Two Military Metaphors in Elihu’s Fourth Speech (JOB 36:19–20)

Aron Pinker


This article suggests that the difficulties associated with the interpretation of Job 36:19–20 stem from the misconception that these verses are an elaboration of v. 18b, and refer to Job’s potentially misguided notions: his reliance on wealth, pleading, salvation, etc. Accordingly, commentators usually understood שׁוּעֲךָ as meaning “your cry for help, your wealth”. The reading שׁוֹעֲךָ , and its meaning “your noble, your potentate”, has been ignored, whether intentionally or not. It is shown in this study that if such a reading and sense are admitted, a simple coherent text can be obtained in which Elihu tries to advise Job on what his attitude toward God should be, using military metaphors and terminology. The metaphors in vv. 19–20, relating to daytime and night-time military operations, fit contextually the list of warnings in vv. 18–21, but are focused on misdirection and confusion. Elihu advises Job that in his complaints, like any commander, he should have a clear target, and not look for surprising moves, which might cause more surprise to him than to his opponent


Job 36; Biblical Job; Biblical military metaphors;

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