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Job 15:1-13

Context
Eliphaz’s Second Speech 1 

15:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered:

15:2 “Does a wise man answer with blustery knowledge, 2 

or fill his belly 3  with the east wind? 4 

15:3 Does he argue 5  with useless 6  talk,

with words that have no value in them?

15:4 But you even break off 7  piety, 8 

and hinder 9  meditation 10  before God.

15:5 Your sin inspires 11  your mouth;

you choose the language 12  of the crafty. 13 

15:6 Your own mouth condemns 14  you, not I;

your own lips testify against 15  you.

15:7 “Were you the first man ever born?

Were you brought forth before the hills?

15:8 Do you listen in on God’s secret council? 16 

Do you limit 17  wisdom to yourself?

15:9 What do you know that we don’t know?

What do you understand that we don’t understand? 18 

15:10 The gray-haired 19  and the aged are on our side, 20 

men far older than your father. 21 

15:11 Are God’s consolations 22  too trivial for you; 23 

or a word spoken 24  in gentleness to you?

15:12 Why 25  has your heart carried you away, 26 

and why do your eyes flash, 27 

15:13 when you turn your rage 28  against God

and allow such words to escape 29  from your mouth?

1 sn In the first round of speeches, Eliphaz had emphasized the moral perfection of God, Bildad his unwavering justice, and Zophar his omniscience. Since this did not bring the expected response from Job, the friends see him as a menace to true religion, and so they intensify their approach. Eliphaz, as dignified as ever, rebukes Job for his arrogance and warns about the judgment the wicked bring on themselves. The speech of Eliphaz falls into three parts: the rebuke of Job for his irreverence (2-6); the analysis of Job’s presumption about wisdom (7-16), and his warning about the fate of the wicked (17-35).

2 tn The Hebrew is דַעַת־רוּחַ (daat-ruakh). This means knowledge without any content, vain knowledge.

3 tn The image is rather graphic. It is saying that he puffs himself up with the wind and then brings out of his mouth blasts of this wind.

4 tn The word for “east wind,” קָדִים (qadim), is parallel to “spirit/wind” also in Hos 12:2. The east wind is maleficent, but here in the parallelism it is so much hot air.

5 tn The infinitive absolute in this place is functioning either as an explanatory adverb or as a finite verb.

sn Eliphaz draws on Job’s claim with this word (cf. Job 13:3), but will declare it hollow.

6 tn The verb סָכַן (sakhan) means “to be useful, profitable.” It is found 5 times in the book with this meaning. The Hiphil of יָעַל (yaal) has the same connotation. E. LipinÃski offers a new meaning on a second root, “incur danger” or “run risks” with words, but this does not fit the parallelism (FO 21 [1980]: 65-82).

7 tn The word פָּרַר (parar) in the Hiphil means “to annul; to frustrate; to destroy; to break,” and this fits the line quite well. The NEB reflects G. R. Driver’s suggestion of an Arabic cognate meaning “to expel; to banish” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 77).

8 tn Heb “fear,” “reverence.”

9 tn The word גָּרַע (gara’) means “to diminish,” regard as insignificant, occasionally with the sense of “pull down” (Deut 4:2; 13:1). It is here that Eliphaz is portraying Job as a menace to the religion of society because they dissuade people from seeking God.

10 tn The word שִׂיחָה (sikhah) is “complaint; cry; meditation.” Job would be influencing people to challenge God and not to meditate before or pray to him.

11 tn The verb אַלֵּף (’allef) has the meaning of “to teach; to instruct,” but it is unlikely that the idea of revealing is intended. If the verb is understood metonymically, then “to inspire; to prompt” will be sufficient. Dahood and others find another root, and render the verb “to increase,” reversing subject and object: “your mouth increases your iniquity.”

12 tn Heb “tongue.”

13 tn The word means “shrewd; crafty; cunning” (see Gen 3:1). Job uses clever speech that is misleading and destructive.

14 tn The Hiphil of this root means “declare wicked, guilty” (a declarative Hiphil), and so “condemns.”

15 tn The verb עָנָה (’anah) with the ל (lamed) preposition following it means “to testify against.” For Eliphaz, it is enough to listen to Job to condemn him.

16 tn The meaning of סוֹד (sod) is “confidence.” In the context the implication is “secret counsel” of the Lord God (see Jer 23:18). It is a question of confidence on the part of God, that only wisdom can know (see Prov 8:30,31). Job seemed to them to claim to have access to the mind of God.

17 tn In v. 4 the word meant “limit”; here it has a slightly different sense, namely, “to reserve for oneself.”

18 tn The last clause simply has “and it is not with us.” It means that one possesses something through knowledge. Note the parallelism of “know” and “with me” in Ps 50:11.

19 tn The participle שָׂב (sav), from שִׂיב (siv, “to have white hair”; 1 Sam 12:2), only occurs elsewhere in the Bible in the Aramaic sections of Ezra. The word יָשִׁישׁ (yashish, “aged”) occurred in 12:12.

20 tn Heb “with us.”

21 tn The line reads: “[men] greater than your father [in] days.” The expression “in days” underscores their age – they were older than Job’s father, and therefore wiser.

22 sn The word תַּנְחֻמוֹת (tankhumot) occurs here and only in Job 21:34. The words of comfort and consolation that they have been offering to Job are here said to be “of God.” But Job will call them miserable comforters (16:2).

23 tn The formula “is it too little for you” or “is it too slight a matter for you” is also found in Isa 7:13 (see GKC 430 §133.c).

24 tn The word “spoken” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation.

25 tn The interrogative מָה (mah) here has the sense of “why?” (see Job 7:21).

26 tn The verb simply means “to take.” The RSV has “carry you away.” E. Dhorme (Job, 212-13) goes further, saying that it implies being unhinged by passion, to be carried away by the passions beyond good sense (pp. 212-13). Pope and Tur-Sinai suggest that the suffix on the verb is datival, and translate it, “What has taken from you your mind?” But the parallelism shows that “your heart” and “your eyes” are subjects.

27 tn Here is another word that occurs only here, and in the absence of a completely convincing suggestion, probably should be left as it is. The verb is רָזַם (razam, “wink, flash”). Targum Job and the Syriac equate it with a verb found in Aramaic and postbiblical Hebrew with the same letters but metathesized – רָמַז (ramaz). It would mean “to make a sign” or “to wink.” Budde, following the LXX probably, has “Why are your eyes lofty?” Others follow an Arabic root meaning “become weak.”

28 tn The Hebrew is רוּחֶךָ (rukhekha, “your spirit” or “your breath”). But the fact that this is turned “against God,” means that it must be given a derived meaning, or a meaning that is metonymical. It is used in the Bible in the sense of anger – what the spirit vents (see Judg 8:3; Prov 16:32; and Job 4:9 with “blast”).

29 tn The verb is a Hiphil perfect of yasa, “to go out, proceed, issue forth.”



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