3:39 Why should any living person 1 complain
when punished for his sins? 2
3:40 Let us carefully examine our ways, 3
and let us return to the Lord.
3:41 Let us lift up our hearts 4 and our hands
to God in heaven:
3:42 “We 5 have blatantly rebelled; 6
you 7 have not forgiven.”
3:43 You shrouded yourself 8 with anger and then pursued us;
you killed without mercy.
1 tn The Hebrew word here is אָדָם (’adam) which can mean “man” or “person.” The second half of the line is more personalized to the speaking voice of the defeated soldier using גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”). See the note at 3:1.
2 tc Kethib reads the singular חֶטְאוֹ (khet’o, “his sin”), which is reflected in the LXX. Qere reads the plural חֲטָאָיו (khata’ayv, “his sins”) which is preserved in many medieval Hebrew
tn Heb “concerning his punishment.” The noun חֵטְא (khet’) has a broad range of meanings: (1) “sin,” (2) “guilt of sin” and (3) “punishment for sin,” which fits the context of calamity as discipline and punishment for sin (e.g., Lev 19:17; 20:20; 22:9; 24:15; Num 9:13; 18:22, 32; Isa 53:12; Ezek 23:49). The metonymical (cause-effect) relation between sin and punishment is clear in the expressions חֵטְא מִשְׁפַט־מָוֶת (khet’ mishpat-mavet, “sin deserving death penalty,” Deut 21:22) and חֵטְא מָוֶת (khet’ mavet, “sin unto death,” Deut 22:26). The point of this verse is that the punishment of sin can sometimes lead to death; therefore, any one who is being punished by God for his sins, and yet lives, has little to complain about.
3 tn Heb “Let us test our ways and examine.” The two verbs וְנַחְקֹרָה…נַחְפְּשָׂה (nakhpÿsah…vÿnakhqorah, “Let us test and let us examine”) form a verbal hendiadys in which the first functions adverbially and the second retains its full verbal force: “Let us carefully examine our ways.”
4 tc The MT reads the singular noun לְבָבֵנוּ (lÿvavenu, “our heart”) but the ancient versions (LXX, Aramaic Targum, Latin Vulgate) and many medieval Hebrew
5 tn The Heb emphasiszes the pronoun “We – we have sinned….” Given the contrast with the following, it means “For our part, we have sinned….” A poetic reading in English would place vocal emphasis on “we” followed by a short pause.
6 tn Heb “We have revolted and we have rebelled.” The two verbs פָשַׁעְנוּ וּמָרִינוּ (pasha’nu umarinu, “we have revolted and we have rebelled”) form a verbal hendiadys in which the synonyms emphasize the single idea.
7 tn The Heb emphasiszes the pronoun “You – you have not forgiven.” Given the contrast with the preceding, it means “For your part, you have not forgiven.” A poetic reading in English would place vocal emphasis on “you” followed by a short pause.
8 tn Heb “covered.” The object must be supplied either from the next line (“covered yourself”) or from the end of this line (“covered us”).