b-hebrew digest: November 03, 2000
Reginald Wallace Ponder, Jr.
rwponder at lycos.com
Tue Nov 7 10:30:12 EST 2000
>Bill, Thanks for your interest in this passage. I would be interested in
seeing your translation, which you mentioned in an earlier post. Anyway,
I have responded to your comments below with a further
explanation/description of my position.
> > Anyway, my own sense of Job 42:5-6 is as follows:
> >v5 By the hearing of the ear I had heard You, but now my eye has seen You:
> >v6 Therefore I shall reject that I should grieve upon dust and ashes.
> >Thus, Job refuses mournful despair. I have taken the *waw* in v6 to be an
> >introduction of a dependent clause that functions as the direct object of
> >*mem-aleph-samek*. Although such a construction would not be expected in
> >prose, I have found it several places in the Psalms. Since Job is poetry, this
> >translation seems justifiable. Also, this rendering avoids the problem of
> >leaving *mem-aleph-samek* without a direct object. Although BH does not have
> >the same problem English has with transitive verbs lacking objects, it still is
> >less problematic to construe the *waw* in this way than to leave a transitive
> >verb bereft of an object.
> > Of course, *nun-heht-mem* in v6 could be translated "repent," so that Job
> >would be refusing to repent -- essentially what you are saying, Robert.
> You responded:
The problem is -- does mem-aleph-samek mean refuse or reject or some
> similar meaning or is it the word which means to melt, dissolve, loose
> courage and so on?
R.W.P. -- I have cast my vote for refuse/reject, though I would be
interested in the case for a different rendering
It seems to me that Job has had the wind taken out of
> his sails, to borrow the colloquialism. He says he's spoken
> of things he didn't understand properly.
R.W.P. -- Yes, and the question still at hand is just what these "things"
are. In his speeches, Job at times has expressed defiance toward God
(supporting the conventional repentance understanding). At other times he
has articulated a dark misery akin to despair (supporting the
rejection-of-despair understanding, which is a different kind of
repentance). It seems to me that despair is the keynote, but it's hard to
know how to weigh the evidence in this matter. Should we count verses to
see how many tend in one direction or another? Or is there a way to
measure the intensity of feeling behind various statements?
It's difficult in the context
> of v 1-5 to see how v 6 could be anything but a continuation of
> the repentance process.
R.W.P. -- Of course, the question is: Of what does he repent?
Saying that refuses to repent or refuses to
> be miserable seems out of line with the other verses.
R.W.P. -- "Refuses to repent" and "Refuses to be miserable" are different
statements, however. To refuse to be miserable *is* a kind of repentance
in this context, in which Job has been articulating his verge-of-despair
mindset at great length. *Refuses to repent* is defensible on grammatical
grounds, but I agree that it does not fit well with the context -- whether
"context" is taken to mean 42:1-6 or the Book of Job as a whole. *Refuses
to be miserable*, however, fits the context if one understands
misery/mourning/despair as a major focus of Job's speeches.
> To those who read the LXX, how did these early translators understand
> v 6?
> Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury University \_
> E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz </ New
> Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax 64-3-364-2332 /) Zealand
> Unix Systems Administrator (/'
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