Job 38

 

וַיַּעַן־יְהוָה אֶת־אִיֹּוב (מִנ) [מִן] הַסְּעָרָה וַיֹּאמַר׃   38:1

Job 38:1   Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind, and He said,

Now, do you think the Lord is really speaking to these men?  It seems highly unlikely to me.  This helps convince me that this story of Job is not history, but allegory.  It is intended to illuminate a profound divine lesson.  Interestingly, it would appear that God is speaking only to Job, not to the others, who also should receive these words.  Do you think  they need them more than Job does?  I wonder,..., while their messages were useless to Job, nevertheless, they didn’t impugn God as Job had sometimes done in the midst of his deep despair and suffering.

Incidentally, the word in error in the parentheses should have a final nun in place of the nun, as shown in the correction in the brackets.

מִי זֶה מַחְשִׁיךְ עֵצָה בְמִלִּין בְּלִי־דָעַת׃   38:2

Job 38:2   “Who is this, obscuring counsel by words lacking knowledge?”     [Return to Job 42:3]

Indeed, who is this?  Is it Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, or Elihu?  Who is the Lord speaking to?  They all spoke words lacking knowledge.  We find out later that it was indeed Job.

אֱזָר־נָא כְגֶבֶר חֲלָצֶיךָ וְאֶשְׁאָלְךָ וְהוֹדִיעֵנִי׃   38:3

Job 38:3   “Gird up, now, your loins like a man,

                            as I will ask you and you declare to Me:

אֵיפֹה הָיִיתָ בְּיָסְדִי־אָרֶץ הַגֵּד אִם־יָדַעְתָּ בִינָה׃   38:4

Job 38:4   “Where were you on My establishing the earth?

                            Declare, if you know discernment.”

מִי־שָׂם מְמַדֶּיהָ כִּי תֵדָע אוֹ מִי־נָטָה עָלֶיהָ קָּו׃   38:5

Job 38:5   “Who set its measurements, if you might know?

                            Or Who stretched out the line upon it?”

עַל־מָה אֲדָנֶיהָ הָטְבָּעוּ אוֹ מִי־יָרָה אֶבֶן פִּנָּתָהּ׃   38:6

Job 38:6   “On what were its foundations made to settle?

                            Or Who laid its cornerstone,

בְּרָן־יַחַד כּוֹכְבֵי בֹקֶר וַיָּרִיעוּ כָּל־בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים׃   38:7

Job 38:7   with the stars of the morning singing out together,

                            and all the children of God shouted for joy?”

It sounds to me like God is referring to the time of creation.  Then who were the children (or sons) of God?  The consensus is that the were the angels.  All the popular bibles translate the last two words as sons of God or angels.  Were there no female angels?

וַיָּסֶךְ בִּדְלָתַיִם יָם בְּגִיחוֹ מֵרֶחֶם יֵצֵא׃   38:8

Job 38:8   “And shut in the sea with doors

                            on its bursting forth

                    (it would have gone forth from the womb),

בְּשׂוּמִי עָנָן לְבֻשׁוֹ וַעֲרָפֶל חֲתֻלָּתוֹ׃   38:9

Job 38:9   on My making the cloud its garment,

                            and thick darkness its swaddling band,

וָאֶשְׁבֹּר עָלָיו חֻקִּי וָאָשִׂים בְּרִיחַ וּדְלָתָיִם׃   38:10

Job 38:10   and brought to the birth My decree concerning it,

                            and set the bar and doors,

וָאֹמַר עַד־פֹּה תָבוֹא וְלֹא תֹסִיף וּפֹא־יָשִׁית בִּגְאוֹן גַּלֶּיךָ׃   38:11

Job 38:11   and said, 'You may come up to here, but no more,

                            and the exaltation of your waves must act here?'”

הְמִיָּמֶיךָ צִוִּיתָ בֹּקֶר (יִדַּעְתָּה) (שַׁחַר) [יִדַּעְתָּ] [הַשַּׁחַר] מְקֹמֹו׃   38:12

Job 38:12   “During your days have you commanded the morning,

                            made the dawn know its place,

An intriguing double error in this verse.  The word in the first set of parentheses has an inappropriate heh suffix, while the word in the second set of parentheses is missing a heh prefix.  The heh is moved from the word in the first set of parentheses to the word in the second set of brackets.

