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Job 6:21-23

Context

6:21 For now 1  you have become like these streams that are no help; 2 

you see a terror, 3  and are afraid.

Friends’ Fears

6:22 “Have I 4  ever said, 5  ‘Give me something,

and from your fortune 6  make gifts 7  in my favor’?

6:23 Or ‘Deliver me 8  from the enemy’s power, 9 

and from the hand of tyrants 10  ransom 11  me’?

1 tn There is a textual problem in this line, an issue of Kethib-Qere. Some read the form with the Qere as the preposition with a suffix referring to “the river,” with the idea “you are like it.” Others would read the form with the Kethib as the negative “not,” meaning “for now you are nothing.” The LXX and the Syriac read the word as “to me.” RSV follows this and changes כִּי (ki, “for”) to כֵּן (ken, “thus”). However, such an emendation is unnecessary since כִּי (ki) itself can be legitimately employed as an emphatic particle. In that case, the translation would be, “Indeed, now you are” in the sense of “At this time you certainly are behaving like those streams.” The simplest reading is “for now you have become [like] it.” The meaning seems clear enough in the context that the friends, like the river, proved to be of no use. But D. J. A. Clines (Job [WBC], 161) points out that the difficulty with this is that all references so far to the rivers have been in the plural.

2 tn The perfect of הָיָה (hayah) could be translated as either “are” or “have been” rather than “have become” (cf. Joüon 2:373 §113.p with regard to stative verbs). “Like it” refers to the intermittent stream which promises water but does not deliver. The LXX has a paraphrase: “But you also have come to me without pity.”

3 tn The word חֲתַת (khatat) is a hapax legomenon. The word חַת (khat) means “terror” in 41:25. The construct form חִתַּת (khittat) is found in Gen 35:5; and חִתִּית (khittit) is found in Ezek 26:17, 32:23). The Akkadian cognate means “terror.” It probably means that in Job’s suffering they recognized some dreaded thing from God and were afraid to speak any sympathy toward him.

4 tn The Hebrew הֲכִי (hakhi) literally says “Is it because….”

5 sn For the next two verses Job lashes out in sarcasm against his friends. If he had asked for charity, for their wealth, he might have expected their cold response. But all he wanted was sympathy and understanding (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 63).

6 tn The word כֹּחַ (koakh) basically means “strength, force”; but like the synonym חַיִל (khayil), it can also mean “wealth, fortune.” E. Dhorme notes that to the Semitic mind, riches bring power (Job, 90).

7 tn Or “bribes.” The verb שִׁחֲדוּ (shikhadu) means “give a שֹׁחַד (shokhad, “bribe”).” The significance is simply “make a gift” (especially in the sense of corrupting an official [Ezek 16:33]). For the spelling of the form in view of the guttural, see GKC 169 §64.a.

8 tn The verse now gives the ultimate reason why Job might have urged his friends to make a gift – if it were possible. The LXX, avoiding the direct speech in the preceding verse and this, does make this verse the purpose statement – “to deliver from enemies….”

9 tn Heb “hand,” as in the second half of the verse.

10 tn The עָרִיצִים (’aritsim) are tyrants, the people who inspire fear (Job 15:20; 27:13); the root verb עָרַץ (’arats) means “to terrify” (Job 13:25).

11 tn The verb now is the imperfect; since it is parallel to the imperative in the first half of the verse it is imperfect of instruction, much like English uses the future for instruction. The verb פָּדָה (padah) means “to ransom, redeem,” often in contexts where payment is made.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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