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The Impossibility of Facing God in Court

14 “How much less,[a] then, can I answer him[b]
and choose my words[c] to argue[d] with[e] him.[f]

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  1. Job 9:14 tn The construction אַף כִּי־אָנֹכִי (ʾaf ki ʾanokhi) is an expression that means either “how much more” or “how much less.” Here it has to mean “how much less,” for if powerful forces like Rahab are crushed beneath God’s feet, how could Job contend with him?
  2. Job 9:14 tn The imperfect verb here is to be taken with the nuance of a potential imperfect. The idea of “answer him” has a legal context, i.e., answering God in a court of law. If God is relentless in his anger toward greater powers, then Job realizes it is futile for him.
  3. Job 9:14 sn In a legal controversy with God it would be essential to choose the correct words very carefully (humanly speaking), but the calmness and presence of mind to do that would be shattered by the overwhelming terror of God’s presence.
  4. Job 9:14 tn The verb is supplied in this line.
  5. Job 9:14 tn The preposition אִם (ʾim, “with”) carries the idea of “in contest with” in a number of passages (compare vv. 2, 3; 16:21).
  6. Job 9:14 tn The LXX goes a different way after changing the first person to the third: “Oh then that he would hearken to me, or judge my cause.”

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