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Job 3:1-2


II. Job’s Dialogue With His Friends
(3:1-27:33) 1 

Job Regrets His Birth

3:1 After this Job opened his mouth 2  and cursed 3  the day he was born. 4  3:2 Job spoke up 5  and said:

1 sn The previous chapters (1-2) were prose narrative, this chapter, however, commences the poetic section of the book (chs. 3-41) containing the cycles of speeches.

2 sn The detailed introduction to the speech with “he opened his mouth” draws the readers attention to what was going to be said. As the introduction to the poetic speech that follows (3:3-26), vv. 1-2 continue the prose style of chapters 1-2. Each of the subsequent speeches is introduced by such a prose heading.

3 tn The verb “cursed” is the Piel preterite from the verb קָלַל (qalal); this means “to be light” in the Qal stem, but here “to treat lightly, with contempt, curse.” See in general H. C. Brichto, The Problem ofCursein the Hebrew Bible (JBLMS); and A. C. Thiselton, “The Supposed Power of Words in the Biblical Writings,” JTS 25 (1974): 283-99.

4 tn Heb “his day” (so KJV, ASV, NAB). The Syriac has “the day on which he was born.” The context makes it clear that Job meant the day of his birth. But some have tried to offer a different interpretation, such as his destiny or his predicament. For this reason the Syriac clarified the meaning for their readers in much the same way as the present translation does by rendering “his day” as “the day he was born.” On the Syriac translation of the book of Job, see Heidi M. Szpek, Translation Technique in the Peshitta to Job (SBLDS).

5 tn The text has וַיַּעַן (vayyaan), literally, “and he answered.” The LXX simply has “saying” for the entire verse. The Syriac, Targum, and Greek A have what the MT has. “[Someone] answered and said” is phraseology characteristic of all the speeches in Job beginning with Satan in 1:9. Only in 40:1 is it employed when God is speaking. No other portion of the OT employs this phraseology as often or as consistently.

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