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Job 32:4-9

Context
32:4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking 1  to Job, because the others 2  were older than he was. 32:5 But when Elihu saw 3  that the three men had no further reply, 4  he became very angry.

Elihu Claims Wisdom

32:6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite spoke up: 5 

“I am young, 6  but you are elderly;

that is why I was fearful, 7 

and afraid to explain 8  to you what I know.

32:7 I said to myself, ‘Age 9  should speak, 10 

and length of years 11  should make wisdom known.’

32:8 But it is a spirit in people,

the breath 12  of the Almighty,

that makes them understand.

32:9 It is not the aged 13  who are wise,

nor old men who understand what is right.

1 tc This reading requires repointing the word בִּדְבָרִים (bidbarim, “with words”) to בְּדָבְּרָם (bÿdabbÿram, “while they spoke [with Job]”). If the MT is retained, it would mean “he waited for Job with words,” which while understandable is awkward.

2 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the other friends) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn The first clause beginning with a vav (ו) consecutive and the preterite can be subordinated to the next similar verb as a temporal clause.

4 tn Heb “that there was no reply in the mouth of the three men.”

5 tn Heb “answered and said.”

6 tn The text has “small in days.”

7 tn The verb זָחַלְתִּי (zakhalti) is found only here in the OT, but it is found in a ninth century Aramaic inscription as well as in Biblical Aramaic. It has the meaning “to be timid” (see H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 208).

8 tn The Piel infinitive with the preposition (מֵחַוֹּת, mekhavvot) means “from explaining.” The phrase is the complement: “explain” what Elihu feared.

9 tn Heb “days.”

10 tn The imperfect here is to be classified as an obligatory imperfect.

11 tn Heb “abundance of years.”

12 tn This is the word נְשָׁמָה (nÿshamah, “breath”); according to Gen 2:7 it was breathed into Adam to make him a living person (“soul”). With that divine impartation came this spiritual understanding. Some commentators identify the רוּחַ (ruakh) in the first line as the Spirit of God; this “breath” would then be the human spirit. Whether Elihu knew that much, however, is hard to prove.

13 tn The MT has “the great” or “the many,” meaning great in years according to the parallelism.



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