A new interpretation and translation of job 5:5
Book of Job, Eliphaz, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament
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.
Department of Philosophy and World Religions
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Burnight, John, "A new interpretation and translation of job 5:5" (2014). Faculty Publications. 1453.