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For the arrows[a] of the Almighty[b] are within me;
my spirit[c] drinks their poison;[d]
God’s sudden terrors[e] are arrayed against[f] me.

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  1. Job 6:4 sn Job uses an implied comparison here to describe his misfortune—it is as if God had shot poisoned arrows into him (see E. Dhorme, Job, 76-77 for a treatment of poisoned arrows in the ancient world).
  2. Job 6:4 sn Job here clearly states that his problems have come from the Almighty, which is what Eliphaz said. But whereas Eliphaz said Job provoked the trouble by his sin, Job is perplexed because he does not think he did.
  3. Job 6:4 tn Most commentators take “my spirit” as the subject of the participle “drinks.” The NEB does not; it follows the older versions to say that the poison “drinks up (or “soaks in”) the spirit.” The image of the poisoned arrow represents the calamity or misfortune from God, which is taken in by Job’s spirit and enervates him.
  4. Job 6:4 tn The LXX translators knew that a liquid should be used with the verb “drink,” but they took the line to be “whose violence drinks up my blood.” For the rest of the verse they came up with, “whenever I am going to speak they pierce me.”
  5. Job 6:4 tn The word translated “sudden terrors” is found only here and in Ps 88:16 [17]. G. R. Driver notes that the idea of suddenness is present in the root, and so renders this word as “sudden assaults” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 73).
  6. Job 6:4 tn The verb עָרַךְ (ʿarakh) means “to set in battle array.” The suffix on the verb is dative (see GKC 369 §117.x). Many suggestions have been made for changing this word. These seem unnecessary since the MT pointing yields a good meaning: but for the references to these suggestions, see D. J. A. Clines, Job (WBC), 158. H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 59), nonetheless, follows the suggestion of Driver that connects it to a root meaning “wear me down.” This change of meaning requires no change in the Hebrew text. The image is of a beleaguering army; the host is made up of all the terrors from God. The reference is to the terrifying and perplexing thoughts that assail Job (A. B. Davidson, Job, 44).

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