Job 5


קְרָא־נָא הֲיֵשׁ עֹונֶךָּ וְאֶל־מִי מִקְּדֹשִׁים תִּפְנֶה׃   5:1

Job 5:1   "Cry out now!  Is there any response to you?

                            And to whom from the holy ones can you turn?"

Eliphaz continues his oration.  I have some trouble with following his line of reasoning.  The flow of thought is not as smooth or intelligent as one might expect from the author of this book.  I wonder if this is intentional, if Eliphaz was intended to be perceived as a pompous, self-assured, vexing friend of Job’s.  We shall see.

כִּי־לֶאֱוִיל יַהֲרָג־כָּעַשׂ וּפֹתֶה תָּמִית קִנְאָה׃   5:2

Job 5:2   "Surely for a fool vexation can destroy,

                            and envy can kill a simpleton."

Is Eliphaz comparing Job to a fool and a simpleton?

אֲנִי־רָאִיתִי אֱוִיל מַשְׁרִישׁ וָאֶקּוֹב נָוֵהוּ פִתְאֹם׃   5:3

Job 5:3   "I have seen a fool taking root,

                            but I designate his abode immediately cursed.

יִרְחֲקוּ בָנָיו מִיֶּשַׁע וְיִדַּכְּאוּ בַשַּׁעַר וְאֵין מַצִּיל׃   5:4

Job 5:4   "His offspring must be far from safety,

                            as they are crushed at the gate

                  and there is no rescuer."

אֲשֶׁר קְצִירוֹ רָעֵב יֹאכֵל וְאֶל־מִצִּנִּים יִקָּחֵהוּ וְשָׁאַף צַמִּים חֵילָם׃   5:5

Job 5:5   "Whose harvest only a hungry one would consume,

                            as he must snatch it from against thorns,

                  and a snare would be eager for their strength."

I have to assume that the pronouns Whose and their have the offspring in v. 4 above as their antecedent

כִּי לֹא־יֵצֵא מֵעָפָר אָוֶן וּמֵאֲדָמָה לֹא־יִצְמַח עָמָל׃   5:6

Job 5:6   "For evil does not come forth from the dust,

                            nor can trouble spring up from the ground."

In other words there has to be a cause, a reason for its appearance -- the victim is to blame.

כִּי־אָדָם לְעָמָל יוּלָּד וּבְנֵי־רֶשֶׁף יַגְבִּיהוּ עוּף׃   5:7

Job 5:7   "For the human being is born into trouble,

                            even as sparks could soar aloft."

I fail to see the immediate connection between the second part of this couplet and the first part.  Is it little more than a poetic observation that sparks may accompany trouble?  Doesn’t sound much like a biblical metaphor to me.  What it may be conveying is a comparison of the certainty of trouble with the certainty that sparks will rise.  That makes the most sense.

אוּלָם אֲנִי אֶדְרֹשׁ אֶל־אֵל וְאֶל־אֱלֹהִים אָשִׂים דִּבְרָתִי׃   5:8

Job 5:8   "However, I would seek to God,

                            and to God I would direct my cause,

עֹשֶׂה גְדֹלוֹת וְאֵין חֵקֶר נִפְלָאוֹת עַד־אֵין מִסְפָּר׃   5:9

Job 5:9   the Doer of great things and there is no searching out,

                            marvels beyond number,

הַנֹּתֵן מָטָר עַל־פְּנֵי־אָרֶץ וְשֹׁלֵחַ מַיִם עַל־פְּנֵי חוּצוֹת׃   5:10

Job 5:10   the Giver of rain over the surface of the earth,

                            and the Sender of water upon the face of the outdoors,

לָשׂוּם שְׁפָלִים לְמָרוֹם וְקֹדְרִים שָׂגְבוּ יֶשַׁע׃   5:11

Job 5:11   setting the humble to be lofty,

                            and the mourners to be made safe."

מֵפֵר מַחְשְׁבוֹת עֲרוּמִים וְלֹא־תַעֲשֶׂינָה יְדֵיהֶם תּוּשִׁיָּה׃   5:12

Job 5:12   "He frustrates the plans of the crafty,

                            that their hands cannot be successful,

לֹכֵד חֲכָמִים בְּעָרְמָם וַעֲצַת נִפְתָּלִים נִמְהָרָה׃   5:13

Job 5:13   capturing the wise in their own craftiness,

                            and causing the advice of the perverted to be hasty,

יוֹמָם יְפַגְּשׁוּ־חֹשֶׁךְ וְכַלַּיְלָה יְמַשְׁשׁוּ בַצָּהֳרָיִם׃   5:14

Job 5:14   in the daytime they would encounter darkness,

                            and grope by noon times as night."

