Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all,
Mine ear hath heard and marked it.
2 What ye know do I know also,
I do not stand back behind you.
Job has brought forward proof of what he has stated at the commencement of this speech (Job 12:3), that he is not inferior to them in the knowledge of God and divine things, and therefore he can now repeat as proved what he maintains. The plain כּל, which in other passages, with the force of הכּל, signifies omnes (Genesis 16:12; Isaiah 30:5; Jeremiah 44:12) and omnia (Job 42:2; Psalm 8:7; Isaiah 44:24), has the definite sense of haec omnia here. לה (v. 1b) is not after the Aramaic manner dat. pro acc. objecti: my ear has heard and comprehended it (id); but dat. commodi, or perhaps only dat. ethicus: and has made it intelligible to itself (sibi); בּין of the apprehension accompanying perception. He has a knowledge of the exalted and glorious majesty of God, acquired partly from his own observation and partly from the teachings of others. He also knows equal to (instar) their knowledge, i.e., he has a knowledge (ידע as the idea implied in it, e.g., like Psalm 82:5) which will bear comparison with theirs. But he will no longer contend with them.
What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.3 But I would speak to the Almighty,
And I long to reason with God.
4 And ye however are forgers of lies,
Physicians of no value are ye all.
5 Oh that ye would altogether hold your peace,
It would be accounted to you as wisdom.
6 Hear now my instruction,
Ando hearken to the answers of my lips!
He will no longer dispute with the friends; the more they oppose him, the more earnestly he desires to be able to argue his cause before God. אוּלם (Job 13:3) is disjunctive, like ἀλλά, and introduces a new range of thoughts; lxx ου ̓ μήν δὲ ἀλλά, verum enim vero. True, he has said in Job 9 that no one can maintain his cause before God; but his confidence in God grows in proportion as his distrust of the friends increases; and at the same time, the hope is begotten that God will grant him that softening of the terror of His majesty which he has reserved to himself in connection with this declaration (Job 9:34, comp. Job 13:20.). The infin. absol. הוכח, which in Job 6:25 is used almost as a substantive, and indeed as the subject, is here in the place of the object, as e.g., Isaiah 5:5; Isaiah 58:6 : to prove, i.e., my cause, to God (אל־אל, like Job 13:15, אל־פּניו) I long. With ואוּלם (Job 13:4) the antithesis is introduced anew: I will turn to God, you on the contrary (καὶ ὑμεῖς δὲ). Since the verb טפל, from its primary meaning to spread on, smear on (whence e.g., Talmudic טפלה, the act of throwing on, as when plastering up the cracks of an oven), cogn. תּפל (whence תּפל, plaster, and perhaps also in the signification tasteless, Job 6:6 equals sticky, greasy, slimy), does not signify, at least not at first, consuere, but assuere (without any relation of root with תּפר), we explain, not with Olshausen and others, concinnatores mendacii, such as sew together lies as patchwork; but with Hirzel and others, assutores mendacii, such as patch on lies, i.e., charge falsely, since they desire throughout to make him out to be a sinner punished according to his desert. This explanation is also confirmed by Job 14:17. Another explanation is given by Hupfeld: sarcinatores false equals inanes, inutiles, so that שׁקר signifies what lies equals what deceives, as in the parallel member of the verse אלל,
(Note: In the Talmudic, the jugular vein, the cutting of which produces death, is called אלל (later עצב, Arab. ‛ṣb), according to which (b. Chullin 121a) it is explained: healer of the jugular artery, i.e., those who try to heal what is incurable, therefore charlatans, - a strange idea, which has arisen from the defective form of writing אלל. The lxx translates ἰαταὶ κακῶν.)
