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Job 8:12-14 New English Translation (NET Bible)

12 While they are still beginning to flower[a]
and not ripe for cutting,[b]
they can wither away[c]
faster than[d] any grass.[e]
13 Such is the destiny[f] of all who forget God;
the hope of the godless[g] perishes,
14 whose[h] trust[i] is in something futile,[j]
whose security is a spider’s web.[k]

Footnotes:

  1. Job 8:12 tn The word has been traditionally translated “greenness” (so KJV, ASV), but some modern commentators argue for “in flower.” The word is found only in Song 6:11 (where it may be translated “blossoms”). From the same root is אָבִיב (ʾaviv, “fresh young ears of barley”). Here the word refers to the plant that is still in its early stages of flowering. It should not be translated to suggest the plant is flowering (so NRSV), but translating as if the plant is green (so NASB) is also problematic.
  2. Job 8:12 sn The idea is that as the plant begins to flower, but before it is to be cut down, there is no sign of withering or decay in it. But if the water is withdrawn, it will wither sooner than any other herb. The point Bildad will make of this is that when people rebel against God and his grace is withheld, they perish more swiftly than the water reed.
  3. Job 8:12 tn The imperfect verb here is the modal use of potential, “can wither away” if the water is not there.
  4. Job 8:12 tn Heb “before.”
  5. Job 8:12 tn The LXX interprets the line: “does not any herb wither before it has received moisture?”
  6. Job 8:13 tn The word אָרְחוֹת (ʾorkhot) means “ways” or “paths” in the sense of tracks of destiny or fate. The word דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way, road, path”) is used in a similar way (Isa 40:27; Ps 37:5). However, many commentators emend the text to read אַחֲרִית (ʾakharit, “end”) in harmony with the LXX. But Prov 1:19 (if not emended as well) confirms the primary meaning here without changing the text (see D. J. A. Clines, Job [WBC], 199).
  7. Job 8:13 tn The word חָנֵף (khanef) is often translated “hypocrite.” But the root verb means “to be profane,” and this would be done by idolatry or bloodshed. It describes an irreligious person, a godless person. In Dan 11:32 the word seems to mean “make someone pagan.” The word in this verse is parallel to “those who forget God.”
  8. Job 8:14 tn The relative pronoun introduces the verse as a relative clause, working with the “godless person” of the preceding verse. The relative pronoun is joined to the resumptive pronoun in the translation: “who + his trust” = “whose trust.”
  9. Job 8:14 tn The noun כֶּסֶל (kesel) in this half of the verse must correspond to “his security” in the second half. The meaning must be “his trust” (see 4:6). The two words will again be parallel in 31:24.
  10. Job 8:14 tn The word יָקוֹט (yaqot) is not known anywhere else; here it looks like it should be a noun to parallel “spider’s house” in the next colon. But scholars have tried to identify it as a verb, perhaps an imperfect of קוֹט (qot, BDB 876 s.v.), or related to an Arabic qatta, “to cut.” Some versions have “break in sunder” (ASV, RV); others “cut off” (RSV). Apart from verbs, some commentators follow Sa`adia’s Arabic translation “sun cords,” meaning “gossamer.” Accordingly, there are emendations like “threads,” “threads of summer,” “spider threads,” and the like. D. J. A. Clines agrees with those who conclude that emendations based on Sa`adia’s translation lack a sound philological basis. E. Dhorme “somewhat timidly” suggests יַלְקוּט (yalqut), the shepherd’s bag or scrip (1 Sam 17:40). He suggests that an empty bag would be a symbol of something unstable and futile. It seems impossible to determine exactly what the word meant. One can only conclude that it means something like “fragile” or “futile.” The LXX is of no help: “for his house shall be without inhabitants.”
  11. Job 8:14 sn The second half of the verse is very clear. What the godless person relies on for security is as fragile as a spider’s web—he may as well have nothing. The people of the Middle East view the spider’s web as the frailest of all “houses.”
New English Translation (NET)

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