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Job 12:4-5

Context

12:4 I am 1  a laughingstock 2  to my friends, 3 

I, who called on God and whom he answered 4 

a righteous and blameless 5  man

is a laughingstock!

12:5 For calamity, 6  there is derision

(according to the ideas of the fortunate 7 ) –

a fate 8  for those whose feet slip!

1 tn Some are troubled by the disharmony with “I am” and “to his friend.” Even though the difficulty is not insurmountable, some have emended the text. Some simply changed the verb to “he is,” which was not very compelling. C. D. Isbell argued that אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh, “I am”) is an orthographic variant of יִהְיֶה (yihyeh, “he will”) – “a person who does not know these things would be a laughingstock” (JANESCU 37 [1978]: 227-36). G. R. Driver suggests the meaning of the MT is something like “(One that is) a mockery to his friend I am to be.”

2 tn The word simply means “laughter”; but it can also mean the object of laughter (see Jer 20:7). The LXX jumps from one “laughter” to the next, eliminating everything in between, presumably due to haplography.

3 tn Heb “his friend.” A number of English versions (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) take this collectively, “to my friends.”

4 tn Heb “one calling to God and he answered him.” H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 92) contends that because Job has been saying that God is not answering him, these words must be part of the derisive words of his friends.

5 tn The two words, צַדִּיק תָּמִים (tsadiq tamim), could be understood as a hendiadys (= “blamelessly just”) following W. G. E. Watson (Classical Hebrew Poetry, 327).

6 tn The first word, לַפִּיד (lapid), could be rendered “a torch of scorn,” but this gives no satisfying meaning. The ל (lamed) is often taken as an otiose letter, and the noun פִּיד (pid) is “misfortune, calamity” (cf. Job 30:24; 31:29).

7 tn The noun עַשְׁתּוּת (’ashtut, preferably עַשְׁתּוֹת, ’ashtot) is an abstract noun from עָשַׁת (’ashat, “to think”). The word שַׁאֲנָן (shaanan) means “easy in mind, carefree,” and “happy.”

8 tn The form has traditionally been taken to mean “is ready” from the verb כּוּן (kun, “is fixed, sure”). But many commentators look for a word parallel to “calamity.” So the suggestion has been put forward that נָכוֹן (nakhon) be taken as a noun from נָכָה (nakhah, “strike, smite”): “a blow” (Schultens, Dhorme, Gordis), “thrust” or “kick” (HALOT 698 s.v. I נָכוֹן).



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