9:1 Then Job answered:
9:2 “Truly, 2 I know that this is so.
But how 3 can a human 4 be just before 5 God? 6
9:3 If someone wishes 7 to contend 8 with him,
he cannot answer 9 him one time in a thousand.
9:4 He is wise in heart 10 and mighty 11 in strength 12 –
who has resisted 13 him and remained safe? 14
9:5 He who removes mountains suddenly, 15
who overturns them in his anger; 16
9:6 he who shakes the earth out of its place 17
so that its pillars tremble; 18
9:7 he who commands the sun and 19 it does not shine 20
and seals up 21 the stars;
9:8 he alone spreads out the heavens,
and treads 22 on the waves of the sea; 23
9:9 he makes the Bear, 24 Orion, 25 and the Pleiades, 26
and the constellations of the southern sky; 27
9:10 he does great and unsearchable things, 28
and wonderful things without number.
9:11 If 29 he passes by me, I cannot see 30 him, 31
if he goes by, I cannot perceive him. 32
9:12 If he snatches away, 33 who can turn him back? 34
Who dares to say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
9:13 God does not restrain his anger; 35
under him the helpers of Rahab 36 lie crushed. 37
9:14 “How much less, 38 then, can I answer him 39
and choose my words 40 to argue 41 with 42 him! 43
9:15 Although 44 I am innocent, 45
I could not answer him; 46
I could only plead 47 with my judge 48 for mercy.
9:16 If I summoned him, and he answered me, 49
I would not believe 50
that he would be listening to my voice –
9:17 he who 51 crushes 52 me with a tempest,
and multiplies my wounds for no reason. 53
9:18 He does not allow 54 me to recover 55 my breath,
for he fills 56 me with bitterness.
9:19 If it is a matter of strength, 57
most certainly 58 he is the strong one!
And if it is a matter of justice,
he will say, ‘Who will summon me?’ 59
9:20 Although I am innocent, 60
my mouth 61 would condemn me; 62
although I am blameless,
it would declare me perverse. 63
9:21 I am blameless. 64 I do not know myself. 65
I despise my life.
9:22 “It is all one! 66 That is why I say, 67
‘He destroys the blameless and the guilty.’
9:23 If a scourge brings sudden death, 68
he mocks 69 at the despair 70 of the innocent. 71
9:24 If a land 72 has been given
into the hand of a wicked man, 73
he covers 74 the faces of its judges; 75
if it is not he, then who is it? 76
9:25 “My days 77 are swifter than a runner, 78
they speed by without seeing happiness.
9:26 They glide by 79 like reed 80 boats,
like an eagle that swoops 81 down on its prey. 82
9:27 If I say, 83 ‘I will 84 forget my complaint,
I will change my expression 85 and be cheerful,’ 86
9:28 I dread 87 all my sufferings, 88
for 89 I know that you do not hold me blameless. 90
9:29 If I am guilty, 91
why then 92 weary myself 93 in vain? 94
9:30 If I wash myself with snow water, 95
and make my hands clean with lye, 96
9:31 then you plunge me into a slimy pit 97
and my own clothes abhor me.
9:32 For he 98 is not a human being like I am,
that 99 I might answer him,
that we might come 100 together in judgment.
9:33 Nor is there an arbiter 101 between us,
who 102 might lay 103 his hand on us both, 104
9:34 who 105 would take his 106 rod 107 away from me
so that his terror 108 would not make me afraid.
9:35 Then 109 would I speak and not fear him,
but it is not so with me. 110
1 sn This speech of Job in response to Bildad falls into two large sections, chs. 9 and 10. In ch. 9 he argues that God’s power and majesty prevent him from establishing his integrity in his complaint to God. And in ch. 10 Job tries to discover in God’s plan the secret of his afflictions. The speech seems to continue what Job was saying to Eliphaz more than it addresses Bildad. See K. Fullerton, “On Job 9 and 10,” JBL 53 (1934): 321-49.
2 tn The adverb אָמְנָם (’omnam, “in truth”) is characteristic of the Book of Job (12:2; 19:4; 34:12; 36:4). The friends make commonplace statements, general truths, and Job responds with “truly I know this is so.” Job knows as much about these themes as his friends do.
