Friday, May 22, 2015

Job's response to Eliphaz, chapters 6 and 7

You remember Eliphaz? Probably not because I got his name wrong (now fixed). He is the one who delivered the first speech to Job in chapters 4 and 5. Six years ago when I first studied this book I asked,  Eliphaz - how will we hear you? Are you really God's fine gold, or are you dispensing something else?

Job thinks he is dispensing something else as is evident from his response in the next two chapters.

I spent weeks on these two chapters 6 years ago and several posts. Here they are redone in one chunk. I made this note: O my heart - this is difficult stuff - Tur Sinai has pages of explanation on spittle and poison which I must yet read - a fate almost worse than Job's.

I have paid little attention to commentaries this time round. There may be time for such learning again some other day - but this time, I am just reading and reporting using the semi-automated translation that my software is getting better and better at. Sometimes it gets more than half a verse more or less readable. It frees me to think more about the words.

Note how liability is used in the following - it is the familiar word, bear, lift up, נשא. Job asks - why don't you just bear my transgression. This verb frames the two chapters. Not a bad question. The final repeating word in chapter 6 is injustice.

In chapter 6, Job responds to Eliphaz, in chapter 7 he comes to focus on four questions. You can see them towards the end - four repetitions of why/how, variations of מה. This passage mimics Psalm 8 and Psalm 144 (but no two of them have exactly the same words).
Job 6 and 7
וַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗וֹב וַיֹּאמַֽר 1 And Job answered and said,
ל֗וּ שָׁק֣וֹל יִשָּׁקֵ֣ל כַּעְשִׂ֑י
וְ֝הַוָּתִ֗י בְּֽמֹאזְנַ֥יִם יִשְׂאוּ־יָֽחַד
2 If only my grief were assessed and appraised,
and my calamity in the balance lifted up as one.
כִּֽי־עַתָּ֗ה מֵח֣וֹל יַמִּ֣ים יִכְבָּ֑ד
עַל־כֵּ֝֗ן דְּבָרַ֥י לָֽעוּ
3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the seas,
therefore my words are a gasp.
כִּ֤י חִצֵּ֪י שַׁדַּ֡י עִמָּדִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֣ר חֲ֭מָתָם שֹׁתָ֣ה רוּחִ֑י
בִּעוּתֵ֖י אֱל֣וֹהַּ יַֽעַרְכֽוּנִי
4 For the arrows of the Sufficient are with me, where their poison my spirit imbibes.
The alarms of God have rearranged me.
הֲיִֽנְהַק־פֶּ֥רֶא עֲלֵי־דֶ֑שֶׁא
אִ֥ם יִגְעֶה־שּׁ֝֗וֹר עַל־בְּלִילֽוֹ
