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Job 16:4

4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you.

Read Job 16:4 Using Other Translations

I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you.
I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.

What does Job 16:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Job 16:4

I also could speak as ye [do]
As big words, with as high a tone, with as stiff a neck, and as haughtily and loftily; or "ought I to speak as you do" F13? that I ought not, nor would you think I ought, if you were in my case; or, being so, "would I speak as you do" F14? no, I would not, my conscience would not suffer me:

if your soul were in my soul's stead;
in the same afflicted state and condition, in the same distressed case and circumstances; not that he wished it, as some render the words, for a good man will not wish hurt to another; only he supposes this, as it was a case supposable, and not impossible to be a fact, some time or another, in this state of uncertainty and change; however it is right to put ourselves in the case of others in our own imagination, that so it may be considered in the proper point of view, that we may better judge how we should choose to be treated ourselves in such circumstances, and so teach us to do that to others as we would have done to ourselves:

I could heap up words against you;
talk as fast as you to me, and run you down with a great torrent of words; Job had a great fluency, he talked a great deal in his afflicted, state, too much as his friends thought, who represent him as dealing in a multitude of words, and as a very talkative man, ( Job 8:2 ) ( 11:2 ) ; and what could he have done, had he his health, and in prosperous circumstances as formerly? he could have brought many charges and accusations against them, as they had against him; or "would I heap up words against you?" or "ought I?" &c. {o}; no, it would not be my duty, nor would I do it; humanity and good sense would never have allowed me to do it; but, on the contrary, I "would have joined [myself] with you", in a social, free, and familiar manner, in words F16, in a friendly meeting with you, so the words may be read and paraphrased; I would have come and paid you a visit, and sat down by you, and entered into a kind and compassionate conversation with you about your case and condition, and done all I could to comfort you; I would have framed and composed (as the word used signifies) a set discourse on purpose; I would have sought out all the acceptable words, and put them together in the best manner I could for you F17; had I the tongue of the learned, I would have made use of it, to have spoken a word in season to you:

and shake mine head at you;
by way of scorn and derision, that is, he could have done it as well as they; shaking the head is used as a sign of contempt, ( Psalms 22:8 ) ( Lamentations 2:15 ) ; or "would I", or "ought I to shake my head at you" F18 if in my case? no, I would not; as I ought not, I would have scorned to have done it; or the sense may be, "I would have shook my head at you", in a way of pity, bemoaning lamenting, and, condoling your case F19; see ( Job 42:11 ) ( Nahum 3:7 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F13 (hrbda Mkk) "sicut vos loqui deberem?" Schmidt.
F14 "Etiam ego ut vos loquerer?" Cocceius; so Broughton.
F15 (Mylmb Mkyle hrybxa) "nectere deberem nexus contra vos verbis?" Schmidt.
F16 "Adjungerem me super vos in sermonibus", Montanus, Bolducius; so Vatablus, Cocceius.
F17 "Vobis enim aptum sermonem accommodarem", Tigarine version; so Codurcus.
F18 (yvar-heyna) "et caput meum quassarem super vobis", Cocceius; "movere deberem super vos caput meum?" Schmidt.
F19 So Tigurine version and Bar Tzemach, (kinhsav ra karh) , Hom. II. 17. v. 200.
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