3 sn The interrogative is used to express what is an impossibility.
4 tn The attempt to define אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) as “weak” or “mortal” man is not compelling. Such interpretations are based on etymological links without the clear support of usage (an issue discussed by J. Barr, Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament). This seems to be a poetic word for “human” (the only nonpoetic use is in 2 Chr 14:10).
5 tn The preposition is אִם (’im, “with, before, in the presence of”). This is more specific than מִן (min) in 4:17.
6 sn The point of Job’s rhetorical question is that man cannot be justified as against God, because God is too powerful and too clever – he controls the universe. He is discussing now the question that Eliphaz raised in 4:17. Peake observes that Job is raising the question of whether something is right because God says it is right, or that God declares it right because it is right.
7 tn Some commentators take God to be the subject of this verb, but it is more likely that it refers to the mortal who tries to challenge God in a controversy. The verb is used of Job in 13:3.
8 tn The verb רִיב (riv) is a common one; it has the idea of “contention; dispute; legal dispute or controversy; go to law.” With the preposition אִם (’im) the idea must be “to contend with” or “to dispute with.” The preposition reflects the prepositional phrase “with God” in v. 2, supporting the view that man is the subject.
9 tn This use of the imperfect as potential imperfect assumes that the human is the subject, that in a dispute with God he could not answer one of God’s questions (for which see the conclusion of the book when God questions Job). On the other hand, if the interpretation were that God does not answer the demands of mortals, then a simple progressive imperfect would be required. In support of this is the frustration of Job that God does not answer him.
10 tn The genitive phrase translated “in heart” would be a genitive of specification, specifying that the wisdom of God is in his intelligent decisions.
sn The heart is the seat of intelligence and understanding, the faculty of decision making.
11 sn The words אַמִּיץ (’ammits) and כֹּחַ (koakh) are synonyms, the first meaning “sturdy; mighty; robust,” and the second “strength.” It too can be interpreted as a genitive of specification – God is mighty with respect to his power. But that comes close to expressing a superlative idea (like “song of songs” or “anger of his wrath”).
12 tn The first half of the verse simply has “wise of heart and mighty of strength.” The entire line is a casus pendens that will refer to the suffix on אֵלָיו (’elayv) in the second colon. So the question is “Who has resisted the one who is wise of heart and mighty of strength?” Again, the rhetorical question is affirming that no one has done this.
13 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the verb קָשָׁה (qashah, “to be hard”). It frequently is found with the word for “neck,” describing people as “stiff-necked,” i.e., stubborn, unbending. So the idea of resisting God fits well. The fact that this word occurs in Exodus with the idea of hardening the heart against God may indicate that there is an allusion to Pharaoh here.
14 tn The use of שָׁלֵם (shalem) in the Qal is rare. It has been translated “remain safe” by E. Dhorme, “survived” by the NEB, “remained unscathed” by the NAB and NIV, or “succeeded” by KJV, G. R. Driver.
15 tn The verb is plural: “they do not know it.” This suggests that the mountains would not know it. Some follow the Syriac with a singular verb, i.e., God does not know it, meaning, it is so trifling to God that he can do it without thinking. But the better interpretation may be “suddenly.” This would be interpreted from the MT as it stands; it would imply “before they know anything,” thus “suddenly” (Gray, Dhorme, Buttenwieser, et. al.). D. W. Thomas connects the meaning to another verb based on Arabic and translates it, “ so that they are no longer still” (“Additional Notes on the Root yada` in Hebrew,” JTS 15 : 54-57). J. A. Emerton works with a possible root יָדַע (yada’) meaning “be still” (“A Consideration of Some Alleged Meanings of yada` in Hebrew,” JSS 15 : 145-80).
16 sn This line beginning with the relative pronoun can either be read as a parallel description of God, or it can be subordinated by the relative pronoun to the first (“they do not know who overturned them”).
17 sn Shakes the earth out of its place probably refers to earthquakes, although some commentators protest against this in view of the idea of the pillars. In the ancient world the poetical view of the earth is that it was a structure on pillars, with water around it and under it. In an earthquake the pillars were shaken, and the earth moved.
