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Job 9:14

Context
The Impossibility of Facing God in Court

9:14 “How much less, 1  then, can I answer him 2 

and choose my words 3  to argue 4  with 5  him! 6 

Job 9:19

Context

9:19 If it is a matter of strength, 7 

most certainly 8  he is the strong one!

And if it is a matter of justice,

he will say, ‘Who will summon me?’ 9 

1 tn The construction אַף כִּי־אָנֹכִי (’af kianokhi) is an expression that means either “how much more” or “how much less.” Here it has to mean “how much less,” for if powerful forces like Rahab are crushed beneath God’s feet, how could Job contend with him?

2 tn The imperfect verb here is to be taken with the nuance of a potential imperfect. The idea of “answer him” has a legal context, i.e., answering God in a court of law. If God is relentless in his anger toward greater powers, then Job realizes it is futile for him.

3 sn In a legal controversy with God it would be essential to choose the correct words very carefully (humanly speaking); but the calmness and presence of mind to do that would be shattered by the overwhelming terror of God’s presence.

4 tn The verb is supplied in this line.

5 tn The preposition אִם (’im, “with”) carries the idea of “in contest with” in a number of passages (compare vv. 2, 3; 16:21).

6 tn The LXX goes a different way after changing the first person to the third: “Oh then that he would hearken to me, or judge my cause.”

7 tn The MT has only “if of strength.”

8 tn “Most certainly” translates the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh).

9 tn The question could be taken as “who will summon me?” (see Jer 49:19 and 50:44). This does not make immediate sense. Some have simply changed the suffix to “who will summon him.” If the MT is retained, then supplying something like “he will say” could make the last clause fit the whole passage. Another option is to take it as “Who will reveal it to me?” – i.e., Job could be questioning his friends’ qualifications for being God’s emissaries to bring God’s charges against him (cf. KJV, NKJV; and see 10:2 where Job uses the same verb in the Hiphil to request that God reveal what his sin has been that has led to his suffering).

sn Job is saying that whether it is a trial of strength or an appeal to justice, he is unable to go against God.



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