nothingness, and also עמל (Job 16:2) in a similar connection, is not an objective but attributive genitive; but Psalm 119:69 is decisive against this interpretation of שׁקר טפלי. The parallelism is not so exactly adjusted, as e.g., even רפאי does not on account of the parallel with טפלי signify patchers, ῥάπται, but: they are not able to heal Job's wounds with the medicine of consolation; they are medici nihili, useless physicians. Proverbs 17:28, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise," applies to them, si tacuisses, sapiens mansisses; or, as a rabbinical proverb of similar meaning, quoted by Heidenheim, says, השׂגה בהשׂגה הלאות, "the fatigue of comprehension is comprehension," i.e., the silent pause before a problem is half the solution. The jussive form וּתהי, it would be (Ges. 128, 2), is used in the conclusion of the wish. Thus he challenges them to hear his תּוכחת (תּוכחה) and his רבוה. Hirzel is quite right when he says the former does not mean defence (justification), nor the latter proofs (counter-evidence); תוכחת is, according to his signification (significatus, in distinction from sensus), ἔλεγχος, correptio (lxx, Vulg.), and here not so much refutation and answer, as correction in an ethical sense, in correspondence with which רבות is also intended of reproaches, reproofs, or reprimands.
But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.
Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.
Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?7 Will ye speak what is wrong for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
8 Will ye be partial for Him,
Or will ye play the part of God's advocates?
9 Would it be pleasant if He should search you out,
Or can ye jest with Him, as one jesteth with men?
10 He will surely expose you
If ye secretly act with partiality.
11 Will not His majesty confound you,
And His fear fall upon you?
Their advocacy of God - this is the thought of this strophe - is an injustice to Job, and an evil service rendered to God, which cannot escape undisguised punishment from Him. They set themselves up as God's advocates (לאל ריב, like לבּעל ריב, Judges 6:31), and at the same time accept His person, accipiunt (as in acceptus equals gratus), or lift it up, i.e., favour, or give preference to, His person, viz., at the expense of the truth: they are partial in His favour, as they are twice reminded and given to understand by the fut. energicum תּשּׂאוּן. The addition of בּסּתר (Job 13:10) implies that they conceal their better knowledge by the assumption of an earnest tone and bearing, expressive of the strongest conviction that they are in the right. They know that Job is not a flagrant sinner; nevertheless they deceive themselves with the idea that he is, and by reason of this delusion they take up the cause of God against him. Such perversion of the truth in majorem Dei gloriam is an abomination to God. When He searches them, His advocates, out (חקר, as Prov.Job 28:11), they will become conscious of it; or will God be mocked, as one mocketh mortal men? Comp. Galatians 6:7 for a similar thought. חתל is inf. absol. after the form תּללּ, and תּהתלּוּ is also to be derived from תּללּ, and is fut. Hiph., the preformative not being syncopated, for תּתלּוּ (Ges. 53, rem. 7); not Piel, from התל (as 1 Kings 18:27), with the doubling of the middle radical resolved (Olsh. in his Lehrb. S. 577). God is not pleased with λατρεία (John 16:2) which gives the honour to Him, but not to truth, such ζῆλος Θεοῦ ἀλλ ̓ ου ̓ κατ ̓ ἐπίγνωσιν (Romans 10:2), such advocacy contrary to one's better knowledge and conscience, in which the end is thought to sanctify the means. Such advocacy must be put to shame and confounded when He who needs no concealment of the truth for His justification is manifest in His שׂאת, i.e., not: in the kindling of His wrath (after Judges 20:38; Isaiah 30:27), but: in His exaltation (correctly by Ralbag: התנשׂאותו ורוממותו), and by His direct influence brings all untruth to light. It is the boldest thought imaginable, that one dare not have respect even to the person of God when one is obliged to lie to one's self. And still it is also self-evident. For God and truth can never be antagonistic.
Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?
Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?
He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.
Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?
Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.12 Your memorable words are proverbs of dust,
Your strongholds are become strongholds of clay!
13 Leave me in peace, and I will speak,
And let what will come on me.
14 Wherefore should I bear my flesh in my teeth?
I take my soul in my hands.
15 Behold, He slayeth me-I wait for Him:
I will only prove my way before Him.
16 Even this would by my salvation,
That a hypocrite dare not appear before Him.
The words by which they exhort and warn him are called זכרנים, not because they recall the experience and teaching of the ancients (Hirz.), but as sayings to which attention and thought should be given, with the tone of זכר־נא, Job 4:7 (Hahn); as ספר זכרון, Malachi 3:16, the book of remembrance; and ספר זכרנות, Esther 6:1, the book of memorabilia or memoranda. These their loci communes are proverbs of ashes, i.e., proverbs which in respect to the present case, say nothing, passing away like ashes (אפר equals vanity, Isaiah 44:20). While Job 13:12 says what their speeches, with the weighty nota bene, are, Job 13:12 says what their גּבּים become; for ל always denotes a κίνησις equals γένεσις, and is never the exponent of the predicate in a simple clause.