לֶאֱחֹז בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ וְיִנָּעֲרוּ רְשָׁעִים מִמֶּנָּה׃   38:13

Job 38:13   taking hold to the ends of the earth,

                            that the wicked might be shaken from it?”

תִּתְהַפֵּךְ כְּחֹמֶר חוֹתָם וְיִתְיַצְּבוּ כְּמוֹ לְבוּשׁ׃   38:14

Job 38:14   “It would be transformed, like a clay seal,

                            that they would stand like a garment,

The pronouns it and they appear to have no antecedent.  But it seems likely that the it refers to the earth, and the they refers to the mountains that were lifted up by the transformation.  Think of a clay seal into which a signet ring is pressed.  The resulting ridges would be like small mountains standing “like a garment.”

וְיִמָּנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם וּזְרוֹעַ רָמָה תִּשָּׁבֵר׃   38:15

Job 38:15   that their light would be withheld from the wicked,

                            and the raised arm would be broken.”

הֲבָאתָ עַד־נִבְכֵי־יָם וּבְחֵקֶר תְּהוֹם הִתְהַלָּכְתָּ׃   38:16

Job 38:16   “Do you go as far as the springs of the sea,

                            or move in the mystery of the deep?”

הֲנִגְלוּ לְךָ שַׁעֲרֵי־מָוֶת וְשַׁעֲרֵי צַלְמָוֶת תִּרְאֶה׃   38:17

Job 38:17   “Have the gates of death revealed themselves to you,

                            or can you see the gates of the shadow of death?”

הִתְבֹּנַנְתָּ עַד־רַחֲבֵי־אָרֶץ הַגֵּד אִם־יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ׃   38:18

Job 38:18   “Do you even observe to the broad expanses of the earth?

                            Declare, if you know all of it.”

אֵי־זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ יִשְׁכָּן־אוֹר וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי־זֶה מְקֹמוֹ׃   38:19

Job 38:19   “Where is this direction light can settle,

                            or darkness, where is its place,

כִּי תִקָּחֶנּוּ אֶל־גְּבוּלוֹ וְכִי־תָבִין נְתִיבוֹת בֵּיתוֹ׃   38:20

Job 38:20   that you might attain it to its border,

                            or that you could perceive the pathways of its dwelling place?”

יָדַעְתָּ כִּי־אָז תִּוָּלֵד וּמִסְפַּר יָמֶיךָ רַבִּים׃   38:21

Job 38:21   “You knew, if you would have been born then,

                            and your days were of great number.”

הֲבָאתָ אֶל־אֹצְרוֹת שָׁלֶג וְאֹצְרוֹת בָּרָד תִּרְאֶה׃   38:22

Job 38:22   “Have you come to the storehouses of the snow,

                            or can you see the storehouses of the hail,

אֲשֶׁר־חָשַׂכְתִּי לְעֶת־צָר לְיוֹם קְרָב וּמִלְחָמָה׃   38:23

Job 38:23   which I hold in reserve for a troubled time,

                            for a day of battle and war?”

אֵי־זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ יֵחָלֶק אוֹר יָפֵץ קָדִים עֲלֵי־אָרֶץ׃   38:24

Job 38:24   “Where is this way the light can be divided,

                            can scatter the east wind over the earth?”

מִי־פִלַּג לַשֶּׁטֶף תְּעָלָה וְדֶרֶךְ לַחֲזִיז קֹלוֹת׃   38:25

Job 38:25   “Who split a water course for the flood,

                            or a path for the lightning of thundering,

לְהַמְטִיר עַל־אֶרֶץ לֹא־אִישׁ מִדְבָּר לֹא־אָדָם בּוֹ׃   38:26

Job 38:26   causing rain upon an earth with no person,

                            a wilderness no human was in,

לְהַשְׂבִּיעַ שֹׁאָה וּמְשֹׁאָה וּלְהַצְמִיחַ מֹצָא דֶשֶׁא׃   38:27

Job 38:27   to enrich the waste and desolation,

                            and to make the issue of green herb sprout?”

