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Job 32:15-22

Job’s Friends Failed to Answer 1 

32:15 “They are dismayed 2  and cannot answer any more;

they have nothing left to say. 3 

32:16 And I have waited. 4  But because they do not speak,

because they stand there and answer no more,

32:17 I too will answer my part,

I too will explain what I know.

32:18 For I am full of words,

and the spirit within me 5  constrains me. 6 

32:19 Inside I am like wine which has no outlet, 7 

like new wineskins 8  ready to burst!

32:20 I will speak, 9  so that I may find relief;

I will open my lips, so that I may answer.

32:21 I will not show partiality to anyone, 10 

nor will I confer a title 11  on any man.

32:22 for I do not know how to give honorary titles, 12 

if I did, 13  my Creator would quickly do away with me. 14 

1 sn Elihu now will give another reason why he will speak – the arguments of these friends failed miserably. But before he gets to his argument, he will first qualify his authority.

2 tn The verb חַתּוּ (khattu) is from חָתַת (khatat) which means “to be terrified.” But here it stresses the resulting dilemma. R. Gordis (Job, 369) renders it, “they are shattered, beaten in an argument.”

3 tn Heb “words have moved away from them,” meaning words are gone from them, they have nothing left to say.

4 tn Some commentators take this as a question: “And shall [or must] I wait because they do not speak?” (A. B. Davidson, R. Gordis). But this is not convincing because the silence of the friends is the reason for him to speak, not to wait.

5 tn Heb “the spirit of my belly.”

6 tn The verb צוּק (tsuq) means “to constrain; to urge; to press.” It is used in Judg 14:17; 16:16 with the sense of wearing someone down with repeated entreaties. Elihu cannot withhold himself any longer.

7 tn Heb “in my belly I am like wine that is not opened” (a Niphal imperfect), meaning sealed up with no place to escape.

8 tc The Hebrew text has כְּאֹבוֹת חֲדָשִׁים (kÿovot khadashim), traditionally rendered “like new wineskins.” But only here does the phrase have this meaning. The LXX has “smiths” for “new,” thus “like smith’s bellows.” A. Guillaume connects the word with an Arabic word for a wide vessel for wine shaped like a cup (“Archaeological and philological note on Job 32:19,” PEQ 93 [1961]: 147-50). Some have been found in archaeological sites. The poor would use skins, the rich would use jars. The key to putting this together is the verb at the end of the line, יִבָּקֵעַ (yibbaqea’, “that are ready to burst”). The point of the statement is that Elihu is bursting to speak, and until now has not had the opening.

9 tn The cohortative expresses Elihu’s resolve to speak.

10 tn The idiom is “I will not lift up the face of a man.” Elihu is going to show no favoritism, but speak his mind.

11 tn The verb means “to confer an honorary title; to give a mark of distinction,” but it is often translated with the verb “flatter.” Elihu will not take sides, he will not use pompous titles.

12 tn The construction uses a perfect verb followed by the imperfect. This is a form of subordination equivalent to a complementary infinitive (see GKC 385-86 §120.c).

13 tn The words “if I did” are supplied in the translation to make sense out of the two clauses.

14 tn Heb “quickly carry me away.”

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