23:3 O that I knew 1 where I might find him, 2
that I could come 3 to his place of residence! 4
23:4 I would lay out my case 5 before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
1 tn The optative here is again expressed with the verbal clause, “who will give [that] I knew….”
2 tn The form in Hebrew is וְאֶמְצָאֵהוּ (vÿ’emtsa’ehu), simply “and I will find him.” But in the optative clause this verb is subordinated to the preceding verb: “O that I knew where [and] I might find him.” It is not unusual to have the perfect verb followed by the imperfect in such coordinate clauses (see GKC 386 §120.e). This could also be translated making the second verb a complementary infinitive: “knew how to find him.”
sn H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 159) quotes Strahan without reference: “It is the chief distinction between Job and his friends that he desires to meet God and they do not.”
3 tn This verb also depends on מִי־יִתֵּן (mi-yitten, “who will give”) of the first part, forming an additional clause in the wish formula.
4 tn Or “his place of judgment.” The word is from כּוּן (kun, “to prepare; to arrange”) in the Polel and the Hiphil conjugations. The noun refers to a prepared place, a throne, a seat, or a sanctuary. A. B. Davidson (Job, 169) and others take the word to mean “judgment seat” or “tribunal” in this context.
5 tn The word מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) is normally “judgment; decision.” But in these contexts it refers to the legal case that Job will bring before God. With the verb עָרַךְ (’arakh, “to set in order; to lay out”) the whole image of drawing up a lawsuit is complete.