1 tn Heb “a tasteless thing”; the word “food” is supplied from the context.
2 tn Some commentators are not satisfied with the translation “white of an egg”; they prefer something connected to “slime of purslane” (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 59; cf. NRSV “juice of mallows”). This meaning is based on the Syriac and Arabic version of Sa`adia. The meaning “white of the egg” comes from the rabbinic interpretation of “slime of the yolk.” Others carry the idea further and interpret it to mean “saliva of dreams” or after the LXX “in dream words.” H. H. Rowley does not think that the exact edible object can be identified. The idea of the slimy glaring white around the yolk of an egg seems to fit best. This is another illustration of something that is tasteless or insipid.
3 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).
4 tn The וּ (vav) here introduces the antithesis (GKC 484-85 §154.a).
5 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?”
6 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.