18 tn The verb הִתְפַלָּצ (hitfallats) is found only here, but the root seems clearly to mean “to be tossed; to be thrown about,” and so in the Hitpael “quiver; shake; tremble.” One of the three nouns from this root is פַּלָּצוּת (pallatsut), the “shudder” that comes with terror (see Job 21:6; Isa 21:4; Ezek 7:18; and Ps 55:6).
19 tn The form could also be subordinated, “that it shine not” (see further GKC 323 §109.g).
20 tn The verb זָרַח (zarakh) means “rise.” This is the ordinary word for the sunrise. But here it probably has the idea of “shine; glisten,” which is also attested in Hebrew and Aramaic.
sn There are various views on the meaning of this line in this verse. Some think it refers to some mysterious darkness like the judgment in Egypt (Exod 10:21-23), or to clouds building (3:5), often in accompaniment of earthquakes (see Joel 2:10, 3:15-16; Isa 13:10-13). It could also refer to an eclipse. All this assumes that the phenomenon here is limited to the morning or the day; but it could simply be saying that God controls light and darkness.
21 tn The verb חָתַם (khatam) with בְּעַד (bÿ’ad) before its complement, means “to seal; to wall up; to enclose.” This is a poetic way of saying that God prevents the stars from showing their light.
22 tn Or “marches forth.”
23 tn The reference is probably to the waves of the sea. This is the reading preserved in NIV and NAB, as well as by J. Crenshaw, “Wÿdorek `al-bamote ‘ares,” CBQ 34 (1972): 39-53. But many see here a reference to Canaanite mythology. The marginal note in the RSV has “the back of the sea dragon.” The view would also see in “sea” the Ugaritic god Yammu.
24 sn The Hebrew has עָשׁ (’ash), although in 38:32 it is עַיִשׁ (’ayish). This has been suggested to be Aldebaran, a star in the constellation Taurus, but there have been many other suggestions put forward by the commentaries.
25 sn There is more certainty for the understanding of this word as Orion, even though there is some overlap of the usage of the words in the Bible. In classical literature we have the same stereotypical reference to these three (see E. Dhorme, Job, 131).
26 sn The identification of this as the Pleiades is accepted by most (the Vulgate has “Hyades”). In classical Greek mythology, the seven Pleiades were seven sisters of the Hyades who were pursued by Orion until they were changed into stars by Zeus. The Greek myth is probably derived from an older Semitic myth.
27 tn Heb “and the chambers of the south.”
28 tn Only slight differences exist between this verse and 5:9 which employs the simple ו (vav) conjunction before אֵין (’eyn) in the first colon and omits the ו (vav) conjunction before נִפְלָאוֹת (nifla’ot, “wonderful things”) in the second colon.
sn There is probably great irony in Job’s using this same verse as in 5:9. But Job’s meaning here is different than Eliphaz.
29 tn The NIV has “when” to form a temporal clause here. For the use of “if,” see GKC 497 §159.w.
30 tn The imperfect verbs in this verse are consistent with the clauses. In the conditional clauses a progressive imperfect is used, but in the following clauses the verbs are potential imperfects.
31 tn The pronoun “him” is supplied here; it is not in MT, but the Syriac and Vulgate have it (probably for translation purposes as well).
32 sn Like the mountains, Job knows that God has passed by and caused him to shake and tremble, but he cannot understand or perceive the reasons.
33 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 133) surveys the usages and concludes that the verb חָתַף (khataf) normally describes the wicked actions of a man, especially by treachery or trickery against another. But a verb חָתַף (khataf) is found nowhere else; a noun “robber” is found in Prov 23:28. Dhorme sees no reason to emend the text, because he concludes that the two verbs are synonymous. Job is saying that if God acts like a plunderer, there is no one who can challenge what he does.
34 tn The verb is the Hiphil imperfect (potential again) from שׁוּב (shuv). In this stem it can mean “turn back, refute, repel” (BDB 999 s.v. Hiph.5).
35 sn The meaning of the line is that God’s anger will continue until it has accomplished its purpose (23:13-14).
