New English Translation
Job’s Present Misery
30 “But now they mock me, those who are younger[a] than I,
whose fathers I disdained too much[b]
to put with my sheep dogs.[c]
2 Moreover, the strength of their[d] hands—
what use was it to me?
Those whose strength[e] had perished,
3 gaunt[f] with want and hunger,
they would roam[g] the parched land,
by night a desolate waste.[h]
4 By the brush[i] they would gather[j] herbs from the salt marshes,[k]
and the root of the broom tree was their food.
5 They were banished from the community[l]—
people[m] shouted at them
as they would shout at thieves[n]—
6 so that they had to live[o]
in the dry stream beds,[p]
in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.
7 They brayed[q] like animals among the bushes
and were huddled together[r] under the nettles.
8 Sons of senseless and nameless people,[s]
they were driven out of the land with whips.[t]
9 “And now I have become their taunt song;
I have become a byword[u] among them.
10 They detest me and maintain their distance;[v]
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Because God has untied[w] my tent cord and afflicted me,
people throw off all restraint in my presence.[x]
12 On my right the young rabble[y] rise up;
they drive me from place to place,[z]
and build up siege ramps[aa] against me.[ab]
13 They destroy[ac] my path;
they succeed in destroying me[ad]
without anyone assisting[ae] them.
14 They come in as through a wide breach;
amid the crash[af] they come rolling in.[ag]
15 Terrors are turned loose[ah] on me;
they drive away[ai] my honor like the wind,
and as a cloud my deliverance has passed away.
16 “And now my soul pours itself out within me;[aj]
days of suffering take hold of me.
17 Night pierces[ak] my bones;[al]
my gnawing pains[am] never cease.
18 With great power God[an] grasps my clothing;[ao]
he binds me like the collar[ap] of my tunic.
19 He has flung me into the mud,
and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.
20 I cry out to you,[aq] but you do not answer me;
I stand up,[ar] and you only look at me.[as]
21 You have become cruel to me;[at]
with the strength of your hand you attack me.[au]
22 You pick me up on the wind and make me ride on it;[av]
you toss me about[aw] in the storm.[ax]
23 I know that you are bringing[ay] me to death,
to the meeting place for all the living.
The Contrast With the Past
24 “Surely one does not stretch out his hand
against a broken man[az]
when he cries for help in his distress.[ba]
25 Have I not wept for the unfortunate?[bb]
Was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 But when I hoped for good, trouble came;
when I expected light, then darkness came.
27 My heart[bc] is in turmoil[bd] unceasingly;[be]
the days of my affliction confront me.
28 I go about blackened,[bf] but not by the sun;
in the assembly I stand up and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother to jackals
and a companion of ostriches.[bg]
30 My skin has turned dark on me;[bh]
my body[bi] is hot with fever.[bj]
31 My harp is used for[bk] mourning
and my flute for the sound of weeping.
- Job 30:1 tn Heb “smaller than I for days.”
- Job 30:1 tn Heb “who I disdained their fathers to set…,” meaning “whose fathers I disdained to set.” The relative clause modifies the young fellows who mock; it explains that Job did not think highly enough of them to put them with the dogs. The next verse will explain why.
- Job 30:1 sn Job is mocked by young fellows who come from low extraction. They mocked their elders and their betters. The scorn is strong here—dogs were despised as scavengers.
- Job 30:2 tn The reference is to the fathers of the scorners, who are here regarded as weak and worthless.
- Job 30:2 tn The word כֶּלַח (kelakh) only occurs in Job 5:26, but the Arabic cognate gives this meaning “strength.” Others suggest כָּלַח (kalakh, “old age”), כֹּל־חַיִל (kol khayil, “all vigor”), כֹּל־לֵחַ (kol leakh, “all freshness”), and the like. But there is no reason for such emendation.
- Job 30:3 tn This word, גַּלְמוּד (galmud), describes something as lowly, desolate, bare, gaunt like a rock.
