Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strange breath

My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. Job 19:17

"Breath" in this scripture is a translation of the Hebrew "ruach," which would be better understood as the word "spirit." Or in other words, Job was saying, "I am repulsive to my wife."

(The Bible Word Book, Bridges & Weigle, pg 326)


  1. I think Job is a type of fallen man. Our breath stinks until we accept the Ruach Elohim. “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
    (Job 33:4)

  2. I wonder if the Spirit of God, (capitalized) could also refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is the Word by which all things were made.

  3. I would hate to think Gods children are repulsive to him. Perhaps he is disappointed or sad but his arm is still stretched out still.

  4. You know, this section is part of a chapter I wrote on ways that word usage has changed since the King James Version of the Bible was written in 16th century Elizabethan English.

    In this instance, I wasn't making any kind of evaluation of Job at all. I was interested in the ways that archaic language influences our interpretation of scripture.

    This verse is a classic example of a lament- a type of Biblical literature, and poor Job feels alienated and without emotional support. He has hit bottom, and in true Hebraic fashion gives his feelings full expression.

    The other comments that have been made never occurred to me at all.

    For the record, however, I believe (along with Anonymous) that God loves all of His children-and even when we mortals do awful and hurtful things, I believe he condemns the acts and holds us accountable, but never stops loving us.

  5. Just as a note of interest, here are two other translations of this verse:

    My breath is repulsive to my wife. I am loathsome to my own family.

    My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers.