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Job 21:15-17 New English Translation (NET Bible)

15 Who is the Almighty, that[a] we should serve him?
What would we gain
if we were to pray[b] to him?’[c]
16 But their prosperity is not their own doing.[d]
The counsel of the wicked is far from me![e]

How Often Do the Wicked Suffer?

17 “How often[f] is the lamp of the wicked extinguished?
How often does their[g] misfortune come upon them?
How often does God apportion pain[h] to them[i] in his anger?


  1. Job 21:15 tn The interrogative clause is followed by ki, similar to Exod 5:2, “Who is Yahweh, that I should obey him?”
  2. Job 21:15 tn The verb פָּגַע (pagaʿ) means “to encounter; to meet,” but also “to meet with request; to intercede; to interpose.” The latter meaning is a derived meaning by usage.
  3. Job 21:15 tn The verse is not present in the LXX. It may be that it was considered too blasphemous and therefore omitted.
  4. Job 21:16 tn Heb “is not in their hand.”sn The implication of this statement is that their well-being is from God, which is the problem Job is raising in the chapter. A number of commentators make it a question, interpreting it to mean that the wicked enjoy prosperity as if it is their right. Some emend the text to say “his hands”—Gordis reads it, “Indeed, our prosperity is not in his hands.”
  5. Job 21:16 sn Even though their life seems so good in contrast to his own plight, Job cannot and will not embrace their principles—“far be from me their counsel.”
  6. Job 21:17 tn The interrogative “How often” occurs only with the first colon; it is supplied for smoother reading in the next two.
  7. Job 21:17 tn The pronominal suffix is objective; it re-enforces the object of the preposition, “upon them.” The verb in the clause is בּוֹא (boʾ) followed by עַל (ʿal), “come upon [or against],” may be interpreted as meaning attack or strike.
  8. Job 21:17 tn חֲבָלִים (khavalim) can mean “ropes” or “cords,” but that would not go with the verb “apportion” in this line. The meaning of “pangs (as in “birth-pangs”) seems to fit best here. The wider meaning would be “physical agony.”
  9. Job 21:17 tn The phrase “to them” is understood and thus is supplied in the translation for clarification.
New English Translation (NET)

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