Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with washing soda,
"If I should wash myself with snow And cleanse my hands with lye,
Even if I were to wash myself with soap and cleanse my hands with lye to make them absolutely clean,
Even if I scrub myself all over and wash myself with the strongest soap I can find,
If I am washed with snow water, and make my hands clean with soap;
If I wash myself with soap and cleanse my hands with lye,
If I wash myself with snow water, And cleanse my hands with soap,
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The Syriac and Targum Job read with the Qere “with water of [בְמֵי, bÿme] snow.” The Kethib simply has “in [בְמוֹ, bÿmo] snow.” In Ps 51:9 and Isa 1:18 snow forms a simile for purification. Some protest that snow water is not necessarily clean; but if fresh melting snow is meant, then the runoff would be very clear. The image would work well here. Nevertheless, others have followed the later Hebrew meaning for שֶׁלֶג (sheleg) – “soap” (so NIV, NRSV, NLT). Even though that makes a nice parallelism, it is uncertain whether that meaning was in use at the time this text was written.
2 tn The word בֹּר (bor, “lye, potash”) does not refer to purity (Syriac, KJV, ASV), but refers to the ingredient used to make the hands pure or clean. It has the same meaning as בֹּרִית (borit), the alkali or soda made from the ashes of certain plants.