וַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃ 16:1
Job 16:1 Then Job responded, and he said,
שָׁמַעְתִּי כְאֵלֶּה רַבּוֹת מְנַחֲמֵי עָמָל כֻּלְּכֶם׃ 16:2
Job 16:2 “I have heard many such things.
Troubling comforters, all of you!”
הֲקֵץ לְדִבְרֵי־רוּחַ אוֹ מַה־יַּמְרִיצְךָ כִּי תַעֲנֶה׃ 16:3
Job 16:3 “Is there an end to words of wind?
Or what would so grieve you that you must answer?”
גַּם אָנֹכִי כָּכֶם אֲדַבֵּרָה לוּ־יֵשׁ נַפְשְׁכֶם תַּחַת נַפְשִׁי אַחְבִּירָה עֲלֵיכֶם בְּמִלִּים וְאָנִיעָה עֲלֵיכֶם בְּמוֹ רֹאשִׁי׃
Job 16:4 “I could also speak as you if your soul were in place of my soul.
I could join together with you in speeches,
and shake over you with my head.”
Job says here that he might speak like them if the tables were turned. My choice of the helping verb could in this
verse and the next reflects my sense that he believes he wouldn’t duplicate their mistake. But I wonder. How do we
walk in someone else’s shoes? Yet his awful experience would make him more sensitive to other’s troubles.
אֲאַמִּצְכֶם בְּמוֹ־פִי וְנִיד שְׂפָתַי יַחְשֹׂךְ׃ 16:5
Job 16:5 “I could strengthen you by my mouth,
that the movement of my lips might assuage.”
אִם־אֲדַבְּרָה לֹא־יֵחָשֵׂךְ כְּאֵבִי וְאַחְדְּלָה מַה־מִנִּי יַהֲלֹךְ׃ 16:6
Job 16:6 “Though I may speak,
my pain cannot be assuaged,
and I forbear,
how can it go away?”
אַךְ־עַתָּה הֶלְאָנִי הֲשִׁמּוֹתָ כָּל־עֲדָתִי׃ 16:7
Job 16:7 “Now indeed He has wearied me.
You have desolated my entire gathering!”
First Job uses a third-person reference to God in the first line, then changes to second-person, now speaking
directly to God. And he continues thus into the next verse.
וַתִּקְמְטֵנִי לְעֵד הָיָה וַיָּקָם בִּי כַחֲשִׁי בְּפָנַי יַעֲנֶה׃ 16:8
Job 16:8 “And You have seized me -- it is for a witness
-- and my failure rises up in me.
It can testify to my face.”
אַפֹּו טָרַף וַיִּשְׂטְמֵנִי חָרַק עָלַי בְּשִׁנָּיו צָרִי יִלְטֹושׁ עֵינָיו לִי׃ 16:9
Job 16:9 “His 'anger' has torn, so He must hate me.
He has gnashed on me with His 'teeth.'
My Oppressor must have sharpened His 'eyes' toward me.”
Now Job reverts back to a third-person reference. This may be an indication of his extreme stress.
פָּעֲרוּ עָלַי בְּפִיהֶם בְּחֶרְפָּה הִכּוּ לְחָיָי יַחַד עָלַי יִתְמַלָּאוּן׃ 16:10
Job 16:10 “They gape at me with their mouths;
in reproach they slap my cheek;
they must have decided to be united against me.”
יַסְגִּירֵנִי אֵל אֶל עֲוִיל וְעַל־יְדֵי רְשָׁעִים יִרְטֵנִי׃ 16:11
Job 16:11 “God must have delivered me to one who is unjust,
and pushed me headlong over to the hands of the wicked.”
Of course Job doesn’t know it, but according to Chapters i and 2, he is correct in his assessment.
שָׁלֵו הָיִיתִי וַיְפַרְפְּרֵנִי וְאָחַז בְּעָרְפִּי וַיְפַצְפְּצֵנִי וַיְקִימֵנִי לוֹ לְמַטָּרָה׃ 16:12
Job 16:12 “I was at ease and He shattered me,
and He took hold by my neck and broke me in pieces,
as He must have set me as His target.”
All the third-person pronouns in this verse and the next could be referring to God or to the unjust one mentioned in the preceding verse. To play it safe, I have to assume that God is the One to Whom Job is referring.
יָסֹבּוּ עָלַי רַבָּיו יְפַלַּח כִּלְיוֹתַי וְלֹא יַחְמוֹל יִשְׁפֹּךְ לָאָרֶץ מְרֵרָתִי׃ 16:13
Job 16:13 “His archers must turn about me;
He would slice my kidneys and have no pity,
pour out my gall to the ground.”
יִפְרְצֵנִי פֶרֶץ עַל־פְּנֵי־פָרֶץ יָרֻץ עָלַי כְּגִבּוֹר׃ 16:14
Job 16:14 “One breach after another bursts upon me,
runs over me like a giant.”
שַׂק תָּפַרְתִּי עֲלֵי גִלְדִּי וְעֹלַלְתִּי בֶעָפָר קַרְנִי׃ 16:15
Job 16:15 “I have sewn sackcloth upon my skin,
and thrust my horn in the dust.”
פָּנַי (חֳמַרְמְרָה) [חֳמַרְמְרוּ] מִנִּי־בֶכִי וְעַל עַפְעַפַּי צַלְמָוֶת׃ 16:16
Job 16:16 “My face is reddened from weeping,
and the shadow of death is on my eyelids,
The word in error in the parentheses is a curious one. The first word of the verse, translated as My face, is
masculine plural. The error word, the verb translated as is reddened, is feminine singular, which is a mismatch in
gender and number. The correction in the brackets changes the verb to the appropriate matching masculine gender
and plural number.
עַל לֹא־חָמָס בְּכַפָּי וּתְפִלָּתִי זַכָּה׃ 16:17
Job 16:17 although no violence is on my hands,
and my prayer is pure.”
אֶרֶץ אַל־תְּכַסִּי דָמִי וְאַל־יְהִי מָקוֹם לְזַעֲקָתִי׃ 16:18
Job 16:18 “Earth, you must not conceal my blood,
that there would be no place for my outcry.”
These are intriguing words. They may echo those found in Gene. 4:10 spoken by God to Cain. If they do, this may
imply that Job sees himself as Abel, one who dies an unjust death.
גַּם־עַתָּה הִנֵּה־בַשָּׁמַיִם עֵדִי וְשָׂהֲדִי בַּמְּרוֹמִים׃ 16:19
Job 16:19 “Behold now, indeed my evidence is in heaven,
and my Witness is throughout the heights.”
מְלִיצַי רֵעָי אֶל־אֱלוֹהַ דָּלְפָה עֵינִי׃ 16:20
Job 16:29 “My Interpreter, my Friend!
My eye weeps to God,
Despite his deep trouble and his frustration over his friends, Job still reverts to and clings to his faithful and favorable
view of God.
וְיוֹכַח לְגֶבֶר עִם־אֱלוֹהַּ וּבֶן־אָדָם לְרֵעֵהוּ׃ 16:21
Job 16:21 so He would make right one contending with God,
as would a human for his friend,
כִּי־שְׁנוֹת מִסְפָּר יֶאֱתָיוּ וְאֹרַח לֹא־אָשׁוּב אֶהֱלֹךְ׃ 16:22
Job 16:22 that the numbered years could come,
that I would walk the path I cannot turn back.”
With his last words of this chapter, Job recognizes and acknowledges the reality of his predicament: He can’t
change what is.
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