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15 Even if he slays me, I will hope in him;[a]
I will surely[b] defend[c] my ways to his face.
16 Moreover, this will become my deliverance,
for no godless person would come before him.[d]
17 Listen carefully[e] to my words;
let your ears be attentive to my explanation.[f]

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  1. Job 13:15 tn There is a textual difficulty here that factors into the interpretation of the verse. The Kethib is לֹא (loʾ, “not”), but the Qere is לוֹ (lo, “to him”). The RSV takes the former: “Behold, he will slay me, I have no hope.” The NIV takes it as “though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” Job is looking ahead to death, which is not an evil thing to him. The point of the verse is that he is willing to challenge God at the risk of his life; and if God slays him, he is still confident that he will be vindicated—as he says later in this chapter. Other suggestions are not compelling. E. Dhorme (Job, 187) makes a slight change of אֲיַחֵל (ʾayakhel, “I will hope”) to אַחִיל (ʾakhil, “I will [not] tremble”). A. B. Davidson (Job, 98) retains the MT, but interprets the verb more in line with its use in the book: “I will not wait” (cf. NLT).
  2. Job 13:15 tn On אַךְ (ʾakh, “surely”) see GKC 483 §153 on intensive clauses.
  3. Job 13:15 tn The verb once again is יָכָה (yakhah, in the Hiphil, “argue a case, plead, defend, contest”). But because the word usually means “accuse” rather than “defend,” I. L. Seeligmann proposed changing “my ways” to “his ways” (“Zur Terminologie für das Gerichtsverfahren im Wortschatz des biblischen Hebräisch,” VTSup 16 [1967]: 251-78). But the word can be interpreted appropriately in the context without emendation.
  4. Job 13:16 sn The fact that Job will dare to come before God and make his case is evidence—to Job at least—that he is innocent.
  5. Job 13:17 tn The infinitive absolute intensifies the imperative, which serves here with the force of an immediate call to attention. In accordance with GKC 342 §113.n, the construction could be translated, “Keep listening” (so ESV).
  6. Job 13:17 tn The verb has to be supplied in this line, for the MT has “and my explanation in your ears.” In the verse, both “word” and “explanation” are Aramaisms (the latter appearing in Dan 5:12 for the explanation of riddles).

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