New American Standard Bible
"As for me, is my complaint to man? And why should I not be impatient?
King James Bible
As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?
Darby Bible Translation
As for me, is my complaint to a man? or wherefore should not my spirit be impatient?
World English Bible
As for me, is my complaint to man? Why shouldn't I be impatient?
Young's Literal Translation
I -- to man is my complaint? and if so, wherefore May not my temper become short?
Job 21:4 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
As for me, is my complaint to man? - There is some difficulty in the interpretation of this verse, and considerable variety of explanation may be seen among expositors. The "object" of the verse is plain. It is to state a reason why they should hear him with patience and without interruption. The meaning of this part of the verse probably is, that his principal difficulty was not with his friends, but with God. It was not so much what they had said, that gave him trouble, as it was what God had done. Severe and cutting as were their rebukes, yet it was far more trying to him to be treated as he had been by God, "as if" he were a great sinner. That was what he could not understand. Perplexed and troubled, therefore, by the mysteriousness of the divine dealings, his friends ought to be willing to listen patiently to what he had to say; and in his anxiety to find out "why" God had treated him so, they ought not at once to infer that he was a wicked man, and to overwhelm him with increased anguish of spirit.
It will be recollected that Job repeatedly expressed the wish to be permitted to carry his cause at once up to God, and to have his adjudication on it. See Job 13:3, note; Job 13:18, notes. It is that to which he refers when he says here, that he wished to have the cause before God, and not before man. It was a matter which he wished to refer to the Almighty, and he ought to be allowed to express his sentiments with entire freedom. One of the difficulties in understanding this verse arises from the word "complaint." We use it in the sense of "murmuring," or "repining;" but this, I think, is not its meaning here. It is used rather in the sense of "cause, argument, reasoning, or reflections." The Hebrew word שׂיח śı̂yı̂ch means, properly, that which is "brought out" - from שׂיח śı̂yach, "to bring out, to put forth, to produce" - as buds, leaves, flowers; and then it means "words" - as brought out, or spoken; and then, meditations, reflections, discourses, speeches; and then it "may" mean "complaint." But there is no evidence that the word is used in that sense here. It means his reflections, or arguments. They were not to man. He wished to carry them at once before God, and he ought, therefore, to be allowed to speak freely. Jerome renders it, "disputatio mea." The Septuagint, ἔλεγξις elengcis - used here, probably, in the sense of "an argument to produce conviction," as it is often.
And if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled? - Margin, "shortened," meaning the same as troubled, afflicted, or impatient. A more literal translation will better express the idea which is now lost sight of, "And if so, why should not my spirit be distressed?" That is, since my cause is with God - since my difficulty is in understanding his dealings with me - since I have carried my cause up to him, and all now depends on him, why should I not be allowed to have solicitude in regard to the result? If I manifest anxiety, who can blame me? Who would not, when his all was at stake, and when the divine dealings toward him were so mysterious?
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