and they come to an end without hope. 4
1 sn The first five verses described the painfulness of his malady, his life; now, in vv. 6-10 he will focus on the brevity of his life, and its extinction with death. He introduces the subject with “my days,” a metonymy for his whole life and everything done on those days. He does not mean individual days – they drag on endlessly.
3 sn The shuttle is the part which runs through the meshes of the web. In Judg 16:14 it is a loom (see BDB 71 s.v. אֶרֶג), but here it must be the shuttle. Hezekiah uses the imagery of the weaver, the loom, and the shuttle for the brevity of life (see Isa 38:12). The LXX used, “My life is lighter than a word.”
4 tn The text includes a wonderful wordplay on this word. The noun is תִּקְוָה (tiqvah, “hope”). But it can also have the meaning of one of its cognate nouns, קַו (qav, “thread, cord,” as in Josh 2:18,21). He is saying that his life is coming to an end for lack of thread/for lack of hope (see further E. Dhorme, Job, 101).
5 sn Job is probably turning here to God, as is clear from v. 11 on. The NIV supplies the word “God” for clarification. It was God who breathed breath into man’s nostrils (Gen 2:7), and so God is called to remember that man is but a breath.
6 tn The word “that” is supplied in the translation.
7 tn The verb with the infinitive serves as a verbal hendiadys: “return to see” means “see again.”
8 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.”
9 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.
10 tn Heb “cease from me.” This construction means essentially “leave me in peace.”
11 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.