the Almighty, who has made my life bitter 4 –
and the breath from God is in my nostrils,
and my tongue will whisper 8 no deceit.
until I die, I will not set aside my integrity!
27:6 I will maintain my righteousness
and never let it go;
my conscience 11 will not reproach me
for as long as I live. 12
when God takes away his life? 17
27:9 Does God listen to his cry
when distress overtakes him?
Will he call out to God at all times?
What is on the Almighty’s mind 21 I will not conceal.
27:12 If you yourselves have all seen this,
27:13 This is the portion of the wicked man
allotted by God, 24
the inheritance that evildoers receive
from the Almighty.
His offspring never have enough to eat. 26
and their 28 widows do not mourn for them.
27:16 If he piles up silver like dust
and stores up clothing like mounds of clay,
and an innocent man will inherit his silver.
like a hut 31 that a watchman has made.
When he opens his eyes, it is all gone. 33
at night a whirlwind carries him off.
27:21 The east wind carries him away, and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
as he flees headlong from its power.
and hisses him away from his place. 37
[27:1] 1 tn The Hebrew word מָשָׁל (mashal) is characteristically “proverb; by-word.” It normally refers to a brief saying, but can be used for a discourse (see A. R. Johnson, “MasŒal,” VTSup 3 : 162ff.).
[27:2] 2 tn The expression חַי־אֵל (khay-’el) is the oath formula: “as God lives.” In other words, the speaker is staking God’s life on the credibility of the words. It is like saying, “As truly as God is alive.”
[27:2] 4 tn The verb הֵמַר (hemar) is the Hiphil perfect from מָרַר (marar, “to be bitter”) and hence, “to make bitter.” The object of the verb is “my soul,” which is better translated as “me” or “my life.”
[27:3] 5 tn The adverb עוֹד (’od) was originally a noun, and so here it could be rendered “all the existence of my spirit.” The word comes between the noun in construct and its actual genitive (see GKC 415 §128.e).
[27:3] 6 tn The word נְשָׁמָה (nÿshamah) is the “breath” that was breathed into Adam in Gen 2:7. Its usage includes the animating breath, the spiritual understanding, and the functioning conscience – so the whole spirit of the person. The other word in this verse, רוּחַ (ruakh), may be translated as “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit/Spirit” depending on the context. Here, since it talks about the nostrils, it should be translated “breath.”
[27:8] 16 tn The verb יִבְצָע (yivtsa’) means “to cut off.” It could be translated transitively or intransitively – the latter is better here (“when he is cut off”). Since the next line speaks of prayer, some have thought this verse should be about prayer. Mandelkern, in his concordance (p. 228b), suggested the verb should be “when he prays” (reading יִפְגַּע [yifga’] in place of יִבְצָע [yivtsa’]).
[27:12] 23 tn The text has the noun “vain thing; breath; vapor,” and then a denominative verb from the same root: “to become vain with a vain thing,” or “to do in vain a vain thing.” This is an example of the internal object, or a cognate accusative (see GKC 367 §117.q). The LXX has “you all know that you are adding vanity to vanity.”
[27:15] 27 tn The text says “will be buried in/by death.” A number of passages in the Bible use “death” to mean the plague that kills (see Jer 15:2; Isa 28:3; and BDB 89 s.v. בְּ 2.a). In this sense it is like the English expression for the plague, “the Black Death.”
[27:17] 29 tn The text simply repeats the verb from the last clause. It could be treated as a separate short clause: “He may store it up, but the righteous will wear it. But it also could be understood as the object of the following verb, “[what] he stores up the righteous will wear.” The LXX simply has, “All these things shall the righteous gain.”
[27:18] 30 tn Heb כָעָשׁ (kha’ash, “like a moth”), but this leaves room for clarification. Some commentators wanted to change it to “bird’s nest” or just “nest” (cf. NRSV) to make the parallelism; see Job 4:14. But the word is not found. The LXX has a double expression, “as moths, as a spider.” So several take it as the spider’s web, which is certainly unsubstantial (cf. NAB, NASB, NLT; see Job 8:14).
[27:19] 32 tc The verb is the Niphal יֵאָסֵף (ye’asef), from אָסַף (’asaf, “to gather”). So, “he lies down rich, but he is not gathered.” This does not make much sense. It would mean “he will not be gathered for burial,” but that does not belong here. Many commentators accept the variant יֹאסִף (yo’sif) stood for יוֹסִיף (yosif, “will [not] add”). This is what the LXX and the Syriac have. This leads to the interpretive translation that “he will do so no longer.”
[27:19] 33 tn Heb “and he is not.” One view is that this must mean that he dies, not that his wealth is gone. R. Gordis (Job, 295) says the first part should be made impersonal: “when one opens one’s eyes, the wicked is no longer there.” E. Dhorme (Job, 396) has it more simply: “He has opened his eyes, and it is for the last time.” But the other view is that the wealth goes overnight. In support of this is the introduction into the verse of the wealthy. The RSV, NRSV, ESV, and NLT take it that “wealth is gone.”
[27:20] 34 tn Many commentators want a word parallel to “in the night.” And so we are offered בַּיּוֹם (bayyom, “in the day”) for כַמַּיִם (khammayim, “like waters”) as well as a number of others. But “waters” sometimes stand for major calamities, and so may be retained here. Besides, not all parallel structures are synonymous.
[27:23] 36 tn If the same subject is to be carried through here, it is the wind. That would make this a bold personification, perhaps suggesting the force of the wind. Others argue that it is unlikely that the wind claps its hands. They suggest taking the verb with an indefinite subject: “he claps” means “one claps. The idea is that of people rejoicing when the wicked are gone. But the parallelism is against this unless the second line is changed as well. R. Gordis (Job, 296) has “men will clap their hands…men will whistle upon him.”