- Job 30:3 tn The verb עָקַר (ʿaqar) appears only here (and possibly in Job 30:17). Several translations render this as “they gnaw the dry ground” (NASB, ESV, NRSV), but it is not typical to gnaw on dirt. Suggested emendations include adding יְרַק (yeraq from yereq, “vegetation, greenery of”) or עִקָּרֵי (ʿiqqare from ʿiqqar, “roots of [the parched land]”), either of which could be a food to gnaw on. They propose to restore a word with letters so similar to the verb that it may have been omitted in copying due to haplography. But the verb in Aramaic can also mean “to roam” (KJV “fleeing into the wilderness;” NIV “they roamed”), making an emendation unnecessary (see J. Hartley, The Book of Job [NICOT], 396).
- Job 30:3 tn The MT has “last night desolate and waste.” The word אֶמֶשׁ (ʾemesh, “last night” or “yesterday”) is strange here. Among the proposals for אֶמֶשׁ (ʾemesh), Duhm suggested יְמַשְּׁשׁוּ (yemasheshu, “they grope”), which would require darkness; Pope renders “by night,” instead of “yesterday,” which evades the difficulty; and Fohrer suggested with more reason אֶרֶץ (ʾerets, “a desolate and waste land”). R. Gordis (Job, 331) suggests יָמִישׁוּ / יָמֻשׁוּ (yamishu/yamushu, “they wander off”).
- Job 30:4 tn Or “the leaves of bushes” (ESV), a possibility dating back to Saadia and discussed by G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray (Job [ICC], 2:209) in their philological notes.
- Job 30:4 tn Here too the form is the participle with the article.
- Job 30:4 tn Heb “gather mallow,” a plant which grows in salt marshes.
- Job 30:5 tn The word גֵּו (gev) is an Aramaic term meaning “midst,” indicating “midst [of society].” But there is also a Phoenician word that means “community” (DISO 48).
- Job 30:5 tn The form simply is the plural verb, but it means those who drove them from society.
- Job 30:5 tn The text merely says “as thieves,” but it obviously compares the poor to the thieves.
- Job 30:6 tn This use of the infinitive construct expresses that they were compelled to do something (see GKC 348-49 §114.h, k).
- Job 30:6 tn The adjectives followed by a partitive genitive take on the emphasis of a superlative: “in the most horrible of valleys” (see GKC 431 §133.h).
- Job 30:7 tn The verb נָהַק (nahaq) means “to bray.” It has cognates in Arabic, Aramaic, and Ugaritic, so there is no need for emendation here. It is the sign of an animal’s hunger. In the translation the words “like animals” are supplied to clarify the metaphor for the modern reader.
- Job 30:7 tn The Pual of the verb סָפַח (safakh, “to join”) also brings out the passivity of these people—“they were huddled together” (E. Dhorme, Job, 434).
- Job 30:8 tn The “sons of the senseless” (נָבָל, naval) means they were mentally and morally base and defective; and “sons of no-name” means without honor and respect, worthless (because not named).
- Job 30:8 tn Heb “they were whipped from the land” (cf. ESV) or “they were cast out from the land” (HALOT 697 s.v. נכא). J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 397) follows Gordis suggests that the meaning is “brought lower than the ground.”
- Job 30:9 tn The idea is that Job has become proverbial, people think of misfortune and sin when they think of him. The statement uses the ordinary word for “word” (מִלָּה, millah), but in this context it means more: “proverb; byword.”
- Job 30:10 tn Heb “they are far from me.”
- Job 30:11 tn The verb פָּתַח (patakh) means “to untie [or undo]” a rope or bonds. In this verse יִתְרוֹ (yitro, the Kethib, LXX, and Vulgate) would mean “his rope” (see יֶתֶר [yeter] in Judg 16:7-9). The Qere would be יִתְרִי (yitri, “my rope [or cord]”), meaning “me.” The word could mean “rope,” “cord,” or “bowstring.” If the reading “my cord” is accepted, the cord would be something like “my tent cord” (as in Job 29:20), more than K&D 12:147 “cord of life.” This has been followed in the present translation. If it were “my bowstring,” it would give the sense of disablement. If “his cord” is taken, it would signify that the restraint that God had in afflicting Job was loosened—nothing was held back.
