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Job 9:30-32 New English Translation (NET Bible)

30 If I wash myself with snow-melt water,[a]
and make my hands clean with lye,[b]
31 then you plunge me into a slimy pit[c]
and my own clothes abhor me.
32 For he[d] is not a human being like I am,
that[e] I might answer him,
that we might come[f] together in judgment.

Footnotes:

  1. Job 9:30 tn The Syriac and Targum Job read with the Qere “with water of [בְמֵי, veme] snow.” The Kethib simply has “in [בְמוֹ, vemo] snow.” In Ps 51:9 and Isa 1:18 snow forms a simile for purification. Some protest that snow water is not necessarily clean, but if fresh melting snow is meant, then the runoff would be very clear. The image would work well here. Nevertheless, others have followed the later Hebrew meaning for שֶׁלֶג (sheleg)—“soap” (so NIV, NRSV, NLT). Even though that makes a nice parallelism, it is uncertain whether that meaning was in use at the time this text was written.
  2. Job 9:30 tn The word בֹּר (bor, “lye, potash”) does not refer to purity (Syriac, KJV, ASV), but refers to the ingredient used to make the hands pure or clean. It has the same meaning as בֹּרִית (borit), the alkali or soda made from the ashes of certain plants.
  3. Job 9:31 tn The pointing in the MT gives the meaning “pit” or “ditch.” A number of expositors change the pointing to שֻׁחוֹת (shukhot) to obtain the equivalent of שֻׂחוֹת (sukhot) / סֻחוֹת (sukhot): “filth” (Isa 5:25). This would make the contrast vivid—Job has just washed with pure water and soap, and now God plunges him into filth. M. H. Pope argues convincingly that the word “pit” in the MT includes the idea of “filth,” making the emendation unnecessary (“The Word sahat in Job 9:31, ” JBL 83 [1964]: 269-78).
  4. Job 9:32 tn The personal pronoun that would be expected as the subject of a noun clause is sometimes omitted (see GKC 360 §116.s). Here it has been supplied.
  5. Job 9:32 tn The consecutive clause is here attached without the use of the ו (vav), but only by simple juxtaposition (see GKC 504-5 §166.a).
  6. Job 9:32 tn The sense of the verb “come” with “together in judgment” means “to confront one another in court.” See Ps 143:2.
New English Translation (NET)

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