YLT Job 26:5 The Rephaim are formed, Beneath the waters, also their inhabitants.
The Rephaim was one of the names of the tribes of giants, that were drowned in the flood of Noah's day. "Under the water" is a way saying they were dead.
Excerpt from my blog post "Giants: Rephaim, Zamzummim, Emim, Amorite, Anakim, Nephilim, Zuzim" -
"Job, answering the charge of Bildad challenges him in chap. 26:
Job 26:5, “The Rephaim are formed, Beneath the waters, also their inhabitants.”
The Vulgate translates this as “Behold the giants, and those who dwell with them, groan from under the waters.” The Septuagint has it, “Are not the giants formed from under the waters, and their neighbors?” The Chaldee has it, “Can the trembling giants be regenerated, when they and their hosts are under the water?” And, the King James as, “Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.”
The meaning is clearly of the state of the dead, and was referring to the wicked giants who were drowned in the great flood of Noah’s day. They were dead and gone. "
See all of the post here that discusses all of these giants and how God used the Israelite to defeat them about 1445 BC, approx. 1100 years after the flood in the land of Canaan.
This word in Job 26:5, "repha'im" is applied to various things:
- A race of ancient (extinct) giants - Gen 14:5, 15:20, Deut 3:11, 13, Josh 17:15 (see also Deut 2:11, 20). The LXX translates this word "giants".
- A valley outside Jerusalem - Josh 15:8, 18:16, 2 Sam 5:18, 22, 23:13, 1 Chron 11:15, 14:9, Isa 17:5
- The dead generally - Ps 88:10, Prov 2:18, 9:18, 21:16, Isa 14:9, 10, 26:14, 19.
It is unclear how the same word could represent these disparate ideas all at once, UNLESS the meaning "dead" is by association and the process of metonymy -the dead race of once proud giants are as powerless as the dead in she'ol??
Alternatively, "repha'im" MAY be derived from the root "raphah" meaning to sink or to relax and this well describes the state of the dead??
In either case, the context appears to imply the dead as most versions (NIV, NLT, ESV, BSB, NASB, KJV, CSB, CEV, GNT, ISV, NET, etc) have it.
Under the Sea
The phrase, "under the sea", "depths of the ocean", and the like, has long been used, especially in Hebrew idiom to represent the remotest place; and/or a place from which nothing can be retrieved. Neh 9:11, Ps 46:2, 68:22, 77:16, Eze 27:34, Micah 7:19, Jonah 2:3, Matt 18:6, etc.
Job 26:5 "The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them." (NIV)
Bildad has just been praising God, His unlimited power and authority in heaven (Job 25:2ff); now Job agrees and extends the argument into the nether regions beneath the sea and the realm of the dead (Job 26:5, 6). His following argument also includes the heavens (v7) and then over the all the earth as well (v8, 10, 12) as well as heavenly bodies such as the moon (v9, 11, 13).