Monday, May 18, 2009

Job 20 - rain on picnic

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite and he said
therefore my thought makes me turn
and as such, haste is in me(1)
mentoring of my insult I hear
and the spirit of my understanding makes me answer

do you know this from old
from the setting of the human on earth?
for the joyful cry of the wicked is near-term
and the gladness of the hypocrite but a moment
though his rising ascend to heaven
and his head touch the cloud
like his own dung, in perpetuity he perishes
they who saw him say - where is he?

as the dream he will fly away and they will not find him
and he is chased off as a night vision(2)
eye sighted him but not again
and his place will no longer look on him
his children will seek acceptance of the deprived
but his hands will return their vigor
his bones are full of youth
but with him in the dust they will lie down

if evil is sweet to his mouth
he hides it under his tongue
he shows it mercy and does not abandon it
but holds it among his tastes
his bread is turned in his intestines
the bitterness of asps within him

wealth he has swallowed and he will disgorge it
from his belly the One will cast it out
the head of the asp he will suck
the viper's tongue will slay him
he will not drink from rivers of oil(3)
streams of honey and butter(4)
from returning toil and not swallowing wealth
he will recompense and will not be a peacock(5)

for he has bruised - he has abandoned the deprived
a house he despoils that he did not build
for he will not know his loot in his belly
and in his desire he will not escape
there is none left to eat
therefore none will writhe for his good
in the fullness of his abundance he is short
every hand of misery comes upon him

he is to fill his belly
and he casts on him the heat of his anger
and he will rain on his picnic
he will flee from the kiss of iron
and the brazen bow will pass through him
it is drawn and comes out from the back
as the flash from his bitterness goes out
on him are horrors

all darkness is hidden in his treasures
fire not blown consumes him
one left in his tent will tremble
heaven will reveal his iniquity
and earth rise up against him
revealed is the increase of his house
poured out in the day of wrath
this is the portion of the wicked human from God(6)
and the inheritance spoken for him from the One (7)

(1) Clines and Tur Sinai have a lot of emendations to the first part of Zophar's speech but none of them seems necessary. TS is very complex, continuing to refer back to his attribution of the night vision of 4:12 to Job. Clines cites a number of problems and solutions with verse 2, a verse that seemed, for once, understandable for me with what is a close to literal translation. All I have admitted to (following TS who adds 'this' and translates 'in order to' as 'because of') is that freedom to allow a preposition to mean what it seems to need to mean. I have no problem with the opening 'therefore'. It anticipates the reason for Zophar's desire to correct quickly the perceived insult implied by Job's words (paying no attention at all, like many righteous whom I know of, to his own insulting words). He is muttering to himself and his thoughts come out as if in mid stream. All this relates to his defense of the continuing harangue over the fate of the wicked.
(2) This repetition might support TS - or Zophar is belittling Eliphaz by giving his own opinion on such 'visions'. There is little interaction among the friends themselves.
(3) Following TS whose reading of drink makes much sense in the context.
(4) This verse caused revisions to all my uses of נהר - stream, river, and נחל wadi, torrent in prior chapters. I had been mixing them up in my loosely-coupled mind. It may be that they are quite mixable. After all they are both water related.
(5) TS has 'cannot swallow' - the MT appears here to be incomprehensible without adjustment - I chose peacock to rhyme with a subsequent use of the same word later on - but if the text is 'wrong' through corruption of copying and pointing, then anything goes - right?
(6) אלהים rare in Job (6 times in the speeches)
(7) אל which I have now rendered as the One

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