5 The hungry[a] eat up his harvest,[b] and take it even from behind the thorns,[c] and the thirsty[d] pant for[e] their wealth.[f]
Job 5:5snThe hungry are other people, possibly the hungry poor to whom the wealthy have refused to give bread (22:7). The sons are so helpless that even the poor take their property.
Job 5:5tn The MT reads “whose harvest the hungry eat up.” Some commentators want to follow the LXX and repoint קְצִירוֹ (qetsiro, “his harvest”) to קָצְרוּ (qatseru, “[what] they have reaped”; cf. NAB). The reference as it stands in the MT seems to be to the image of taking root in v. 3; whatever took root—the prosperity of his life—will not belong to him or his sons to enjoy. If the emendation is accepted, then the reference would be immediately to the “sons” in the preceding verse.
Job 5:5tn The line is difficult; the Hebrew text reads literally “and unto from thorns he takes it.” The idea seems to be that even from within an enclosed hedge of thorns other people will take the harvest. Many commentators either delete the line altogether or try to repoint it to make more sense out of it. G. R. Driver had taken the preposition אֶל (ʾel, “towards”) as the noun אֵל (ʾel, “strong man”) and the noun צִנִּים (tsinnim, “thorns”) connected to Aramaic צִנָּה (tsinnah, “basket”); he read it as “a strong man snatches it from the baskets” (G. R. Driver, “on Job 5:5, ” TZ 12 : 485-86). E. Dhorme (Job, 60) changed the word slightly to מַצְפֻּנִים (matspunim, “hiding places”), instead of מִצִּנִּים (mitsinnim, “out of the thorns”), to get the translation “and unto hiding places he carries it.” This fits the use of the verb לָקַח (laqakh, “to take”) with the preposition אֶל (ʾel, “towards”) meaning “carry to” someplace. There seems to be no easy solution to the difficulty of the line.
Job 5:5tn The word צַמִּים (tsammim) has been traditionally rendered “robbers.” But it has been connected by some of the ancient versions to the word for “thirst,” making a nice parallel with “hungry.” This would likely be pointed צְמֵאִים (tsemeʾim).
Job 5:5tn The verb has been given many different renderings, some more radical than others: “pant,” “engulf,” “draws,” “gather,” “swallow” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 53). The idea of “swallowing” wealth is found in Job 20:15 though with a different verb. The general sense of the line is clear, in spite of the difficulties of determining the exact meaning of the verb.
Job 5:5tn The LXX has several variations for the line. It reads something like the following: “for what they have collected the just shall eat, but they shall not be delivered out of calamities; let their strength be utterly exhausted.” The LXX may have gotten the idea of the “righteous” as those who suffer from hunger. Instead of “thorns” the LXX has the idea of “trouble.” The Targum to Job interprets it with “shield” and adds “warriors” as the subject.
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