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20 My bones stick to my skin and my flesh;[a]
I have escaped[b] alive[c] with only the skin of my teeth.

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Footnotes

  1. Job 19:20 tn The meaning would be “I am nothing but skin and bones” in current English idiom. Both lines of this verse need attention. The first half seems to say, “My skin and my flesh sticks to my bones.” Some think that this is too long, and that the bones can stick to the skin, or the flesh, but not both. Dhorme proposes “in my skin my flesh has rotted away” (רָקַב, raqav). This involves several changes in the line, however. He then changes the second line to read “and I have gnawed my bone with my teeth” (transferring “bone” from the first half and omitting “skin”). There are numerous other renderings of this; some of the more notable are: “I escape, my bones in my teeth” (Merx); “my teeth fall out” (Duhm); “my teeth fall from my gums” (Pope); “my bones protrude in sharp points” (Kissane). A. B. Davidson retains “the skin of my teeth,” meaning “gums.” This is about the last thing that Job has, or he would not be able to speak. For a detailed study of this verse, D. J. A. Clines devotes two full pages of textual notes (Job [WBC], 430-31). He concludes with “My bones hang from my skin and my flesh, I am left with only the skin of my teeth.”
  2. Job 19:20 tn Or “I am left.”
  3. Job 19:20 tn The word “alive” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

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