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Job 31:38-40 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Job’s Final Solemn Oath[a]

38 “If my land cried out against me[b]
and all its furrows wept together,
39 if I have eaten its produce without paying,[c]
or caused the death[d] of its owners,[e]
40 then let thorns sprout up in place of wheat,
and in place of barley, noxious weeds.”[f]

The words of Job are ended.


  1. Job 31:38 sn Many commentators place vv. 38-40b at the end of v. 34, so that there is no return to these conditional clauses after his final appeal.
  2. Job 31:38 sn Some commentators have suggested that the meaning behind this is that Job might not have kept the year of release (Deut 15:1), and the law against mixing seed (Lev 19:19). But the context will make clear that the case considered is obtaining the land without paying for it and causing the death of its lawful owner (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 206). Similar to this would be the case of Naboth’s vineyard.
  3. Job 31:39 tn Heb “without silver.”
  4. Job 31:39 tc The versions have the verb “grieved” here. The Hebrew verb means “to breathe,” but the form is Hiphil. This verb in that stem could mean something of a contemptuous gesture, like “sniff” in Mal 1:13. But with נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) in Job 11:20 it means “to cause death,” i.e., “to cause to breathe out; to expire.” This is likely the meaning here, although it is possible that it only meant “to cause suffering” to the people.
  5. Job 31:39 tn There is some debate over the meaning of בְּעָלֶיהָ (beʿaleha), usually translated “its owners.” Dahood, following others (although without their emendations), thought it referred to “laborers” (see M. Dahood, Bib 41 [1960]: 303; idem, Bib 43 [1962]: 362).
  6. Job 31:40 tn The word בָּאְשָׁה (boʾshah, from בָּאַשׁ [baʾas, “to have a foul smell”]) must refer to foul smelling weeds.
New English Translation (NET)

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