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Job 19:1-5

Job’s Reply to Bildad 1 

19:1 Then Job answered:

19:2 “How long will you torment me 2 

and crush 3  me with your words? 4 

19:3 These ten times 5  you have been reproaching me; 6 

you are not ashamed to attack me! 7 

19:4 But even if it were 8  true that I have erred, 9 

my error 10  remains solely my concern!

19:5 If indeed 11  you would exalt yourselves 12  above me

and plead my disgrace against me, 13 

1 sn Job is completely stunned by Bildad’s speech, and feels totally deserted by God and his friends. Yet from his despair a new hope emerges with a stronger faith. Even though he knows he will die in his innocence, he knows that God will vindicate him and that he will be conscious of the vindication. There are four parts to this reply: Job’s impatience with the speeches of his friends (2-6), God’s abandonment of Job and his attack (7-12), Job’s forsaken state and appeal to his friends (13-22), and Job’s confidence that he will be vindicated (23-29).

2 tn Heb “torment my soul,” with “soul” representing the self or individual. The MT has a verb from יָגָה (yagah, “to afflict; to torment”). This is supported by the versions. But the LXX has “to tire” which is apparently from יָגַע (yaga’). The form in the MT is unusual because it preserves the final (original) yod in the Hiphil (see GKC 214 § So this unusual form has been preserved, and is the correct reading. A modal nuance for the imperfect fits best here: “How long do you intend to do this?”

3 tn The MT has דָּכָא (dakha’), “to crush” in the Piel. The LXX, however, has a more general word which means “to destroy.”

4 tn The LXX adds to the verse: “only know that the Lord has dealt with me thus.”

5 sn The number “ten” is a general expression to convey that this has been done often (see Gen 31:7; Num 14:22).

6 tn The Hiphil of the verb כָּלַם (kalam) means “outrage; insult; shame.” The verbs in this verse are prefixed conjugations, and may be interpreted as preterites if the reference is to the past time. But since the action is still going on, progressive imperfects work well.

7 tn The second half of the verse uses two verbs, the one dependent on the other. It could be translated “you are not ashamed to attack me” (see GKC 385-86 §120.c), or “you attack me shamelessly.” The verb חָכַר (hakhar) poses some difficulties for both the ancient versions and the modern commentators. The verb seems to be cognate to Arabic hakara, “to oppress; to ill-treat.” This would mean that there has been a transformation of ח (khet) to ה (he). Three Hebrew mss actually have the ח (khet). This has been widely accepted; other suggestions are irrelevant.

8 tn Job has held to his innocence, so the only way that he could say “I have erred” (שָׁגִיתִי, shagiti) is in a hypothetical clause like this.

9 tn There is a long addition in the LXX: “in having spoken words which it is not right to speak, and my words err, and are unreasonable.”

10 tn The word מְשׁוּגָה (mÿshugah) is a hapax legomenon. It is derived from שׁוּג (shug, “to wander; to err”) with root paralleling שָׁגַג (shagag) and שָׁגָה (shagah). What Job is saying is that even if it were true that he had erred, it did not injure them – it was solely his concern.

11 tn The introductory particles repeat אָמְנָם (’amnam, “indeed”) but now with אִם (’im, “if”). It could be interpreted to mean “is it not true,” or as here in another conditional clause.

12 tn The verb is the Hiphil of גָּדַל (gadal); it can mean “to make great” or as an internal causative “to make oneself great” or “to assume a lofty attitude, to be insolent.” There is no reason to assume another root here with the meaning of “quarrel” (as Gordis does).

13 sn Job’s friends have been using his shame, his humiliation in all his sufferings, as proof against him in their case.

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