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12 Why did the knees welcome me,[a]
and why were there[b] two breasts[c]
that I might nurse at them?[d]

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  1. Job 3:12 tn The verb קִדְּמוּנִי (qiddemuni) is the Piel from קָדַם (qadam), meaning “to come before; to meet; to prevent.” Here it has the idea of going to meet or welcome someone. In spite of various attempts to connect the idea to the father or to adoption rites, it probably simply means the mother’s knees that welcome the child for nursing. See R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, The sufferer is looking back over all the possible chances of death, including when he was brought forth, placed on the knees or lap, and breastfed.
  2. Job 3:12 tn There is no verb in the second half of the verse. The idea simply has, “and why breasts that I might suck?”
  3. Job 3:12 sn The commentaries mention the parallel construction in the writings of Ashurbanipal: “You were weak, Ashurbanipal, you who sat on the knees of the goddess, queen of Nineveh; of the four teats that were placed near to your mouth, you sucked two and you hid your face in the others” (M. Streck, Assurbanipal [VAB], 348).
  4. Job 3:12 tn Heb “that I might suckle.” The verb is the Qal imperfect of יָנַק (yanaq, “suckle”). Here the clause is subordinated to the preceding question and so functions as a final imperfect.

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