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Job 17:2


17:2 Surely mockery 1  is with me; 2 

my eyes must dwell on their hostility. 3 

Job 17:6


17:6 He has made me 4  a byword 5  to people,

I am the one in whose face they spit. 6 

1 tn The noun is the abstract noun, “mockery.” It indicates that he is the object of derision. But many commentators either change the word to “mockers” (Tur-Sinai, NEB), or argue that the form in the text is a form of the participle (Gordis).

2 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 243) interprets the preposition to mean “aimed at me.”

3 tn The meaning of הַמְּרוֹתָם (hammÿrotam) is unclear, and the versions offer no help. If the MT is correct, it would probably be connected to מָרָה (marah, “to be rebellious”) and the derived form something like “hostility; provocation.” But some commentators suggest it should be related to מָרֹרוֹת (marorot, “bitter things”). Others have changed both the noun and the verb to obtain something like “My eye is weary of their contentiousness” (Holscher), or mine eyes are wearied by your stream of peevish complaints” (G. R. Driver, “Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 78). There is no alternative suggestion that is compelling.

4 tn The verb is the third person, and so God is likely the subject. The LXX has “you have made me.” So most commentators clarify the verb in some such way. However, without an expressed subject it can also be taken as a passive.

5 tn The word “byword” is related to the word translated “proverb” in the Bible (מָשָׁל, mashal). Job’s case is so well known that he is synonymous with afflictions and with abuse by people.

6 tn The word תֹפֶת (tofet) is a hapax legomenon. The expression is “and a spitting in/to the face I have become,” i.e., “I have become one in whose face people spit.” Various suggestions have been made, including a link to Tophet, but they are weak. The verse as it exists in the MT is fine, and fits the context well.

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