3 gaunt[a] with want and hunger, they would roam[b] the parched land, by night a desolate waste.[c]
Job 30:3tn This word, גַּלְמוּד (galmud), describes something as lowly, desolate, bare, gaunt like a rock.
Job 30:3tn 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 30:3tn 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”).
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