Faculty Publications

Title

Job 5:7 as Eliphaz's response to Job's "malediction" (3:3-10)

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Biblical Literature

Volume

133

Issue

1

First Page

77

Last Page

94

Abstract

This paper proposes a new interpretation of Job 5:7 (traditionally translated "For man is born to trouble, as sparks fly upward"),one that would eliminate the fatalistic aphorism viewed by many scholars as problematic in light of Eliphaz's otherwise consistent defense of "practical" (as opposed to "speculative") biblical wisdom traditions. The proposal ofered here is that the infinitive in the second colon traditionally viewed as a reference to "flight" (cwp I in the standard lexicons) could instead be interpreted as a reference to "gloom" (cwp II). The verse would then serve not as a simile but rather as Eliphaz's response to Job's words in 3:3-10, in which he "curses" the day of his birth by invoking a variety of "darkening" agents.

Original Publication Date

4-14-2014

DOI of published version

10.1353/jbl.2014.0011

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