15 Although[a] I am innocent,[b] I could not answer him;[c] I could only plead[d] with my judge[e] for mercy.
Job 9:15tn The line begins with אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher, “which”), which is omitted in the LXX and the Syriac. The particle אִם (ʾim) can introduce a concessive clause (GKC 498 §160.a) or a conditional clause (GKC 495 §159.n). The idea here seems to be “even if I were…I could not….”
Job 9:15tn The verb is צָדַקְתִּי (tsadaqti, “I am right [or “righteous”]”). The term here must be forensic, meaning “in the right” or “innocent” (see 11:2; 13:18; 33:12; 40:8). Job is claiming to be in the right, but still has difficulty speaking to God.
Job 9:15tn The form is the Qal imperfect of the verb “answer.” As the text stands, Job is saying that he cannot answer or could not answer (contend with) God if given a chance. Some commentators think a Niphal fits better here: “I am not answered,” meaning God does not reply to him. This has the LXX, the Syriac, and Theodotion in support of it. The advantage would be to avoid the repetition of the same word from v. 14. But others rightly reject this, because all Job is saying here is that he would be too overwhelmed by God to answer him in court. The LXX change to a passive is understandable in that it would be seeking a different idea in this verse and without vocalization might have assumed a passive voice here.
Job 9:15tn The verb אֶתְחַנָּן (ʾetkhannan) is the Hitpael of חָנַן (khanan), meaning “seek favor,” make supplication,” or “plead for mercy.” The nuance would again be a modal nuance; if potential, then the translation would be “I could [only] plead for mercy.”
Job 9:15tn The word מְשֹׁפְטִי (meshofeti) appears to be simply “my judge.” But most modern interpretations take the Poel participle to mean “my adversary in a court of law.” Others argue that the form is at least functioning as a noun and means “judge” (see 8:5). This would fit better with the idea of appealing for mercy from God. The dilemma of Job, of course, is that the Lord would be both his adversary in the case and his judge.
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