Jovial (2 Jan 2012)
"Re: Need explanation of Job 36:32-33 KJV please"

In re Frank's question on Job 36:32-33 at http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/dec2011/frankm1231-2.htm , here are those two verses and the two before to establish a little context.  I would consider what you had to be a weak translation, which would explain the confusion.  the King James is HIGHLY INTERPRETATIVE here and not a very ltieral translation of the text at all.

ל  הֵן-פָּרַשׂ עָלָיו אוֹרוֹ;
   וְשָׁרְשֵׁי הַיָּם כִּסָּה.

JPS

30 Behold, He spreadeth His light upon it;
and He covereth the depths of the sea.

Alternative reading

לא  כִּי-בָם, יָדִין עַמִּים;
   יִתֶּן-אֹכֶל לְמַכְבִּיר.

31 For by these He judgeth the peoples;
He giveth food in abundance.
For by these He will judge the nations
He will give food for a great nation

לב  עַל-כַּפַּיִם כִּסָּה-אוֹר;
   וַיְצַו עָלֶיהָ בְמַפְגִּיעַ.

32 (a) He covereth His hands with the lightning,
(b) and giveth it a charge that it strike the mark.

(a) He covers the light with His palms
(b) and commands upon it with an obstacle.

לג  יַגִּיד עָלָיו רֵעוֹ;
   מִקְנֶה, אַף עַל-עוֹלֶה.

33 (a) The noise thereof telleth concerning it,
(b) the cattle also concerning the storm that cometh up.
(a) He will tell about his foilage
(b) the cattle also about what rises.

The above is from the JPS which I think is a better translation of this section than what Frank had.  Next to it an alternative reading from me.  In verse 32, I am not saying the JPS is wrong.  But what they have is one interpreation, which can be valid, yet what I have put next to it is another valid interpretation, that personally I think better fits the context, because these are parallel statements.  However, the word can be read either way.

Verse 33 could bve translated multiple ways.  All 3 words in 33(a) can mean more than one thing.  All 3 of the non-grammatical words in 33(b) can mean more than one thing.  this is probably why there's a variety of translations for this:

There is a lot of poetry going on in this section, and a poetic use of the root " עַל" that simply gets lost in translation.  "עוֹלֶה" can mean something rising upward, but it can also mean "perversity" / "wickedness", which is how YLT translated it. 

" רֵעוֹ" was translated as

I think the heavy use of "על" and words that are built from it, along with the matching "evil" meanings for " רֵעוֹ"  /  "עוֹלֶה"  is an attempt to hint at rebellion or wickedness figuratively.  In other words, the translation above in the rightmost column is how I see the literal meaning of the text.  But I think it is also trying to figurativelty and poetically hint at the idea that you can't rise up against God, because He's too high up to rise against Him.

 as something that "rises" itself against God, but can never reach him because He is above what you hit when you rise up.  "עולה" can mean "wickedness" but it can also mean to rise up physically.  Rebellion figuratively "rises up" against God.  But you can never reach Him.  He is the One that put the skies where they are. 

The problem is that what the text is hinting at gets lost in translation if you can't read Hebrew.  Ambiguity abounds in these verses, which is why different translators came to different conclusions.  Keeping in mind these are parallel statements helps keep the literal meaning in a better framework.  But even then, poetic constructions just don't always translate well, and this is a good example of that problem.

Shalom, Joe