u8212?lying lips, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who act in good faith are His pleasure.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A shrewd man conceals what he knows, {\super
23}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the heart of dullards proclaims folly.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The diligent\u8217?s hand will rule, {\super
24}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and the shiftless put to forced labor.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Worry in a man\u8217?s heart brings him low, {\super
25}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a good word will gladden him.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
The righteous exceeds his fellow man, {\super
26}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the wicked\u8217?s way leads him astray.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
27} The shiftless will not roast his game,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a man\u8217?s wealth is precious gold.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
28} On the path of righteousness is life,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the way of mischief is to death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
4. {\i
a worthy woman}. Fox, hewing to the etymology, renders this as \u8220?a woman of
strength.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
her husband\u8217?s crown\u8230?rot in his bones}. In this instance, the antithe
sis of the two versets diverges from the general pattern of stereotypical predic
tability, as in the three preceding lines, to exhibit an energy of biting satiri
c wit. After the crown image, which is conventional and decorous, the antithetic
al second verset moves from an adornment sitting on the head to something eating
away the bones from within, suggesting that the badness of a bad wife has a mor
e intense effect on the negative side than the goodness of a good wife on the po
sitive side. The object of this strong simile, moreover, \u8220?a shameful wife\
u8221? (one Hebrew word, {\i
mevishah}), is held back to the very end of the line, thus becoming a kind of pu
nch word.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

6. {\i
save them}. The vague pronominal object would be the victims of the wicked who a
ppear in the first verset.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
9. {\i
Better a scorned man\u8230?than one who fancies himself}. This formulation of \u
8220?better X than Y\u8221? is a classic proverb pattern in biblical Hebrew.\par
\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
10. {\i
the mercy of the wicked is cruel}. Here the antithesis between versets takes an
interesting turn. The righteous man is so compassionate that he has an intuitive
sense of the needs and discomforts of his beast. The wicked person, on the othe
r hand, is so utterly devoid of compassion that even what he affects to be an ex
pression of mercy turns out to be cruel.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
12. {\i
The wicked covets the evil men\u8217?s trap}. The Hebrew is a little obscure. It
could mean that he covets whatever is caught in the evil men\u8217?s trap, or p
erhaps that he envies the malicious ingenuity that is manifested in contriving t
he trap.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
stands firm}. This translation reads, with the Septuagint, {\i
yikon} for the Masoretic {\i
yitein}, \u8220?will give.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
17. {\i
a lying witness\u8212?deceit}. The verb \u8220?tell\u8221? in the first verset d
oes double duty for this verset, too.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
18. {\i
sword-stabs\u8230?healing}. Though the image of malicious speech as a cutting sw
ord is conventional, the antithesis between stabbing and healing at the end of t
he respective versets produces a striking effect.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
23. {\i
what he knows}. Literally, \u8220?knowledge.\u8221? It is notable in this verse
that discretion is thought of as a cardinal virtue of wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyp
hpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
24. {\i
the shiftless}. The Hebrew {\i
remiyah} usually means \u8220?deceit,\u8221? but the context requires something
like slackness. Perhaps someone failing to do a job he is given is thought to be
deceitful for not honoring his commitment out of laziness.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
26. {\i
exceeds his fellow man}. Though this is a reasonable construction of the origina
l, the Hebrew looks a little odd and has often invited emendation.\par\pard\plai
n\hyphpar} {
{\qc

\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
27. {\i
The shiftless will not roast his game}. Though the idea may well be that a slack
er will never enjoy the fruits of his highly dubious labor, the Hebrew is crypti
c and the text may be suspect.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\i
a man\u8217?s wealth is precious gold}. In the implied antithesis, the assiduous
person knows how to hang on to his substance.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
28. {\i
but the way of mischief is to death}. The Masoretic text, {\i
wederekh netivah \u8217?al-mawet}, seems to say literally \u8220?and the way of
path un-death.\u8221? This does not sound like intelligible Hebrew. This transla
tion, following a hint from three ancient versions, reads {\i
meshuvah}, \u8220?mischief\u8221? (or \u8220?waywardness\u8221?), for {\i
netivah}, \u8220?path,\u8221? and, in accordance with many Hebrew manuscripts, r
evocalizes {\i
\u8217?al} (\u8220?not\u8221? or \u8220?un\u8221?) as {\i
\u8217?el}, \u8220?to.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page
} {\s2 \afs28
{\b
{\qc
13\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\b
A} wise son\u8212?through a father\u8217?s reproof, {\super
1}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a scoffer does not heed rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
From the fruit of a man\u8217?s mouth he eats goodly things, {\super
2}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but from the throat of traitors comes outrage.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who watches his mouth guards his own life, {\super
3}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
who cracks open his lips knows disaster.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
He desires and has naught, the sluggard, {\super
4}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the life of the diligent thrives.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A lying word the righteous hates, {\super
5}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the wicked is stinking and vile.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Righteousness keeps the blameless, {\super
6}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but wickedness perverts the offender.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
7} One man feigns riches having nothing at all,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
another plays poor, with great wealth.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
8} The ransom for a man\u8217?s life are his riches,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the poor man will hear no rebuke.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
9} The light of the righteous shines,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the lamp of the wicked gutters.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
10} The empty man in arrogance foments strife,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but with those who take counsel is wisdom.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
11} Wealth can be less than mere breath,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who gathers bit by bit makes it grow.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
12} Drawn-out longing sickens the heart,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

but desire come true is a tree of life.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {


Who scorns a word will be hurt, {\super
13}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who fears a command is rewarded.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A wise man\u8217?s teaching is a wellspring of life, {\super
14}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
to swerve from the snares of death.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Good insight gives grace, {\super
15}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the way of traitors is their ruin.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Every shrewd man acts through knowledge, {\super
16}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a dullard broadcasts folly.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A wicked messenger falls into harm, {\super
17}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but a trusty envoy brings healing.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Privation and disgrace for one spurning reproof, {\super
18}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but he who takes in rebuke will be honored.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Desire fulfilled is sweet to the palate, {\super
19}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but fools\u8217? loathing is swerving from evil.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Who walks with the wise gets wisdom, {\super
20}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who chases fools is crushed.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
Harm pursues offenders, {\super
21}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the righteous are paid back with good.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
A good man bequeaths to the sons of his sons, {\super
22}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and stored for the righteous\u8212?the wealth of offenders.\par\pard\plain\hyphp
ar} {
{\super
23} Much food from the furrows of the destitute,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
and some are swept away without justice.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
24} Who spares his rod hates his son,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but who loves him seeks him out for reproof.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\super
25} The righteous man eats to satiety,\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
but the belly of the wicked will want.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
1. {\i
A wise son\u8212?through a father\u8217?s reproof}. The Hebrew is still more gno
mic, just four words without a verb or a preposition\u8212?literally, \u8220?wis
e son father\u8217?s reproof.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
2. {\i
throat}. The parallelism with \u8220?mouth\u8221? in the first verset and the co
ntrast between virtuous and vicious speech suggests that the multivalent {\i
nefesh} here has the meaning of \u8220?throat.\u8221? The verb \u8220?comes\u822
1? has been added to clarify the Hebrew, which has no verb, or the merely implie
d verb \u8220?is.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
3. {\i
who cracks open his lips knows disaster}. Talking can get you into serious troub
le, so the prudent man keeps his mouth shut.\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {

4. {\i
thrives}. More literally, \u8220?is luxuriant.\u8221?\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
{\qc
\~\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar} {
6. {\i
the offender}. Reading
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