Chapter 12

1Then Iyov said in reply:

אוַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃

2Indeed, you are the [voice of] the people, And wisdom will die with you.

באָמְנָם כִּי אַתֶּם־עָם וְעִמָּכֶם תָּמוּת חָכְמָה׃

3But I, like you, have a mind, And am not less than you. Who does not know such things?

גגַּם־לִי לֵבָב כְּמוֹכֶם לֹא־נֹפֵל אָנֹכִי מִכֶּם וְאֶת־מִי־אֵין כְּמוֹ־אֵלֶּה׃

4I have become a laughingstock to my friend— “One who calls to Hashem and is answered, Blamelessly innocent”—a laughingstock.

דשְׂחֹק לְרֵעֵהוּ אֶהְיֶה קֹרֵא לֶאֱלוֹהַּ וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ שְׂחוֹק צַדִּיק תָּמִים׃

5In the thought of the complacent there is contempt for calamity; It is ready for those whose foot slips.

הלַפִּיד בּוּז לְעַשְׁתּוּת שַׁאֲנָן נָכוֹן לְמוֹעֲדֵי רָגֶל׃

6Robbers live untroubled in their tents, And those who provoke Hashem are secure, Those whom Hashem's hands have produced.

yish-LA-yu o-ha-LEEM l'-sho-d'-DEEM u-va-tu-KHOT l'-mar-GEE-zay AYL la-a-SHER hay-VEE e-LO-ha b'-ya-DO

ויִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהָלִים לְשֹׁדְדִים וּבַטֻּחוֹת לְמַרְגִּיזֵי אֵל לַאֲשֶׁר הֵבִיא אֱלוֹהַּ בְּיָדוֹ׃

12:6   Robbers live untroubled in their tents

Iyov protests his friends’ assertion that Hashem does not punish those who do not deserve to be punish. He boldly states what most people know inherently: The righteous do indeed suffer, and evil people are rewarded. Furthermore, says Iyov, even the animals are aware of this reality (verse 7). The desire to understand God as just has blinded Iyov’s friends to the truth which is obvious to everyone else. However, as King Shlomo reassures us in Mishlei (28:8), the wicked who prosper in this world, those who get rich by inappropriate means, are merely accumulating wealth for the benefit of the righteous, as Hashem will ultimately ensure that it arrives in their possession.

7But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; The birds of the sky, they will tell you,

זוְאוּלָם שְׁאַל־נָא בְהֵמוֹת וְתֹרֶךָּ וְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וְיַגֶּד־לָךְ׃

8Or speak to the earth, it will teach you; The fish of the sea, they will inform you.

חאוֹ שִׂיחַ לָאָרֶץ וְתֹרֶךָּ וִיסַפְּרוּ לְךָ דְּגֵי הַיָּם׃

9Who among all these does not know That the hand of Hashem has done this?

טמִי לֹא־יָדַע בְּכָל־אֵלֶּה כִּי יַד־יְהֹוָה עָשְׂתָה זֹּאת׃

10In His hand is every living soul And the breath of all mankind.

יאֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ נֶפֶשׁ כָּל־חָי וְרוּחַ כָּל־בְּשַׂר־אִישׁ׃

11Truly, the ear tests arguments As the palate tastes foods.

יאהֲלֹא־אֹזֶן מִלִּין תִּבְחָן וְחֵךְ אֹכֶל יִטְעַם־לוֹ׃

12Is wisdom in the aged And understanding in the long-lived?

יבבִּישִׁישִׁים חָכְמָה וְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים תְּבוּנָה׃

13With Him are wisdom and courage; His are counsel and understanding.

יגעִמּוֹ חָכְמָה וּגְבוּרָה לוֹ עֵצָה וּתְבוּנָה׃

14Whatever He tears down cannot be rebuilt; Whomever He imprisons cannot be set free.

ידהֵן יַהֲרוֹס וְלֹא יִבָּנֶה יִסְגֹּר עַל־אִישׁ וְלֹא יִפָּתֵחַ׃

15When He holds back the waters, they dry up; When He lets them loose, they tear up the land.

טוהֵן יַעְצֹר בַּמַּיִם וְיִבָשׁוּ וִישַׁלְּחֵם וְיַהַפְכוּ אָרֶץ׃

16With Him are strength and resourcefulness; Erring and causing to err are from Him.

טזעִמּוֹ עֹז וְתוּשִׁיָּה לוֹ שֹׁגֵג וּמַשְׁגֶּה׃

17He makes counselors go about naked And causes judges to go mad.

יזמוֹלִיךְ יוֹעֲצִים שׁוֹלָל וְשֹׁפְטִים יְהוֹלֵל׃

18He undoes the belts of kings, And fastens loincloths on them.

יחמוּסַר מְלָכִים פִּתֵּחַ וַיֶּאְסֹר אֵזוֹר בְּמָתְנֵיהֶם׃

19He makes Kohanim go about naked, And leads temple-servants astray.

יטמוֹלִיךְ כֹּהֲנִים שׁוֹלָל וְאֵתָנִים יְסַלֵּף׃

20He deprives trusty men of speech, And takes away the reason of elders.

כמֵסִיר שָׂפָה לְנֶאֱמָנִים וְטַעַם זְקֵנִים יִקָּח׃

21He pours disgrace upon great men, And loosens the belt of the mighty.

כאשׁוֹפֵךְ בּוּז עַל־נְדִיבִים וּמְזִיחַ אֲפִיקִים רִפָּה׃

22He draws mysteries out of the darkness, And brings obscurities to light.

m'-ga-LEH a-mu-KOT mi-nee KHO-shekh va-yo-TZAY la-OR tzal-MA-vet

כבמְגַלֶּה עֲמֻקוֹת מִנִּי־חֹשֶׁךְ וַיֹּצֵא לָאוֹר צַלְמָוֶת׃

 12:22   He draws mysteries out of the darkness

The Hebrew words for “He draws mysteries” are m’galeh amukot (מגלה עמוקות). The word m’galeh comes from the root legalot (לגלות), which means to reveal or discover. The same Hebrew letters are also found in the word galut (גלות), meaning exile or expulsion. This similarity is no mere play on words. Rather, according to Rabbi David Stavsky, a profound lesson emerges from the connection between these two words. “Nothing is more difficult for a human being than to be exiled from his native land, yet nothing can be more rewarding than discovering a way out of exile.” In the connection between the Hebrew words for exile and discovery, we see the great aspiration of the Jewish people to end their exile through the discovery of, and return to, their native homeland.

23He exalts nations, then destroys them; He expands nations, then leads them away.

כגמַשְׂגִּיא לַגּוֹיִם וַיְאַבְּדֵם שֹׁטֵחַ לַגּוֹיִם וַיַּנְחֵם׃

24He deranges the leaders of the people, And makes them wander in a trackless waste.

כדמֵסִיר לֵב רָאשֵׁי עַם־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּתְעֵם בְּתֹהוּ לֹא־דָרֶךְ׃

25They grope without light in the darkness; He makes them wander as if drunk.

כהיְמַשְׁשׁוּ־חֹשֶׁךְ וְלֹא־אוֹר וַיַּתְעֵם כַּשִּׁכּוֹר׃