Friday, May 22, 2009

Job 21:16-34

continuing from the prior post...

Lo not "in their hand is their good"(1)
The counsel of the wicked is far from me
For how is the candle of the wicked extinguished
and their burden come upon them
their bindings apportioned in his anger?

"They are as straw before the wind
and as chaff that the storm stole
God treasures for his children his iniquity"
Let him repay him so he knows
Let his eyes see his cup(2)
and from the wrath of the Sufficient let him drink
what is his pleasure in his house after him
when his numbered months are erased?

"Who will impart knowledge to the One
when he the exalted judges?"
This one dies with bones complete
all of him tranquil and secure
his pail is full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moistened
and this one dies in bitter being
and does not eat in the good
as one in dust they lie
and worms cover them

Lo I know your machinations
and thoughts of expulsion against me
for you say - "where is the house of the noble
and where the tent of the dwellings of the wicked?"
have you not asked them that pass by the way
and their signs do you not recognize?

"for to the day of burden one who is evil is spared
to the day of rage he is brought forth"
who will tell his way to his face
and what he has done - who will repay him?

but he to the tombs will be brought
and in a "heap" he will stay(3)
"sweet" to him will be the clods of the flood(4)
and after him drags every human
and before him without number

So why do you comfort me in vain
when your answers retain offense?

(1) the quotes mark where Job is citing the words of prior speeches.
(2) cup - following Pope - כִּיד is a hapax I wonder if there is an error for כפור - close to the idea of atonement where cup is quite appropriate as an image.
(3) A heap of corn (as in 5:26) or a heap of bodies. The KJV 'tomb' for גדיש in this verse is justified by an appeal to the burial mound. In this case the similar sound might perhaps pick up the echo of Eliphaz' first speech with a twist of irony as the 'sweet' picks up an echo of Zophar in the previous chapter. So first and last speeches are tied together at this, the end of the second cycle.
(4) TS does not consider this line a reflection of the sweet in chapter 20. He translates the stream metaphor as
The moisture of the river suckles him
while behind him it sweepeth away all men
and innumerable before him

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