and if I refrain from speaking
– how 3 much of it goes away?
you have devastated my entire household.
and it 6 has become a witness;
my leanness 7 has risen up against me
and testifies against me.
he has gnashed at me with his teeth;
my adversary locks 11 his eyes on me.
they have struck my cheek in scorn; 13
they unite 14 together against me.
and throws 17 me into the hands of wicked men.
He has seized me by the neck and crushed me. 19
He has made me his target;
and pours out my gall 23 on the ground.
he rushes 25 against me like a warrior.
and on my eyelids there is a deep darkness, 31
1 tn “But” is supplied in the translation to strengthen the contrast.
2 tn The Niphal יֵחָשֵׂךְ (yekhasekh) means “to be soothed; to be assuaged.”
3 tn Some argue that מָה (mah) in the text is the Arabic ma, the simple negative. This would then mean “it does not depart far from me.” The interrogative used rhetorically amounts to the same thing, however, so the suggestion is not necessary.
4 tn In poetic discourse there is often an abrupt change from person to another. See GKC 462 §144.p. Some take the subject of this verb to be God, others the pain (“surely now it has worn me out”).
6 tn The subject is “my calamity.”
7 tn The verb is used in Ps 109:24 to mean “to be lean”; and so “leanness” is accepted here for the noun by most. Otherwise the word is “lie, deceit.” Accordingly, some take it here as “my slanderer” or “my liar” (gives evidence against me).
10 tn The verb שָׂטַם (satam) is translated “hate” in the RSV, but this is not accepted by very many. Many emend it to שָׁמט (shamat), reading “and he dropped me” (from his mouth). But that suggests escape. D. J. A. Clines notes that usage shows it reflects ongoing hatred represented by an action such as persecution or attack (Job [WBC], 370).
12 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).
13 tn This is an “insult” or a “reproach.”
14 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.
17 tn The word יִרְטֵנִי (yirteni) does not derive from the root רָטָה (ratah) as would fit the pointing in the MT, but from יָרַט (yarat), cognate to Arabic warrata, “to throw; to hurl.” E. Dhorme (Job, 236) thinks that since the normal form would have been יִירְטֵנִי (yirÿteni), it is probable that one of the yods (י) would have affected the word עֲוִיל (’avil) – but that does not make much sense.
18 tn The verb פָּרַר (parar) means “to shake.” In the Hiphil it means “to break; to shatter” (5:12; 15:4). The Pilpel means “to break in pieces,” and in the Poel in Jer 23:29 “to smash up.” So Job was living at ease, and God shattered his life.
19 tn Here is another Pilpel, now from פָּצַץ (patsats) with a similar meaning to the other verb. It means “to dash into pieces” and even scatter the pieces. The LXX translates this line, “he took me by the hair of the head and plucked it out.”
20 tn The meaning of “his archers” is supported for רַבָּיו (rabbayv) in view of Jer 50:29. The LXX, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum Job, followed by several translations and commentators prefer “arrows.” They see this as a more appropriate figure without raising the question of who the archers might be (see 6:4). The point is an unnecessary distinction, for the figure is an illustration of the affliction that God has brought on him.
21 tn Heb “and he does not pity,” but the clause is functioning adverbially in the line.
24 tn The word פָּרַץ (parats) means “to make a breach” in a wall (Isa 5:5; Ps 80:13). It is used figuratively in the birth and naming of Peres in Gen 38:29. Here the image is now of a military attack that breaks through a wall. The text uses the cognate accusative, and then with the addition of עַל־פְּנֵי (’al-pÿne, “in addition”) it repeats the cognate noun. A smooth translation that reflects the three words is difficult. E. Dhorme (Job, 237) has “he batters me down, breach upon breach.”
25 tn Heb “runs.”
26 sn The language is hyperbolic; Job is saying that the sackcloth he has put on in his lamentable state is now stuck to his skin as if he had stitched it into the skin. It is now a habitual garment that he never takes off.
27 tn The Poel עֹלַלְתִּי (’olalti) from עָלַל (’alal, “to enter”) has here the meaning of “to thrust in.” The activity is the opposite of “raising high the horn,” a picture of dignity and victory.
28 tn There is no English term that captures exactly what “horn” is meant to do. Drawn from the animal world, the image was meant to convey strength and pride and victory. Some modern commentators have made other proposals for the line. Svi Rin suggested from Ugaritic that the verb be translated “lower” or “dip” (“Ugaritic – Old Testament Affinities,” BZ 7 : 22-33).
29 tn An intensive form, a Qetaltal form of the root חָמַר (khamar, “red”) is used here. This word has as probable derivatives חֹמֶר (khomer, “[red] clay”) and חֲמוֹר (khamor, “[red] ass”) and the like. Because of the weeping, his whole complexion has been reddened (the LXX reads “my belly”).
30 sn A. B. Davidson (Job, 122) notes that spontaneous and repeated weeping is one of the symptoms of elephantiasis.
31 sn See Job 3:5. Just as joy brings light and life to the eyes, sorrow and suffering bring darkness. The “eyelids” here would be synecdoche, reflecting the whole facial expression as sad and sullen.