Stephen & Rebecca Shead
srshead at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 15:02:45 EDT 2008
I too enjoyed your article, and am intrigued by your possible inclusio (2:11
and 42:6). But (as I'm lecturing on Job at the moment) I'd like your
response to a couple of things from your posts:
(1) All other occurrences of NXM in the book (apart from the participle in
16:2) have a direct object - in every case an object pronoun, except 29:25.
In 42:6 there is no direct object. (Incidentally, the participle is a
special case. In my view one of the functions of non-finite verb forms is to
allow the speaker to focus on the action itself, in an abstract way, without
needing to instantiate participants in the action. The lack of an object is
Moreover, according to HALOT the niphal of NXM frequently means "console
oneself, let oneself be consoled". My question here is: Even accepting your
interpretation, why do you insist on an intransitive piel rather than a
niphal? You mentioned you don't have time to see whether there is any other
instance of an intransitive piel NXM in the MT. I don't either (!), but from
a quick scan it seems very consistently transitive to me.
Apart from the niphal, HALOT gives two other options for a passive/reflexive
NXM: pual ("become consoled") and hithpael ("console oneself").
(2) Your statement that "Job has nothing as such to repent of" is
contentious at best. The immediate context of 42:6 is the divine speeches,
and each of YHWH's speeches opens with an accusation, at least implicitly
(38:2; 40:8; also possibly 40:2). Indeed, you've skirted the most
interesting and intriguing question of all: how to reconcile those
statements with God's statement to Eliphaz in 42:7. I take it that at least
one factor in trying to hold them together is the fact that in chs 38-41
YHWH is dealing only with Job and his complaints, whereas in 42:7ff he is
judging between Job and the friends in their dispute (cf. Habel's
identification of two conflicts in the dialogues: between Job and the
friends, and between Job and God).
But 38:2 and 40:8 very clearly give Job something contextually-salient to
"regret" or be "remorseful" about.
(3) I'm not convinced that these renderings are an attempt to "tone down"
the meaning of NXM. I would have thought the normal "repent (of blatant
iniquity)" word would be $UW, as in Job 36:10. "Regret" and "be remorseful"
seem to fit much of the usage of NXM. But even translating it "repent" isn't
a problem, in my view: it depends OF WHAT Job is repenting. On the
traditional view, it would be his "words without knowledge". Clearly, given
42:7, this is negligible compared with the attitude of the friends.
Centro de Estudios Pastorales
From: David Kummerow [mailto:farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 8 April 2008 11:52 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] NXM
I can't remember off-hand if there are other examples of NXM as an
intransitive piel and don't have time at the moment to check unfortunately.
Personally, I don't think venixamti reads naturally as a standard
niphal: (a) all other occurrences of NXM in the book are "comfort" and
not "repent"; (b) the conceptual links back to the prologue and the
friends coming to "comfort"; and (c) I take it that Job has nothing as
such to repent of (hence commentaries tend to tone down considerably
what "repent" means here) as God commends what Job has spoken of him to
the friends (42:7, 8) -- a referral which cannot be naturally taken as
contained to the final chapters (cf. Porter's article in EQ 63 (1991)).
Maybe another rendering might be: "Therefore, I melt [in reverence] and
receive comfort upon dust and ash."
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