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Job 16:1-4

Context
Job’s Reply to Eliphaz 1 

16:1 Then Job replied:

16:2 “I have heard many things like these before.

What miserable comforters 2  are you all!

16:3 Will 3  there be an end to your 4  windy words? 5 

Or what provokes 6  you that you answer? 7 

16:4 I also could speak 8  like you,

if 9  you were in my place;

I could pile up 10  words against you

and I could shake my head at you. 11 

1 sn In the next two chapters we have Job’s second reply to Eliphaz. Job now feels abandoned by God and by his friends, and so complains that this all intensifies his sufferings. But he still holds to his innocence as he continues his appeal to God as his witness. There are four sections to this speech: in vv. 2-5 he dismisses the consolation his friends offered; in vv. 6-17 he laments that he is abandoned by God and man; in 16:817:9 he makes his appeal to God in heaven as a witness; and finally, in 10-16 he anticipates death.

2 tn The expression uses the Piel participle in construct: מְנַחֲמֵי עָמָל (mÿnahameamal, “comforters of trouble”), i.e., comforters who increase trouble instead of relieving it. D. W. Thomas translates this “breathers out of trouble” (“A Note on the Hebrew Root naham,ExpTim 44 [1932/33]: 192).

3 tn Disjunctive questions are introduced with the sign of the interrogative; the second part is introduced with אוֹ (’o, see GKC 475 §150.g).

4 tn In v. 3 the second person singular is employed rather than the plural as in vv. 2 and 4. The singular might be an indication that the words of v. 3 were directed at Eliphaz specifically.

5 tn Heb “words of wind.”

6 tn The Hiphil of מָרַץ (marats) does not occur anywhere else. The word means “to compel; to force” (see 6:25).

7 tn The LXX seems to have gone a different way: “What, is there any reason in vain words, or what will hinder you from answering?”

8 tn For the use of the cohortative in the apodosis of conditional sentences, see GKC 322 §109.f.

9 tn The conjunction לוּ (lu) is used to introduce the optative, a condition that is incapable of fulfillment (see GKC 494-95 §159.l).

10 tn This verb אַחְבִּירָה (’akhbirah) is usually connected to חָבַר (khavar, “to bind”). There are several suggestions for this word. J. J. Finkelstein proposed a second root, a homonym, meaning “to make a sound,” and so here “to harangue” (“Hebrew habar and Semitic HBR,JBL 75 [1956]: 328-31; see also O. Loretz, “HBR in Job 16:4,” CBQ 23 [1961]: 293-94, who renders it “I could make noisy speeches”). Other suggestions have been for new meanings based on cognate studies, such as “to make beautiful” (i.e., make polished speeches).

11 sn The action is a sign of mockery (see Ps 22:7[8]; Isa 37:22; Matt 27:39).



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