2:11 When Job’s three friends heard about all this calamity that had happened to him, each of them came from his own country 2 – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 3 They met together 4 to come to show sympathy 5 for him and to console 6 him.
and auction off 8 your friend.
I, who called on God and whom he answered 12 –
a righteous and blameless 13 man
is a laughingstock!
1 sn See N. C. Habel, “‘Only the Jackal is My Friend,’ On Friends and Redeemers in Job,” Int 31 (1977): 227-36.
2 tn Heb “a man from his place”; this is the distributive use, meaning “each man came from his place.”
3 sn Commentators have tried to analyze the meanings of the names of the friends and their locations. Not only has this proven to be difficult (Teman is the only place that is known), it is not necessary for the study of the book. The names are probably not symbolic of the things they say.
4 tn The verb can mean that they “agreed together”; but it also (and more likely) means that they came together at a meeting point to go visit Job together.
5 tn The verb “to show grief” is נוּד (nud), and literally signifies “to shake the head.” It may be that his friends came to show the proper sympathy and express the appropriate feelings. They were not ready for what they found.
6 tn The second infinitive is from נָחָם (nakham, “to comfort, console” in the Piel). This word may be derived from a word with a meaning of sighing deeply.
7 tn The word “lots” is not in the text; the verb is simply תַּפִּילוּ (tappilu, “you cast”). But the word “lots” is also omitted in 1 Sam 14:42. Some commentators follow the LXX and repoint the word and divide the object of the preposition to read “and fall upon the blameless one.” Fohrer deletes the verse. Peake transfers it to come after v. 23. Even though it does not follow quite as well here, it nonetheless makes sense as a strong invective against their lack of sympathy, and the lack of connection could be the result of emotional speech. He is saying they are the kind of people who would cast lots over the child of a debtor, who, after the death of the father, would be sold to slavery.
8 tn The verb תִכְרוּ (tikhru) is from כָּרָה (karah), which is found in 40:30 with עַל (’al), to mean “to speculate” on an object. The form is usually taken to mean “to barter for,” which would be an expression showing great callousness to a friend (NIV). NEB has “hurl yourselves,” perhaps following the LXX “rush against.” but G. R. Driver thinks that meaning is very precarious. As for the translation, “to speculate about [or “over”] a friend” could be understood to mean “engage in speculation concerning,” so the translation “auction off” has been used instead.
9 tn Some are troubled by the disharmony with “I am” and “to his friend.” Even though the difficulty is not insurmountable, some have emended the text. Some simply changed the verb to “he is,” which was not very compelling. C. D. Isbell argued that אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh, “I am”) is an orthographic variant of יִהְיֶה (yihyeh, “he will”) – “a person who does not know these things would be a laughingstock” (JANESCU 37 : 227-36). G. R. Driver suggests the meaning of the MT is something like “(One that is) a mockery to his friend I am to be.”
10 tn The word simply means “laughter”; but it can also mean the object of laughter (see Jer 20:7). The LXX jumps from one “laughter” to the next, eliminating everything in between, presumably due to haplography.
11 tn Heb “his friend.” A number of English versions (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) take this collectively, “to my friends.”
12 tn Heb “one calling to God and he answered him.” H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 92) contends that because Job has been saying that God is not answering him, these words must be part of the derisive words of his friends.
13 tn The two words, צַדִּיק תָּמִים (tsadiq tamim), could be understood as a hendiadys (= “blamelessly just”) following W. G. E. Watson (Classical Hebrew Poetry, 327).