I'm struggling to understand Job 16v8, specifically why it is translated as it is in the majority of versions.

This link gives many translations;


You can see that most say "you have filled me with wrinkles" - like the guy is an un-ironed shirt. When I go to Blue Letter Bible, the definition of the word "qamat" is to seize or grab.

Where are they getting "wrinkles" from?

Other translations have "shrivelled" - similar. And similarly dumb, as far as I can see.

Also the word in the same verse translated "leanness" can also be translated lies or deception. Indeed everywhere else in the OT it is translated as lies or deception, so why here is it translated leanness?

I have read commentaries, but nobody really explains why it is translated as it is. A few bibles do switch "wrinkles" for "seize", but the majority are as I stated. what gives??

  • the question as I understand it, does not have a definitive, satisfactory answer. Thankfully an answer as such isn't needed. We know he was weary for his life was being seized, or shriveled or wrinkled and it showed on his face. Here's a great resource on the verse studylight.org/commentary/job/16-8.html. God bless.
    – N.Ish
    Mar 19, 2017 at 21:42
  • @Peter Prographo 'wrinkles' is what Jerome & co understood from the text. Job isn't referring to his person directly, but to the nature of 'comfort' he had in his friends, even as the context of Job 16:1-11 itself shows that it's the friends under examination, as also seen next in Job 17:4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding 10 But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you. As to the 'leanness' which always 'lying or deception' elsewhere, Job could never say such things of himself(Job 27:4) but of his company, the 'witnesses'...
    – Ted O
    Mar 22, 2017 at 12:16
  • @Ted O, who is the "he" & "you" in the verses. is it God or the Friends? NKJV has "He" in 7a, "You" in 7b, "You" in 8a, "He" in 9a, "He" in 9b.... that seems definitive, but is it so clear in the Hebrew? or is it inferred? Mar 24, 2017 at 8:34
  • @Peter Prographo Job 21:4 As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled. This accounts for 'You'. Job addresses both God and man, which accounts for switching the pronouns. It's can be observed how he so laboured to make his friends see the origin and nature of things that befell him. This accounts for the 'he'. But as to his audience, it's a clear 'they' for the most part.
    – Ted O
    Mar 25, 2017 at 3:21
  • Ted, is it reasonable to pull in verses 5 chapters later? I feel 7a, 7b, 8a, etc. are ALL in reference to God (not the friends) - often when Job speaks, he speaks first to the friends, then to God - in separate blocks, but never mixed. Mar 26, 2017 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


The phrase "you have filled me with wrinkles" is reduced to the word qamat, קמט, in the Strong's Concordance. This word means:

Strong's reference H7059

קמט qâmaṭ

Brown Driver Briggs' Definition:

  1. to seize
    A. (Qal) to seize
    B. (Pual) to be snatched away prematurely

Part of Speech: verb

As to why the translators chose "wrinkles", according to Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible:

The word in Chaldee (קמט qâmaṭ) means to wrinkle, or collect in wrinkles; and is applied to anything that is “contracted,” or rough.

The translators might have relied on the Chaldee here to tie to the thought Job referred to his face was bearing witness to the leanness. And the leanness according to Strong's:

"literally a failure of flesh, that is, emaciation;" is a witness of his health being "seized/snatched away prematurely". So "leanness" is a good translation for this context. (leanness, see Strong's H3585)

The word קמט qâmaṭ is only part of the original Hebrew word, the entire word is וַֽ֭תִּקְמְטֵנִי ,vat·tik·me·te·ni, which when translating into English requires more than one word. The phrase "you have filled me with wrinkles" may be better translated as "you have seized/snatch me away prematurely".

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