5 Does it bray - a wild ass over its verdant herbs?
If a bull lows over its fodder.
הֲיֵאָכֵ֣ל תָּ֭פֵל מִבְּלִי־מֶ֑לַח
אִם־יֶשׁ־טַ֝֗עַם בְּרִ֣יר חַלָּמֽוּת
6 Can what is insipid be eaten without salt?
If there is taste in the spittle of dreams.
מֵאֲנָ֣ה לִנְגּ֣וֹעַ נַפְשִׁ֑י
הֵ֝֗מָּה כִּדְוֵ֥י לַחְמִֽי
7 What my being would not touch,
these are the infirmities of my bread.
מִֽי־יִ֭תֵּן תָּב֣וֹא שֶֽׁאֱלָתִ֑י
וְ֝תִקְוָתִ֗י יִתֵּ֥ן אֱלֽוֹהַּ
8 If my request to go would be given,
and my expectation God would give,
וְיֹאֵ֣ל אֱ֭לוֹהַּ וִֽידַכְּאֵ֑נִי
יַתֵּ֥ר יָ֝ד֗וֹ וִֽיבַצְּעֵֽנִי
9 and God would be humoured to crush me,
releasing his hand and make me gain,
וּ֥תְהִי ע֨וֹד ׀ נֶ֘חָ֤מָתִ֗י וַאֲסַלְּדָ֣ה בְ֭חִילָה לֹ֣א יַחְמ֑וֹל
כִּי־לֹ֥א כִ֝חַ֗דְתִּי אִמְרֵ֥י קָדֽוֹשׁ
10 then this is still my consolation and I leap for joy in writhing. Let him not pity,
for I have not concealed the promises of holiness.
מַה־כֹּחִ֥י כִֽי־אֲיַחֵ֑ל
וּמַה־קִּ֝צִּ֗י כִּֽי־אַאֲרִ֥יךְ נַפְשִֽׁי
11 What is my power that I should have hope?
And what is my end that I should prolong my being?
אִם־כֹּ֣חַ אֲבָנִ֣ים כֹּחִ֑י
אִֽם־בְּשָׂרִ֥י נָחֽוּשׁ
12 If the power of stones is my power,
If my flesh is brass,
הַאִ֬ם אֵ֣ין עֶזְרָתִ֣י בִ֑י
וְ֝תֻשִׁיָּ֗ה נִדְּחָ֥ה מִמֶּֽנִּי
13 If there is no help that is mine in me
and enterprise is banished from me,
לַמָּ֣ס מֵרֵעֵ֣הוּ חָ֑סֶד
וְיִרְאַ֖ת שַׁדַּ֣י יַעֲזֽוֹב
14 to one in forced service there should be loving-kindness from his friend,
and the fear of the Sufficient let him forsake.
אַ֭חַי בָּגְד֣וּ כְמוֹ־נָ֑חַל
כַּאֲפִ֖יק נְחָלִ֣ים יַעֲבֹֽרוּ
15 My kin are treacherous like a torrent.
As a channel for torrents they have passed through,
הַקֹּדְרִ֥ים מִנִּי־קָ֑רַח
עָ֝לֵ֗ימוֹ יִתְעַלֶּם־שָֽׁלֶג
16 icy mourners,
on them obscured snow.
בְּ֭עֵת יְזֹרְב֣וּ נִצְמָ֑תוּ
בְּ֝חֻמּ֗וֹ נִדְעֲכ֥וּ מִמְּקוֹמָֽם
17 In time, narrowed, they vaporize.
Hot, they are extinguished from their place.
יִ֭לָּ֣פְתוּ אָרְח֣וֹת דַּרְכָּ֑ם
יַעֲל֖וּ בַתֹּ֣הוּ וְיֹאבֵֽדוּ
18 The paths of their way are tossed and turned.
They will ascend formless and perish.
הִ֭בִּיטוּ אָרְח֣וֹת תֵּמָ֑א
הֲלִיכֹ֥ת שְׁ֝בָ֗א קִוּוּ־לָֽמוֹ
19 The paths of Tema noticed.
The wayfarers of Sheba are lying in wait for them.
בֹּ֥שׁוּ כִּֽי־בָטָ֑ח
בָּ֥אוּ‬ עָ֝דֶ֗יהָ וַיֶּחְפָּֽרוּ
20 They are ashamed because he trusted.
They came to it and are confounded.
כִּֽי־עַ֭תָּה הֱיִ֣יתֶם ל֑וֹ
תִּֽרְא֥וּ חֲ֝תַ֗ת וַתִּירָֽאוּ
