[b-hebrew] Lost Causes Job 39:13 -- minor consolation

C. Stirling Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 15 15:02:36 EST 2005

On 3/15/05 6:05 AM, "Uri Hurwitz" <uhurwitz at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Clay, As a minor cosolation consider this  ---  most prose sections in the HB
> are quite clear. I don't think there was ever confusion between Abraham and
> Isaac as to who fathered whom,  nor in the dramatic duel between David and
> Goliath who the winner was. This refers to the narrative, rather than the
> history.
>  So, considering the age of these texts, one may actually feel quite satified
> with what has been achieved so far.

Thank you Uri,

Certainly the narrative of the MT generally gives one much less trouble than
the poetry. In a recent discussion with a translation consultant I was told
that Job was still left untranslated after the rest of the Hebrew Bible was
finished. I asked why it came last but the answer was quite involved, not
some simple statement like: "It is a difficult book."

What can we say with reasonable certainty about Job 39:13?

Verse 13 starts a new section. Verses 12 & 19, following an established
pattern, start with an interrogative particle, 13-18 do not. In  13-18 the
attitude of scorn toward the subject (a bird of some sort) stands in
contrast to the previous and subsequent animals which are presented as
objects of admiration.

If we look at 14-18 we can infer that one or more birds are mentioned in
verse 13 but we run into difficulty trying to nail down which bird(s) are
being discussed and what is being said about them.

Several scholars have suggested that the derisive bird discussion (13-18)
functions to set off by means of contrast the admirable qualities of the
other animals in the text. So we might expect the sense of verse 13 to
conform to this objective. Beyond this point we venture into the shadow
lands of endless speculation ...

thanks to Uri, George, Karl for your comments,
Clay Bartholomew 

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