The LXX is significantly different in this verse. Can you find scholarly comments or notes on this textual variants and the contextual analysis for a particular reading would suit Eliphaz's views? Also, the early Jewish commentaries can help.

HEB הֲ·לֹ֣א»not יִ֭רְאָתְ·ךָ»afraid כִּסְלָתֶ֑·ךָ»thy confidence תִּ֝קְוָתְ·ךָ֗»thy hope וְ·תֹ֣ם»and the uprightness דְּרָכֶֽי·ךָ׃»of your ways
NASB: "Is not your fear [of God] your confidence, And the integrity of your ways your hope?"
APB: πότερον Is it ουχ not ο that φόβος σου your fear εστίν is εν in αφροσύνη folly, και and η ελπίς σου your hope, και and η the κακία evil της οδού σου of your way?
LXX Brenton: Is not thy fear founded in folly, thy hope also, and the mischief of thy way?
SWETE: πότερον οὐχ ὁ φόβος σού ἐστιν ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ, καὶ ἡ ἐλπίς σου καὶ ἡ κακία τῆς ὁδοῦ σου;
Rahlfs: πότερον οὐχ ὁ φόβος σού ἐστιν ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ καὶ ἡ ἐλπίς σου καὶ ἡ ἀκακία τῆς ὁδοῦ σου

The Patristic Greek text supported the "folly, and wicked ways"

Didymus the Blind AD 398
While Scripture’s spirit witnesses on behalf of Job that he has not committed any folly against God, Eliphaz incorrectly understands the reason behind what has been imposed upon Job. Eliphaz believes that Job suffers because of trespasses, and he thinks the words Job has spoken were motivated by his unacceptable behavior. “Is not your fear founded in folly,” since you think you are righteous, “your hope also, and the mischief of your way?” Folly, Eliphaz says, is also the hope that you will be considered righteous. For such punishments are not imposed upon a righteous person. Eliphaz calls Job’s way the “way of wickedness.” He continuously thinks that the holy man suffers due to sins. This is also why Eliphaz ascribes folly to him.

  • 1
    This is simply another of the many thousands of places where the LXX and the MT part company.
    – Dottard
    Jul 9, 2023 at 20:59
  • Yes but scholars must have given preference to one with some reasons including textual criticism
    – Michael16
    Jul 10, 2023 at 6:07
  • perhaps - but that is a question you should ask the translators of 250 BC
    – Dottard
    Jul 10, 2023 at 6:35
  • @ Michael16: To understand the book of Job, full of poetic-style's passages, we have to remember that. we often encounter in it sentences that formally seem to refer themselves to a given concept (let 'A' be it), but actually it refers to the opposite concept (namely, 'non-A'). This rhetorical device is not confined to the ancient Biblical Hebrew, but is is used also by us, today through the utilization of some 'figures of speech'. (to be continued) Sep 30, 2023 at 13:31
  • 1
    (continuation) because the first styled Eliphaz's talk through the figure of speech we call 'rhetorical question', whereas LXX, with an attitude more 'pragmatical' (if so it can be termed) decided to word the concept expressed by Elifaz in a crude statement of his comprehension (wrong) of Job's attitude and behaviour, without veiling it under the canopy of some figure of speech. In conclusion, the two texts (MT and LXX) state the SAME concept in two different way. Sep 30, 2023 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


The Hebrew is phrased in a way that many translators understand to challenge Job's attitude and even impugn his righteousness. For example:

  • DRA - Where is thy fear, thy fortitude, thy patience, and the perfection of thy ways?

  • NIRV - Shouldn’t you worship God and trust in him? Shouldn’t your honest life give you hope?

  • WYC Where is thy dread, thy strength, and thy patience, and the perfection of thy ways?

The Septuagint, knowing the Eliphaz is about to indict Job in order to uphold God's righteousness, has him do so from the outset

  • Is not thy fear founded in folly, thy hope also, and the mischief of thy way?.

As far as classical Jewish commentaries go, I am surprised to see that Rashi seems to agree with Didymus the blind. He understands Eliphaz to mean:

Surely now, your end reveals your beginning, that your fear, that you feared heaven. Your foolishness is due to foolishness and not to full understanding, and so are your hope and the sincerity of your ways all foolishness.

Ellicott agrees, saying:

... We may understand, “Is not thy reverence, thy confidence, thy hope, and thy integrity shown to be worthless if thou faintest as soon as adversity toucheth thee?”

Thus, both Jewish and Christian scholars have understood Eliphaz to be impugning Job's supposed righteousness in this verse. The LXX translators apparently felt the same and consequently shaded their translation to make this clear.

  • The LXX shows Eliphaz is condemning Jobs fear of God, hope, and his (mischief) ways as folly, worthless. The English versions suggests as Ellicot writes, "worthless if thou faintest as soon as adversity" suggests that he is actually encouraging him. So the main confusing is whether Eliphaz is condemning or encouraging him? From the context and overall story it is clear that his friends were cursing him as sinner arguing that calamity cannot come unless you're a sinner and deserving. Ellicott and all English versions go against Rashi and Didymus
    – Michael16
    Jan 5 at 5:32

There are no text-critical issues in this verse. The difficulty in the verse is not found in the text. Instead it's found in the interpretation of the text. As is typical in Hebrew poetry, the text is compressed.

