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Job 33:1-7

Elihu Invites Job’s Attention

33:1 “But now, O Job, listen to my words,

and hear 1  everything I have to say! 2 

33:2 See now, I have opened 3  my mouth;

my tongue in my mouth has spoken. 4 

33:3 My words come from the uprightness of my heart, 5 

and my lips will utter knowledge sincerely. 6 

33:4 The Spirit of God has made me,

and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 7 

33:5 Reply to me, if you can;

set your arguments 8  in order before me

and take your stand!

33:6 Look, I am just like you in relation to God;

I too have been molded 9  from clay.

33:7 Therefore no fear of me should terrify you,

nor should my pressure 10  be heavy on you. 11 

1 tn Heb “give ear,” the Hiphil denominative verb from “ear.”

2 tn Heb “hear all my words.”

3 tn The perfect verbs in this verse should be classified as perfects of resolve: “I have decided to open…speak.”

4 sn H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 210) says, “The self-importance of Elihu is boundless, and he is the master of banality.” He adds that whoever wrote these speeches this way clearly intended to expose the character rather than exalt him.

5 tc This expression is unusual; R. Gordis (Job, 371) says it can be translated, “the purity of my heart [is reflected] in my words,” but that is far-fetched and awkward. So there have been suggestions for emending יֹשֶׁר (yosher, “uprightness”). Kissane’s makes the most sense if a change is desired: “shall reveal” (an Arabic sense of yasher), although Holscher interpreted “shall affirm” (yasher, with a Syriac sense). Dhorme has “my heart will repeat” (יָשׁוּר, yashur), but this is doubtful. If Kissane’s view is taken, it would say, “my heart will reveal my words.” Some commentators would join “and knowledge” to this colon, and read “words of knowledge” – but that requires even more emendations.

6 tn More literally, “and the knowledge of my lips they will speak purely.”

7 tc Some commentators want to put this verse after v. 6, while others omit the verse entirely. Elihu is claiming here that he is inspired by God.

tn The verb תְּחַיֵּנִי (tÿkhayyeni) is the Piel imperfect of the verb “to live.” It can mean “gives me life,” but it can also me “quickens me, enlivens me.”

8 tn The Hebrew text does not contain the term “arguments,” but this verb has been used already for preparing or arranging a defense.

9 tn The verb means “nipped off,” as a potter breaks off a piece of clay when molding a vessel.

10 tc The noun means “my pressure; my burden” in the light of the verb אָכֲף (’akhaf, “to press on; to grip tightly”). In the parallel passages the text used “hand” and “rod” in the hand to terrify. The LXX has “hand” here for this word. But simply changing it to “hand” is ruled out because the verb is masculine.

11 tn See Job 9:34 and 13:21.

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