21 Because now you are his.
You see dismay and you fear.
הֲֽכִי־אָ֭מַרְתִּי הָ֣בוּ לִ֑י
וּ֝מִכֹּחֲכֶ֗ם שִׁחֲד֥וּ בַעֲדִֽי
22 For did I say provide for me
or from your power bribe about me?
וּמַלְּט֥וּנִי מִיַּד־צָ֑ר
וּמִיַּ֖ד עָרִיצִ֣ים תִּפְדּֽוּנִי
23 Or you help me escape from the hand of trouble
or from the hand of the ruthless you ransom me?
ה֭וֹרוּנִי וַאֲנִ֣י אַחֲרִ֑ישׁ
וּמַה־שָּׁ֝גִ֗יתִי הָבִ֥ינוּ לִֽי
24 Instruct me and I myself will be silent
and make me understand why I have strayed.
מַה־נִּמְרְצ֥וּ אִמְרֵי־יֹ֑שֶׁר
וּמַה־יּוֹכִ֖יחַ הוֹכֵ֣חַ מִכֶּֽם
25 How stilted are the sayings of uprightness.
So what does correction from you correct?
הַלְהוֹכַ֣ח מִלִּ֣ים תַּחְשֹׁ֑בוּ
וּ֝לְר֗וּחַ אִמְרֵ֥י נֹאָֽשׁ
26 Do you plot to correct speeches,
and of wind, the sayings of one who is desperate?
אַף־עַל־יָת֥וֹם תַּפִּ֑ילוּ
וְ֝תִכְר֗וּ עַל־רֵֽיעֲכֶֽם
27 Indeed, you would fall on the orphan,
and you would gouge your friend.
וְ֭עַתָּה הוֹאִ֣ילוּ פְנוּ־בִ֑י
וְעַל־פְּ֝נֵיכֶ֗ם אִם־אֲכַזֵּֽב
28 So now humour, be present to me,
for it is in your presence if I lie.
שֻֽׁבוּ־נָ֭א אַל־תְּהִ֣י עַוְלָ֑ה
ושבי וְשׁ֥וּבוּ‪‬ ע֝וֹד צִדְקִי־בָֽהּ
29 Turn - may it not be injustice.
Turn while my righteousness is in it.
הֲיֵשׁ־בִּלְשׁוֹנִ֥י עַוְלָ֑ה
אִם־חִ֝כִּ֗י לֹא־יָבִ֥ין הַוּֽוֹת
30 Is there on my tongue injustice?
As if my palate did not understand calamities?
הֲלֹא־צָבָ֣א לֶאֱנ֣וֹשׁ עֲלֵי־אָ֑רֶץ
וְכִימֵ֖י שָׂכִ֣יר יָמָֽיו
1 Is it not the press-gang for a mortal on earth
like the days of a mercenary, its days?
כְּעֶ֥בֶד יִשְׁאַף־צֵ֑ל
וּ֝כְשָׂכִ֗יר יְקַוֶּ֥ה פָעֳלֽוֹ
2 Like a slave, it sighs heavily for shade,
and like a mercenary, it expects its work.
כֵּ֤ן הָנְחַ֣לְתִּי לִ֭י יַרְחֵי־שָׁ֑וְא
וְלֵיל֥וֹת עָ֝מָ֗ל מִנּוּ־לִֽי
3 So for me, the torrent of vain months,
and nights of misery from him, for me.
אִם־שָׁכַ֗בְתִּי וְאָמַ֗רְתִּי מָתַ֣י אָ֭קוּם וּמִדַּד־עָ֑רֶב
וְשָׂבַ֖עְתִּי נְדֻדִ֣ים עֲדֵי־נָֽשֶׁף
4 If I lie down, then I say, When will I arise and dusk be measured?
And I am sated with measurings beyond twilight.
לָ֘בַ֤שׁ בְּשָׂרִ֣י רִ֭מָּה וְג֣וּשׁ עָפָ֑ר
עוֹרִ֥י רָ֝גַ֗ע וַיִּמָּאֵֽס
5 Clothed is my flesh, maggot and grimy lump,
my naked skin uneasy and repugnant.
יָמַ֣י קַ֭לּוּ מִנִּי־אָ֑רֶג
וַ֝יִּכְל֗וּ בְּאֶ֣פֶס תִּקְוָֽה
6 My days are speedier than a weaver's shuttle,
and they are consumed at the termination of a wait.
זְ֭כֹר כִּי־ר֣וּחַ חַיָּ֑י
לֹא־תָשׁ֥וּב עֵ֝ינִ֗י לִרְא֥וֹת טֽוֹב
7 Remember that but a wisp is my life.
