[b-hebrew] Job 12:16 interpreted in context of Is. 45:7

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Jul 31 18:54:16 EDT 2003

Dear Jim:

I admit, when I first saw this verse in Isaiah, I recognized that it contradicted all the other verses that I knew about God being the source of evil. 

R(   r‘a   is given as an opposite to +WB   tob   in Genesis 24:50, 31:24, 29, Leviticus 27:10 and other verses. Therefore, I figured that one way to find out the meaning of r‘a is to understand tob.

+WB   tob    many times is not used for that which is morally good, but it is always used for that which is pleasing, as “
everyone did what was pleasing in his eyes” or referring to things that are pleasing to kings, and so forth. In a moral sense, that which is pleasing to God is good, hence the theological translation of “good” is often a good one into English, but that is not always true. The refrain in Judges has tob referring to evil.

That would make r‘a to have the root meaning of “displeasing” as the opposite of “pleasing”. In verses such as Leviticus 27:10 and Deuteronomy 15:21 r‘a is used referring to something that is bad in the displeasing sense, not the morally corrupt sense. Because “bad” has the moral connotations besides the displeasing ones, I think that “displeasing” may be a better translation where the moral connotation of “evil” does not fit, such as in Deuteronomy 28:35, 2 Kings 4:41 and Is. 45:7.

For the morally corrupt sense of “bad” BH has the word R$(  resha‘a.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim West <jwest at highland.net>
> At 03:08 PM 7/31/03 -0500, you wrote:
> >
> >I translate Is. 45:7 thusly, "Former of light and creator of darkness,
> maker of fullness and creator of displeasure, I am YHWH the one who makes
> all of these."
> I don't understand fully how you render r'a as "displeasure".  Is it
> contextually accurate?  Further, what other occurences of r'a would merit
> such a rendering?  "evil" or "wickedness" seem to be the standard
> understanding and are a tad more forceful, it seems to me, than
> "displeasure" which sort of sounds like a softening of meaning based on a
> theological preconception about God.
> Best
> Jim
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Jim West
> Quartz Hill School of Theology
> Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies
> Biblical Studies Resources
> http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
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