Friday, May 15, 2009

Job 18

In the macro structure, this is Bildad's second response to Job - mid way through the second cycle of speeches.

As I continue, with blessing in my heart to you who read with me, I am occasionally revising prior posts to reflect the wording as I look at every instance in this saga of usage for each word. For example - in this chapter 'firstborn' is used - and I think it must reflect chapter 1 - when they were eating in the house of the firstborn. So eldest must not be used in chapter 1 or the reader of the translation will miss the possible allusion.

In this chapter also we need 6 different words for trap - a second challenge. (I avoided gin as an obsolete synonym- gin and tonic being a favorite drink.)

As far as verbal patterns and 'seeing' them, I seem to be noting that there are words that are used only in the earlier chapters or only in the later chapters. I imagine another kind of Jobean self-portrait but a way of presenting it is eluding me. A single diagram such as I did for Song of Songs or Romans is too confusing, and individual portraits such as work well for short poems like the psalms do not work for a long poem of this nature.

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite and he said
How long will you set wrenches in speeches?
Understand and afterward we will speak
For what purpose are we counted as the beast
Impure in your eyes?
He tears his being in his anger
On account of you should earth be abandoned
And the rock be removed from its place?

Even the light of the wicked will be extinguished
and the spark of his fire will not shine
light is darkness in his tent
and his candle with him will be extinguished
the steps of his vigor will be shortened
and his own counsel will cast him down

For he is sent into a net by his own feet
and onto a lattice he walks
a trap will grasp by the heel
famine will prevail against him
hidden in the earth his binding
and a snare on a track

On every side destructions terrify him
and scatter his feet
famished is his vigor
a burden prepared for his rib(1)
he will eat the solitude of his skin
the firstborn of death will eat his solitude(2)

Uprooted from his tent is his trust
and it will slow-march him to the king of destructions
it will dwell in his tent from his lack
and pitch will winnow his home
from beneath his roots dry up
from above cut off is his harvest

His memory will perish from earth
and he is nameless on the face of the street
thrust from light into darkness
and from the world chased
no child left to him
nor progeny among his people
and there is none left in his lodging

At his day those who come after will be appalled(3)
And those who came before were grasped with a whirling tempest
Such are the dwellings of injustice
And this is the place without knowledge of the One

(1) help-meet, wife, partner
(2) TS makes more sense of this - firstborn of death is the subject also of the previous line by proleptic ellipsis and means the famished and doomed firstborn. בד solitude (my guess) occurs only here and in chapter 17. My gloss is awkward - I wonder at the significance.
(2) or west and east (Clines) instead of after/before (but not the same word as in chapter 1)

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