My eye will not return back to see good.
לֹֽא־תְ֭שׁוּרֵנִי עֵ֣ין רֹ֑אִי
עֵינֶ֖יךָ בִּ֣י וְאֵינֶֽנִּי
8 The eye of my watcher will not see me.
Your eyes to me and there is no me.
כָּלָ֣ה עָ֭נָן וַיֵּלַ֑ךְ
כֵּ֥ן יוֹרֵ֥ד שְׁ֝א֗וֹל לֹ֣א יַעֲלֶֽה
9 A cloud consumes and he walks away,
so one descending to Sheol will not ascend.
לֹא־יָשׁ֣וּב ע֣וֹד לְבֵית֑וֹ
וְלֹא־יַכִּירֶ֖נּוּ ע֣וֹד מְקֹמֽוֹ
10 He will no longer return to his house
and his place will no longer recognize him.
גַּם־אֲנִי֮ לֹ֤א אֶחֱשָׂ֫ךְ פִּ֥י
אֲֽ֭דַבְּרָה בְּצַ֣ר רוּחִ֑י
אָ֝שִׂ֗יחָה בְּמַ֣ר נַפְשִֽׁי
11 Also I myself will not resist my mouth.
I speak in the straits of my spirit.
I ponder in the bitterness of my being.
הֲֽיָם־אָ֭נִי אִם־תַּנִּ֑ין
כִּֽי־תָשִׂ֖ים עָלַ֣י מִשְׁמָֽר
12 Am I the sea or a dragon
that you put a guard over me?
כִּֽי־אָ֭מַרְתִּי תְּנַחֲמֵ֣נִי עַרְשִׂ֑י
יִשָּׂ֥א בְ֝שִׂיחִ֗י מִשְׁכָּבִֽי
13 For I said, My bed will comfort me,
and my lying down will take away my pondering.
וְחִתַּתַּ֥נִי בַחֲלֹמ֑וֹת
וּֽמֵחֶזְיֹנ֥וֹת תְּבַעֲתַֽנִּי
14 Then you dismay me with dreams
and with visions you alarm me.
וַתִּבְחַ֣ר מַחֲנָ֣ק נַפְשִׁ֑י
מָ֝֗וֶת מֵֽעַצְמוֹתָֽי
15 Then my throat would choose strangling
death over my bones.
מָ֭אַסְתִּי לֹא־לְעֹלָ֣ם אֶֽחְיֶ֑ה
חֲדַ֥ל מִ֝מֶּ֗נִּי כִּי־הֶ֥בֶל יָמָֽי
16 I refuse. I will not live forever
Leave me alone, for my days are futility.
מָֽה־אֱ֭נוֹשׁ כִּ֣י תְגַדְּלֶ֑נּוּ
וְכִי־תָשִׁ֖ית אֵלָ֣יו לִבֶּֽךָ
17 What is a mortal that you make him great
and that you impose on him your heart.
וַתִּפְקְדֶ֥נּוּ לִבְקָרִ֑ים
לִ֝רְגָעִ֗ים תִּבְחָנֶֽנּוּ
18 And that you visit him in the mornings
and every moment you test him?
כַּ֭מָּה לֹא־תִשְׁעֶ֣ה מִמֶּ֑נִּי
לֹֽא־תַ֝רְפֵּ֗נִי עַד־בִּלְעִ֥י רֻקִּֽי
19 How long till you not look at me
or have done with me even as I swallow my spit?
חָטָ֡אתִי מָ֤ה אֶפְעַ֨ל ׀ לָךְ֮ נֹצֵ֪ר הָאָ֫דָ֥ם
לָ֤מָה שַׂמְתַּ֣נִי לְמִפְגָּ֣ע לָ֑ךְ
וָאֶהְיֶ֖ה עָלַ֣י לְמַשָּֽׂא
20 I have sinned. How will I work for you, observer of the human?
Why have you set me as your butt
so that I am a liability to myself?
וּמֶ֤ה ׀ לֹא־תִשָּׂ֣א פִשְׁעִי֮ וְתַעֲבִ֪יר אֶת־עֲוֺ֫נִ֥י
כִּֽי־עַ֭תָּה לֶעָפָ֣ר אֶשְׁכָּ֑ב
וְשִׁ֖חֲרְתַּ֣נִי וְאֵינֶֽנִּי פ
21 And why do you not assume liability for my transgression and go beyond my iniquity?
For now in the dust I will lie down
and early you will seek me and there is no me. P


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