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Job 11:4-6

Context

11:4 For you have said, ‘My teaching 1  is flawless,

and I am pure in your sight.’

11:5 But if only God would speak, 2 

if only he would open his lips against you, 3 

11:6 and reveal to you the secrets of wisdom –

for true wisdom has two sides 4 

so that you would know 5 

that God has forgiven some of your sins. 6 

1 tn The word translated “teaching” is related etymologically to the Hebrew word “receive,” but that does not restrict the teaching to what is received.

2 tn The wish formula מִי־יִתֵּן (mi yitten, “who will give”; see GKC 477 §151.b) is followed here by an infinitive (Exod 16:3; 2 Sam 19:1).

3 sn Job had expressed his eagerness to challenge God; Zophar here wishes that God would take up that challenge.

4 tn The text seems to be saying “that it [wisdom] is double in understanding.” The point is that it is different than Job conceived it – it far exceeded all perception. But some commentators have thought this still too difficult, and so have replaced the word כִפְלַיִם (khiflayim, “two sides”) with כִפְלָאִים (khiflaim, “like wonders,” or, more simply, “wonders” without the preposition). But it is still a little strange to talk about God’s wisdom being like wonders. Others have had more radical changes in the text; J. J. Slotki has “for sound wisdom is his. And know that double [punishment] shall God exact of you” (“Job 11:6,” VT 35 [1985]: 229-30).

5 tn The verb is the imperative with a ו (vav). Following the jussive, this clause would be subordinated to the preceding (see GKC 325 §110.i).

6 tn Heb “God causes to be forgotten for you part of your iniquity.” The meaning is that God was exacting less punishment from Job than Job deserved, for Job could not remember all his sins. This statement is fitting for Zophar, who is the cruelest of Job’s friends (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 88). Others in an attempt to improve the text make too many unwarranted changes. Some would read יִשְׁאָלְךָ (yishalkha, “he asks of you”) instead of יַשֶּׂה לְךָ (yasseh lÿka, “he causes to be forgotten for you”). This would mean that God demands an account of Job’s sin. But, as D. J. A. Clines says, this change is weak and needless (Job [WBC], 254-55).



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