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I also have understanding[a] as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.[b]
Who does not know such things as these?[c]
I am[d] a laughingstock[e] to my friends,[f]
I, who called on God and whom he answered[g]
a righteous and blameless[h] man
is a laughingstock!
For calamity,[i] there is derision
(according to the ideas of the fortunate[j])—
a fate[k] for those whose feet slip.

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  1. Job 12:3 tn The word is literally “heart,” meaning a mind or understanding.
  2. Job 12:3 tn Because this line is repeated in 13:2, many commentators delete it from this verse (as does the LXX). The Syriac translates נֹפֵל (nofel) as “little,” and the Vulgate “inferior.” Job is saying that he does not fall behind them in understanding.
  3. Job 12:3 tn Heb “With whom are not such things as these?” The point is that everyone knows the things that these friends have been saying—they are commonplace.
  4. Job 12:4 tn Some are troubled by the disharmony with “I am” and “to his friend.” Even though the difficulty is not insurmountable, some have emended the text. Some simply changed the verb to “he is,” which was not very compelling. C. D. Isbell argued that אֶהְיֶה (ʾehyeh, “I am”) is an orthographic variant of יִהְיֶה (yihyeh, “he will”)—“a person who does not know these things would be a laughingstock” (JANESCU 37 [1978]: 227-36). G. R. Driver suggests the meaning of the MT is something like “(One that is) a mockery to his friend I am to be.”
  5. Job 12:4 tn The word simply means “laughter,” but it can also mean the object of laughter (see Jer 20:7). The LXX jumps from one “laughter” to the next, eliminating everything in between, presumably due to haplography.
  6. Job 12:4 tn Heb “his friend.” A number of English versions (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) take this collectively, “to my friends.”
  7. Job 12:4 tn Heb “one calling to God and he answered him.” H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 92) contends that because Job has been saying that God is not answering him, these words must be part of the derisive words of his friends.
  8. Job 12:4 tn The two words, צַדִּיק תָּמִים (tsadiq tamim), could be understood as a hendiadys (= “blamelessly just”) following W. G. E. Watson (Classical Hebrew Poetry, 327).
  9. Job 12:5 tn The first word, לַפִּיד (lapid), could be rendered “a torch of scorn,” but this gives no satisfying meaning. The ל (lamed) is often taken as an otiose letter, and the noun פִּיד (pid) is “misfortune, calamity” (cf. Job 30:24; 31:29).
  10. Job 12:5 tn The noun עַשְׁתּוּת (ʿashtut, preferably עַשְׁתּוֹת, ʿashtot) is an abstract noun from עָשַׁת (ʿashat, “to think”). The word שַׁאֲנָן (shaʾanan) means “easy in mind, carefree,” and “happy.”
  11. Job 12:5 tn The form has traditionally been taken to mean “is ready” from the verb כּוּן (kun, “is fixed, sure”). But many commentators look for a word parallel to “calamity.” So the suggestion has been put forward that נָכוֹן (nakhon) be taken as a noun from נָכָה (nakhah, “strike, smite”): “a blow” (Schultens, Dhorme, Gordis), “thrust” or “kick” (HALOT 698 s.v. I נָכוֹן).

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