Job 9


וַיַּעַן אִיֹּוב וַיֹּאמַר׃   9:1

Job 9:1   And Job answered, and he said,

אָמְנָם יָדַעְתִּי כִי־כֵן וּמַה־יִּצְדַּק אֱנֹושׁ עִם־אֵל׃   9:2

Job 9:2   “I know that it is truly so,

                          that how can a man be just with God.”

In contrast to the anger Job expressed in his response to Eliphaz, he seems to be more conciliatory responding to Bildad.  He’s probably bought into the argument they present that he must be to blame for his punishment, although he really doesn’t see it.  He still believes he is blameless, although now he harbors some doubt.

אִם־יַחְפֹּץ לָרִיב עִמֹּו לֹא־יַעֲנֶנּוּ אַחַת מִנִּי־אָלֶף׃   9:3

Job 9:3   “If he should desire to contend with Him,

                          he could not answer Him more than one of a thousand.”

חֲכַם לֵבָב וְאַמִּיץ כֹּחַ מִי־הִקְשָׁה אֵלָיו וַיִּשְׁלָם׃   9:4

Job 9:4   “He is wisest of 'heart' and mightiest of strength.

                          Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?”

הַמַּעְתִּיק הָרִים וְלֹא יָדָעוּ אֲשֶׁר הֲפָכָם בְּאַפּוֹ׃   9:5

Job 9:5   “Who removes mountains,

                          and they do not know that He transforms them in His 'anger'?”

הַמַּרְגִּיז אֶרֶץ מִמְּקֹומָהּ וְעַמּוּדֶיהָ יִתְפַלָּצוּן׃   9:6

Job 9:6   “Who makes the earth quake out of its place

                          that its pillars would tremble?”

הָאֹמֵר לַחֶרֶס וְלֹא יִזְרָח וּבְעַד כּוֹכָבִים יַחְתֹּם׃   9:7

Job 9:7   “Who is speaking to the sun that it should not rise,

                          and it would be sealed on behalf of the stars?”

I believe Job means here that the sun would be hidden so that the stars could shine continuously.

נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם לְבַדּוֹ וְדוֹרֵךְ עַל־בָּמֳתֵי יָם׃   9:8

Job 9:8   “Extending the heavens by Himself,

                          and treading on the waves of the sea!”

עֹשֶׂה־עָשׁ כְּסִיל וְכִימָה וְחַדְרֵי תֵמָן׃   9:9

Job 9:9   “The Maker of the great bear, Orion,

                          and the Pleiades, and the recesses of the southern quarter!”

The term I translate as southern quarter must refer to a portion of the southern sky having familiar constellations.

עֹשֶׂה גְדֹלוֹת עַד־אֵין חֵקֶר וְנִפְלָאוֹת עַד־אֵין מִסְפָּר׃   9:10

Job 9:10   “Doing great things beyond investigation,

                          and marvels beyond numbering!”

הֵן יַעֲבֹר עָלַי וְלֹא אֶרְאֶה וְיַחֲלֹף וְלֹא־אָבִין לוֹ׃   9:11

Job 9:11   “Behold!  He could pass by me, and I would not see,

                          or He might pass through and I would pay no attention to Him.”

הֵן יַחְתֹּף מִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ מִי־יֹאמַר אֵלָיו מַה־תַּעֲשֶׂה׃   9:12

Job 9:12   “Behold!  He could take away -- who could restore it!

                          Who would say to Him, 'What can it accomplish?'”

The question asked here about what has been taken away (from Job) is mistranslated by all other translators as “What do You?” or “What are You doing?”  These cannot be correct.  The last word, whose most frequent translation is to do, is imperfect, but is translated by everyone as perfect (or a participle).  In addition, it is assumed to be second-person masculine.  In order to conform to the grammar, however, the word has to be assumed to be third-person feminine.  The meaning I glean from the others’ translations for the question is that it is an attempt to understand God’s behavior.  The meaning I glean from my translation is that the question is an inquiry into what is God’s reason for His behavior.  In other words, I don’t believe the question is intended to mean what is God doing, but instead, why is God doing it.  From Job’s perspective, I also see it as the more appropriate inquiry -- he already knows what God is doing.  It’s the why he doesn’t get.

