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Job 10:16-17

Context

10:16 If I lift myself up, 1 

you hunt me as a fierce lion, 2 

and again 3  you display your power 4  against me.

10:17 You bring new witnesses 5  against me,

and increase your anger against me;

relief troops 6  come against me.

1 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.

2 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.

3 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).

4 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.

5 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).

6 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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