Sunday, February 10, 2019

Snippets of Job from Alter

Another set of examples from David Bentley Hart.

Job 7:5-6
My flesh was clothed with worms and earth-clods, / my skin rippled with running sores.
My days are swifter than the weaver’s shuttle. / They snap off without any hope.
Look, He passes over me and I do not see, / slips by me and I cannot grasp Him.

slips by me? Good idea for the parallel but there is no first person pronoun in the text. Discern בין is not a difficult reading. Grasp - the name of that king Ahaz, אחז seems out of place for this context. It is concrete, I grant you. Should the inserted was be is? Both verbs (clothed / swifter) are qal perfect. Is it the shuttle or a shuttle?


7:5~ Clothed is my flesh, maggot and grimy lump,
my naked skin uneasy and repugnant.
6  My days are fleeter than a weaver's shuttle,
and they are consumed at the termination of a wait.

9:11C Lo, he passes over me and I do not see.
He renews and I do not discern him.

I am quite happy with Lo (הן) and behold (הנה) as glosses. Sometimes I am creative with them, and throw in a hey or a ho. But there's nothing wrong with lo or behold. Besides I have used look for שׁעה so I can't use it for another stem, even an interjection.

Hart writes that the translation "is at its most effective in expressing raw rage (as the furious peroration of chapters 29 to 31 amply demonstrates)"

Raw rage? To my mind, there is not a whit of rage, raw or otherwise, in Job 29-31. This is Job's summary of his defense, the life that he lived.

In gloom did I walk, with no sun, / I rose in assembly and I screamed. / Brother I was to the jackals, / companion to ostriches. / My skin turned black upon me, / my limbs were scorched by drought.

28 Wan I walk without heat.
I arise in the congregation. I cry for help.
29g Sibling I am become to a dragon,
and associate to the daughters of an ostrich.
30g My naked skin is black upon me,
and my bones are burned from the desert.

I needed scream for צרח which is not the stem here, which is שׁוע cry for help. Scream is out of place.

Hart at times "wishes for something a little more exalted, terrible, and remote." (I have no idea why.)
Do you know the mountain goats’ birth time . . . ?
Where were you when I founded earth? / Tell, if you know understanding.

Hart or his editor has thrown 39:1 and 38:4 in isolation. Any analysis requires a little more data. In 39:1 he has 19 syllables to work with (if he lives by that constraint - I don't) and so far he has only used 9. There is a series of questions following which all refer to the hart. They should feel like a barrage. If the first is made in normal English word order, all the drama is lost.

My version (It has too many syllables. You just need to extend the recitation note where needed.)
 - I don't think exalted, terrible, or remote has any bearing on the text.

Do you know the time when the cliff-dwelling mountain goats give birth?
The writhing of the hart, have you kept watch?
Do you count the moons they fulfill?
And do you know the time when they give birth?
Job 39:1 The time of the mountain goats
The larger sense in chapter 38 I dealt with by using a suggestion of personification via a few well placed capital letters. See below Earth, Ocean, Murk, and Cloud.
Job 38:4 Where were you
Where were you when I founded Earth?
Make it clear if you know discernment.
5Who set her measure? For you know.
Or who stretched out on her a line?
6On what is her socket sunk?
Or who instructed her corner stone,
7 when, together, the stars of the morning shouted for joy,
and all the children of God shouted in triumph?
8Or screened in Ocean with portals,
when he burst out, exiting from out of a womb,
9when I set out Cloud for his clothing,
and Murk, his swaddling clothes,

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