I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain 3 in the bitterness of my soul.
my couch will ease 10 my complaint,”
2 sn “Mouth” here is metonymical for what he says – he will not withhold his complaints. Peake notes that in this section Job comes very close to doing what Satan said he would do. If he does not curse God to his face, he certainly does cast off restraints to his lament. But here Job excuses himself in advance of the lament.
3 tn The verb is not limited to mental musing; it is used for pouring out a complaint or a lament (see S. Mowinckel, “The Verb siah and the Nouns siah, siha,” ST 15 : 1-10).
4 tn The word תַּנִּין (tannin) could be translated “whale” as well as the more mythological “dragon” or “monster of the deep” (see E. Dhorme, Job, 105). To the Hebrews this was part of God’s creation in Gen 1; in the pagan world it was a force to be reckoned with, and so the reference would be polemical. The sea is a symbol of the tumultuous elements of creation; in the sea were creatures that symbolized the powerful forces of chaos – Leviathan, Tannin, and Rahab. They required special attention.
5 tn The imperfect verb here receives the classification of obligatory imperfect. Job wonders if he is such a threat to God that God must do this.
7 tn The particle כִּי (ki) could also be translated “when,” but “if” might work better to introduce the conditional clause and to parallel the earlier reasoning of Job in v. 4 (using אִם, ’im). See GKC 336-37 §112.hh.
8 tn The verb literally means “say,” but here the connotation must be “think” or “say to oneself” – “when I think my bed….”
9 sn Sleep is the recourse of the troubled and unhappy. Here “bed” is metonymical for sleep. Job expects sleep to give him the comfort that his friends have not.
10 tn The verb means “to lift up; to take away” (נָשָׂא, nasa’). When followed by the preposition בּ (bet) with the complement of the verb, the idea is “to bear a part; to take a share,” or “to share in the burden” (cf. Num 11:7). The idea then would be that the sleep would ease the complaint. It would not end the illness, but the complaining for a while.
11 tn The Piel of חָתַת (khatat) occurs only here and in Jer 51:56 (where it is doubtful). The meaning is clearly “startle, scare.” The perfect verb with the ו (vav) is fitting in the apodosis of the conditional sentence.
sn Here Job is boldly saying that it is God who is behind the horrible dreams that he is having at night.
13 tn The prepositions בּ (bet) and מִן (min) interchange here; they express the instrument of causality. See N. Sarna, “The Interchange of the Prepositions bet and min in Biblical Hebrew,” JBL 78 (1959): 310-16. Emphasis on the instruments of terror in this verse is highlighted by the use of chiasm in which the prepositional phrases comprise the central elements (ab//b’a’). Verse 18 contains another example.
14 tn The word נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) is often translated “soul.” But since Hebrew thought does not make such a distinction between body and soul, it is usually better to translate it with “person.” When a suffix is added to the word, then that pronoun would serve as the better translation, as here with “my soul” = “I” (meaning with every fiber of my being).
15 tn The verb בָּחַר (bakhar, “choose”) followed by the preposition בּ (bet) can have the sense of “prefer.”
16 tn The meaning of the term מַחֲנָק (makhanaq, “strangling”), a hapax legomenon, is clear enough; the verb חָנַק (khanaq) in the Piel means “to strangle” (Nah 2:13), and in the Niphal “to strangle oneself” (2 Sam 17:23). This word has tempted some commentators to take נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) in a very restricted sense of “throat.”
17 tn The conjunction “and” is supplied in the translation. “Death” could also be taken in apposition to “strangling,” providing the outcome of the strangling.
18 tn This is one of the few words recognizable in the LXX: “You will separate life from my spirit, and yet keep my bones from death.”
19 tn The comparative min (מִן) after the verb “choose” will here have the idea of preferring something before another (see GKC 429-30 §133.b).
20 tn The word מֵעַצְמוֹתָי (me’atsmotay) means “more than my bones” (= life or being). The line is poetic; “bones” is often used in scripture metonymically for the whole living person, so there is no need here for conjectural emendation. Nevertheless, there have been several suggestions made. The simplest and most appealing for those who desire a change is the repointing to מֵעַצְּבוֹתָי (me’atsÿvotay, “my sufferings,” adopted by NAB, JB, Moffatt, Driver-Gray, E. Dhorme, H. H. Rowley, and others). Driver obtains this idea by positing a new word based on Arabic without changing the letters; it means “great” – but he has to supply the word “sufferings.”
21 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 107-8) thinks the idea of loathing or despising is problematic since there is no immediate object. He notes that the verb מָאַס (ma’as, “loathe”) is parallel to מָסַס (masas, “melt”) in the sense of “flow, drip” (Job 42:6). This would give the idea “I am fading away” or “I grow weaker,” or as Dhorme chooses, “I am pining away.”
22 tn There is no object for the verb in the text. But the most likely object would be “my life” from the last verse, especially since in this verse Job will talk about not living forever. Some have thought the object should be “death,” meaning that Job despised death more than the pains. But that is a forced meaning; besides, as H. H. Rowley points out, the word here means to despise something, to reject it. Job wanted death.
23 tn Heb “cease from me.” This construction means essentially “leave me in peace.”
24 tn This word הֶבֶל (hevel) is difficult to translate. It means “breath; puff of air; vapor” and then figuratively, “vanity.” Job is saying that his life is but a breath – it is brief and fleeting. Compare Ps 144:4 for a similar idea.