The State of the text

Here is what we have in the Hebrew:

  • ”הֲלֹ֣א יִ֭רְאָתְךָ כִּסְלָתֶ֑ךָ תִּ֝קְוָתְךָ֗ וְתֹ֣ם דְּרָכֶֽיךָ׃“ (Job 4:6 HMT-W4)
  • "Is it not the case that your fear is like/(in line with) your confidence, your hope. And integrity your ways."

With that much compression of thought, it becomes difficult to take the Hebrew and make it fit into our target English language.

The LXX takes a stab at the text:

  • “πότερον οὐχ ὁ φόβος σού ἐστιν ἐν ἀφροσύνῃ, καὶ ἡ ἐλπίς σου καὶ ἡ κακία τῆς ὁδοῦ σου;” (Job 4:6 LXXS-T)

  • "Is it not true that your fear is in the lack of prudence and your hope is also [found in] the wickedness of your way."

This translation Interprets Job's response in a very sarcastic way. They take what they assume is implicit and make it explicit. But, again, this is not a TC issue. This is a translation issue.

The Vetus Latina takes the context in a sarcastic way too. This is not surprising, since it often follows the LXX as a source text:

  • “Nonne timor tuus stultus est, et spes tua, et simplicitas vitae tuae?” (Job 4:6 V-LATINA)
  • "is not your fear stupidity, along with your hope and the naïveté of your life?"

The Syriac has a very formal translation, keeping closely with the Hebrew. It doesn't help us in understanding the verse. But it does show us that there is not evidence of textual variation.

  • ”ܗܐ ܕܚܠܬܟ݂ ܗܝ݂ ܗ݁ܝ ܥܕܠܝܟ. ܘܣܒܪܟ݁ ܘܬܡܝܡܘܬ ܐܘܪܚܟ.“ (Job 4:6 PESHOT-T)
  • "behold it is your fear, it is your blame. And your hope, and your integrity of your way."

Again, there are not textual variants in this verse. The Hebrew is stable.


As an example of what the fathers have done with this verse, we can look at Chrysosom:

ELIPHAZ BELIEVES JOB IS GUILTY. CHRYSOSTOM: “Is not your fear based on folly, as is your hope, and your mischievous ways?”5 That is to say, was there not a foolish intention behind your actions? Eliphaz means, “Either you have not done these things, or your life is full of evil. Or you do not fear God with a righteous intention and all that you say is mere words. Your hope is based on folly.” Eliphaz states that Job’s hope was filled with foolishness. Why? Is it necessary to say that? Is it not possible that after often helping his neighbor, he has now fallen into misfortune? “No,” says Eliphaz. COMMENTARY ON JOB 4.6.6

(Manlio Simonetti and Marco Conti, eds. Job. vol. 6 of Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. ICCS/Accordance electronic ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 22.)

Chrysostom quotes the LXX not because there is a variant in the Hebrew, but because he didn't know Hebrew. What had and used was the Greek translation. This is often the case in the early church. Jerome did the church a great service by going ad fontes (back to the source) and translating his version from the Hebrew.

Value of the LXX

As Dottard notes in the comments, the LXX is a translation. And this is one of the many places where we see it going in its own direction. Sometimes the LXX does a good job with the Hebrew. Here is an example where they take a stab at the Hebrew, trying to make the Hebrew speak Greek. But there isn't very much justification either from a TC perspective or an exegetical perspective for them to go in this direction.

English Versions

As another evidence of the weakness of the LXX in this verse, we can see that very few (if any) English versions go with the LXX.

  • It's the word of Eliphaz not Job's. The verse is indeed sarcastic from the context. Is Vetus Latina the Jerome's version? Did he use LXX or Hebrew as base text? Anyway it and LXX makes sense in translating bec it is sarcastic. The word should not be "your integrity" or "righteousness" ακακια (Rahlf). Greek is very imp to understand the original and ancient interpretation or text. And πότερον is defined as "whether" like either or, so that's a bit confusing, perhaps means :whether, or either your fear of God is folly, or your hope is in your (own wicked) ways".
    – Michael16
    Jan 5 at 4:55
  • Rahlf and the English versions makes it confusing if they render the word integrity or non-wickedness, righteousness. Because that doesn't sound like the clear condemning words against Job. LXX is simplified that it's condemning Job by calling his ways as his own hypocrite wicked, ungodly ways. This is why English readers would interpete it the opposite way in favour of their calvinistic total depravity, that Job is being (rightly) called righteous by Eliphaz, when in fact he's wrongly condemning him as wicked sinner. English versions are so confusing and opposite.
    – Michael16
    Jan 5 at 5:01
  • We should either translate it as : your so called sincerity/ integrity is folly, or simply "your wicked or insincere ways". Either as Rashi or LXX. Directly translating Hebrew to English will lead to guess work, leading to the absurd translations we currently have as quoted here from English versions. It poteron may not be either or, but just describing his fear of God, his own so called ways of integrity and his so called hope together as "folly".
    – Michael16
    Jan 5 at 5:17
  • Do you have a site which easily shows the Greek of early Greek writings like Didymus, Chrysostom etc?
    – Michael16
    Jan 5 at 5:40
  • @Michael16 I am choosing not to respond to your comments here for the following reasons: 1) They are incoherent. 2) They are needlessly offensive. Instead of showing that "Calvinistic total depravity" is unscriptural, you, as is your custom, slander others so that you don't have to show evidence. 3) You do not have a scholarly approach to learning. I would go into detail, showing you why πότερον is there, but, as in the past, you wouldn't have the willingness/ability to listen and learn. For these reasons, responding in detail would be a waste of my time.
    – Epimanes
    Jan 5 at 13:15

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