if 2 you were in my place;
I could pile up 3 words against you
and I could shake my head at you. 4
they have struck my cheek in scorn; 6
they unite 7 together against me.
1 tn For the use of the cohortative in the apodosis of conditional sentences, see GKC 322 §109.f.
2 tn The conjunction לוּ (lu) is used to introduce the optative, a condition that is incapable of fulfillment (see GKC 494-95 §159.l).
3 tn This verb אַחְבִּירָה (’akhbirah) is usually connected to חָבַר (khavar, “to bind”). There are several suggestions for this word. J. J. Finkelstein proposed a second root, a homonym, meaning “to make a sound,” and so here “to harangue” (“Hebrew habar and Semitic HBR,” JBL 75 : 328-31; see also O. Loretz, “HBR in Job 16:4,” CBQ 23 : 293-94, who renders it “I could make noisy speeches”). Other suggestions have been for new meanings based on cognate studies, such as “to make beautiful” (i.e., make polished speeches).
5 tn “People” is supplied; the Hebrew verb is third plural. The colon reads, “they have opened against me with [the preposition is instrumental] their mouth.” The gestures here follow the animal imagery; they reflect destructive opposition and attack (see Ps 22:13 among others).
6 tn This is an “insult” or a “reproach.”
7 tn The verb יִתְמַלָּאוּן (yitmalla’un) is taken from מָלֵא (male’), “to be full,” and in this stem, “to pile up; to press together.” The term has a military connotation, such as “to mobilize” (see D. W. Thomas, “ml'w in Jeremiah 4:5 : a military term,” JJS 3 : 47-52). Job sees himself surrounded by enemies who persecute him and mock him.