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25 Do you wish to torment[a] a windblown[b] leaf
and chase after dry chaff?[c]
26 For you write down[d] bitter things against me
and cause me to inherit the sins of my youth.[e]
27 And you put my feet in the stocks[f]
and you watch all my movements;[g]
you put marks[h] on the soles of my feet.

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  1. Job 13:25 tn The verb תַּעֲרוֹץ (taʿarots, “you torment”) is from עָרַץ (ʿarats), which usually means “fear; dread,” but can also mean “to make afraid; to terrify” (Isa 2:19, 21). The imperfect is here taken as a desiderative imperfect: “why do you want to,” but it could also be a simple future: “will you torment.”
  2. Job 13:25 tn The word נִדָּף (niddaf) is “driven” from the root נָדַף (nadaf, “drive”). The words “by the wind” or the interpretation “windblown” has to be added for the clarification. Job is comparing himself to this leaf (so an implied comparison, called hypocatastasis)—so light and insubstantial that it is amazing that God should come after him. Guillaume suggests that the word is not from this root, but from a second root נָדַף (nadaf), cognate to Arabic nadifa, “to dry up” (A. Guillaume, “A Note on Isaiah 19:7, ” JTS 14 [1963]: 382-83). But as D. J. A. Clines notes (Job [WBC], 283), a dried leaf is a driven leaf—a point Guillaume allows as he says there is ambiguity in the term.
  3. Job 13:25 tn The word קַשׁ (qash) means “chaff; stubble,” or a wisp of straw. It is found in Job 41:20-21 for that which is so worthless and insignificant that it is hardly worth mentioning. If dried up or withered, it too will be blown away in the wind.
  4. Job 13:26 tn The meaning is that of writing down a formal charge against someone (cf. Job 31:15).
  5. Job 13:26 sn Job acknowledges sins in his youth, but they are trifling compared to the suffering he now endures. Job thinks it unjust of God to persecute him now for those—if that is what is happening.
  6. Job 13:27 tn The word occurs here and in Job 33:11. It could be taken as “stocks,” in which the feet were held fast; or it could be “shackles,” which allowed the prisoner to move about. The parallelism favors the latter, if the two lines are meant to be referring to the same thing.
  7. Job 13:27 tn The word means “ways; roads; paths,” but it is used here in the sense of the “way” in which one goes about his activities.
  8. Job 13:27 tn The verb תִּתְחַקֶּה (titkhaqqeh) is a Hitpael from the root חָקָה (khaqah, parallel to חָקַק, khaqaq). The word means “to engrave” or “to carve out.” This Hitpael would mean “to imprint something on oneself” (E. Dhorme [Job, 192] says on one’s mind, and so derives the meaning “examine.”). The object of this is the expression “on the roots of my feet,” which would refer to where the feet hit the ground. Since the passage has more to do with God’s restricting Job’s movement, the translation “you set a boundary to the soles of my feet” would be better than Dhorme’s view. The image of inscribing or putting marks on the feet is not found elsewhere. It may be, as Pope suggests, a reference to marking the slaves to make tracking them easier. The LXX has “you have penetrated to my heels.”

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