הֲיֵשׁ־לַמָּטָר אָב אוֹ מִי־הוֹלִיד אֶגְלֵי־טָל׃   38:28

Job 38:28   “Is there a Father for the rain,

                            or Who begets the drops of dew?”

מִבֶּטֶן מִי יָצָא הַקָּרַח וּכְפֹר שָׁמַיִם מִי יְלָדוֹ׃   38:29

Job 38:29   “From Whose womb comes forth the ice?

                            And the hoar-frost of heaven, Who brings it forth?”

כָּאֶבֶן מַיִם יִתְחַבָּאוּ וּפְנֵי תְהוֹם יִתְלַכָּדוּ׃   38:30

Job 38:30   “Waters could congeal like stone,

                            and the surfaces of the deep could freeze together.”

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ־מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ׃   38:31

Job 38:31   “Can you confine the bonds of the Pleiades,

                            or loosen the cords of Orion?”

הֲתֹצִיא מַזָּרוֹת בְּעִתּוֹ וְעַיִשׁ עַל־בָּנֶיהָ תַנְחֵם׃   38:32

Job 38:32   “Do you bring forth the mazzaroth at its time,

                            or guide the great bear together with her children?”

The second Hebrew word in this verse is transliterated as mazzaroth.  Its meaning is not known with certainty.  Given the context, many assume it means constellation.  As a constellation is a group of stars, that might explain why the word itself has a plural spelling while the pronoun its, which refers to it, is singular.

הֲיָדַעְתָּ חֻקּוֹת שָׁמָיִם אִם־תָּשִׂים מִשְׁטָרוֹ בָאָרֶץ׃   38:33

Job 38:33   “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens,

                            or could you set its authority on the earth?”

הֲתָרִים לָעָב קוֹלֶךָ וְשִׁפְעַת־מַיִם תְּכַסֶּךָּ׃   38:34

Job 38:34   “Could you raise up your voice to the cloud,

                            so an abundance of water would cover you?”

הַתְשַׁלַּח בְּרָקִים וְיֵלֵכוּ וְיֹאמְרוּ לְךָ הִנֵּנוּ׃   38:35

Job 38:35   “Could you direct lightning flashes

                            so they would come and say to you, 'Here we are?'”

מִי־שָׁת בַּטֻּחוֹת חָכְמָה אוֹ מִי־נָתַן לַשֶּׂכְוִי בִינָה׃   38:36

Job 38:36   “Who put wisdom in hidden recesses,

                            and Who ascribed understanding to the mind?”

מִי־יְסַפֵּר שְׁחָקִים בְּחָכְמָה וְנִבְלֵי שָׁמַיִם מִי יַשְׁכִּיב׃   38:37

Job 38:37   “Who can number the clouds with wisdom,

                            and the bottles of heaven, Who can make their contents pour out,

בְּצֶקֶת עָפָר לַמּוּצָק וּרְגָבִים יְדֻבָּקוּ׃   38:38

Job 38:38   casting the dust to a mass,

                            so the clods would cling together?”

הֲתָצוּד לְלָבִיא טָרֶף וְחַיַּת כְּפִירִים תְּמַלֵּא׃   38:39

Job 38:39   “Could you hunt prey for the lioness,

                            and satisfy the appetite of the young lions,

כִּי־יָשֹׁחוּ בַמְּעוֹנוֹת יֵשְׁבוּ בַסֻּכָּה לְמוֹ־אָרֶב׃   38:40

Job 38:40   if they would crouch in dens,

                            would remain in a thicket to lie in wait?”

מִי יָכִין לָעֹרֵב צֵידֹו כִּי־ (יְלָדֹו) [יְלָדָיו] אֶל־אֵל יְשַׁוֵּעוּ יִתְעוּ לִבְלִי־אֹכֶל׃   38:41

Job 38:41   “Who can provide for the raven its game,

                            if its young were to cry out to God,

                      would wander for lack of food?”

The word in the parentheses should have a second yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

 

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