(Note: The Jewish expositors compare 1 Chronicles 3:2 on לגבי, but the ל there in לאבשׁלום is a clerical error (comp. 2 Samuel 3:3). Reiske conjectures רגבי (lumps of clay), one of the best among his most venturesome conjectures.)
Like the Arabic dahr, גּב signifies a boss, back, then protection, bulwark, rampart: their arguments or proofs are called גבים (עצּמות, Isaiah 41:21; comp. ὀχυρώματα, 2 Corinthians 10:4); these ramparts which they throw up become as ramparts of clay, will be shown to be such by their being soon broken through and falling in. Their reasons will not stand before God, but, like clay that will not hold together, fall to pieces.
Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.Be silent therefore from me, he says to them, i.e., stand away from me and leave me in peace (opp. החרישׁ אל, Isaiah 41:1): then will I speak, or: in order that I may speak (the cohortative usual in apod. imper.) - he, and he alone, will defend (i.e., against God) his cause, which they have so uncharitably abandoned in spite of their better knowledge and conscience, let thereby happen (עבר, similar to Deuteronomy 24:5) to him מה, whatever may happen (מה שׁיעבר); or more simply: whatever it may be, quidquid est, as 2 Samuel 18:22 ויהי מה, let happen whatever may happen; or more simply: whatever it may be, like מה דּבר quodcunque, Numbers 23:3; מי occurs also in a similar sense, thus placed last (Ewald, 104, d).
Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?Wherefore should he carry away his flesh in his teeth, i.e., be intent upon the maintenance of his life, as a wild beast upon the preservation of its prey, by holding it between its teeth (mordicus tenet) and carrying it away? This is a proverbial phrase which does not occur elsewhere; for Jeremiah 38:2 (thy life shall become as spoil, לשׁלל, to thee) is only similar in outward appearance. It may be asked whether Job 13:14 continues the question begun with על־מה (vid., on Isaiah 1:5): and wherefore should I take my soul in my hands, i.e., carefully protect it as a valuable possession? (Eichh., Umbr., Vaih.). But apart from Psalm 119:109 (my soul is continually in my hand), - where it may be asked, whether the soul is not there regarded as treasure (according to the current religious phrase: to carry his soul in his hand equals to work out the blessedness of his soul with fear and trembling), - בכפּיו נפשׁו שׂים signifies everywhere else (Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21) as much as to risk one's life without fear of death, properly speaking: to fight one's way through with one's fist, perishing so soon as the strength of one's fist is gone (Ewald); comp. the expression for the impending danger of death, Deuteronomy 28:66. If this sense, which is in accordance with the usage of the language, be adopted, it is unnecessary with Hirz., after Ewald, 352, b, to take ונפשׁי for נפשׁי גם: also, even my soul, etc., although it cannot be denied that ו, like καὶ and et, sometimes signifies: also, etiam (Isaiah 32:7; 2 Chronicles 27:5; Ecclesiastes 5:6, and according to the accents, Hosea 8:6 also; on the contrary, 2 Samuel 1:23; Psalm 31:12, can at least by explained by the copulative meaning, and Amos 4:10 by "and indeed"). The waw joins the positive to the negative assertion contained in the question of Job 13:14 (Hahn): I will not eagerly make my flesh safe, and will take my soul in my hand, i.e., calmly and bravely expose myself to the danger of death. Thus Job 13:15 is most directly connected with what precedes.
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.This is one of eighteen passages in which the Chethib is לא and the Keri לו; Job 6:21 is another.
