will 2 you return me to dust?
and knit me together 7 with bones and sinews.
and your intervention 10 watched over my spirit.
1 tn The preposition “like” creates a small tension here. So some ignore the preposition and read “clay” as an adverbial accusative of the material (GKC 371 §117.hh but cf. 379 §119.i with reference to beth essentiae: “as it were, by clay”). The NIV gets around the problem with a different meaning for the verb: “you molded me like clay.” Some suggest the meaning was “as [with] clay” (in the same manner that we have “as [in] the day of Midian” [Isa 9:4]).
2 tn The text has a conjunction: “and to dust….”
3 tn The verb נָתַךְ (natakh) means “to flow,” and in the Hiphil, “to cause to flow.”
4 tn This verb קָפָא (qafa’) means “to coagulate.” In the Hiphil it means “to stiffen; to congeal.”
sn These verses figuratively describe the formation of the embryo in the womb.
6 tn The skin and flesh form the exterior of the body and so the image of “clothing” is appropriate. Once again the verb is the prefixed conjugation, expressing what God did.
7 tn This verb is found only here (related nouns are common) and in the parallel passage of Ps 139:13. The word סָכַךְ (sakhakh), here a Poel prefixed conjugation (preterite), means “to knit together.” The implied comparison is that the bones and sinews form the tapestry of the person (compare other images of weaving the life).
8 tn Heb “you made with me.”
9 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 150) suggests that the relation between these two words is like a hendiadys. In other words, “life,” which he says is made prominent by the shift of the copula, specifies the nature of the grace. He renders it “the favor of life.” D. J. A. Clines at least acknowledges that the expression “you showed loyal love with me” is primary. There are many other attempts to improve the translation of this unusual combination.
10 tn The noun פְּקָָֻדּה (pÿquddah), originally translated “visitation,” actually refers to any divine intervention for blessing on the life. Here it would include the care and overseeing of the life of Job. “Providence” may be too general for the translation, but it is not far from the meaning of this line. The LXX has “your oversight.”