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Job’s Confession

42 Then Job answered the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted;
you asked,[a] ‘Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?’
But[b] I have declared without understanding[c]
things too wonderful for me to know.[d]
You said,[e] ‘Pay attention, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you will answer me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye has seen you.[f]
Therefore I despise myself,[g]
and I repent in dust and ashes!”

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  1. Job 42:3 tn The expression “you asked” is added here to clarify the presence of the line to follow. Many commentators delete it as a gloss from Job 38:2. If it is retained, then Job has to be recalling God’s question before he answers it.
  2. Job 42:3 tn The word לָכֵן (lakhen) is simply “but,” as in Job 31:37.
  3. Job 42:3 tn Heb “and I do not understand.” The expression serves here in an adverbial capacity. It also could be subordinated as a complement: “I have declared [things that] I do not understand.”
  4. Job 42:3 tn The last clause is “and I do not know.” This is also subordinated to become a dependent clause.
  5. Job 42:4 tn This phrase, “you said,” is supplied in the translation to introduce the recollection of God’s words.
  6. Job 42:5 sn This statement does not imply there was a vision. He is simply saying that this experience of God was real and personal. In the past his knowledge of God was what he had heard—hearsay. This was real.
  7. Job 42:6 tn Or “despise what I said.” There is no object on the verb; Job could be despising himself or the things he said (see L. J. Kuyper, “Repentance of Job,” VT 9 [1959]: 91-94).