most translations translate "of/about me"

for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. (in Job 42:7, ESV)

for you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job. (in Job 42:7, JPS)

However, some have taken this to mean "to me" meaning they did not retract and repent of what they said like Job did.

Senses of use in Old Testament

enter image description here

  • Can you list an example or two that have the phrase, "to me" in this instance. I am having trouble locating one.
    – Dottard
    Jul 19, 2021 at 2:35
  • @Dottard Genesis 4:10; 18:21; 24:30 and more all have "unto me" in KJV. Nowadays we would just say "to me" for those, I think.
    – Polyhat
    Jul 19, 2021 at 3:14
  • Gen. 26:27 and 45:4 have "to me."
    – Polyhat
    Jul 19, 2021 at 3:22
  • Can you clarify the difference between "speak the truth about me" and "speak the truth of me"? I am unable to distinguish between these two cases. What would be an example where A is true but B is false?
    – Robert
    Jul 19, 2021 at 3:42
  • @Robert "Of" can also mean either "from" or "by". For example, "I speak the truth of my own choice" and "I speak the truth by my own choice." These mean the same thing--and neither one means I am speaking the truth about my own choice. I'm not talking about my choice at all--I am addressing the impetus behind my speaking. When a person, say a prophet, speaks of God, he may be speaking by God's Spirit, not necessarily about God. The meanings can differ considerably. Consider: Matthew 10:37 -- "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me": about? by? to? for?
    – Polyhat
    Jul 19, 2021 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


וַיְהִ֗י אַחַ֨ר דִּבֶּ֧ר יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה אֶל־אִיֹּ֑וב וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־אֱלִיפַ֣ז הַתֵּֽימָנִ֗י חָרָ֨ה אַפִּ֤י בְךָ֙ וּבִשְׁנֵ֣י רֵעֶ֔יךָ כִּ֠י לֹ֣א דִבַּרְתֶּ֥ם אֵלַ֛י נְכֹונָ֖ה כְּעַבְדִּ֥י אִיֹּֽוב׃

And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. (KJV)

As the question points out, there is more than one way to translate this. In fact, in Hebrew, the preposition could mean: concerning, to, at, by, against, unto, within, in between, toward, in among, etc. There is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to prepositions, and in Hebrew, context is key.

Based on the context, we know that it applies to what these men have already said. Because we can see their words recorded in Job, we also know to whom they were speaking.

They were speaking to Job.

Therefore, we can eliminate "to me" (God) as a reasonable option.

We are left with two realistic possibilities: "of" or "about". Of these two, "about" is more specific. "Of" allows one to interpret in two ways: 1) it can mean "about"; or 2) it can mean "by". If, therefore, we are uncertain as to the original intent, our safest course is to translate it in a way that gives it the broadest sense.

In this case, "of" is the best option, as the KJV has it.


In the scroll of “Job” (Ιωβ) known in Hebrew as Iyov (אִיּֽוֹב) - Chapter 42 : verse 7, the phrase “Elay” אֵלַי in Hebrew is translated “to-Me” in English (although the JPS uses “about-Me”) [https://www.sefaria.org/Job.42.7?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en]

If the singular masculine Speaker had spoken in 2nd person, we would read : Elekha ( אֵלֶיךָ ) = “to-you”.

If the singular masculine Speaker had spoken in 3rd person, we would read : Elav ( אֵלָיו ) = “to-him”

But the Hebrew proclamation אֵלַי in Iyov 42:7 is first person singular (hinting to the reader that YHVH is masculine) by stating אֵלַי “Elay” , else the phrase would be in first person feminine אֵלַי “Elay”. - Wait.. What?? In Hebrew “Elay” אֵלַי means either “to-Me” [masculine or feminine]?- That’s interesting.

Yet the Hebrew “Elay” causes prepositional disagreements when reading The Tanakh in English, so let’s ask the Septuagint who offers the Greek interpretation μου “of-Me”. [https://www.blueletterbible.org/lxx/job/42/1/t_conc_478007]

Since the Septuagint is the answer to all Biblical Hermeneutic questions, then אֵלַי “Elay” in Hebrew should mean “of-Me” (based on the Greek interpretation) although אֵלַי literally translates “to-Me” (based on the Hebrew).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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