When we examine the Hebrew and Greek texts of Job 40:8, the question of the difference between being "righteous" (titsedaq) and "just" (dikaios) in Semitic culture arises.
Job aspired to be "tsadyq" (in the Hebrew text), while the Septuagint translated it as "dikaios" in Greek, which means "just." However, why, in the first verse of the first chapter of the Septuagint, is Job already described as "just" (dikaios)? What was the reason that led the Septuagint's redactor to not interpret the Hebrew term "veyashar" as "right" in the first verse, and instead choose "just" (dikaios) in Greek?
What is the distinction between being "right" (veveyashar וְיָשָׁ֛ר) and "just" (ytsedaq) in Job 1:1?
In the Jewish concept, a "righteous" (tsadyq) person is someone who waits, possessing absolute certainty, not mere belief. It is someone who remains on the Eternal Way, through the logos (Greek) / dabar (Hebrew) of God, with Abraham being a notable example, as seen in Romans 4:13-25.
Was Job "righteous in his own eyes" throughout this process? Certainly, Job, being "veyashar" (right), was eager to become "tsadaq" (just) in order to quickly reverse his situation. Indeed, in 42:6, Job acknowledges his error: "... for I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes..."
After this, the LORD responded to Job in the whirlwind, saying: "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?" (Job 40:6).
In the Hebrew text, the term ישר (veyashar) from the first verse, translated as "right" or "straight," reappears in the eighth verse of the first chapter of Job. A complement to understanding the Hebrew text is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The term δικαιος (dikaios) from the first verse of the Septuagint, translated as "just," does not appear in the eighth verse, representing God's opinion of Job. Only in the first verse of the Septuagint is it mentioned that Job was "just" (δικαιος - dikaios). It becomes evident that the Greek translation extended beyond the Hebrew, and the Portuguese translations that used the term "just" followed this interpretation. Job was actually only "right" (veyashar), and through tribulation, he would become "just" (tsadaq) or δικαιος (dikaios) in Greek.
As we read Genesis 15:6, where it says "... and he believed in YHWH; and he counted it to him as righteousness...", we realize that one of the main characteristics of the righteous (tsadyq) in Semitic culture is their ability to wait due to the confidence they possess.
Normally, the word "veyashar" וְיָשָׁ֛ר is translated as "right," that is, without deviations, but it can also be translated as "direct." Thus, we can conclude that a "veyashar" is one who "walks in a straight line," a concrete concept. On the other hand, "tsadaq" is an abstract word, making its interpretation complex. One of the best ways to understand the original meaning of a word is to find it in a sentence where its concrete meaning is interpreted. Sometimes, these parallels are made by synonyms or antonyms, and in this sense, I mentioned Genesis 15:6, where the word "tsedaqah" is used. But what is "tsedaqah" exactly? Justice?
In Genesis 30:33, should we translate "tsedaqah" as justice? Yes, it is possible. The King James Version chose this translation, but it might not be the clearest. For example, the Difusora Capuccino translates it as "uprightness," and the Jerusalem Bible as "honesty," among other options.
The Hebrew term "rasha" רָשָׁע, whose verbal form means "to be unpleasant, guilty, condemned," is the original meaning of "to make noise, riot, to be bad, guilty religiously or civilly." Thus, to be "rasha" is to be bad before God, hostile, wicked, and its real meaning is to deviate from the path and be lost. From this context, we conclude that a "veyashar" (right) is not necessarily a "tsadaq" (just), but the opposite is always true in this context. A practical application of this concept is seen in the parable of the ten virgins, where all were virgins, that is, morally pure according to Jewish culture, but only five of them were prudent, an extension of "tsedaqah" justice.
We see this development throughout the book of Job, in passages like 4:17, 9:2, 9:15, 9:20, 10:15, 11:2, 12:4, 13:18, 15:14, 17:9, 22:3, 22:19, 25:4, 27:5, and 27:17.
Reaching the climax in 32:2, 33:12, 33:32, 34:5, 35:7, and 40:8,
Job repents in 42:6.
In 42:7, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." It is highly likely that Job's quotes and arguments about the Eternal in the book were correct, whereas those of Eliphaz the Temanite and his friends were not.
In 42:10, nothing is mentioned about "tsadyq" and "tsadaq"; however, we read that Job did not lose the ability to intercede even when in captivity.
In 42:11, we read: "... and they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him..." This is further explained in the following questions:
1a) "... and they showed him sympathy and comforted him..." How to interpret the contrast between Job's passive actions compared to the active actions in the parallel of the first chapter? "... and [Job] would offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, 'It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.' Thus Job did continually..." Job 1:5.
1b) "... for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him..." How to interpret the origin of evil in parallel with the first chapter? "...the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them..." Job 2:10.
In 42:12, "And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning," thus, Job's initial state was also blessed.
- Job displays priestly behavior by consecrating all his children, some of whom died later, as they were not included in the aforementioned "none like him on the earth" in Job 1:8.
There is a turning point according to the scholar Bruno Ribeiro, in these two blessed states. This paragraph begins with the theological debate between God and one of His sons, HaSatan, whose jurisdiction is not righteous.
- In the first state:
3a) "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."
3b) "... and still he holds fast his integrity...", Job 2:3.
3c) HaSatan, the son of God, incites God against him, Job 2:3.
3d) Without cause, since righteousness is not a reason for condemnation, Job 2:3.
HaSatan, the son of God, holds significant jurisdiction. He has argumentative influence with God.
- "And Satan (the accuser) went out from the presence of the LORD." Job 1:12.
4a) What does it mean to be in the presence of the LORD, or rather, who walks in the presence of God and until when? Cain, after the murder of his brother Abel, "went away from the presence of the LORD." Genesis 4:16.
- All these actions happened and originated in a cult that protected both wicked and righteous men.