36 sn “Rahab” is not to be confused with the harlot of the same name from Jericho. “Rahab” is identified with Tiamat of the Babylonian creation epic, or Leviathan of the Canaanite myths. It is also used in parallelism to the sea (26:12), or the Red Sea (Ps 74:13), and so comes to symbolize Egypt (Isa 30:7). In the Babylonian Creation Epic there is reference to the helpers of Tiamat. In the Bible the reference is only to the raging sea, which the
37 tn The verb שָׁחַח (shakhakh) means “to be prostrate” or “to crouch.” Here the enemies are prostrate under the feet of God – they are crushed.
38 tn The construction אַף כִּי־אָנֹכִי (’af ki ’anokhi) is an expression that means either “how much more” or “how much less.” Here it has to mean “how much less,” for if powerful forces like Rahab are crushed beneath God’s feet, how could Job contend with him?
39 tn The imperfect verb here is to be taken with the nuance of a potential imperfect. The idea of “answer him” has a legal context, i.e., answering God in a court of law. If God is relentless in his anger toward greater powers, then Job realizes it is futile for him.
40 sn In a legal controversy with God it would be essential to choose the correct words very carefully (humanly speaking); but the calmness and presence of mind to do that would be shattered by the overwhelming terror of God’s presence.
41 tn The verb is supplied in this line.
42 tn The preposition אִם (’im, “with”) carries the idea of “in contest with” in a number of passages (compare vv. 2, 3; 16:21).
43 tn The LXX goes a different way after changing the first person to the third: “Oh then that he would hearken to me, or judge my cause.”
44 tn The line begins with אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “which”), which is omitted in the LXX and the Syriac. The particle אִם (’im) can introduce a concessive clause (GKC 498 §160.a) or a conditional clause (GKC 495 §159.n). The idea here seems to be “even if I were…I could not….”
45 tn The verb is צָדַקְתִּי (tsadaqti, “I am right [or “righteous”]”). The term here must be forensic, meaning “in the right” or “innocent” (see 11:2; 13:18; 33:12; 40:8). Job is claiming to be in the right, but still has difficulty speaking to God.
46 tn The form is the Qal imperfect of the verb “answer.” As the text stands, Job is saying that he cannot answer or could not answer (contend with) God if given a chance. Some commentators think a Niphal fits better here: “I am not answered,” meaning God does not reply to him. This has the LXX, the Syriac, and Theodotion in support of it. The advantage would be to avoid the repetition of the same word from v. 14. But others rightly reject this, because all Job is saying here is that he would be too overwhelmed by God to answer him in court. The LXX change to a passive is understandable in that it would be seeking a different idea in this verse and without vocalization might have assumed a passive voice here.
47 tn The verb אֶתְחַנָּן (’etkhannan) is the Hitpael of חָנַן (khanan), meaning “seek favor,” make supplication,” or “plead for mercy.” The nuance would again be a modal nuance; if potential, then the translation would be “I could [only] plead for mercy.”
48 tn The word מְשֹׁפְטִי (mÿshofti) appears to be simply “my judge.” But most modern interpretations take the po‘el participle to mean “my adversary in a court of law.” Others argue that the form is at least functioning as a noun and means “judge” (see 8:5). This would fit better with the idea of appealing for mercy from God. The dilemma of Job, of course, is that the
49 sn The idea of “answer” in this line is that of responding to the summons, i.e., appearing in court. This preterite and the perfect before it have the nuance of hypothetical perfects since they are in conditional clauses (GKC 330 §111.x). D. J. A. Clines (Job [WBC], 219) translates literally, “If I should call and he should answer.”
50 tn The Hiphil imperfect in the apodosis of this conditional sentence expresses what would (not) happen if God answered the summons.
51 tn The relative pronoun indicates that this next section is modifying God, the Judge. Job does not believe that God would respond or listen to him, because this is the one who is crushing him.
52 tn The verb יְשׁוּפֵנִי (yÿshufeni) is the same verb that is used in Gen 3:15 for the wounding of the serpent. The Targum to Job, the LXX, and the Vulgate all translate it “to crush; to pound,” or “to bruise.” The difficulty for many exegetes is that this is to be done “with a tempest.” The Syriac and Targum Job see a different vocalization and read “with a hair.” The text as it stands is understandable and so no change is needed. The fact that the word “tempest” is written with a different sibilant in other places in Job is not greatly significant in this consideration.
