Job 23:5-7

23:5 I would know with what words he would answer me,

and understand what he would say to me.

23:6 Would he contend with me with great power?

No, he would only pay attention to me.

23:7 There an upright person

could present his case before him,

and I would be delivered forever from my judge.

tn Heb “the words he would answer me.”

tn The verb is now רִיב (riv) and not יָכַח (yakhakh, “contend”); רִיב (riv) means “to quarrel; to dispute; to contend,” often in a legal context. Here it is still part of Job’s questioning about this hypothetical meeting – would God contend with all his power?

tn The verbal clause יָשִׂם בִּי (yasim bi) has been translated “he would pay [attention] to me.” Job is saying that God will not need all his power – he will just have pay attention to Job’s complaint. Job does not need the display of power – he just wants a hearing.

tn The adverb “there” has the sense of “then” – there in the future.

tn The form of the verb is the Niphal נוֹכָח (nokkakh, “argue, present a case”). E. Dhorme (Job, 346) is troubled by this verbal form and so changes it and other things in the line to say, “he would observe the upright man who argues with him.” The Niphal is used for “engaging discussion,” “arguing a case,” and “settling a dispute.”