Jeremiah 46:7

Hebrew Bible

5 “What do I see? The soldiers are frightened. They are retreating. They are being scattered. They have fled for refuge without looking back. Terror is all around them,” says the Lord. 6 “But even the swiftest cannot get away. Even the strongest cannot escape. There in the north by the Euphrates River they have stumbled and fallen in defeat. 7 Who is this that rises like the Nile, like its streams turbulent at flood stage? 8 Egypt rises like the Nile, like its streams turbulent at flood stage. Egypt said, ‘I will arise and cover the earth. I will destroy cities and the people who inhabit them.’

Job 38:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge? 3 Get ready for a difficult task like a man; I will question you, and you will inform me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding. 5 Who set its measurements—if you know—or who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

 Notes and References

"... Another indicator of a gentler tone may be found in a surprising phrase. God's speech begins with the interrogative ... Commentators generally understand it as casting a negative light on Job. However, careful study of the phrase in the Hebrew Bible reveals an interesting dynamic. When a question begins this way, it is nearly always rhetorically used in poetry. That is, the speaker usually knows who "this" is. For example, in Ps 24:8, the question 'Who is this king of glory?' is immediately followed by the answer, 'YHWH strong and mighty'. The rhetorical question draws the reader's attention to the obvious answer, emphasizing the person behind it ... Here and elsewhere, it serves to emphasize the person represented in the answer to the question.26 The phrase does not necessarily resemble the English challenge, 'Who do you think you are!' ..."

26 Similarly, when Jeremiah asks, 'Who is this, rising like the Nile?'; Jer 46:7), the answer immediately follows in v. 8 in parallel form: 'Egypt rises like the Nile'.

Ham, T. C. The Gentle Voice of God in Job 38 (pp. 527-541) Journal of Biblical Literature, 132, No. 3, 2013

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