וַיֹּשַׁע מֵחֶרֶב מִפִּיהֶם וּמִיַּד חָזָק אֶבְיוֹן׃   5:15

Job 5:15   "And He would save from the sword out of their mouth,

                            a needy one from the hand of strength,

וַתְּהִי לַדַּל תִּקְוָה וְעֹלָתָה קָפְצָה פִּיהָ׃   5:16

Job 5:16   so there is hope for the poor one,

                            and injustice closes its mouth."

In these preceding eight verses Eliphaz waxes great in his description of the attributes of God.  So we can see that he believes in God’s mercy and power.  Another non-Jew who respects and believes in the Lord.

הִנֵּה אַשְׁרֵי אֱנוֹשׁ יוֹכִחֶנּוּ אֱלוֹהַּ וּמוּסַר שַׁדַּי אַל־תִּמְאָס׃   5:17

Job 5:17   "Behold, happy should be the one whom God can correct,

                            so you must not despise the chastening of the Almighty."

But then he immediately displays his unfeeling attitude toward Job’s horrific loss with this bit of advice.  Be happy!  He seems to have taken Proverbs literally and without question:  Accept with joy the instruction of the Lord.  Yet he ignores the advice of Ecclesiastes:  There is a season to mourn and to cry.

כִּי הוּא יַכְאִיב וְיֶחְבָּשׁ יִמְחַץ (וְיָדֹו) [וְיָדָיו] תִּרְפֶּינָה׃   5:18

Job 5:18   "For He can cause pain that binds up;

                            He can wound, but His ‘hands’ can heal."

The word in the parentheses, translated as His ‘hands,’ is singular but presumably should be plural so it matches the verb, can heal, which is plural.  The correct spelling is in the brackets.

בְּשֵׁשׁ צָרוֹת יַצִּילֶךָּ וּבְשֶׁבַע לֹא־יִגַּע בְּךָ רָע׃   5:19

Job 5:19   "Because of six troubles He will deliver you,

                            so with seven, evil will not reach to you."

בְּרָעָב פָּדְךָ מִמָּוֶת וּבְמִלְחָמָה מִידֵי חָרֶב׃   5:20

Job 5:20   "In famine He redeems you from death,

                            and in war from the edges of the sword."

בְּשׁוֹט לָשׁוֹן תֵּחָבֵא וְלֹא־תִירָא מִשֹּׁד כִּי יָבוֹא׃   5:21

Job 5:21   "Because of the scourge of the tongue you will be protected,

                            so you need have no fear from havoc when it may come."

לְשֹׁד וּלְכָפָן תִּשְׂחָק וּמֵחַיַּת הָאָרֶץ אַל־תִּירָא׃   5:22

Job 5:22   "You can laugh in regard to violence and famine,

                            and from the beast of the land you need not fear."

These must be the six evils:  Famine and war (v. 20), scourge of the tongue and havoc (v. 21), and violence and beast (v. 22).

כִּי עִם־אַבְנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה בְרִיתֶךָ וְחַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה הָשְׁלְמָה־לָךְ׃   5:23

Job 5:23   "Because of your alliance with the stones of the field,

                            then the beast of the field is at peace with you."

וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי־שָׁלוֹם אָהֳלֶךָ וּפָקַדְתָּ נָוְךָ וְלֹא תֶחֱטָא׃   5:24

Job 5:24   "Then you will come to know that your tent is peaceful,

                            and you will attend to your habitation and you not will sin."

Among the many bibles, I have found only two that have a similar translation for the last two words of this verse, which I translate as and you will not sin.  All the others have something like and you will miss nothing.  The latter translation is a valid interpretation of the words, but translating the last word as the verb to miss misses the intended meaning (pun intended).  The meaning to miss for this word is intended to convey missing as in erring (sinning), not as in regretting.  So I see the popular translation as an error in judgment.

וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי־רַב זַרְעֶךָ וְצֶאֱצָאֶיךָ כְּעֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ׃   5:25

Job 5:25   "You will also come to know that your seed will be abundant,

                            and your offspring will be as the grass of the earth."

תָּבוֹא בְכֶלַח אֱלֵי־קָבֶר כַּעֲלוֹת גָּדִישׁ בְּעִתּוֹ׃   5:26

Job 5:26   "You shall come in old age to the grave

                            like the risings of a cluster of corn at its time."

This simile may be fine poetically, but it fails as a simile, since it conjures up an opposite action and incorrect timing to that in the first part of the couplet.  Risings as opposed to coming to the grave.  And dying as opposed to coming to life.  The only aspect of the simile that may be appropriate is the season of the two events, each at its appointed time.

הִנֵּה־זֹאת חֲקַרְנוּהָ כֶּן־הִיא שְׁמָעֶנָּה וְאַתָּה דַע־לָךְ׃   5:27

Job 5:27   "Behold this! We have examined it;

                            it is true. Hear it, and you

                    -- know it is for you."

An imperative from Eliphaz to Job:  Know that this message is for you.  I say, the message may be true in general, but it’s inappropriate for Job.


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