אֱלֹוהַּ לֹא־יָשִׁיב אַפֹּו (תַּחַתֹו) [תַּחְתָּיו] חֲחוּ עֹזְרֵי רָהַב׃   9:13

Job 9:13   “God would not draw back His 'anger'.

                          For His sake supporters of pride are humbled.”

The word in the parentheses is missing a yad.  The correction is in the brackets.  Other remarks about this verse are pertinent, though.  First, the word for His in the second line has God as its antecedent.  But the word could just as correctly be translated as its with an antecedent of His anger.  Either translation could be correct.  Then the last word in the verse is variously translated as pride, a name for Egypt, and a mythical sea monster.  Connecting this verse with the preceding one, I assume that pride is most appropriate.  The question asked in v. 12 does imply some pride or arrogance on the part of the inquirer.

אַף כִּי־אָנֹכִי אֶעֱנֶנּוּ אֶבְחֲרָה דְבָרַי עִמּוֹ׃   9:14

Job 9:14   “Although I could answer Him,

                          I would have to choose my words with Him,

אֲשֶׁר אִם־צָדַקְתִּי לֹא אֶעֱנֶה לִמְשֹׁפְטִי אֶתְחַנָּן׃   9:15

Job 9:15   which, had I been righteous, I could not answer.

                          I must seek favor for my judgment.”

Does Job say he must seek favor for his judgment because he does indeed now suspect the friends are right and he has sinned?  I imagine so.                                                                [Return to Job 15:14]

אִם־קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי לֹא־אַאֲמִין כִּי־יַאֲזִין קוֹלִי׃   9:16

Job 9:16   “Had I called and He answered me,

                          I could not have believed that He would hear my voice,

There’s a strange peculiarity in the last word of this verse.  The word’s translation is my voice.  In Hebrew bibles the first letter, a kaph, is rotated 180 degrees.  It appears upside down and backwards.  I can find no explanation for this.  Most likely it appears that way in the oldest texts, and has been exactly copied for accuracy.

אֲשֶׁר־בִּשְׂעָרָה יְשׁוּפֵנִי וְהִרְבָּה פְצָעַי חִנָּם׃   9:17

Job 9:17   Who could crush me with a storm

                          and multiply my wounds without cause,

לֹא־יִתְּנֵנִי הָשֵׁב רוּחִי כִּי יַשְׂבִּעַנִי מַמְּרֹרִים׃   9:18

Job 9:18   would not permit me to draw in my breath,

                          but would cause me to be full of bitter things!”

אִם־לְכֹחַ אַמִּיץ הִנֵּה וְאִם־לְמִשְׁפָּט מִי יוֹעִידֵנִי׃   9:19

Job 9:19   “If according to strength, lo, He is mighty.

                          Or if according to justice, who would appoint a time for me?”

אִם־אֶצְדָּק פִּי יַרְשִׁיעֵנִי תָּם־אָנִי וַיַּעְקְשֵׁנִי׃   9:20

Job 9:20   “Were I righteous, my own mouth would condemn me.

                          Were I innocent, then He would find me perverse.”

Aha!  Here’s the crux of Job’s dilemma.  If he were really righteous as he had always believed, he would be able to recognize his transgressions and admit them.

תָּם־אָנִי לֹא־אֵדַע נַפְשִׁי אֶמְאַס חַיָּי׃   9:21

Job 9:21   “Am I innocent?  I cannot know myself,

                          I must despise my life.”

אַחַת הִיא עַל־כֵּן אָמַרְתִּי תָּם וְרָשָׁע הוּא מְכַלֶּה׃   9:22

Job 9:22   “It is the same -- therefore I say,

                          'He is the Destroyer of innocent and wicked.'”

The bottom line -- whether he is innocent or wicked, he can be destroyed by God.

