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Job 23:8-9

The Inaccessibility and Power of God

23:8 “If I go to the east, he is not there,

and to the west, yet I do not perceive him.

23:9 In the north 1  when he is at work, 2 

I do not see him; 3 

when he turns 4  to the south,

I see no trace of him.

1 sn The text has “the left hand,” the Semitic idiom for directions. One faces the rising sun, and so left is north, right is south.

2 tc The form בַּעֲשֹׂתוֹ (baasoto) would be the temporal clause using the infinitive construct with a pronoun (subject genitive). This would be “when he works.” Several follow the Syriac with “I seek him.” The LXX has “[when] he turns.” R. Gordis (Job, 261) notes that there is no need to emend the text; he shows a link to the Arabic cognate ghasa, “to cover.” To him this is a perfect parallel to יַעְטֹף (yatof, “covers himself”).

3 tn The verb is the apocopated form of the imperfect. The object is supplied.

4 tn The MT has “he turns,” but the Syriac and Vulgate have “I turn.”

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