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Job 12:23 – He Makes Nations Great!

06 May on Logos VOD Commentary, Old Testament   Tags: , , ,

Job1223

He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

Job 12:23

The word מַשְׂגִּיא (masgi’, “makes great”) is a common Aramaic word, but only occurs in Hebrew here and in Job 8:11 and Job 36:24. Some mss have a change, reading the form from שָׁגָה (shagah, “leading astray”). The LXX omits the line entirely.

The difficulty with the verb נָחָה (nakhah) is that it means “to lead; to guide,” but not “to lead away” or “to disperse,” unless this passage provides the context for such a meaning. Moreover, it never has a negative connotation. Some vocalize it וַיַּנִּיחֶם(vayyannikhem), from נוּחַ (nuakh), the causative meaning of “rest,” or “abandon” (Driver, Gray, Gordis). But even there it would mean “leave in peace.” Blommerde suggests the second part is antithetical parallelism, and so should be positive. So Ball proposedוַיִּמְחֶם (vayyimkhem) from מָחָה (makhah): “and he cuts them off.”

The rise and fall of nations, which does not seem to be governed by any moral principle, is for Job another example of God’s arbitrary power.