אִם־שׁוֹט יָמִית פִּתְאֹם לְמַסַּת נְקִיִּם יִלְעָג׃   9:23

Job 9:23   “Were the scourge to kill suddenly,

                          He would have derision for the despair of the innocent.”

אֶרֶץ נִתְּנָה בְיַד־רָשָׁע פְּנֵי־שֹׁפְטֶיהָ יְכַסֶּה אִם־לֹא אֵפוֹא מִי־הוּא׃   9:24

Job 9:24   “The earth has been given into the hand of wickedness.

                          He must have covered the faces of its judges.

                     If not He, then who could it be?”

וְיָמַי קַלּוּ מִנִּי־רָץ בָּרְחוּ לֹא־רָאוּ טוֹבָה׃   9:25

Job 9:25   “So my days are speedier than a runner,

                          they flee, they see no goodness.”

חָלְפוּ עִם־אֳנִיּוֹת אֵבֶה כְּנֶשֶׁר יָטוּשׂ עֲלֵי־אֹכֶל׃   9:26

Job 9:26   “They pass by with the swift sailing ships,

                          like the eagle would rush upon prey.”

אִם־אָמְרִי אֶשְׁכְּחָה שִׂיחִי אֶעֶזְבָה פָנַי וְאַבְלִיגָה׃   9:27

Job 9:27   “Despite my saying, 'I will ignore my trouble,

                          I will loosen my face and show a smile,'

יָגֹרְתִּי כָל־עַצְּבֹתָי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־לֹא תְנַקֵּנִי׃   9:28

Job 9:28   I dread all my wounds,

                          I know that You will not hold me innocent.”

אָנֹכִי אֶרְשָׁע לָמָּה־זֶּה הֶבֶל אִיגָע׃   9:29

Job 9:29   “I will have to be condemned.

                          Why should I labor in vain?”

אִם־הִתְרָחַצְתִּי (בְמֹו־) [בְמֵי־] שָׁלֶג וַהֲזִכֹּותִי בְּבֹר כַּפָּי׃   9:30

Job 9:30   “Though I wash myself with melted snow,

                          and cleanse my hands with lye,

The word in the parentheses has a vav where there should be a yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

אָז בַּשַּׁחַת תִּטְבְּלֵנִי וְתִעֲבוּנִי שַׂלְמוֹתָי׃   9:31

Job 9:31   still into the pit You would plunge me,

                          and my own garments would regard me as an abomination.”

What a powerful statement of self-condemnation!

כִּי־לֹא־אִישׁ כָּמֹנִי אֶעֱנֶנּוּ נָבוֹא יַחְדָּו בַּמִּשְׁפָּט׃   9:32

Job 9:32   “For He is not one like me I should answer Him,

                          we should come together in judgment.”

Job sees himself as so far beneath God that he cannot bring himself to question His intentions.

לֹא יֵשׁ־בֵּינֵינוּ מוֹכִיחַ יָשֵׁת יָדוֹ עַל־שְׁנֵינוּ׃   9:33

Job 9:33   “There can be no judge between us

                          he could set his hand on the two of us.”

יָסֵר מֵעָלַי שִׁבְטוֹ וְאֵמָתוֹ אַל־תְּבַעֲתַנִּי׃   9:34

Job 9:34   “Let Him remove from me His rod,

                          and His terror not overwhelm me.”

Another peculiarity in this verse.  In the third word, translated as His rod, the tet (the third letter) appears about twice as large as the rest of the letters.  Again I assume it is copied from the original text without change.

אַדַבְּרָה וְלֹא אִירָאֶנּוּ כִּי לֹא־כֵן אָנֹכִי עִמָּדִי׃   9:35

Job 9:35   “I would speak and not fear Him.

                          But I would not be right with myself.”

In other words, it seems that Job would feel strange questioning God.  The Hebrew of the second line of this couplet is vague and difficult to translate.  Several other translations have been offered and commented on, but I think this translation seems appropriate and needs few words to explain it.


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