- Job 30:11 sn People throw off all restraint in my presence means that when people saw how God afflicted Job, robbing him of his influence and power, then they turned on him with unrestrained insolence (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 193).
- Job 30:12 tn This Hebrew word occurs only here. The word פִּרְחַח (pirkhakh, “young rabble”) is a quadriliteral, from פָּרַח (parakh, “to bud”) The derivative אֶפְרֹחַ (ʾefroakh) in the Bible refers to a young bird. In Arabic farhun means both “young bird” and “base man.” Perhaps “young rabble” is the best meaning here (see R. Gordis, Job, 333).
- Job 30:12 tn Heb “they cast off my feet” or “they send my feet away.” Many delete the line as troubling and superfluous. E. Dhorme (Job, 438) forces the lines to say “they draw my feet into a net.”
- Job 30:12 tn Heb “paths of their destruction” or “their destructive paths.”
- Job 30:12 sn See Job 19:12.
- Job 30:13 tn This verb נָתְסוּ (natesu) is found nowhere else. It is probably a variant of the verb in Job 19:10. R. Gordis (Job, 333-34) notes the Arabic noun natsun (“thorns”), suggesting a denominative idea “they have placed thorns in my path.” Most take it to mean they ruin the way of escape.
- Job 30:13 tc The MT has “they further my misfortune.” The line is difficult, with slight textual problems. The verb יֹעִילוּ (yoʿilu) means “to profit,” and so “to succeed” or “to set forward.” Good sense can be made from the MT as it stands, and many suggested changes are suspect.
- Job 30:13 tn The sense of “restraining” for “helping” was proposed by Dillmann and supported by G. R. Driver (see AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 163).
- Job 30:14 tn The MT has “under the crash,” with the idea that they rush in while the stones are falling around them (which is continuing the figure of the military attack). G. R. Driver took the expression to mean in a temporal sense “at the moment of the crash” (AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 163-64). Guillaume, drawing from Arabic, has “where the gap is made.”
- Job 30:14 tn The verb, the Hitpalpel of גָּלַל (galal), means “they roll themselves.” This could mean “they roll themselves under the ruins” (Dhorme), “they roll on like a storm” (Gordis), or “they roll on” as in waves of enemy attackers (see H. H. Rowley). This particular verb form is found only here (but see Amos 5:24).
- Job 30:15 tn The passive singular verb (Hophal) is used with a plural subject (see GKC 388 §121.b).
- Job 30:15 tc This translation assumes that “terrors” (in the plural) is the subject. Others emend the text in accordance with the LXX, which has, “my hope is gone like the wind.”
- Job 30:16 tn This line can either mean that Job is wasting away (i.e., his life is being poured out), or it can mean that he is grieving. The second half of the verse gives the subordinate clause of condition for this.
- Job 30:17 tn The subject of the verb “pierces” can be the night (personified), or it could be God (understood), leaving “night” to be an adverbial accusative of time—“at night he pierces.”
- Job 30:17 tc The MT concludes this half-verse with “upon me.” That phrase is not in the LXX, and so many commentators delete it as making the line too long.
- Job 30:17 tn Heb “my gnawers,” which is open to several interpretations. The NASB and NIV take it as “gnawing pains”; cf. NRSV “the pain that gnaws me.” Some suggest worms in the sores (7:5). The LXX has “my nerves,” a view accepted by many commentators.
- Job 30:18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Job 30:18 tc This whole verse is difficult. The first problem is that this verb in the MT means “is disguised [or disfigured],” indicating that Job’s clothes hang loose on him. But many take the view that the verb is a phonetic variant of חָבַשׁ (khavash, “to bind; to seize”) and that the Hitpael form is a conflation of the third and second person because of the interchange between them in the passage (R. Gordis, Job, 335). The commentaries list a number of conjectural emendations, but the image in the verse is probably that God seizes Job by the garment and throws him down.
- Job 30:18 tn The phrase “like the collar” is difficult, primarily because their tunics did not have collars. A translation of “neck” would suit better. Some change the preposition to ב (bet), getting a translation “by the neck of my tunic.”
