Friday, March 27, 2009

Job 6:11-21 take 2

What is my strength that I should wait?
What is my terminus that I should prolong my life?
Is the strength of stones my strength?
Is my flesh of bronze?(1)

What if my help is without help in me(2)
and success is banished from me(3)
to one in despair from his friend there should be loving-kindness
and the fear of the Sufficient when he is abandoned(4)

my brothers are treacherous like a torrent
as a stream of torrents they pass on
depressed by ice keeping secret their snow(5)
in time they thaw and vanish
in heat they are extinguished in their place

the paths of their way are twisted
they offer formlessness and perish(6)
the paths of Tema attended
the goings of Sheba expected them

they were ashamed for he trusted(7)
they came there and were confounded
for now you are with him(8)
you see brokenness and you are afraid

(1) bronze - the bronze here is misspelled - נחוש. In chapter 40 as in other uses in the Bible it is spelled נחושה - why would this be?
(2) I could not take this sentence as a question. So I ignored the initial ה in the first word and phrased it as a 'what if'. The word הַאִם made no sense to me. TS says that this word is not a word and that the ה should be attached to the previous verse to fix the spelling of bronze. Does that ever make sense! The what if is not required and the condition can simply be phrased as if..., then his friends should show him mercy.
(3) TS has counsel for success
תושיה - I kept success to agree with the same word in chapter 5 which will recur 4 more times in subsequent chapters - if this is a thread, we must find it somehow. If it is not, then we can obscure it later.
(4) I have read many interpretations of Shaddai, usually translated the Almighty. I like the sense of self-sufficiency. There was discussion of this last year among bloggers - perhaps in our psalm 68 marathon in 2007 but I can't find the reference. (Suzanne on a blog that she is no longer posting to?) Also in this stich TS changes the qal to niphal - a much better parallel requiring no adjustment to letters, but just to vowels.
(5) TS considers ice
קרח a misreading of Syriac קרחא for storm or tempest - perhaps when we get to chapter 37, I will be able to comment more on this suggestion. Habel (below) keeps ice.
(6) I read this as a continuation of the metaphor of the streams. TS reads paths as caravans. This word is another possible thread - not sure what to do with it yet.
(7) Still work to do on the apparent singular-plural issue - does the singular refer back to the one who is forsaken but who still expresses trust per the story?
(8) There is an alternate reading here - I am thinking that the translation of the text without the alternative could make better sense. The two nothing's in the KJV in these verses are not verbally related at all.

Habel's commentary is online. The legal metaphor on page 54 shows a possible structure and gives a role to Elihu. Why then did the NT writers not use this book? I think there must be some serious problems in applying the text.

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