אָדָם יְלוּד אִשָּׁה קְצַר יָמִים וּשְׂבַע־רֹגֶז׃ 14:1
Job 14:1 "A human born of woman is short of days,
yet he has his fill of trouble."
Job continues his monologue with God.
כְּצִיץ יָצָא וַיִּמָּל וַיִּבְרַח כַּצֵּל וְלֹא יַעֲמוֹד׃ 14:2
Job 14:2 "Like a flower, he comes forth, then is cut off.
And he passes through like a shadow that cannot endure."
אַף־עַל־זֶה פָּקַחְתָּ עֵינֶךָ וְאֹתִי תָבִיא בְמִשְׁפָּט עִמָּךְ׃ 14:3
Job 14:3 "Yet on behalf of such a one You open Your ‘eyes,’
that You would bring me into judgment with You."
מִי־יִתֵּן טָהוֹר מִטָּמֵא לֹא אֶחָד׃ 14:4
Job 14:4 "Who can make a clean thing from something unclean?
There is not one."
I have some difficulty in understanding this verse in context. The sages and scholars have had as well, offering a number of different explanations. The one I favor is this: A human is born to err, so why should he be judged for something he has no control over?
אִם חֲרוּצִים יָמָיו מִסְפַּר־חֳדָשָׁיו אִתָּךְ (חֻקֹּו) [חֻקָּיו] עָשִׂיתָ וְלֹא יַעֲבֹור׃ 14:5
Job 14:5 "Though his days are determined,
the number of his months, with You,
You have ordained his limit that he cannot exceed."
We have here another non-error. The word in the parentheses is translated by me as his limit, a singular noun. The correction in the brackets is made unnecessarily plural, and then is translated by others as something like his bounds. As I see it, the word limit must refer to the length of one’s days -- making it plural seems like an obvious misjudgment. Yet another puzzle!
שְׁעֵה מֵעָלָיו וְיֶחְדָּל עַד־יִרְצֶה כְּשָׂכִיר יוֹמוֹ׃ 14:6
Job 14:6 "Look away from him that he can forbear,
so he can appreciate, like a hired hand, his time."
All the translations of this verse with which I am familiar mistranslate two words, specifically the third and fifth. I translate the third word as that he can forbear and the fifth word as so he can appreciate. None of the bibles I have access to use such translations. The majority of them translate the third word as so he can rest and the fifth word as until he shall accomplish. Putting these translations into the rest of the verse leaves us with a meaning that is nonsensical. The verse would read “Look away from him so he can rest until he can accomplish his day like a hired hand.” What’s wrong with this translation? Let me tell you. How could resting allow someone to accomplish his work? There were no ten-minute or half-hour breaks in those days. But a measure of rest would allow someone to appreciate his time on this earth.
כִּי יֵשׁ לָעֵץ תִּקְוָה אִם־יִכָּרֵת וְעוֹד יַחֲלִיף וְיֹנַקְתּוֹ לֹא תֶחְדָּל׃ 14:7
Job 14:7 "For there would be hope for a tree if it were cut down,
that yet it might be renewed,
and some young shoot of it would not come to an end."
אִם־יַזְקִין בָּאָרֶץ שָׁרְשׁוֹ וּבֶעָפָר יָמוּת גִּזְעוֹ׃ 14:8
Job 14:8 "Even if its root were old in the ground,
and its stock could die in the dry earth,
מֵרֵיחַ מַיִם יַפְרִחַ וְעָשָׂה קָצִיר כְּמוֹ־נָטַע׃ 14:9
Job 14:9 from a scent of water it might bud and produce branches,
as a plant should."
וְגֶבֶר יָמוּת וַיֶּחֱלָשׁ וַיִּגְוַע אָדָם וְאַיּוֹ׃ 14:10
Job 14:10 "Even a hardy man will die and become disabled,
but a human must perish.
Then where is he?"
Notice the inversion of the sequence of timed events, which is common in biblical Hebrew. The man dies first and then becomes disabled. See the notes on Gene. 1:5 for the reason this is significant.