53 tn חִנָּם (khinnam) is adverbial, meaning “gratuitously, without a cause, for no reason, undeservedly.” See its use in 2:4.
54 tn The verb נָתַן (natan) essentially means “to give”; but followed by the infinitive (without the ל [lamed] here) it means “to permit; to allow.”
55 tn The Hiphil of the verb means “to bring back”; with the object “my breath,” it means “get my breath” or simply “breathe.” The infinitive is here functioning as the object of the verb (see GKC 350 §114.m).
56 sn The meaning of the word is “to satiate; to fill,” as in “drink to the full, be satisfied.” Job is satiated – in the negative sense – with bitterness. There is no room for more.
57 tn The MT has only “if of strength.”
58 tn “Most certainly” translates the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh).
59 tn The question could be taken as “who will summon me?” (see Jer 49:19 and 50:44). This does not make immediate sense. Some have simply changed the suffix to “who will summon him.” If the MT is retained, then supplying something like “he will say” could make the last clause fit the whole passage. Another option is to take it as “Who will reveal it to me?” – i.e., Job could be questioning his friends’ qualifications for being God’s emissaries to bring God’s charges against him (cf. KJV, NKJV; and see 10:2 where Job uses the same verb in the Hiphil to request that God reveal what his sin has been that has led to his suffering).
sn Job is saying that whether it is a trial of strength or an appeal to justice, he is unable to go against God.
60 tn The idea is the same as that expressed in v. 15, although here the imperfect verb is used and not the perfect. Once again with the concessive clause (“although I am right”) Job knows that in a legal dispute he would be confused and would end up arguing against himself.
61 tn Some commentators wish to change this to “his mouth,” meaning God’s response to Job’s complaints. But the MT is far more expressive, and “my mouth” fits the context in which Job is saying that even though he is innocent, if he spoke in a court setting in the presence of God he would be overwhelmed, confused, and no doubt condemn himself.
62 tn The verb has the declarative sense in the Hiphil, “to declare guilty [or wicked]” or “to condemn.”
63 tn The verb עָקַשׁ (’aqash) means “to be twisted; to be tortuous.” The Piel has a meaning “to bend; to twist” (Mic 3:9) and “to pervert” (Jer 59:8). The form here is classified as a Hiphil, with the softening of the vowel i (see GKC 147 §53.n). It would then also be a declarative use of the Hiphil.
64 tn Dhorme, in an effort to avoid tautology, makes this a question: “Am I blameless?” The next clause then has Job answering that he does not know. But through the last section Job has been proclaiming his innocence. The other way of interpreting these verses is to follow NIV and make all of them hypothetical (“If I were blameless, he would pronounce me guilty”) and then come to this verse with Job saying, “I am blameless.” The second clause of this verse does not fit either view very well. In vv. 20, 21, and 22 Job employs the same term for “blameless” (תָּם, tam) as in the prologue (1:1). God used it to describe Job in 1:8 and 2:3. Bildad used it in 8:20. These are the final occurrences in the book.
65 tn The meaning of the expression “I do not know myself” seems to be, “I do not care.” NIV translates it, “I have no concern for my life.”
sn Job believes he is blameless and not deserving of all this suffering; he will hold fast to that claim, even if the future is uncertain, especially if that future involved a confrontation with God.
66 tc The LXX omits the phrase “It is all one.” Modern scholars either omit it or transpose it for clarity.
sn The expression “it is one” means that God’s dealings with people is undiscriminating. The number “one” could also be taken to mean “the same” – “it is all the same.” The implication is that it does not matter if Job is good or evil, if he lives or dies. This is the conclusion of the preceding section.
67 tn The relationships of these clauses is in some question. Some think that the poet has inverted the first two, and so they should read, “That is why I have said: ‘It is all one.’” Others would take the third clause to be what was said.
68 tc The LXX contains a paraphrase: “for the worthless die, but the righteous are laughed to scorn.”
sn The point of these verses is to show – rather boldly – that God does not distinguish between the innocent and the guilty.
69 sn This bold anthropomorphism means that by his treatment of the despair of the innocent, God is in essence mocking them.
