Sign up ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I noticed that in the 2011 NIV, Job 28 is marked off as an interlude as does not appear in quotation marks; whereas in the 1984 NIV, the text appears in quotation marks and is considered a part of Job's final speech. I can see how 29:1 might recommend the 2011 approach. Should this passage about wisdom be considered an interlude by the narrator? If so, why might the narrator choose to place it there?

share|improve this question
I know you know this, but for the sake of people reading this later: quotation marks represent an interpretation on the part of the translator. Neither ancient Hebrew nor Greek had symbols for demarking a passage as a quotation. So the question is about how the passage in question ought to be rendered using modern punctuation. (It's a great question that I don't know how to answer myself. +1) – Jon Ericson Nov 22 '11 at 21:13

2 Answers 2

My Jerusalem Bible interprets Job's speech in chapter 27 as ending at verse 12. It assigns the rest of chapter 27 to Zophar (via the paragraph heading "The speech of Zophar: the accursed"). When it gets to chapter 28 it makes a major break with a chapter heading that says "D. A HYMN IN PRAISE OF WISDOM" and follows this with the paragraph heading "Wisdom is beyond man's reach". The entire chapter is set as three stanzas of verse. The end of the chapter has another major break and the chapter heading "E. CONCLUSION OF THE DIALOGUE" introducing chapter 29.

The Jerusalem Bible, then, does not attempt to assign chapter 28 to any of the characters making speeches in Job. It breaks chapter 27 after verse 12 based upon a change of subject and tone from Job's defensiveness to accusative content. It assigns the accusative content to Zophar because Job's other two accusers have already had their say in this round of the conversation.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to our Biblical Hermeneutics Q&A site! We're a little different from a forum, so do take the site tour if you haven't already. I think you can benefit a lot if you see the kind of answers that this site is looking for. Be sure to visit the tour to learn more about this site. – Paul Vargas Mar 18 at 0:20
I realize my answer imperfectly addresses the question, but since it had no responses at all (since 2011) I thought a partial answer would be more helpful than nothing. – King David Mar 18 at 15:14

Jon is right about the punctuation. Since there weren't chapter or verse markings as well, the punctuation needs to be taken in context. Chapter 28 does not introduce a new speaker, so it is a continuation of Job's speech from 27. If it were someone else speaking, it would say so, like it does at the beginning of all the other speeches.

share|improve this answer

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Welcome to Stack Exchange! If you haven't done so already, check out the site tour. In particular, be sure to read the section on what constitutes a good answer and when you have a moment, revise your post to either cite references that back your position or to more thoroughly explain how you get this interpretation from the text itself. Please note that "showing your work" is required for answers to be considered "good" and get upvotes from the community on this Stack Exchange. – James Shewey 20 hours ago

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.