Monday, June 8, 2009

Job 30

Again in this chapter, I continue to discover concordances that are desirable that I had earlier missed. Notably the contrasts of evil - injustice - and iniquity, as well as hope, expect, and wait. In these cases, it is easy to slip inadvertently into an English synonym, but the shades of meaning remain for us in English and in these cases fit the poem well in translation also - so there is no need to avoid an awkward turn of phrase.

The first section of this chapter was perplexing - but there are boundaries in it that may help its focus. There are many repeated words in this poem. I have divided my lines roughly according to John Hobbins' 2 and 3 rule. I think you can find the recurring words simply from my English glosses. I have not checked this translation much against my other commentaries yet. If necessary, I will add more notes in a later post.

but now they laugh at me א
those of fewer days than I
whose fathers I would have refused
to set with my sheep-dogs

indeed what is the strength of their hands to me ב
on them fullness has perished
in want and in penury barren ג
gnawing of drought yesterday
desolate and waste

the plucking of the mallow by bush ד
and the root of the broom their meat
from the back expelled ה
they raise the alarm after them as a thief
in the oppression of the torrents to dwell ו
dusty caves and rocks
among bushes they bray ז
under nettles joined

children of a fool ח
indeed children of no name
smitten in the earth
and now their song I have become ט
and I am to them a speech
they abhor me - they are far from me י
but in my face they do not spare spit(1)

for he has opened my uniqueness and afflicted me יא
and bridle in my face has stretched out
on my right hand the youth arise יב
my feet they stretch out
and they raise up for me
burdensome paths
they mar my track יג
of my calamity they benefit
no help to them

as a broadside they burst on me יד
beneath desolation they roll over me
he makes destructions turn on me טו
she pursues as the wind my good will
and as a cloud my salvation passes (2)

and now on me my being is poured out טז
the days of my affliction have grasped me
night picks my bones from me יז
and those gnawing do not lie down
in great strength my clothing disguises itself יח
as the mouth of my coat it girds me(3)

he has instructed me in clay יט
and I am parabled as dust and ashes(4)
I cry to you and you do not answer me כ
I stand and you understand in me
you have turned fierce to me כא
in your skeletal hand you oppose me
you lift me up by a wind כב
you make me ride
you dissolve my success

for I know you will bring me death כג
and the house appointed for all living
but not to one seeking will he stretch out a hand כד
even in his burden - to them crying(5)
do I not weep in a severe day כה
my being sad for the poor

for good I hoped and evil came כו
I expected light and gloom came
my bowels boiled and did not keep silence כח
the days of my affliction receive me
depressed I walk without sun כח
I rise in the assembly - I cry

brother I have become to a sea-monster כט
and friend to the daughters of an ostrich
my skin is black upon me ל
and my bones scorched from dryness
and my harp has become 'of lament' לא
and my pipes 'of the voice of those who weep'

(1) I attribute the whole of the first section to Job's descriptions of those who now taunt him.
(2) he barely changes the subject then reverts to the 'they' of section 1. The 'he' and 'she' I take as pointers - like this one and that one among the 'they'.
(3) a nightmarish metaphor of choking on his clothes - gird will come up again in the speeches of Hashem. "Gird yourself like a warrior..." (38:3, 40:7)
(4) parable is too important a thread not to create an English verb here. This parable finds an end in his last words - and I am comforted with dust and ashes. (You will note that I think I will refuse to translate NXM as 'repent' in chapter 42.) C'mon somebody - challenge me!
(5) I did look at TS and Good here - and the latter refuses to attempt a translation of this verse (except in his footnote). Pope is helpful.

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