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Job 32:6-14

Elihu Claims Wisdom

32:6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite spoke up: 1 

“I am young, 2  but you are elderly;

that is why I was fearful, 3 

and afraid to explain 4  to you what I know.

32:7 I said to myself, ‘Age 5  should speak, 6 

and length of years 7  should make wisdom known.’

32:8 But it is a spirit in people,

the breath 8  of the Almighty,

that makes them understand.

32:9 It is not the aged 9  who are wise,

nor old men who understand what is right.

32:10 Therefore I say, ‘Listen 10  to me.

I, even I, will explain what I know.’

32:11 Look, I waited for you to speak; 11 

I listened closely to your wise thoughts, 12 while you were searching for words.

32:12 Now I was paying you close attention, 13 

yet 14  there was no one proving Job wrong, 15 

not one of you was answering his statements!

32:13 So do not say, 16  ‘We have found wisdom!

God will refute 17  him, not man!’

32:14 Job 18  has not directed 19  his words to me,

and so I will not reply to him with your arguments. 20 

1 tn Heb “answered and said.”

2 tn The text has “small in days.”

3 tn The verb זָחַלְתִּי (zakhalti) is found only here in the OT, but it is found in a ninth century Aramaic inscription as well as in Biblical Aramaic. It has the meaning “to be timid” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 208).

4 tn The Piel infinitive with the preposition (מֵחַוֹּת, mekhavvot) means “from explaining.” The phrase is the complement: “explain” what Elihu feared.

5 tn Heb “days.”

6 tn The imperfect here is to be classified as an obligatory imperfect.

7 tn Heb “abundance of years.”

8 tn This is the word נְשָׁמָה (nÿshamah, “breath”); according to Gen 2:7 it was breathed into Adam to make him a living person (“soul”). With that divine impartation came this spiritual understanding. Some commentators identify the רוּחַ (ruakh) in the first line as the Spirit of God; this “breath” would then be the human spirit. Whether Elihu knew that much, however, is hard to prove.

9 tn The MT has “the great” or “the many,” meaning great in years according to the parallelism.

10 tc In most Hebrew mss this imperative is singular, and so addressed to Job. But two Hebrew mss and the versions have the plural. Elihu was probably addressing all of them.

11 tn Heb “for your words.”

12 tn The word means “understanding.” It refers to the faculty of perception and comprehension; but it also can refer to what that produces, especially when it is in the plural (see Ps 49:4). See R. Gordis, Job, 368. Others translate it “reasonings,” “arguments,” etc.

13 tn The verb again is from בִּין (bin, “to perceive; to understand”); in this stem it means to “to pay close attention.”

14 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “behold”) has a deictic force here, calling attention to the thought that is now presented.

15 tn The participle מוֹכִיחַ (mokhiakh) is from the verb יָכַח (yakhakh) that has been used frequently in the book of Job. It means “to argue; to contend; to debate; to prove; to dispute.” The usage of the verb shows that it can focus on the beginning of an argument, the debating itself, or the resolution of the conflict. Here the latter is obviously meant, for they did argue and contend and criticize – but could not prove Job wrong.

16 tn Heb “lest you say.” R. Gordis (Job, 368) calls this a breviloquence: “beware lest [you say].” He then suggests the best reading for their quote to be, “We have attained wisdom, but only God can refute him, not man.” H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 209) suggests the meaning is a little different, namely, that they are saying they have found wisdom in Job, and only God can deal with it. Elihu is in effect saying that they do not need God, for he is quite capable for this.

17 tn The root is נָדַף (nadaf, “to drive away; to drive off”). Here it is in the abstract sense of “succeed in doing something; confound,” and so “refute; rebut.” Dhorme wants to change the meaning of the word with a slight emendation in the text, deriving it from אָלַף (’alaf, “instruct”) the form becoming יַלְּפֶנוּ (yallÿfenu) instead of יִדְּפֶנּוּ (yiddÿfenu), obtaining the translation “God will instruct us.” This makes a smoother reading, but does not have much support for it.

18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Job) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn The verb עַרַךְ (’arakh) means “to arrange in order; to set forth; to direct; to marshal.” It is used in military contexts for setting the battle array; it is used in legal settings for preparing the briefs.

20 tn Heb “your words.”

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