- Job 30:20 sn The implication from the sentence is that this is a cry to God for help. The sudden change from third person (v. 19) to second person (v. 20) is indicative of the intense emotion of the sufferer.
- Job 30:20 sn The verb is simple, but the interpretation difficult. In this verse it probably means he stands up in prayer (Jer 15:1), but it could mean that he makes his case to God. Others suggest a more figurative sense, like the English expression “stand pat,” meaning “remain silent” (see Job 29:8).
- Job 30:20 tn If the idea of prayer is meant, then a pejorative sense to the verb is required. Some supply a negative and translate “you do not pay heed to me.” This is supported by one Hebrew ms and the Vulgate. The Syriac has the whole colon read with God as the subject, “you stand and look at me.”
- Job 30:21 tn The idiom uses the Niphal verb “you are turned” with “to cruelty.” See Job 41:20b, as well as Isa 63:10.
- Job 30:21 tc The LXX reads this verb as “you scourged/whipped me.” But there is no reason to adopt this change.
- Job 30:22 sn Here Job changes the metaphor again, to the driving storm. God has sent his storms, and Job is blown away.
- Job 30:22 tn The verb means “to melt.” The imagery would suggest softening the ground with the showers (see Ps 65:10 ). The translation “toss…about” comes from the Arabic cognate that is used for the surging of the sea.
- Job 30:22 tc The Qere is תּוּשִׁיָּה (tushiyyah, “counsel”), which makes no sense here. The Kethib is a variant orthography for תְּשֻׁאָה (teshuʾah, “storm”).
- Job 30:23 tn The imperfect verb would be a progressive imperfect, it is future, but it is also already underway.
- Job 30:24 tc Here is another very difficult verse, as the differences among commentaries and translations attest. The MT has “surely not against a ruinous heap will he [God] put forth his [God’s] hand.” But A. B. Davidson takes Job as the subject, reading “does not one stretch out his hand in his fall?” The RSV suggests a man walking in the ruins and using his hand for support. Dillmann changed it to “drowning man” to say “does not a drowning man stretch out his hand?” Beer has “have I not given a helping hand to the poor?” Dhorme has, “I did not strike the poor man with my hand.” Kissane follows this but retains the verb form, “one does not strike the poor man with his hand.”
- Job 30:24 tc The second colon is also difficult; it reads, “if in his destruction to them he cries.” E. Dhorme (Job, 425-26) explains how he thinks “to them” came about, and he restores “to me.” This is the major difficulty in the line, and Dhorme’s suggestion is the simplest resolution.
- Job 30:25 tn Heb “for the hard of day.”
- Job 30:27 tn Heb “my loins,” “my bowels” (archaic), “my innermost being.” The last option is reflected in the translation; some translations take the inner turmoil to be literal (NIV “The churning inside me never stops”).
- Job 30:27 tn Heb “boils.”
- Job 30:27 tn The last clause reads “and they [it] are not quiet” or “do not cease.” The clause then serves adverbially for the sentence—“unceasingly.”
- Job 30:28 tn The construction uses the word קֹדֵר (qoder) followed by the Piel perfect of הָלַךְ (halakh, “I go about”). The adjective “blackened” refers to Job’s skin that has been marred by the disease. Adjectives are often used before verbs to describe some bodily condition (see GKC 374-75 §118.n).
- Job 30:29 sn The point of this figure is that Job’s cries of lament are like the howls and screeches of these animals, not that he lives with them. In Job 39:13 the female ostrich is called “the wailer.”
- Job 30:30 tn The MT has “become dark from upon me,” prompting some editions to supply the verb “falls from me” (RSV, NRSV), or “peels” (NIV).
- Job 30:30 tn The word “my bones” may be taken as a metonymy of subject, the bony framework indicating the whole body.
- Job 30:30 tn The word חֹרֶב (khorev) also means “heat.” The heat in this line is not that of the sun, but obviously a fever.
- Job 30:31 tn The verb הָיָה (hayah, “to be”) followed by the preposition ל (lamed) means “to serve the purpose of” (see Gen 1:14ff., 17:7, etc.).