Job 13:15

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Tue Oct 10 17:11:47 EDT 2000

On Tue 10 Oct 2000 (14:28:34), rwponder at wrote:
>  As to the verse in question, I take "Were he to slay me, I would
> be without hope" (with the sense that God will *not* slay him, so he
> therefore still has hope) as the likely rendering -- keeping the negative
> force of lamedh-aleph and also drawing on the same understanding you state
> here that "Job has not given up hope."  The big-picture issue is that Job
> is dealing largely with the question of life-death; will he live or die in
> the immediate situation? The three friends all assume that he will die in
> short order if he does not name his sin and repent of it.

 Dear Robert,

 Yes, agreed.  Job was ignorant of the Prologue in heaven, and did not know
 that God had forbidden Satan to actually kill him. So he is not going to die
 of whatever disease he was smitten with, in spite of his fears and the
 prognostications of his miserable comforters. But he did not know that!

> In 2:9, Job's
> wife's statement, commonly translated "Curse God, and die," is more
> literally rendered, "Bless God -- and die (anyway)."  In other words,
> Job's wife assumes that his death is imminent, as do the three friends,
> though perhaps all for different reasons.  Although I have a personal
> belief in hope-beyond-death ("Though he slay me, yet will I trust him"),
> Job's hope might better be described as hope-*against*-death. Job is
> going to "hang in there" in this dialogue with God -- and survive.

 The formula /Curse God and die/ is another example of BeReK as a euphemism
 for Curse or Blaspheme. To avoid committing the same offence, the speaker
 reporting an alleged blasphemy would substitute Bless for Curse. Compare
 the Naboth's Vineyard incident, 1 Kings 21:10, 13.

 Or perhaps Mrs Job really meant "Bless God, and die praising him". Habakkuk
 was able to praise God in spite of the prospect of famine and dearth
 (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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