TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Job 21

1Iyov said in reply:

אוַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃

2Listen well to what I say, And let that be your consolation.

בשִׁמְעוּ שָׁמוֹעַ מִלָּתִי וּתְהִי־זֹאת תַּנְחוּמֹתֵיכֶם׃

3Bear with me while I speak, And after I have spoken, you may mock.

גשָׂאוּנִי וְאָנֹכִי אֲדַבֵּר וְאַחַר דַּבְּרִי תַלְעִיג׃

4Is my complaint directed toward a man? Why should I not lose my patience?

דהֶאָנֹכִי לְאָדָם שִׂיחִי וְאִם־מַדּוּעַ לֹא־תִקְצַר רוּחִי׃

5Look at me and be appalled, And clap your hand to your mouth.

הפְּנוּ־אֵלַי וְהָשַׁמּוּ וְשִׂימוּ יָד עַל־פֶּה׃

6When I think of it I am terrified; My body is seized with shuddering.

ווְאִם־זָכַרְתִּי וְנִבְהָלְתִּי וְאָחַז בְּשָׂרִי פַּלָּצוּת׃

7Why do the wicked live on, Prosper and grow wealthy?

ma-DU-a r'-sha-EEM yikh-YU a-t'-KU gam ga-v'-RU KHA-yil

זמַדּוּעַ רְשָׁעִים יִחְיוּ עָתְקוּ גַּם־גָּבְרוּ חָיִל׃

21:7   Why do the wicked live on

This question that Iyov asks is the crux of the entire book: Why do the righteous suffer while the wicked go unpunished? Though Iyov is troubled by this because of his personal experiences, he does not abandon his faith in God. If he did, the question would lose its meaning, for the seeming randomness of good and bad fortunes presents a difficulty only if one supposes that the world is ruled by a benevolent God. Iyov teaches that while it is acceptable to ask the questions, they must come from a place of faith in Hashem and His integrity, rather than denial and doubt.

8Their children are with them always, And they see their children's children.

חזַרְעָם נָכוֹן לִפְנֵיהֶם עִמָּם וְצֶאֱצָאֵיהֶם לְעֵינֵיהֶם׃

9Their homes are secure, without fear; They do not feel the rod of Hashem.

טבָּתֵּיהֶם שָׁלוֹם מִפָּחַד וְלֹא שֵׁבֶט אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵיהֶם׃

10Their bull breeds and does not fail; Their cow calves and never miscarries;

ישׁוֹרוֹ עִבַּר וְלֹא יַגְעִל תְּפַלֵּט פָּרָתוֹ וְלֹא תְשַׁכֵּל׃

11They let their infants run loose like sheep, And their children skip about.

יאיְשַׁלְּחוּ כַצֹּאן עֲוִילֵיהֶם וְיַלְדֵיהֶם יְרַקֵּדוּן׃

12They sing to the music of timbrel and lute, And revel to the tune of the pipe;

יביִשְׂאוּ כְּתֹף וְכִנּוֹר וְיִשְׂמְחוּ לְקוֹל עוּגָב׃

13They spend their days in happiness, And go down to Sheol in peace.

יגיבלו [יְכַלּוּ] בַטּוֹב יְמֵיהֶם וּבְרֶגַע שְׁאוֹל יֵחָתּוּ׃

14They say to Hashem, “Leave us alone, We do not want to learn Your ways;

ידוַיֹּאמְרוּ לָאֵל סוּר מִמֶּנּוּ וְדַעַת דְּרָכֶיךָ לֹא חָפָצְנוּ׃

15What is Shaddai that we should serve Him? What will we gain by praying to Him?”

טומַה־שַׁדַּי כִּי־נַעַבְדֶנּוּ וּמַה־נּוֹעִיל כִּי נִפְגַּע־בּוֹ׃

16Their happiness is not their own doing. (The thoughts of the wicked are beyond me!)

טזהֵן לֹא בְיָדָם טוּבָם עֲצַת רְשָׁעִים רָחֲקָה מֶנִּי׃

17How seldom does the lamp of the wicked fail, Does the calamity they deserve befall them, Does He apportion [their] lot in anger!

