Friday, June 26, 2009

Job 36:1-18 rough work

I will continue. I am really looking forward to the denouement - but I just can't rush. Here is a little of my rough work on the first 18 verses of this next speech.

There is in this speech more indication that Elihu knows what is going on behind the scenes. The use of סות - incite used twice here in verses 16 and 18 reflects the words of God in chapter 2 - וַתְּסִיתֵנִי בוֹ לְבַלְּעוֹ חִנָּם "though you incited me against him to swallow him for nothing". I noted earlier a command to Job to present himself (33.5). This chapter confirms the greater knowledge of Elihu - he is somehow an insider. Note the invitation in verse 1 to come closer and hear speeches of God. He claims complete knowledge.

I wonder if this terse poem can be explained in any language. Tur Sinai has a remarkable reconstruction of the rest of this chapter that I have not read fully, but I can tell from all the double quotes that some explication thing is afoot. He ascribes an extended speech of mercy to a hypothetical redeemed needy one - not as if the speech is addressed to Job by Elihu. Pope has a very smooth reading but his tenses are all past and not conditional. Staples is, as expected, traditional. Good has the right tone for my taste - a certain inner humour as if Elihu is toying with Job. But isn't that just the problem with the frame tale itself - God's character as judge? Remember this is a poem and a story - it is what is learned from it not the fact of it's 'horror' that is important. We struggle with this Job till all humanity turns (34:36). In that sense the poem is recapitulated for every person. But once we turn - talk to rather than about - the table is filled with fatness. (Warning: this is not a prosperity gospel - it's a comedy.)

And Elihu continued and he said1וַיֹּסֶף אֱלִיהוּא וַיֹּאמַר
Encircle me a little and I will declare to you
for there are still speeches of God
2 ב כַּתַּר-לִי זְעֵיר וַאֲחַוֶּךָּ
כִּי עוֹד לֶאֱלוֹהַּ מִלִּים
I will lift up my knowledge from afar
and to the one whose work I am I will give righteousness
3 ג אֶשָּׂא דֵעִי לְמֵרָחוֹק
וּלְפֹעֲלִי אֶתֵּן-צֶדֶק
for in truth my speech is not a lie
complete knowledge is with you
4 ד כִּי-אָמְנָם לֹא-שֶׁקֶר מִלָּי
תְּמִים דֵּעוֹת עִמָּךְ
lo God is great and will not refuse
great of strength of heart
5 ה הֶן-אֵל כַּבִּיר וְלֹא יִמְאָס
כַּבִּיר כֹּחַ לֵב
he will not maintain the life of the wicked
and judgment of the needy he gives
6 ו לֹא-יְחַיֶּה רָשָׁע
וּמִשְׁפַּט עֲנִיִּים יִתֵּן
he does not diminish from the righteous his eyes
and kings on the throne - he establishes them
in perpetuity and they are high
7 ז לֹא-יִגְרַע מִצַּדִּיק עֵינָיו
וְאֶת-מְלָכִים לַכִּסֵּא
וַיֹּשִׁיבֵם לָנֶצַח וַיִּגְבָּהוּ
and if those bound in flame
are captured in ropes of affliction
8 ח וְאִם-אֲסוּרִים בַּזִּקִּים
יִלָּכְדוּן בְּחַבְלֵי-עֹנִי
then he tells to them their works
and their transgressions that they allow to be great over them
9 ט וַיַּגֵּד לָהֶם פָּעֳלָם
וּפִשְׁעֵיהֶם כִּי יִתְגַּבָּרוּ
and he reveals to their ear his mentoring
and he says that they should turn from iniquity
10 י וַיִּגֶל אָזְנָם לַמּוּסָר
וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי-יְשׁוּבוּן מֵאָוֶן
if they hear and serve
they will consume their days in the good
and their years in pleasantness
11 יא אִם-יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיַעֲבֹדוּ
יְכַלּוּ יְמֵיהֶם בַּטּוֹב
וּשְׁנֵיהֶם בַּנְּעִימִים
but if they do not hear
into death they will pass on
and they will expire without knowledge
12 יב וְאִם-לֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ
בְּשֶׁלַח יַעֲבֹרוּ
וְיִגְוְעוּ בִּבְלִי-דָעַת
but hypocrites in heart are set in wrath
they do not call for he binds them
13 יג וְחַנְפֵי-לֵב יָשִׂימוּ אָף
לֹא יְשַׁוְּעוּ כִּי אֲסָרָם
their being dies in youth
and their life among the prostitutes
14 יד תָּמֹת בַּנֹּעַר נַפְשָׁם
וְחַיָּתָם בַּקְּדֵשִׁים
he rescues the needy from his need
and reveals oppression to their ears
15 טו יְחַלֵּץ עָנִי בְעָנְיוֹ
וְיִגֶל בַּלַּחַץ אָזְנָם
and indeed he incites you from the mouth of your affliction
instead of her, broad, no outpouring, and rest
your table he fills with fatness
16 טז וְאַף הֲסִיתְךָ מִפִּי-צָר
רַחַב לֹא-מוּצָק תַּחְתֶּיהָ וְנַחַת
שֻׁלְחָנְךָ מָלֵא דָשֶׁן
but the adjudication of the wicked you have filled
adjudication and judgment sustain
17 יז וְדִין-רָשָׁע מָלֵאתָ
דִּין וּמִשְׁפָּט יִתְמֹכוּ
for wrath lest he incite you with abundance
and a great ransom cannot be given for you
18 יח כִּי-חֵמָה פֶּן-יְסִיתְךָ בְסָפֶק
וְרָב-כֹּפֶר אַל-יַטֶּךָּ

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