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Job 6:24-27

Context
No Sin Discovered

6:24 “Teach 1  me and I, for my part, 2  will be silent;

explain to me 3  how I have been mistaken. 4 

6:25 How painful 5  are honest words!

But 6  what does your reproof 7  prove? 8 

6:26 Do you intend to criticize mere words,

and treat 9  the words of a despairing man as wind?

6:27 Yes, you would gamble 10  for the fatherless,

and auction off 11  your friend.

1 tn The verb “teach” or “instruct” is the Hiphil הוֹרוּנִי (horuni), from the verb יָרָה (yarah); the basic idea of “point, direct” lies behind this meaning. The verb is cognate to the noun תּוֹרָה (torah, “instruction, teaching, law”).

2 tn The independent personal pronoun makes the subject of the verb emphatic: “and I will be silent.”

3 tn The verb is הָבִינוּ (havinu, “to cause someone to understand”); with the ל (lamed) following, it has the sense of “explain to me.”

4 tn The verb שָׁגָה (shagah) has the sense of “wandering, getting lost, being mistaken.”

5 tn The word נִּמְרְצוּ (nimrÿtsu, “[they] painful are”) may be connected to מָרַץ (marats, “to be ill”). This would give the idea of “how distressing,” or “painful” in this stem. G. R. Driver (JTS 29 [1927/28]: 390-96) connected it to an Akkadian cognate “to be ill” and rendered it “bitter.” It has also been linked with מָרַס (maras), meaning “to be hard, strong,” giving the idea of “how persuasive” (see N. S. Doniach and W. E. Barnes, “Job 4:25: The Root Maras,” JTS [1929/30]: 291-92). There seems more support for the meaning “to be ill” (cf. Mal 2:10). Others follow Targum Job “how pleasant [to my palate are your words]”; E. Dhorme (Job, 92) follows this without changing the text but noting that the word has an interchange of letter with מָלַץ (malats) for מָרַץ (marats).

6 tn The וּ (vav) here introduces the antithesis (GKC 484-85 §154.a).

7 tn The infinitive הוֹכֵחַ (hokheakh, “reproof,” from יָכַח [yakhakh, “prove”]) becomes the subject of the verb from the same root, יוֹכִיהַ (yokhiakh), and so serves as a noun (see GKC 340 §113.b). This verb means “to dispute, quarrel, argue, contend” (see BDB 406-7 s.v. יָכַח). Job is saying, “What does reproof from you prove?”

8 tn The LXX again paraphrases this line: “But as it seems, the words of a true man are vain, because I do not ask strength of you.” But the rest of the versions are equally divided on the verse.

9 tn This, in the context, is probably the meaning, although the Hebrew simply has the line after the first half of the verse read: “and as/to wind the words of a despairing man.” The line could be translated “and the words of a despairing man, [which are] as wind.” But this translation follows the same approach as RSV, NIV, and NAB, which take the idiom of the verb (“think, imagine”) with the preposition on “wind” to mean “reckon as wind” – “and treat the words of a despairing man as wind.”

10 tn The word “lots” is not in the text; the verb is simply תַּפִּילוּ (tappilu, “you cast”). But the word “lots” is also omitted in 1 Sam 14:42. Some commentators follow the LXX and repoint the word and divide the object of the preposition to read “and fall upon the blameless one.” Fohrer deletes the verse. Peake transfers it to come after v. 23. Even though it does not follow quite as well here, it nonetheless makes sense as a strong invective against their lack of sympathy, and the lack of connection could be the result of emotional speech. He is saying they are the kind of people who would cast lots over the child of a debtor, who, after the death of the father, would be sold to slavery.

11 tn The verb תִכְרוּ (tikhru) is from כָּרָה (karah), which is found in 40:30 with עַל (’al), to mean “to speculate” on an object. The form is usually taken to mean “to barter for,” which would be an expression showing great callousness to a friend (NIV). NEB has “hurl yourselves,” perhaps following the LXX “rush against.” but G. R. Driver thinks that meaning is very precarious. As for the translation, “to speculate about [or “over”] a friend” could be understood to mean “engage in speculation concerning,” so the translation “auction off” has been used instead.



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