Job 35


וַיַּעַן אֱלִיהוּ וַיֹּאמַר׃   35:1

Job 35:1   Elihu answered still, and he said,

הֲזֹאת חָשַׁבְתָּ לְמִשְׁפָּט אָמַרְתָּ צִדְקִי מֵאֵל׃   35:2

Job 35:2   "Do you think this is according to justice?

                               You say, 'My righteousness is from God?'"

I find two difficulties with this verse:  The pronoun this can refer to either the last verses of the previous chapter, or to the following verses.  But scholars and sages seem to believe it’s the following verses.  I can’t say one way or the other.  Then the second line, which corresponds to the last three words of the verse, seems to be interpreted differently by many sages and scholars.  Most translations say “You say “My righteousness is more than God’s.”  A few translations in the minority offer “You say ‘My righteousness is before God.”  I have to ask, why is not the most standard translation, which is what I have above, not valid and appropriate?  Job has said as much previously (see Job 27:3). 

כִּי־תֹאמַר מַה־יִּסְכָּן־לָךְ מָה־אֹעִיל מֵחַטָּאתִי׃   35:3

Job 35:3   "Then you would say,

                               'What would it avail You how I might profit from my sin?'"

Job has not said anything of the sort.

אֲנִי אֲשִׁיבְךָ מִלִּין וְאֶת־רֵעֶיךָ עִמָּךְ׃   35:4

Job 35:4   "I will give you words back,

                               and your friends with you."

Since Elihu chooses the words your friends, he seems to be admitting that they are not necessarily friends of his.

הַבֵּט שָׁמַיִם וּרְאֵה וְשׁוּר שְׁחָקִים גָּבְהוּ מִמֶּךָּ׃   35:5

Job 35:5   "Regard the heavens and see, and behold the clouds!

                               They are higher than you."

אִם־חָטָאתָ מַה־תִּפְעָל־בּוֹ וְרַבּוּ פְשָׁעֶיךָ מַה־תַּעֲשֶׂה־לּוֹ׃   35:6

Job 35:6   "If you sin, what would you do to Him,

                               or your transgressions be multiplied, what would you do to Him?"

Elihu seems to be echoing Job’s own words in Job 7:20.

אִם־צָדַקְתָּ מַה־תִּתֶּן־לֹו אֹו מַה־מִיָּדְךָ יִקָּח׃   35:7

Job 35:7   "If you are righteous, what would you give to Him,

                               or what would He get from your hand?"

לְאִישׁ־כָּמוֹךָ רִשְׁעֶךָ וּלְבֶן־אָדָם צִדְקָתֶךָ׃   35:8

Job 35:8   "Your wickedness is for a man like you,

                               and your righteousness is for a son of man."

In other words, Elihu seems to be saying that the sum of the words of vss. 6 and 7 is that righteousness and sin benefit only humans, not God.

מֵרֹב עֲשׁוּקִים יַזְעִיקוּ יְשַׁוְּעוּ מִזְּרוֹעַ רַבִּים׃   35:9

Job 35:9   "They must cry out because of an abundance of oppressions,

                               call for help from the arm of the strong."

וְלֹא־אָמַר אַיֵּה אֱלוֹהַּ עֹשָׂי נֹתֵן זְמִרוֹת בַּלָּיְלָה׃   35:10

Job 35:10   "But none says, 'Where is God, my Maker,

                               the Giver of psalms at night,

These two verses, 9 and 10, seem to me to be a direct slap in Job’s face.  While other people suffer and cry out to God, they don’t wind up asking where is God.

מַלְּפֵנוּ מִבַּהֲמוֹת אָרֶץ וּמֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יְחַכְּמֵנוּ׃   35:11

Job 35:11   Who teaches us more than the beasts,

                               and would make us wiser than the birds of the skies?'"

שָׁם יִצְעֲקוּ וְלֹא יַעֲנֶה מִפְּנֵי גְּאוֹן רָעִים׃   35:12

Job 35:12   "There they must cry out,

                               but He will not respond,

                      because of the conceit of evil people."

Is this why He doesn’t answer, because of the conceit of evil people?  That’s nonsense.  The bible itself describes how God does answer evil people.

שָׁם יִצְעֲקוּ וְלֹא יַעֲנֶה מִפְּנֵי גְּאוֹן רָעִים׃   35:13

Job 35:13   "Surely God will not hear vanity,

                               or the Almighty regard it."

אַף כִּי־תֹאמַר לֹא תְשׁוּרֶנּוּ דִּין לְפָנָיו וּתְחֹולֵל לֹו׃   35:14

Job 35:14   "So much the less that you would say,

                               'You will not regard us!'

                      The argument is before Him,

                               and you must wait painfully for Him."

Another minor problem in this verse:  The expression Elihu attributes to Job, You will not regard us, is misinterpreted in most if not all bibles.  The fifth Hebrew word in this verse can be translated two ways.  Either it can say what I have above, or it can say you cannot see Him.  The reason my translation is better is that it takes into account the letter nun in the word, whereas all others ignore it.  By the other translations, either that letter doesn’t belong there or it should be a heh instead.  As I’ve translated it, it is a quoted statement addressed to God, and it is a general statement in that Job doesn’t just include himself; he says us.  As others have translated it, it is simply continuing Elihu’s (incorrect) observation of Job’s alleged statement.  For what other reason is the accepted translation wrong?  Because it doesn’t follow directly from the preceding verse, whereas mine does beautifully.

וְעַתָּה כִּי־אַיִן פָּקַד אַפּוֹ וְלֹא־יָדַע בַּפַּשׁ מְאֹד׃   35:15

Job 35:15   "Now then, if His 'anger' punishes for nothing,

                               while He does not acknowledge a very haughty one,

וְאִיּוֹב הֶבֶל יִפְצֶה־פִּיהוּ בִּבְלִי־דַעַת מִלִּין יַכְבִּר׃   35:16

Job 35:16   yet Job -- vanity would part his mouth,

                               he would multiply words without knowledge. "

Elihu finishes this diatribe as he has before, accusing Job of uttering words without knowledge.


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