Job 19:23
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

King James Bible
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

Darby Bible Translation
Oh would that my words were written! oh that they were inscribed in a book!

World English Bible
"Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

Young's Literal Translation
Who doth grant now, That my words may be written? Who doth grant that in a book they may be graven?

Job 19:23 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Oh that my words were now written! - Margin, as in Hebrew, "Who will give;" a common mode of expressing desire among the Hebrews. This expression of desire introduces one of the most important passages in the book of Job. It is the language of a man who felt that injustice was done by his friends, and that he was not likely to have justice done him by that generation. He was charged with hypocrisy; his motives were called in question; his solemn appeals, and his arguments to assert his innocence, were disregarded; and in this state of mind he expresses the earnest wish that his expressions might be permanently recorded, and go down to far distant times. He desired that what he had said might be preserved, that future ages might be able to judge between him and his accusers, and to know the justice of his cause. The desire thus expressed has been granted, and a more permanent record bas been made than if, in accordance with his request, his sentiments had been engraved on lead or stone.

Oh that they were printed! - It is clear that this expression may convey wholly an erroneous idea. The art of "printing" was then unknown; and the passage has no allusion to that art. The original word (חקק châqaq) means properly, to cut in, to hew; then to cut - e. g. a sepulchre in a rock, Isaiah 22:16; then to cut, or engrave letters on a tablet of lead or stone, Isaiah 30:8; Ezekiel 4:1; and generally it implies the notion of engraving, or inscribing on a plate with an engraving tool. Anciently books were made of materials which allowed of this mode of making a record. Stone would probably be the first material; and then plates of metal, leaves, bark, skins, etc. The notion of engraving, however, is the proper idea here.

In a book - - בספר besêpher. The word ספר drow sêpher is derived from ספר sâphar. In Arabic the kindred word shafar means to scratch, to scrape; and hence, to engrave, write, record - and the idea was originally that ofinsculping or engraving on a stone. Hence, the word comes to denote a book, of any materials, or made in any form. Pliny, speaking of the materials of ancient books, says, Olim in palmarum foliis scriptitatum, et libris quarundam arborum; postea publira monumenta plumbeis voluminibus, mox et privata lintels confici coepta aut ceris. Lib. xiii. 11. "At first men wrote on the leaves of the palm, or the bark of certain trees; but afterward public documents were preserved in leaden volumes (or rolls), and those of a private nature on wax or linen." "Montfaucon purchased at Rome, in 1699, an ancient book entirely composed of lead. It was about four inches long, and three inches wide: and not only were the two pieces that formed the cover, and the leaves, six in number, of lead, but also the stick inserted through the rings to hold the leaves together, as well as the hinges and nails. It contained Egyptian Gnostic figures and unintelligible writing. Brass, as more durable, was used for the inscriptions designed to last the longest, such as treaties, laws, and alliances. These public documents were, however, usually written on large tablets. The style for writing on brass and other hard substances was sometimes tipped with diamond."

The meaning of the word here is evidently a record made on stone or lead - for so the following verses indicate. The art of writing or engraving was known in the time of Job; but I do not know that there is evidence that the art of writing on leaves, bark, or vellum was yet understood. As books in the form in which they are now were then unknown; as there is no evidence that at that time anything like volumes or rolls were possessed; as the records were probably preserved on tablets of stone or lead; and as the entire description here pertains to something that was engraved; and as this sense is conveyed by the Arabic verb from which the word ספר sêpher, book, is derived, the word tablet, or some kindred word, will better express the sense of the original than book - and I have, therefore, used it in the translation.

Assyrian records are found generally in stone or clay; and the latter being more easily and speedily engraven with a triangular instrument, was more frequently employed.

(1) An Assyrian terra-cotta cylinder from Khorsabad contains the annals of the reign of Sargon. It is dated about 721 B.C.

(2) A hexagonal terra cotta cylinder from Koyunjik contains the annals of the first eight years of the reign of Sennacherib (702 to 694 B.C.), with an account of the expedition against Hezekiah.

(3) The inscription shows Assyrian scribes making notes of prisoners, heads of slain, spoils, etc. It comes from Koyunjik.

Job 19:23 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Job's Sure Knowledge
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth,"--Job 19:25. I DARESAY you know that there are a great many difficulties about the translation of this passage. It is a very complicated piece of Hebrew, partly, I suppose, owing to its great antiquity, being found in what is, probably, one of the oldest Books of the Bible. Besides that, different persons have tried to translate it according to their own varying views. The Jews stiffly fight against the notion of the Messiah and his resurrection being found in
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 50: 1904

My Beloved Put in his Hand through the Opening, and My Bowels Thrilled at his Touch.
The Well-beloved, notwithstanding the resistance of his Bride, [29] puts in his hand by a little opening which yet remains to Him, that is, a remnant of abandonment, in spite of the repugnance of the soul to abandon herself so absolutely. A soul in this degree has a depth of submission to every will of God that will refuse him nothing; but when he unfolds his plans in detail, [30] and using the rights He has acquired over her, calls for the last renunciation and the extremest sacrifices, then it
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon

Whether There is to be a Resurrection of the Body?
Objection 1: It would seem that there is not to be a resurrection of the body: for it is written (Job 14:12): "Man, when he is fallen asleep, shall not rise again till the heavens be broken." But the heavens shall never be broken, since the earth, to which seemingly this is still less applicable, "standeth for ever" (Eccles. 1:4). Therefore the man that is dead shall never rise again. Objection 2: Further, Our Lord proves the resurrection by quoting the words: "I am the God of Abraham, and the God
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether after the Resurrection the Saints Will See God with the Eyes of the Body? [*Cf. Fp, Q , a ]
Objection 1: It would seem that after the resurrection the saints will see God with the eyes of the body. Because the glorified eye has greater power than one that is not glorified. Now the blessed Job saw God with his eyes (Job 42:5): "With the hearing of the ear, I have heard Thee, but now my eye seeth Thee." Much more therefore will the glorified eye be able to see God in His essence. Objection 2: Further, it is written (Job 19:26): "In my flesh I shall see God my Saviour [Vulg.: 'my God']." Therefore
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Cross References
Job 19:24
"That with an iron stylus and lead They were engraved in the rock forever!

Isaiah 30:8
Now go, write it on a tablet before them And inscribe it on a scroll, That it may serve in the time to come As a witness forever.

Jeremiah 36:2
"Take a scroll and write on it all the words which I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah, and concerning all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, even to this day.

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