10:18 “Why then did you bring me out from the womb?
I should have died 1
and no eye would have seen me!
I should have been carried
right from the womb to the grave!
that I may find a little comfort, 7
1 tn The two imperfect verbs in this section are used to stress regrets for something which did not happen (see GKC 317 §107.n).
2 sn This means “If only I had never come into existence.”
3 tn Heb “are not my days few; cease/let it cease….” The versions have “the days of my life” (reading יְמֵי חֶלְדִי [yÿme kheldi] instead of יָמַי וַחֲדָל [yamay vakhadal]). Many commentators and the RSV, NAB, and NRSV accept this reading. The Kethib is an imperfect or jussive, “let it cease/ it will cease.” The Qere is more intelligible for some interpreters – “cease” (as in 7:16). For a discussion of the readings, see D. W. Thomas, “Some Observations on the Hebrew Root hadal,” VTSup 4 : 14). But the text is not impossible as it stands.
4 tn Taking the form as the imperative with the ו (vav), the sentence follows the direct address to God (as in v. 18 as well as 7:16). This requires less changes. See the preceding note regarding the plausibility of the jussive. The point of the verse is clear in either reading – his life is short, and he wants the suffering to stop.
5 tn In the different suggestions for the line, the י (yod) of this word is believed to belong to the preceding word making “my life.” That would here leave an imperative rather than an imperfect. But if the Qere is read, then it would be an imperative anyway, and there would be no reason for the change.
6 tn Heb “put from me,” an expression found nowhere else. The Qere has a ו (vav) and not a י (yod), forming an imperative rather than an imperfect. H. H. Rowley suggests that there is an ellipsis here, “hand” needing to be supplied. Job wanted God to take his hand away from him. That is plausible, but difficult.
7 tn The verb בָּלַג (balag) in the Hiphil means “to have cheer [or joy]” (see 7:27; Ps 39:14). The cohortative following the imperatives shows the purpose or result – “in order that.”