(Note: In Frst, Concord. p. 1367, Colossians 1, the following passages are wanting: 1 Samuel 2:3; 2 Kings 8:10; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 139:16; Proverbs 19:7; Proverbs 26:2; 1 Chronicles 11:20, which are to be supplied from Aurivillius, diss. p. 469, where, however, on the other hand, 2 Samuel 19:7 is wanting. Exodus 21:8 also belongs to these passages. In this last passage Mhlau proposes a transposition of the letters thus: לא ידעה (if she displease her master, so that he knows her not, does not like to make her his concubine, then he shall cause her to be redeemed, etc.). In his volume on Isaiah just published (1866), Dr. Delitzsch appends the following note on Isaiah 63:9 : - "There are fifteen passages in which the Keri substitutes לו for לא, vid., Masora magna on Leviticus 11:21 (Psalter, ii. 60). If we include Isaiah 49:5; 1 Chronicles 11:20; 1 Samuel 2:16 also, there are then eighteen (comp. on Job 13:15); but the first two of these passages are very doubtful, and are therefore intentionally omitted, and in the third it is לא that is substituted for לו (Ges. Thes. 735, b). 2 Samuel 19:7 also does not belong here, for in this passage the Keri is לוּ." - Tr.])
In the lxx, which moreover changes איחל into החל, ἄρχεσθαι, the rendering is doubtful, the Cod. Vat. Translating ἐάν με χειρώσηται, the Cod. Alex. ἐὰν μή με χειρ. The Mishna b. Sota, 27, b, refers to the passage with reference to the question whether Job had served God from love or fear, and in favour of the former appeals to Job 27:5, since here the matter is doubtful (הדבר שׁקול), as the present passage may be explained, "I hope in Him," or "I hope not." The Gemara, ib. 31, a, observes that the reading לא does not determine the sense, for Isaiah 63:9 is written לא, and is not necessarily to be understood as לו, but can be so understood.
(Note: Vid., Geiger, Lesestcke aus der Mischnah (1845), S. 37f.)
Among the ancient versions, the Targ., Syr., and Jerome (etiamsi occiderit me, in ipso sperabo) are in favour of לו. This translation of the Vulgate is followed by the French, English, Italian, and other versions. This utterance, in this interpretation, has a venerable history. The Electoress Louise Henriette von Oranien (died 1667), the authoress of the immortal hymn, "Jesus meine Zuversicht" the English translation begins, "Jesus Christ, my sure defence," chose these words, "Though the Lord should slay me, yet will I hope in Him," for the text of her funeral oration. And many in the hour of death have adopted the utterance of Job in this form as the expression of their faith and consolation.
(Note: Vid., Gschel, Die Kurfrstinnen zu Brandenburg aus dem Hause Hohenzollern (1857), S. 28-32.)
Among these we may mention a Jewess. The last movement of the wasted fingers of Grace Aguilar was to spell the words, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
(Note: Marie Henriquez Morales, bearbeitet von Piza (1860), X. 12.)
The words, so understood, have an historic claim in their favour which we will not dispute. Even the apostles do not spurn the use of the Greek words of the Old Testament, though they do not accord with the proper connection in the original text, provided they are in accordance with sacred Scripture, and give brief and pregnant expression to a truth taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. Thus it is with this utterance, which, understood as the Vulgate understands it, is thoroughly Job-like, and in some measure the ultimate solution of the book of Job. It is also, according to its most evident meaning, an expression of perfect resignation. We admit that if it is translated: behold, He will slay me, I hope not, i.e., I await no other and happier issue, a thought is obtained that also agrees with the context. But יחל does not properly mean to hope, but to wait for; and even in Job 6:11; Job 14:14, where it stands as much without an object as here, it has no other meaning but that of waiting; and Luther is true to it when he translates: behold, He will destroy me, and I cannot expect it; it is, however, strange; and Bttch. translates: I will not wait to justify myself, which is odd. The proper meaning of יחל, praestolari, gives no suitable sense. Thus, therefore, the writer will have written or meant לו, since יחל ל is also elsewhere a familiar expression with him, Job 29:21, Job 29:23; Job 30:26. The meaning, then, which agrees both with the context and with the reality, is: behold, He will slay me, I wait for Him, i.e., I wait what He may do, even to smite with death, only I will (אך, as frequently, e.g., Psalm 49:16, does not belong to the word which immediately follows, but to the whole clause) prove my ways to Him, even before His face. He fears the extreme, but is also prepared for it. Hirzel, Heiligst., Vaihinger, and others, think