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Job 10:14-17

Context

10:14 If I sinned, then you would watch me

and you would not acquit me of my iniquity.

10:15 If I am guilty, 1  woe 2  to me,

and if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head; 3 

I am full of shame, 4 

and satiated with my affliction. 5 

10:16 If I lift myself up, 6 

you hunt me as a fierce lion, 7 

and again 8  you display your power 9  against me.

10:17 You bring new witnesses 10  against me,

and increase your anger against me;

relief troops 11  come against me.

1 sn The verbs “guilty” and “innocent” are actually the verbs “I am wicked,” and “I am righteous.”

2 tn The exclamation occurs only here and in Mic 7:1.

3 sn The action of lifting up the head is a symbol of pride and honor and self-respect (Judg 8:28) – like “hold your head high.” In 11:15 the one who is at peace with God lifts his head (face).

4 tn The expression שְׂבַע קָלוֹן (sÿvaqalon) may be translated “full of shame.” The expression literally means “sated of ignominy” (or contempt [קַלַל, qalal]).

5 tn The last clause is difficult to fit into the verse. It translates easily enough: “and see my affliction.” Many commentators follow the suggestion of Geiger to read רְוֶה (rÿveh, “watered with”) instead of רְאֵה (rÿeh, “see”). This could then be interpreted adjectivally and parallel to the preceding line: “steeped/saturated with affliction.” This would also delete the final yod as dittography (E. Dhorme, Job, 152). But D. J. A. Clines notes more recent interpretations that suggest the form in the text is an orthographic variant of raweh meaning “satiated.” This makes any emendation unnecessary (and in fact that idea of “steeped” was not helpful any way because it indicated imbibing rather than soaking). The NIV renders it “and drowned in my affliction” although footnoting the other possibility from the MT, “aware of my affliction” (assuming the form could be adjectival). The LXX omits the last line.

6 tn The MT has the 3rd person of the verb, “and he lifts himself up.” One might assume that the subject is “my head” – but that is rather far removed from the verb. It appears that Job is talking about himself in some way. Some commentators simply emend the text to make it first person. This has the support of Targum Job, which would be expected since it would be interpreting the passage in its context (see D. M. Stec, “The Targum Rendering of WYG’H in Job X 16,” VT 34 [1984]: 367-8). Pope and Gordis make the word adjectival, modifying the subject: “proudly you hunt me,” but support is lacking. E. Dhorme thinks the line should be parallel to the two preceding it, and so suggests יָגֵּעַ (yagea’, “exhausted”) for יִגְאֶה (yigeh, “lift up”). The contextual argument is that Job has said that he cannot raise his head, but if he were to do so, God would hunt him down. God could be taken as the subject of the verb if the text is using enallage (shifting of grammatical persons within a discourse) for dramatic effect. Perhaps the initial 3rd person was intended with respect within a legal context of witnesses and a complaint, but was switched to 2nd person for direct accusation.

7 sn There is some ambiguity here: Job could be the lion being hunted by God, or God could be hunting Job like a lion hunts its prey. The point of the line is clear in either case.

8 tn The text uses two verbs without a coordinating conjunction: “then you return, you display your power.” This should be explained as a verbal hendiadys, the first verb serving adverbially in the clause (see further GKC 386-87 §120.g).

9 tn The form is the Hitpael of פָּלָא (pala’, “to be wonderful; to be surpassing; to be extraordinary”). Here in this stem it has the sense of “make oneself admirable, surpassing” or “render oneself powerful, glorious.” The text is ironic; the word that described God’s marvelous creation of Job is here used to describe God’s awesome destruction of Job.

10 tn The text has “you renew/increase your witnesses.” This would probably mean Job’s sufferings, which were witness to his sins. But some suggested a different word here, one that is cognate to Arabic ’adiya, “to be an enemy; to be hostile”: thus “you renew your hostility against me.” Less convincing are suggestions that the word is cognate to Ugaritic “troops” (see W. G. E. Watson, “The Metaphor in Job 10,17,” Bib 63 [1982]: 255-57).

11 tn The Hebrew simply says “changes and a host are with me.” The “changes and a host” is taken as a hendiadys, meaning relieving troops (relief troops of the army). The two words appear together again in 14:14, showing that emendation is to be avoided. The imagery depicts blow after blow from God – always fresh attacks.



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