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A Friend’s First Words in Job 4:2

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image of Vetus Testamentum

AbstractThis paper will argue that at least Eliphaz’s opening words are within the norms of friendly and polite discourse that can be expected in the described circumstances. Unlike the prevailing view, it is being proposed that the referents in 2:4 are Job’s friends. This thesis rests on a slightly different reading of v. 4:2a (תְּלָאָה אֵלֶיךָ דַּבֵּר ?הֲנֶהַס, “Should we be silent? Speaking to you is a hardship”), and understanding v. 2:4b as being concerned with controlling the potential offensiveness of the words uttered, rather than with holding back the welled-up words.

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