that Job regards his wish for the appearing of God as the certain way of death, according to the belief that no one can behold God and not die. But יקטלני has reference to a different form of idea. He fears the risk of disputing with God, and being obliged to forfeit his life; but, as לו איחל implies, he resigns himself even to the worst, he waits for Him to whom he resigns himself, whatever He may do to him; nevertheless (אך restrictive, or as frequently אכן adversative, which is the same thing here) he cannot and will not keep down the inward testimony of his innocence, he is prepared to render Him an account of the ways in which he has walked (i.e., the way of His will) - he can succumb in all respects but that of his moral guiltlessness. And in Job 13:16 he adds what will prove a triumph for him, that a godless person, or (what is suitable, and if it does not correspond to the primary idea,
(Note: The verb חנף signifies in the Arabic to deviate, to go on one side (whence, e.g., ahhnaf, bandy-legged): hhanı̂f, which is derived from it, is a so-called Arab. ḍidd, ἐναντιόσημον, which may mean both one inclining to the good and true (one who is orthodox), and in this sense it is a surname of Abraham, and one inclining to evil. Beidhwi explains it by ml, inclining one's self to; the synonym, but used only in a good sense, is Arab. 'l-‛âdl, el-‛âdil.)
still accords with the use of the word) a hypocrite, one who judges thus of himself in his own heart, would not so come forward to answer for himself before God (Hahn). It can be explained: that a godless person has no access to God; but the other explanation givers a truer thought. הוא is here used as neuter, like Job 15:9; Job 31:28 comp. Job 41:3, Exodus 34:10. Correctly lxx, καὶ τοῦτό μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν. ישׁוּעה here (comp. Job 30:15) has not, however, the usual deeper meaning which it has in the prophets and in Psalms. It means here salvation, as victory in a contest for the right. Job means that he has already as good as won the contest, by so urgently desiring to defend himself before God. This excites a feeling in favour of his innocence at the onset, and secures him an acquittal.
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.17 Hear, O hear my confession,
And let my declaration echo in your ears.
18 Behold now! I have arranged the cause,
I know that I shall maintain the right.
19 Who then can contend with me?
Then, indeed, I would be silent and expire.
Eager for the accomplishment of his wish that he might himself take his cause before God, and as though in imagination it were so, he invites the friends to be present to hear his defence of himself. מלּה (in Arabic directly used for confession equals religion) is the confession which he will lay down, and אחוה the declaration that he will make in evidence, i.e., the proof of his innocence. The latter substantive, which signifies brotherly conduct in post-biblical Hebrew, is here an ἅπ. λεγ. from חוה, not however with Aleph prostheticum from Kal, but after the form אזכּרה equals הזכּרה, from the Aphl equals Hiphil of this verb, which, except Psalm 19:3, occurs only in the book of Job as Hebrew (comp. the n. actionis, אחויה, Daniel 5:12), Ewald, 156, c. It is unnecessary to carry the שׁמעוּ on to Job 13:17 (hear now ... with your own ears, as e.g., Jeremiah 26:11); Job 13:17 is an independent substantival clause like Job 15:11; Isaiah 5:9, which carries in itself the verbal idea of תּהי or תּבא (Psalm 18:7). They shall hear, for on his part he has arranged, i.e., prepared (משׁפּט ערך, causam instruere, as Job 23:4, comp. Job 33:5) the cause, so that the action can begin forthwith; and he knows that he, he and no one else, will be found in the right. With the conviction of this superiority, he exclaims, Who in all the world could contend with him, i.e., advance valid arguments against his defence of himself? Then, indeed, if this impossibility should happen, he would be dumb, and willingly die as one completely overpowered not merely in outward appearance, but in reality vanquished. יריב עמדי following הוא מי (comp. Job 4:7) may be taken as an elliptical relative clause: qui litigare possit mecum (comp. Isaiah 50:9 with Romans 8:34, τίς ὁ καταδρίνων); but since זה הוא מי is also used in the sense of quis tandem or ecquisnam, this syntactic connection which certainly did exist (Ewald, 325, a) is obliterated, and הוא serves like זה only to give intensity and vividness to the מי. On עתּה כּי (in meaning not different to אז כּי), vid., Job 3:13; Job 8:6. In Job 13:19 that is granted as possible which, according to the declaration of his conscience, Job must consider as absolutely impossible. Therefore he clings to the desire of being able to bring his cause before God, and becomes more and more absorbed in the thought.
Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.
Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.20 Only two things do not unto me,
Then will I not hide myself from Thy countenance:
21 Withdraw Thy hand from me,
And let Thy fear not terrify me -
22 Call then and I will answer,
Or I will speak and answer Thou me!
He makes only two conditions in his prayer, as he has already expressed it in Job 9:34 : (1) That God would grant him a cessation of his troubles; (2) That He would not overwhelm him with His majesty. The chastening hand of God is generally called יד elsewhere; but in spite of this prevalent usage of the language, כּף cannot be understood here (comp. on the contrary Job 33:7) otherwise than of the hand (Job 9:34 : the rod) of God, which lies heavily on Job. The painful pressure of that hand would prevent the collecting and ordering of his thoughts required for meeting with God, and the אימה (Codd. defectively אמתך) of God would completely crush and confound him. But if God grants these two things: to remove His hand for a time, and not to turn the terrible side of His majesty to him, then he is ready whether God should himself open the cause or permit him to have the first word. Correctly Mercerus: optionem ei dat ut aut actoris aut rei personam deligat, sua fretus innocentia, sed interim sui oblitus et immodicus. In contrast with God he feels himself to be a poor worm, but his consciousness of innocence makes him a Titan.
He now says what he would ask God; or rather, he now asks Him, since he vividly pictures to himself the action with God which he desires. His imagination anticipates the reality of that which is longed for. Modern expositors begin a new division at Job 13:23. But Job's speech does not yet take a new turn; it goes on further continually uno tenore.
Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.
Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.
How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.23 How many are mine iniquities and sins?
Make me to know my transgression and sin! - -
24 Wherefore dost Thou hide Thy face,
And regard me as Thine enemy?
25 Wilt Thou frighten away a leaf driven to and fro,
And pursue the dry stubble?
When עון and חטּאת, פּשׁע and חטּאת, are used in close connection, the latter, which describes sin as failing and error, signifies sins of weakness (infirmities, Schwachheitssnde); whereas עון (prop. distorting or bending) signifies misdeed, and פשׁע (prop. breaking loose, or away from, Arab. fsq) wickedness which designedly estranges itself from God and removes from favour, both therefore malignant sin (Bosheitssnde).
(Note: Comp. the development of the idea of the synonyms for sin in von Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 483ff., at the commencement of the fourth Lehrstck.)
The bold self-confidence which is expressed in the question and challenge of Job 13:23 is, in Job 13:24, changed to grievous astonishment that God does not appear to him, and on the contrary continues to pursue him as an enemy without investigating his cause. Has the Almighty then pleasure in scaring away a leaf that is already blown to and fro? העלה, with He interrog., like החכם, Job 15:2, according to Ges. 100, 4. ערץ used as transitive here, like Psalm 10:18, to terrify, scare away affrighted. Does it give Him satisfaction to pursue dried-up stubble? By את (before an indeterminate noun, according to Ges. 117, 2) he points δεικτικῶς to himself: he, the powerless one, completely deprived of strength by sickness and pain, is as dried-up stubble; nevertheless God is after him, as though He would get rid of every trace of a dangerous enemy by summoning His utmost strength against him.
Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?
Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?
For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.26 For Thou decreest bitter things against me,
And causest me to possess the iniquities of my youth,
27 And puttest my feet in the stocks,
And observest all my ways.
Thou makest for thyself a circle round the soles of my feet,
28 Round one who moulders away as worm-eaten,
As a garment that the moth gnaweth.
