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Job 19:13-17

Context
Job’s Forsaken State

19:13 “He has put my relatives 1  far from me;

my acquaintances only 2  turn away from me.

19:14 My kinsmen have failed me;

my friends 3  have forgotten me. 4 

19:15 My guests 5  and my servant girls

consider 6  me a stranger;

I am a foreigner 7  in their eyes.

19:16 I summon 8  my servant, but he does not respond,

even though I implore 9  him with my own mouth.

19:17 My breath is repulsive 10  to my wife;

I am loathsome 11  to my brothers. 12 

1 tn Heb “brothers.”

2 tn The LXX apparently took אַךְ־זָרוּ (’akh, “even, only,” and zaru, “they turn away”) together as if it was the verb אַכְזָרוּ (’akhzaru, “they have become cruel,” as in 20:21). But the grammar in the line would be difficult with this. Moreover, the word is most likely from זוּר (zur, “to turn away”). See L. A. Snijders, “The Meaning of zar in the Old Testament,” OTS 10 (1964): 1-154 (especially p. 9).

3 tn The Pual participle is used for those “known” to him, or with whom he is “familiar,” whereas קָרוֹב (qarov, “near”) is used for a relative.

4 tn Many commentators add the first part of v. 15 to this verse, because it is too loaded and this is too short. That gives the reading “My kinsmen and my familiar friends have disappeared, they have forgotten me (15) the guests I entertained.” There is not much support for this, nor is there much reason for it.

5 tn The Hebrew גָּרֵי בֵיתִי (gare beti, “the guests of my house”) refers to those who sojourned in my house – not residents, but guests.

6 tn The form of the verb is a feminine plural, which would seem to lend support to the proposed change of the lines (see last note to v. 14). But the form may be feminine primarily because of the immediate reference. On the other side, the suffix of “their eyes” is a masculine plural. So the evidence lies on both sides.

7 tn This word נָכְרִי (nokhri) is the person from another race, from a strange land, the foreigner. The previous word, גֵּר (ger), is a more general word for someone who is staying in the land but is not a citizen, a sojourner.

8 tn The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the ל (lamed) preposition means “to summon.” Contrast Ps 123:2.

9 tn Heb “plead for grace” or “plead for mercy” (ESV).

10 tn The Hebrew appears to have “my breath is strange to my wife.” This would be the meaning if the verb was from זוּר (zur, “to turn aside; to be a stranger”). But it should be connected to זִיר (zir), cognate to Assyrian zaru, “to feel repugnance toward.” Here it is used in the intransitive sense, “to be repulsive.” L. A. Snijders, following Driver, doubts the existence of this second root, and retains “strange” (“The Meaning of zar in the Old Testament,” OTS 10 [1964]: 1-154).

11 tn The normal meaning here would be based on the root חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”). And so we have versions reading “although I entreated” or “my supplication.” But it seems more likely it is to be connected to another root meaning “to be offensive; to be loathsome.” For the discussion of the connection to the Arabic, see E. Dhorme, Job, 278.

12 tn The text has “the sons of my belly [= body].” This would normally mean “my sons.” But they are all dead. And there is no suggestion that Job had other sons. The word “my belly” will have to be understood as “my womb,” i.e., the womb I came from. Instead of “brothers,” the sense could be “siblings” (both brothers and sisters; G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray, Job [ICC], 2:168).



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