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Job 31:35-37

Context
Job’s Appeal

31:35 “If only I had 1  someone to hear me!

Here is my signature – 2 

let the Almighty answer me!

If only I had an indictment 3 

that my accuser had written. 4 

31:36 Surely 5  I would wear it proudly 6  on my shoulder,

I would bind 7  it on me like a crown;

31:37 I would give him an accounting of my steps;

like a prince I would approach him.

1 tn The optative is again introduced with “who will give to me hearing me? – O that someone would listen to me!”

2 tn Heb “here is my ‘tav’” (הֵן תָּוִי, hen tavi). The letter ת (tav) is the last letter of the alphabet in Hebrew. In paleo-Hebrew the letter was in the form of a cross or an “X,” and so used for one making a mark or a signature. In this case Job has signed his statement and delivered it to the court – but he has yet to be charged. Kissane thought that this being the last letter of the alphabet, Job was saying, “This is my last word.” Others take the word to mean “desire” – “this is my desire, that God would answer me” (see E. F. Sutcliffe, “Notes on Job, textual and exegetical,” Bib 30 [1949]: 71-72; G. R. Driver, AJSL 3 [1935/36]: 166; P. P. Saydon, “Philological and Textual Notes to the Maltese Translation of the Old Testament,” CBQ 23 [1961]: 252). R. Gordis (Job, 355) also argues strongly for this view.

3 tn Heb “a scroll,” in the context referring to a scroll containing the accusations of Job’s legal adversary (see the next line).

4 tn The last line is very difficult; it simply says, “a scroll [that] my [legal] adversary had written.” The simplest way to handle this is to see it as a continuation of the optative (RSV).

5 tn The clause begins with the positive oath formula, אִם־לֹא (’im-lo’).

6 tn The word “proudly” is not in the Hebrew text, but is implied (note the following line).

7 tn This verb is only found in Prov 6:21. But E. Dhorme (Job, 470) suggests that (with metathesis) we have a derivative מַעֲדַנּוֹת (maadannot, “bonds; ties”) in 38:31.



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