on Job 21 :24
His breasts are full of milk - The word עטיניו atinaiv, which occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible, is most likely an Arabic term, but probably so provincial as to be now lost. (Arabic) atana signifies to macerate hides so as to take off the hair: hence Mr. Good thinks it means here, that sleekness of skin which is the effect of fatness both in man and beast. But as the radical idea signifies to stink, as leather does which is thus macerated, I cannot see how this meaning can apply here. Under the root עטן atan, Mr. Parkhurst gives the following definitions:" עטן occurs, not as a verb, but as a noun masculine plural, in construction, עטיני atiney, the bowels, intestines; once Job 21:24, עטיניו atinaiv, his bowels or intestines, are full of, or abound with, חלב chalab, fat. So the lxx.: Τα δε εγκατα αυτου πληρη στεατος. The Vulgate: Viscera, ejus plena sent adipe, 'his intestines are full of fat.' May not עטינים atinim be a noun masculine plural from עטה atah, to involve, formed as גליונים gailyonim, mirrors, from גלה galah, to reveal? And may nor the intestines, including those fatty parts, the mesentery and omentum, be so called on account of their wonderful involutions?" I think this conjecture to be as likely as any that has yet been formed.
on Job 21 :24
His breasts - Margin, "milk pails." The marginal translation is much the most correct, and it is difficult to understand why so improbable a statement has been introduced into our common version. But there has been great variety in the translation. The Vulgate renders it, Viscera ejus plena sunt adipe - "his viscera are full of fat." So the Septuagint, τὰ ἔγκατα ἀυτοῦ πλήρη στέατος ta engkata autou plērē steatos. The Syraic, "his sides;" Prof. Lee, "his bottles;" Noyes, "his sides;" Luther, "sein milkfass" - "his milk-pail;" Wemyss, "the stations of his cattle;" Good, "his sleek skin." In this variety of rendering, what hope is there of ascertaining the meaning of the word? It is not easy to account for this variety, though it is clear that Jerome and the Septuagint followed a different reading from the present, and instead of עטיניו ‛ăṭı̂ynāyv, they read בטיניו baṭı̂ynāyv - from בטן beṭen - "the belly;" and that instead of the word חלב châlâb as at present pointed, meaning "milk," they understood it as if it were pointed חלב cheleb - meaning "fat" - the same letters, but different vowels.
The word which is rendered "breast" (עטין ‛ăṭı̂yn) occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures. It has become necessary, therefore, to seek its meaning in the ancient versions, and in the cognate languages. For a full examination of the word, the reader may consult Bochart, Hieroz. P. 1, Lib. ii. c. xliv., pp. 455, 458; or Rosenmuller, where the remarks of Bochart are abridged; or Lee on Job, "in loc." The Chaldee renders it ביזיו, "his breasts." So Junius et Tre. Piscator, and others. Among the rabbis, Moses Bar Nackman, Levi, and others, render it as denoting the breasts, or "mulctralia" - "milk-vessels," denoting, as some have supposed, "the lacteals." This idea would admirably suit the connection, but it is doubtful whether it can be maintained; and the presumption is, that it would be in advance of the knowledge of physiology in the times of Job. Aben Ezra explains it of the places where camels lie down to drink - an idea which is found in the Arabic, and which will well suit the connection.
According to this, the sense would be, that those places abounded with milk - that is, that he was prospered and happy. The Hebrew word עטין ‛ăṭı̂yn, as has been observed, occurs nowhere else. It is supposed to be derived from an obsolete root, the same as the Arabic "atana, to lie down around water, as cattle do;" and then the derivative denotes a place where cattle and flocks lie down around water; and then the passage would mean, "the resting places of his herds are full, or abound with milk." Yet the primary idea, according to Castell, Golius, and Lee, is that of saturating with water; softening, "scil." a skin with water, or dressing a skin, for the purpose of using it as a bottle. Perhaps the word was used with reference to the place where camels came to drink, because it was a place that was "saturated" with water, or that abounded with water. The Arabic verb, also, according to Castell, is used in the sense of freeing a skin from wool and hairs - a lana pilisve levari pellem - so that it might be dressed for use.
From this reference to a "skin" thus dressed, Prof. Lee supposes that the word here means "a bottle," arid that the sense is, that his bottles were full of milk; that is, that he had great prosperity and abundance. But it is very doubtful whether the word will bear this meaning, and whether it is ever used in this sense. In the instances adduced by Castell, Schultens, and even of Prof. Lee, of the use of the word, I find no one where it means "a skin," or denotes a bottle made of a skin. The application of the "verb" to a skin is only in the sense of saturating and dressing it. The leading idea in all the forms of the word, and its common use in Arabic, is "that of a place where cattle kneel down for the purpose of drinking," and then a place well watered, where a man might lead his camels and flocks to water. The noun would then come to mean a watering place - a place that would be of great value, and which a man who had large flocks and herds would greatly prize. The thought here is, therefore, that the places of this kind, in the possession of the man referred to, would abound with milk - that is, he would have abundance.
Are full of milk - Milk, butter and honey, are, in the Scriptures, the emblems of plenty and prosperity. Many of the versions, however, here render this "fat." The change is only in the pointing of the Hebrew word. But, if the interpretation above given be correct, then the word here means "milk."
And his bones are moistened with marrow - From the belief, that bones full of marrow are an indication of health and vigor.
on Job 21 :24