and be attentive to my lips’ contentions. 2
Will you speak deceitfully for him?
Will you argue the case 6 for God?
Or as one deceives 8 a man would you deceive him?
if you secretly 10 showed partiality!
and the fear he inspires 13 fall on you?
1 sn Job first will argue with his friends. His cause that he will plead with God begins in v. 13. The same root יָכַח (yakhakh, “argue, plead”) is used here as in v. 3b (see note). Synonymous parallelism between the two halves of this verse supports this translation.
3 tn The construction literally reads “speak iniquity.” The form functions adverbially. The noun עַוְלָה (’avlah) means “perversion; injustice; iniquity; falsehood.” Here it is parallel to רְמִיָּה (rÿmiyyah, “fraud; deceit; treachery”).
4 tn The expression “for God” means “in favor of God” or “on God’s behalf.” Job is amazed that they will say false things on God’s behalf.
5 sn The idiom used here is “Will you lift up his face?” Here Job is being very sarcastic, for this expression usually means that a judge is taking a bribe. Job is accusing them of taking God’s side.
7 tn The verb חָפַר (khafar) means “to search out, investigate, examine.” In the conditional clause the imperfect verb expresses the hypothetical case.
8 tn Both the infinitive and the imperfect of תָּלַל (talal, “deceive, mock”) retain the ה (he) (GKC 148 §53.q). But for the alternate form, see F. C. Fensham, “The Stem HTL in Hebrew,” VT 9 (1959): 310-11. The infinitive is used here in an adverbial sense after the preposition.
sn Peake’s observation is worth noting, namely, that as Job attacks the unrighteousness of God boldly he nonetheless has confidence in God’s righteousness that would not allow liars to defend him.
11 sn The word translated “his majesty” or “his splendor” (שְׂאֵתוֹ, sÿ’eto) forms a play on the word “show partiality” (תִּשָּׂאוּן, tissa’un) in the last verse. They are both from the verb נָשַׂא (nasa’, “to lift up”).
13 tn Heb “His dread”; the suffix is a subjective genitive.
14 tn The word is זִכְרֹנֵיכֶם (zikhronekhem, “your remembrances”). The word זִכָּרֹן (zikkaron) not only can mean the act of remembering, but also what is remembered – what provokes memory or is worth being remembered. In the plural it can mean all the memorabilia, and in this verse all the sayings and teachings. H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 99) suggests that in Job’s speech it could mean “all your memorized sayings.”
15 tn The parallelism of “dust” and “ashes” is fairly frequent in scripture. But “proverbs of ashes” is difficult. The genitive is certainly describing the proverbs; it could be classified as a genitive of apposition, proverbs that are/have become ashes. Ashes represent something that at one time may have been useful, but now has been reduced to what is worthless.
16 tn There is a division of opinion on the source of this word. Some take it from “answer”, related to Arabic, Aramaic, and Syriac words for “answer,” and so translate it “responses” (JB). Others take it from a word for “back,” with a derived meaning of the “boss” of the shield, and translate it bulwark or “defenses” (NEB, RSV, NIV). The idea of “answers” may fit the parallelism better, but “defenses” can be taken figuratively to refer to verbal defenses.
17 sn Any defense made with clay would crumble on impact.