(God) and the putative enemy (Job) is at the heart of Job's suffering.112 The significance of this semantic contradiction is
pointed up by the fact that enemy (byvx) is a unilateral
designation. However intense the hostility may be, the other is always the enemy while the protagonist is never designated as such. Of course, it is logical to assume that most often enmity is a bilateral affair (i.e., he is my enemy, and I am his enemy), but the linguistic usage does not conform to such an assumption.
Psalm 139:21-22 is the clearest example of this. It is clear that the psalmist is at enmity with Yahweh's enemies from the verbs of verses 21-22a which are first person singular.
112 This contradiction in Job's situation was also noted by the rabbinic interpreters: "He (i.e., Job) blasphemed with a tempest, as it is written, 'For he breaketh me as with a tempest' (Job 9:17). Job said to God, 'Perhaps a tempest passed before you and caused you to confuse Job
(‘Iyyob) and enemy (‘oyeb),." rwx bytkd JrH hrfsb Hvr xmw Mlfv lw ynvbr vynpl rmx ynp vwy hrfwb :byvxl bvyx Nb jl JlHtnv jynpl hrbf rhfs
Baba bathra I, 16a. The passage goes on to record three rejoinders by God to the effect that he made no such error at all. The rabbis were simply using the age-old device of puns in their discussion of Job. It may be that the Joban poet as well was trying to pun upon the name with 13:24 and later 33:10; 19:11 would then be based upon the pun of 13:24
by simply substituting rc for byvx (i.e., bvyx). The
name bO .y ix could be formed from the root byx in which case it would 15e construed in a passive sense on the analogy of dOl’y; cf. Gordis, pp. 10-11; M. Noth, Die Israelitischen
Personennamen im Rahmen der Gemeinsemitischen Namengebung (Stuttgart: Verlag von W. Kohlhammer, 1928), p. 11.