1 At this also my heart pounds
and leaps from its place.
2 Listen carefullytn The imperative is followed by the infinitive absolute from the same root to express the intensity of the verb. to the thunder of his voice,
to the rumblingtn The word is the usual word for “to meditate; to murmur; to groan”; here it refers to the low building of the thunder as it rumbles in the sky. The thunder is the voice of God (see Ps 29). that proceeds from his mouth.
3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
even his lightning to the far cornerstn Heb “wings,” and then figuratively for the extremities of garments, of land, etc. of the earth.
4 After that a voice roars;
he thunders with an exalted voice,
and he does not hold back his lightning boltstn The verb simply has the pronominal suffix, “them.” The idea must be that when God brings in all the thunderings he does not hold back his lightning bolts either.
when his voice is heard.
5 God thunders with his voice in marvelous ways;tn The form is the Niphal participle, “wonders,” from the verb פָּלָא (pala’, “to be wonderful; to be extraordinary”). Some commentators suppress the repeated verb “thunders,” and supply other verbs like “shows” or “works,” enabling them to make “wonders” the object of the verb rather than leaving it in an adverbial role. But as H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 236) notes, no change is needed, for one is not surprised to find repetition in Elihu’s words.
he does great things beyond our understanding.tn Heb “and we do not know.”
6 For to the snow he says, ‘Falltn The verb actually means “be” (found here in the Aramaic form). The verb “to be” can mean “to happen, to fall, to come about.” to earth,’
and to the torrential rains,tn Heb “and [to the] shower of rain and shower of rains, be strong.” Many think the repetition grew up by variant readings; several Hebrew mss delete the second pair, and so many editors do. But the repetition may have served to stress the idea that the rains were heavy. ‘Pour down.’tn Heb “Be strong.”
7 He causes everyone to stop working,tn Heb “by the hand of every man he seals.” This line is intended to mean with the heavy rains God suspends all agricultural activity.
so that all peopletc This reading involves a change in the text, for in MT “men” is in the construct. It would be translated, “all men whom he made” (i.e., all men of his making”). This is the translation followed by the NIV and NRSV. Olshausen suggested that the word should have been אֲנָשִׁים (’anashim) with the final ם (mem) being lost to haplography. may knowtn D. W. Thomas suggested a meaning of “rest” for the verb, based on Arabic. He then reads אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) for man, and supplies a ם (mem) to “his work” to get “that every man might rest from his work [in the fields].” his work.
8 The wild animals go to their lairs,
and in their dens they remain.
9 A tempest blows out from its chamber,
icy cold from the driving winds.tn The “driving winds” reflects the Hebrew “from the scatterers.” This refers to the north winds that bring the cold air and the ice and snow and hard rains.
10 The breath of God produces ice,
and the breadth of the waters freeze solid.
11 He loads the clouds with moisture;tn The word “moisture” is drawn from רִי (ri) as a contraction for רְוִי (rÿvi). Others emended the text to get “hail” (NAB) or “lightning,” or even “the Creator.” For these, see the various commentaries. There is no reason to change the reading of the MT when it makes perfectly good sense.
he scatters his lightning through the clouds.
12 The cloudstn The words “the clouds” are supplied from v. 11; the sentence itself actually starts: “and it goes round,” referring to the cloud. go round in circles,
wheeling about according to his plans,
to carry outtn Heb “that it may do.” all that he commands them
over the face of the whole inhabited world.
13 Whether it is for punishmenttn Heb “rod,” i.e., a rod used for punishment. for his land,
or whether it is for mercy,
he causes it to find its mark.tn This is interpretive; Heb “he makes find it.” The lightning could be what is intended here, for it finds its mark. But R. Gordis (Job, 429) suggests man is the subject – let him find what it is for, i.e., the fate appropriate for him.
14 “Pay attention to this, Job!
Stand still and consider the wonders God works.
15 Do you know how God commands them,tn The verb is בְּשׂוּם (bÿsum, from שִׂים [sim, “set”]), so the idea is how God lays [or sets] [a command] for them. The suffix is proleptic, to be clarified in the second colon.
how he makes lightning flash in his storm cloud?tn Dhorme reads this “and how his stormcloud makes lightning to flash forth?”
16 Do you know about the balancingtn As indicated by HALOT 618 s.v. מִפְלָשׂ, the concept of “balancing” probably refers to “floating” or “suspension” (cf. NIV’s “how the clouds hang poised” and J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 481-82, n. 2). of the clouds,
that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?
17 You, whose garments are hot
when the earth is still because of the south wind,
18 will you, with him, spread outtn The verb means “to beat out; to flatten,” and the analogy in the next line will use molten metal. From this verb is derived the word for the “firmament” in Gen 1:6-8, that canopy-like pressure area separating water above and water below. the clouds,
solid as a mirror of molten metal?
19 Tell us what we shouldtn The imperfect verb here carries the obligatory nuance, “what we should say?” say to him.
We cannot prepare a casetn The verb means “to arrange; to set in order.” From the context the idea of a legal case is included.
because of the darkness.
20 Should he be informed that I wanttn This imperfect works well as a desiderative imperfect. to speak?
If a man speaks, surely he would be swallowed up!
21 But now, the suntn The light here must refer to the sun in the skies that had been veiled by the storm. Then, when the winds blew the clouds away, it could not be looked at because it was so dazzling. Elihu’s analogy will be that God is the same – in his glory one cannot look at him or challenge him. cannot be looked attn The verb has an indefinite subject, and so should be a passive here.
it is bright in the skies –
after a wind passed and swept the clouds away.tn Heb “and cleaned them.” The referent is the clouds (v. 18), which has been supplied in the translation for clarity. There is another way of reading this verse: the word translated “bright” means “dark; obscured” in Syriac. In this interpretation the first line would mean that they could not see the sun, because it was darkened by the clouds, but then the wind came and blew the clouds away. Dhorme, Gray, and several others take it this way, as does the NAB.
22 From the north he comes in golden splendor;tn The MT has “out of the north comes gold.” Left in that sense the line seems irrelevant. The translation “golden splendor” (with RV, RSV, NRSV, NIV) depends upon the context of theophany. Others suggest “golden rays” (Dhorme), the aurora borealis (Graetz, Gray), or some mythological allusion (Pope), such as Baal’s palace. Golden rays or splendor is what is intended, although the reference is not to a natural phenomenon – it is something that would suggest the glory of God.
around God is awesome majesty.
23 As for the Almighty,tn The name “Almighty” is here a casus pendens, isolating the name at the front of the sentence and resuming it with a pronoun. we cannot attain to him!
He is great in power,
but justicetn The MT places the major disjunctive accent (the atnach) under “power,” indicating that “and justice” as a disjunctive clause starting the second half of the verse (with ESV, NASB, NIV, NLT). Ignoring the Masoretic accent, NRSV has “he is great in power and justice.” and abundant righteousness he does not oppress.
24 Therefore people fear him,
for he does not regard all the wise in heart.”sn The phrase “wise of heart” was used in Job 9:4 in a negative sense.