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I know the Masoretic version of this verse is considerably shorter. But has anyone tried recreating the underlying Hebrew text from which the LXX version of Job 2:9 was translated?

MT of Job 2:9 -

Then Job’s wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!”

LXX of Job 2:9 (L C L Brenton)

And when much time had passed, his wife said to him, How long wilt thou hold out, saying, Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance? for, behold, thy memorial is abolished from the earth, [even thy] sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows; and thou thyself sittest down to spend the nights in the open air among the corruption of worms, and I am a wanderer and a servant from place to place and house to house, waiting for the setting of the sun, that I may rest from my labours and my pangs which now beset me: but say some word against the Lord, and die.

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  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your question. Please remember to take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works.
    – Dottard
    Jan 23, 2022 at 20:49
  • What do you mean to recreate the Hebrew, in what sense? To translate the LXX of this verse into Hebrew? Why?
    – Michael16
    Feb 28, 2022 at 13:15
  • @Michael16: the purpose of doing said back-tranalation into Biblical Hebrew would be to recreate the hypothetical Hebrew text that the LXX translator had in front of them, assuming it was longer. As it turns out, however, the expansion of this verse may have taken place AFTER the LXX translation of Job was made. So the premise behind my question may have been flawed. Mar 1, 2022 at 19:06
  • The critical unfinished edition of the LXX must mention that whether it's original.
    – Michael16
    Mar 2, 2022 at 5:21

1 Answer 1

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Barnes has some useful comments about what we find in the LXX on Job 2:9.

Then said his wife unto him - Some remarkable additions are made by the ancient versions to this passage. The Chaldee renders it, "and "Dinah" (דינה dı̂ynâh), his wife, said to him." The author of that paraphrase seems to have supposed that Job lived in the time of Jacob, and had married his daughter Dinah; Genesis 30:21. Drusius says, that this was the opinion of the Hebrews, and quotes a declaration from the Gemara to this effect: "Job lived in the days of Jacob, and was born when the children of Israel went down into Egypt; and when they departed thence he died. He lived therefore 210 years, as long as they were into Egypt." This is mere tradition, but it shows the ancient impression as to the time when Job lived. The Septuagint has introduced a remarkable passage here, of which the following is a translation. "After much time had elapsed, his wife said unto him, How long wilt thou persevere, saying, Behold, I will wait a little longer, cherishing the trope of my recovery? Behold, the memorial of thee has disappeared from the earth - those sons and daughters, the pangs and sorrows of my womb, for whom I toiled laboriously in vain. Even thou sittest among loathsome worms, passing the night in the open air, whilst I, a wanderer and a drudge, from place to place, and from house to house, watch the sun until his going down, that I may rest from the toils and sorrows that now oppress me. But speak some word toward the Lord (τι ῥῆμα εἰς κύριον ti rēma eis kurion) and die."

Whence this addition had its origin, it is impossible now to say. Dr. Good says it is found in Theodotion, in the Syriac, and the Arabic (in this he errs, for it is not in the Syriac and Arabic in Waltoh's Polyglott), and in the Latin of Ambrose. Dathe suggests that it was probably added by some person who thought it incredible that an angry woman could be content with saying so "little" as is ascribed in the Hebrew to the wife of Job. It may have been originally written by some one in the margin of his Bible by way of paraphrase, and the transcriber, seeing it there, may have supposed it was omitted accidentally from the text, and so inserted it in the place where it now stands. It is one of the many instances, at all events, which show that implicit confidence is not to be placed in the Septuagint. There is not the slightest evidence that this was ever in the Hebrew text. It is not wholly unnatural, and as an exercise of the fancy is not without ingenuity and plausibility, and yet the simple but abrupt statement in the Hebrew seems best to accord with nature. The evident distress of the wife of Job, according to the whole narrative, is not so much that she was subjected to trials, and that she was compelled to wander about without a home, as that Job should be so patient, and that he did not yield to the temptation.

The Cambridge commentary is more succinct:

The Sept. introduces her speech, which it gives in a greatly amplified form, with the words “when a long time had passed.” The amplification is not unsuitable to the circumstances, but the curt phrases of the original are truer to art and nature, for grief is possessed of few words.

The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament is more dismissive:

In the LXX the words of his wife are unskilfully extended. The few words as they stand are sufficiently characteristic. They are not to be explained, Call on God for the last time, and then die (von Gerl.); or, Call on Him that thou die (according to Ges. 130, 2)

The addition appears to have its origin in some commentary that has (unfortunately) found it way into the text. The origin of the addition is now lost so we do not know whether it was originally Hebrew or Greek. I would favor the latter.

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