Faculty Publications

Title

A new interpretation and translation of job 5:5

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Book of Job, Eliphaz, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Vetus Testamentum

Volume

64

Issue

4

First Page

539

Last Page

553

Abstract

One of the most notoriously difficult-and frequently emended-verses in the Book of Job is 5:5, which the New JPS Version translates as "May the hungry devour his harvest, Carrying it off in baskets; May the thirsty swallow their wealth". Marvin Pope, for example, writes of 5:5b-c that "as they stand, these two lines are impossible and the various emendations not much better", and all three cola have been the subject of considerable debate. In this paper a new interpretation of this problematic verse is offered, one that requires minimal emendation to the text and is well-suited to its context. In brief, I propose that the term in 5:5a generally translated as "harvest" should instead be glossed as "branches" (a collective singular in the Hebrew), and the verse as a whole taken as a "tree" metaphor that tacitly compares Job to a "fool" who commits apostasy.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2014

DOI of published version

10.1163/15685330-12341167

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