He is conscious of having often prayed: "Remember not the sins of my youth, and my transgressions: according to Thy mercy remember Thou me," Psalm 25:7; and still he can only regard his affliction as the inheritance (i.e., entailed upon him by sins not repented of) of the sins of his youth, since he has no sins of his mature years that would incur wrath, to reproach himself with. He does not know how to reconcile with the justice of God the fact that He again records against him sins, the forgiveness of which he implores soon after their commission, and decrees (כּתב, as Psalm 149:9, and as used elsewhere in the book of Job with reference to the recording of judgment) for him on account of them such bitter punishment (מררות, amara, bitter calamities; comp. Deuteronomy 32:32, "bitter" grapes). And the two could not indeed be harmonized, if it really were thus. So long as a man remains an object of the divine mercy, his sins that have been once forgiven are no more the object of divine judgment. But Job can understand his affliction only as an additional punishment. The conflict of temptation through which he is passing has made God's loving-kindness obscure to him. He appears to himself to be like a prisoner whose feet are forced into the holes of a סד, i.e., the block or log of wood in which the feet of a criminal are fastened, and which he must shuffle about with him when he moves; perhaps connected with Arab. sadda, occludere, opplere (foramen), elsewhere מהפּכת (from the forcible twisting or fastening), Chald. סדיא, סדנא, Syr. sado, by which Acts 16:24, ξύλον equals ποδοκάκη, is rendered; Lat. cippus (which Ralbag compares), codex (in Plautus an instrument of punishment for slaves), or also nervus. The verb תּשׂם which belongs to it, and is found also in Job 33:11 in the same connection, is of the jussive form, but is neither jussive nor optative in meaning, as also the future with shortened vowel (e.g., Job 27:22; Job 40:19) or apocopated (Job 18:12; Job 23:9, Job 23:11) is used elsewhere from the preference of poetry for a short pregnant form. He seems to himself like a criminal whose steps are closely watched (שׁמר, as Job 10:14), in order that he may not have the undeserved enjoyment of freedom, and may not avoid the execution for which he is reserved by effecting an escape by flight. Instead of ארחתי, the reading adopted by Ben-Ascher, Ben-Naphtali writes ארחתי, with Cholem in the first syllable; both modes of punctuation change without any fixed law also in other respects in the inflexion of ארח, as of ארחה, a caravan, the construct is both ארחות, Job 6:19, and ארחות. It is scarcely necessary to remark that the verbs in Job 13:27 are addressed to God, and are not intended as the third pers. fem. in reference to the stocks (Ralbag). The roots of the feet are undoubtedly their undermost parts, therefore the soles. But what is the meaning of תּתחקּה? The Vulg., Syr., and Parchon explain: Thou fixest thine attention upon ... , but certainly according to mere conjecture; Ewald, by the help of the Arabic tahhakkaka ala: Thou securest thyself ... , but there is not the least necessity to depart from the ordinary use of the word, as those also do who explain: Thou makest a law or boundary (Aben-Ezra, Ges., Hahn, Schlottm.). The verb חקה is the usual word (certainly cognate and interchangeable with חקק) for carved-out work (intaglio), and perhaps with colour rubbed in, or filled up with metal (vid., Job 19:23, comp. Ezekiel 23:14); it signifies to hew into, to carve, to dig a trench. Stickel is in some measure true to this meaning when he explains: Thou scratchest, pressest (producing blood); by which rendering, however, the Hithpa. is not duly recognised. Raschi is better, tu t'affiches, according to which Mercerus: velut affixus vestigiis pedum meorum adhaeres, ne qu elabi possim aut effugere. But a closer connection with the ordinary use of the word is possible. Accordingly Rosenm., Umbreit, and others render: Thou markest a line round my feet (drawest a circle round); Hirz., however, in the strictest sense of the Hithpa.: Thou diggest thyself in (layest thyself as a circular line about my feet). But the Hithpa. does not necessarily mean se insculpere, but, as התפשׁט sibi exuere, התפתח sibi solvere, התחנן sibi propitium facere, it may also mean sibi insculpere, which does not give so strange a representation: Thou makest to thyself furrows (or also: lines) round the soles of my feet, so that they cannot move beyond the narrow boundaries marked out by thee. With והוּא, Job 13:28, a circumstantial clause begins: While he whom Thou thus fastenest in as a criminal, etc. Observe the fine rhythmical accentuation achālo ‛asch. Since God whom he calls upon does not appear, Job's defiance is changed to timidity. The elegiac tone, into which his bold tone has passed, is continued in Job 14.
Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.
And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.