70 tn The term מַסַּת (massat), a hapax legomenon, was translated “trial” in the older versions; but it is not from נָסָה (nasah, “to tempt; to test; to try”), but from מָסַס (masas, “to flow”). It is used in the Niphal to speak of the heart “melting” in suffering. So the idea behind this image is that of despair. This is the view that most interpreters adopt; it requires no change of the text whatsoever.
71 sn Job uses this word to refute Eliphaz; cf. 4:7.
72 tn Some would render this “earth,” meaning the whole earth, and having the verse be a general principle for all mankind. But Job may have in mind the more specific issue of individual land.
73 sn The details of the verse are not easy to explain, but the meaning of the whole verse seems to be about the miscarriage of justice in the courts and the failure of God to do anything about it.
74 tn The subject of the verb is God. The reasoning goes this way: it is the duty of judges to make sure that justice prevails, that restitution and restoration are carried through; but when the wicked gain control of the land of other people, and the judges are ineffective to stop it, then God must be veiling their eyes.
75 sn That these words are strong, if not wild, is undeniable. But Job is only taking the implications of his friends’ speeches to their logical conclusion – if God dispenses justice in the world, and there is no justice, then God is behind it all. The LXX omitted these words, perhaps out of reverence for God.
76 tn This seems to be a broken-off sentence (anacoluthon), and so is rather striking. The scribes transposed the words אֵפוֹא (’efo’) and הוּא (hu’) to make the smoother reading: “If it is not he, who then is it?”
77 tn The text has “and my days” following the thoughts in the previous section.
78 sn Job returns to the thought of the brevity of his life (7:6). But now the figure is the swift runner instead of the weaver’s shuttle.
79 tn Heb “they flee.”
80 tn The word אֵבֶה (’eveh) means “reed, papyrus,” but it is a different word than was in 8:11. What is in view here is a light boat made from bundles of papyrus that glides swiftly along the Nile (cf. Isa 18:2 where papyrus vessels and swiftness are associated).
81 tn The verb יָטוּשׂ (yatus) is also a hapax legomenon; the Aramaic cognate means “to soar; to hover in flight.” The sentence here requires the idea of swooping down while in flight.
82 tn Heb “food.”
83 tn The construction here uses the infinitive construct with a pronominal suffix – “if my saying” is this, or “if I say.” For the conditional clause using אִם (’im) with a noun clause, see GKC 496 §159.u.
84 tn The verbal form is a cohortative of resolve: “I will forget” or “I am determined to forget.” The same will be used in the second colon of the verse.
85 tn Heb “I will abandon my face,” i.e., change my expression. The construction here is unusual; G. R. Driver connected it to an Arabic word ‘adaba, “made agreeable” (IV), and so interpreted this line to mean “make my countenance pleasant” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 : 76). M. Dahood found a Ugaritic root meaning “make, arrange” (“The Root ’zb II in Job,” JBL 78 : 303-9), and said, “I will arrange my face.” But see H. G. Williamson, “A Reconsideration of `azab II in Ugaritic,” ZAW 87 (1985): 74-85; Williamson shows it is probably not a legitimate cognate. D. J. A. Clines (Job [WBC], 219) observes that with all these suggestions there are too many homonyms for the root. The MT construction is still plausible.
86 tn In the Hiphil of בָּלַג (balag) corresponds to Arabic balija which means “to shine” and “to be merry.” The shining face would signify cheerfulness and smiling. It could be translated “and brighten [my face].”
87 tn The word was used in Job 3:25; it has the idea of “dread, fear, tremble at.” The point here is that even if Job changes his appearance, he still dreads the sufferings, because he knows that God is treating him as a criminal.
88 sn See Job 7:15; see also the translation by G. Perles, “I tremble in every nerve” (“The Fourteenth Edition of Gesenius-Buhl’s Dictionary,” JQR 18 [1905/06]: 383-90).
89 tn The conjunction “for” is supplied in the translation.
90 sn A. B. Davidson (Job, 73) appropriately notes that Job’s afflictions were the proof of his guilt in the estimation of God. If God held him innocent, he would remove the afflictions.
91 tn The clause simply has “I am guilty.” It is the same type of construction found in v. 24. It is also the opposite of that in v. 20. GKC 317 §107.n lists this as an example of the use of the imperfect to express an obligation or necessity according to the judgment of others; it would therefore mean “if I am to be guilty.”