יזכַּמָּה נֵר־רְשָׁעִים יִדְעָךְ וְיָבֹא עָלֵימוֹ אֵידָם חֲבָלִים יְחַלֵּק בְּאַפּוֹ׃

18Let them become like straw in the wind, Like chaff carried off by a storm.

יחיִהְיוּ כְּתֶבֶן לִפְנֵי־רוּחַ וּכְמֹץ גְּנָבַתּוּ סוּפָה׃

19[You say,] “Hashem is reserving his punishment for his sons”; Let it be paid back to him that he may feel it,

יטאֱלוֹהַּ יִצְפֹּן־לְבָנָיו אוֹנוֹ יְשַׁלֵּם אֵלָיו וְיֵדָע׃

20Let his eyes see his ruin, And let him drink the wrath of Shaddai!

כיִרְאוּ עינו [עֵינָיו] כִּידוֹ וּמֵחֲמַת שַׁדַּי יִשְׁתֶּה׃

21For what does he care about the fate of his family, When his number of months runs out?

כאכִּי מַה־חֶפְצוֹ בְּבֵיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו וּמִסְפַּר חֳדָשָׁיו חֻצָּצוּ׃

22Can Hashem be instructed in knowledge, He who judges from such heights?

כבהַלְאֵל יְלַמֶּד־דָּעַת וְהוּא רָמִים יִשְׁפּוֹט׃

23One man dies in robust health, All tranquil and untroubled;

כגזֶה יָמוּת בְּעֶצֶם תֻּמּוֹ כֻּלּוֹ שַׁלְאֲנַן וְשָׁלֵיו׃

24His pails are full of milk; The marrow of his bones is juicy.

כדעֲטִינָיו מָלְאוּ חָלָב וּמֹחַ עַצְמוֹתָיו יְשֻׁקֶּה׃

25Another dies embittered, Never having tasted happiness.

כהוְזֶה יָמוּת בְּנֶפֶשׁ מָרָה וְלֹא־אָכַל בַּטּוֹבָה׃

26They both lie in the dust And are covered with worms.

כויַחַד עַל־עָפָר יִשְׁכָּבוּ וְרִמָּה תְּכַסֶּה עֲלֵיהֶם׃

27Oh, I know your thoughts, And the tactics you will devise against me.

כזהֵן יָדַעְתִּי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם וּמְזִמּוֹת עָלַי תַּחְמֹסוּ׃

28You will say, “Where is the house of the great man— And where the tent in which the wicked dwelled?”

כחכִּי תֹאמְרוּ אַיֵּה בֵית־נָדִיב וְאַיֵּה אֹהֶל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת רְשָׁעִים׃

29You must have consulted the wayfarers; You cannot deny their evidence.

כטהֲלֹא שְׁאֶלְתֶּם עוֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ וְאֹתֹתָם לֹא תְנַכֵּרוּ׃

30For the evil man is spared on the day of calamity, On the day when wrath is led forth.

לכִּי לְיוֹם אֵיד יֵחָשֶׂךְ רָע לְיוֹם עֲבָרוֹת יוּבָלוּ׃

31Who will upbraid him to his face? Who will requite him for what he has done?

לאמִי־יַגִּיד עַל־פָּנָיו דַּרְכּוֹ וְהוּא־עָשָׂה מִי יְשַׁלֶּם־לוֹ׃

32He is brought to the grave, While a watch is kept at his tomb.

לבוְהוּא לִקְבָרוֹת יוּבָל וְעַל־גָּדִישׁ יִשְׁקוֹד׃

33The clods of the wadi are sweet to him, Everyone follows behind him, Innumerable are those who precede him.

לגמָתְקוּ־לוֹ רִגְבֵי נָחַל וְאַחֲרָיו כָּל־אָדָם יִמְשׁוֹךְ וּלְפָנָיו אֵין מִסְפָּר׃

34Why then do you offer me empty consolation? Of your replies only the perfidy remains.

לדוְאֵיךְ תְּנַחֲמוּנִי הָבֶל וּתְשׁוּבֹתֵיכֶם נִשְׁאַר־מָעַל׃