1:4 Now his sons used to go 1 and hold 2 a feast in the house of each one in turn, 3 and they would send and invite 4 their three 5 sisters to eat and to drink with them. 1:5 When 6 the days of their feasting were finished, 7 Job would send 8 for them and sanctify 9 them; he would get up early 10 in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to 11 the number of them all. For Job thought, “Perhaps 12 my children 13 have sinned and cursed 14 God in their hearts.” This was Job’s customary practice. 15
[1:4] 3 tn The sense is cryptic; it literally says “house – a man – his day.” The word “house” is an adverbial accusative of place: “in the house.” “Man” is the genitive; it also has a distributive sense: “in the house of each man.” And “his day” is an adverbial accusative: “on his day.” The point is that they feasted every day of the week in rotation.
[1:4] 4 tn The use of קָרָא (qara’, “to call, invite”) followed by the ל (lamed) usually has the force of “to summon.” Here the meaning would not be so commanding, but would refer to an invitation (see also 1 Kgs 1:19, 25, 26).
[1:4] 5 tn Normally cardinal numerals tend to disagree in gender with the numbered noun. In v. 2 “three daughters” consists of the masculine numeral followed by the feminine noun. However, here “three sisters” consists of the feminine numeral followed by the feminine noun. The distinction appears to be that the normal disagreement between numeral and noun when the intent is merely to fix the number (3 daughters as opposed to 2 or 4 daughters). However, when a particular, previously known group is indicated, the numeral tends to agree with the noun in gender. A similar case occurs in Gen 3:13 (“three wives” of Noah’s sons).
[1:5] 6 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator “and it happened” or “and it came to pass,” which need not be translated. The particle כִּי (ki, “when”) with the initial verbal form indicates it is a temporal clause.
[1:5] 7 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of נָקַף (naqaf, “go around”), here it means “to make the round” or “complete the circuit” (BDB 668-69 s.v. II נָקַף Hiph). It indicates that when the feasting had made its circuit of the seven sons, then Job would sanctify them.
[1:5] 8 tn The form is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. The same emphasis on repeated or frequent action continues here in this verse. The idea here is that Job would send for them, because the sanctification of them would have consisted of washings and changes of garments as well as the sacrifices (see Gen 35:2; 1 Sam 16:5).
[1:5] 10 tn The first verb could also be joined with the next to form a verbal hendiadys: “he would rise early and he would sacrifice” would then simply be “he would sacrifice early in the morning” (see M. Delcor, “Quelques cas de survivances du vocabulaire nomade en hébreu biblique,” VT 25 : 307-22). This section serves to explain in more detail how Job sanctified his children.
[1:5] sn In the patriarchal society it was normal for the father to act as priest for the family, making the sacrifices as needed. Job here is exceptional in his devotion to the duty. The passage shows the balance between the greatest earthly rejoicing by the family, and the deepest piety and affection of the father.
[1:5] 13 tn Heb “sons,” but since the three daughters are specifically mentioned in v. 4, “children” has been used in the translation. In this patriarchal culture, however, it is possible that only the sons are in view.
[1:5] 14 tn The Hebrew verb is בָּרַךְ (barakh), which means “to bless.” Here is a case where the writer or a scribe has substituted the word “curse” with the word “bless” to avoid having the expression “curse God.” For similar euphemisms in the ancient world, see K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, 166. It is therefore difficult to know exactly what Job feared they might have done. The opposite of “bless” would be “curse,” which normally would convey disowning or removing from blessing. Some commentators try to offer a definition of “curse” from the root in the text, and noting that “curse” is too strong, come to something like “renounce.” The idea of blaspheming is probably not meant; rather, in their festivities they may have said things that renounced God or their interest in him. Job feared this momentary turning away from God in their festivities, perhaps as they thought their good life was more important than their religion.
[1:13] 16 sn The series of catastrophes and the piety of Job is displayed now in comprehensive terms. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, and yet Job, the pious servant of Yahweh, continues to worship him in the midst of the rubble. This section, and the next, will lay the foundation for the great dialogues in the book.