92 tn The demonstrative pronoun is included to bring particular emphasis to the question, as if to say, “Why in the world…” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 24, §118).
93 tn The verb means “tire oneself”; see 3:17.
94 tn Here הֶבֶל (hevel, “breath, vapor, vanity”) is used as an adverb (adverbial accusative).
95 tn The Syriac and Targum Job read with the Qere “with water of [בְמֵי, bÿme] snow.” The Kethib simply has “in [בְמוֹ, bÿmo] snow.” In Ps 51:9 and Isa 1:18 snow forms a simile for purification. Some protest that snow water is not necessarily clean; but if fresh melting snow is meant, then the runoff would be very clear. The image would work well here. Nevertheless, others have followed the later Hebrew meaning for שֶׁלֶג (sheleg) – “soap” (so NIV, NRSV, NLT). Even though that makes a nice parallelism, it is uncertain whether that meaning was in use at the time this text was written.
96 tn The word בֹּר (bor, “lye, potash”) does not refer to purity (Syriac, KJV, ASV), but refers to the ingredient used to make the hands pure or clean. It has the same meaning as בֹּרִית (borit), the alkali or soda made from the ashes of certain plants.
97 tn The pointing in the MT gives the meaning “pit” or “ditch.” A number of expositors change the pointing to שֻׁחוֹת (shukhot) to obtain the equivalent of שֻׂחוֹת (sukhot) / סֻחוֹת (sukhot): “filth” (Isa 5:25). This would make the contrast vivid – Job has just washed with pure water and soap, and now God plunges him into filth. M. H. Pope argues convincingly that the word “pit” in the MT includes the idea of “filth,” making the emendation unnecessary (“The Word sahat in Job 9:31,” JBL 83 : 269-78).
98 tn The personal pronoun that would be expected as the subject of a noun clause is sometimes omitted (see GKC 360 §116.s). Here it has been supplied.
99 tn The consecutive clause is here attached without the use of the ו (vav), but only by simple juxtaposition (see GKC 504-5 §166.a).
100 tn The sense of the verb “come” with “together in judgment” means “to confront one another in court.” See Ps 143:2.
101 tn The participle מוֹכִיחַ (mokhiakh) is the “arbiter” or “mediator.” The word comes from the verb יָכַח (yakhakh, “decide, judge”), which is concerned with legal and nonlegal disputes. The verbal forms can be used to describe the beginning of a dispute, the disputation in progress, or the settling of it (here, and in Isa 1:18).
sn The old translation of “daysman” came from a Latin expression describing the fixing of a day for arbitration.
102 tn The relative pronoun is understood in this clause.
103 tn The jussive in conditional sentences retains its voluntative sense: let something be so, and this must happen as a consequence (see GKC 323 §109.i).
104 sn The idiom of “lay his hand on the two of us” may come from a custom of a judge putting his hands on the two in order to show that he is taking them both under his jurisdiction. The expression can also be used for protection (see Ps 139:5). Job, however, has a problem in that the other party is God, who himself will be arbiter in judgment.
105 tn The verse probably continues the description from the last verse, and so a relative pronoun may be supplied here as well.
106 tn According to some, the reference of this suffix would be to God. The arbiter would remove the rod of God from Job. But others take it as a separate sentence with God removing his rod.
107 sn The “rod” is a symbol of the power of God to decree whatever judgments and afflictions fall upon people.
108 tn “His terror” is metonymical; it refers to the awesome majesty of God that overwhelms Job and causes him to be afraid.
109 tn There is no conjunction with this cohortative; but the implication from the context is that if God’s rod were withdrawn, if the terror were removed, then Job would speak up without fear.
110 tn The last half of the verse is rather cryptic: “but not so I with me.” NIV renders it “but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” This is very smooth and interpretive. Others transpose the two halves of the verse to read, “Since it is not so, I with myself // will commune and not fear him.” Job would be saying that since he cannot contend with God on equal terms, and since there is no arbiter, he will come on his own terms. English versions have handled this differently: “for I know I am not what I am thought to be” (NEB); “since this is not the case with me” (NAB); “I do not see myself like that at all” (JB).