אָזְלוּ־מַיִם מִנִּי־יָם וְנָהָר יֶחֱרַב וְיָבֵשׁ׃ 14:11
Job 14:11 "Waters evaporate from the sea,
and a stream becomes desolate and dry."
וְאִישׁ שָׁכַב וְלֹא־יָקוּם עַד־בִּלְתִּי שָׁמַיִם לֹא יָקִיצוּ וְלֹא־יֵעֹרוּ מִשְּׁנָתָם׃ 14:12
Job 14:12 "And a person lies down and will not rise.
They will not waken or be roused from their sleep
until there is no heaven."
The pronouns they and their in the middle line must refer to the preceding things mentioned (the tree, the sea, and the stream) as well as the person in this verse.
מִי יִתֵּן בִּשְׁאֹול תַּצְפִּנֵנִי תַּסְתִּירֵנִי עַד־שׁוּב אַפֶּךָ תָּשִׁית לִי חֹק וְתִזְכְּרֵנִי׃ 14:13
Job 14:13 "Who could grant You might hide me in sheol,
conceal me until the turning back of Your 'anger?'
Appoint for me a limit, then remember me!"
אִם־יָמוּת גֶּבֶר הֲיִחְיֶה כָּל־יְמֵי צְבָאִי אֲיַחֵל עַד־בּוֹא חֲלִיפָתִי׃ 14:14
Job 14:14 "Were a hardy man to die,
could even he be restored?
I must hope all the days of my service,
that my relief must be coming."
תִּקְרָא וְאָנֹכִי אֶעֱנֶךָּ לְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ תִכְסֹף׃ 14:15
Job 14:15 "You could call and I would answer You.
You could 'long' for the work of Your 'hands.'"
I imagine Job is describing the outcome of his hope fulfilled. God could call (for him to die) and he would answer (by dying). Then he finishes with a kind of snide remark: God would do this because He “longed” for Job’s return.
כִּי־עַתָּה צְעָדַי תִּסְפּוֹר לֹא־תִשְׁמוֹר עַל־חַטָּאתִי׃ 14:16
Job 14:16 "That then You would not number my steps,
not keep a watch on my sin,
חָתֻם בִּצְרוֹר פִּשְׁעִי וַתִּטְפֹּל עַל־עֲוֺנִי׃ 14:17
Job 14:17 sealing up in a bag my transgression,
that You would smear over my iniquity."
וְאוּלָם הַר־נוֹפֵל יִבּוֹל וְצוּר יֶעְתַּק מִמְּקֹמוֹ׃ 14:18
Job 14:18 "And indeed a mountain cast down must fall,
and a rock move from its place."
אֲבָנִים שָׁחֲקוּ מַיִם תִּשְׁטֹף־סְפִיחֶיהָ עֲפַר־אָרֶץ וְתִקְוַת אֱנוֹשׁ הֶאֱבַדְתָּ׃ 14:19
Job 14:19 "Water wears away stones,
the output from this will scour the dust of the earth.
Thus You destroy the hope of a person."
תִּתְקְפֵהוּ לָנֶצַח וַיַּהֲלֹךְ מְשַׁנֶּה פָנָיו וַתְּשַׁלְּחֵהוּ׃ 14:20
Job 14:20 "You may ever prevail against him,
that he would depart,
altering his countenance as You send him away."
יִכְבְּדוּ בָנָיו וְלֹא יֵדָע וְיִצְעֲרוּ וְלֹא־יָבִין לָמוֹ׃ 14:21
Job 14:21 "His children may be honored,
and he could not acknowledge,
or become insignificant,
and he could not consider them."
אַךְ־בְּשָׂרוֹ עָלָיו יִכְאָב וְנַפְשׁוֹ עָלָיו תֶּאֱבָל׃ 14:22
Job 14:22 "Yet for him his flesh would be in pain,
and his soul would lament for him."
Is this last verse Job’s insight into life after death, or merely a gross exaggeration for effect? I suspect the latter part of the question is the correct interpretation.
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