Chapter 23

1Iyov said in reply:

אוַיַּעַן אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר׃

2Today again my complaint is bitter; My strength is spent on account of my groaning.

בגַּם־הַיּוֹם מְרִי שִׂחִי יָדִי כָּבְדָה עַל־אַנְחָתִי׃

3Would that I knew how to reach Him, How to get to His dwelling-place.

גמִי־יִתֵּן יָדַעְתִּי וְאֶמְצָאֵהוּ אָבוֹא עַד־תְּכוּנָתוֹ׃

4I would set out my case before Him And fill my mouth with arguments.

דאֶעֶרְכָה לְפָנָיו מִשְׁפָּט וּפִי אֲמַלֵּא תוֹכָחוֹת׃

5I would learn what answers He had for me And know how He would reply to me.

האֵדְעָה מִלִּים יַעֲנֵנִי וְאָבִינָה מַה־יֹּאמַר לִי׃

6Would He contend with me overbearingly? Surely He would not accuse me!

והַבְּרָב־כֹּחַ יָרִיב עִמָּדִי לֹא אַךְ־הוּא יָשִׂם בִּי׃

7There the upright would be cleared by Him, And I would escape forever from my judge.

זשָׁם יָשָׁר נוֹכָח עִמּוֹ וַאֲפַלְּטָה לָנֶצַח מִשֹּׁפְטִי׃

8But if I go East—He is not there; West—I still do not perceive Him;

HAYN KE-dem e-he-LOKH v'-ay-NE-nu v'-a-KHOR v'-LO a-VEEN LO

חהֵן קֶדֶם אֶהֱלֹךְ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְאָחוֹר וְלֹא־אָבִין לוֹ׃

23:8   But if I go East—He is not there

Throughout the book, Iyov’s bitterness at God’s apparent abandonment of him has been very noticeable. Until now it seemed that Iyov was upset because he knew that he did not deserve the punishment he received. Now, however, he expresses concern over his distance from Hashem. For a God-fearing person, distance from Hashem is unbearable. Similarly, when Yeshayahu proclaims to the inhabitants of Yerushalayim: “Though you pray at length, I will not listen.” (1:15), this was meant to motivate them towards repentance. As a truly righteous man, Iyov could bear a test from the Almighty, but he cannot bear the lack of response to his prayers.

9North—since He is concealed, I do not behold Him; South—He is hidden, and I cannot see Him.

טשְׂמֹאול בַּעֲשֹׂתוֹ וְלֹא־אָחַז יַעְטֹף יָמִין וְלֹא אֶרְאֶה׃

10But He knows the way I take; Would He assay me, I should emerge pure as gold.

יכִּי־יָדַע דֶּרֶךְ עִמָּדִי בְּחָנַנִי כַּזָּהָב אֵצֵא׃

11I have followed in His tracks, Kept His way without swerving,

יאבַּאֲשֻׁרוֹ אָחֲזָה רַגְלִי דַּרְכּוֹ שָׁמַרְתִּי וְלֹא־אָט׃

12I have not deviated from what His lips commanded; I have treasured His words more than my daily bread.

יבמִצְוַת שְׂפָתָיו וְלֹא אָמִישׁ מֵחֻקִּי צָפַנְתִּי אִמְרֵי־פִיו׃

13He is one; who can dissuade Him? Whatever He desires, He does.

יגוְהוּא בְאֶחָד וּמִי יְשִׁיבֶנּוּ וְנַפְשׁוֹ אִוְּתָה וַיָּעַשׂ׃

14For He will bring my term to an end, But He has many more such at His disposal.

ידכִּי יַשְׁלִים חֻקִּי וְכָהֵנָּה רַבּוֹת עִמּוֹ׃

15Therefore I am terrified at His presence; When I consider, I dread Him.

טועַל־כֵּן מִפָּנָיו אֶבָּהֵל אֶתְבּוֹנֵן וְאֶפְחַד מִמֶּנּוּ׃

16Hashem has made me fainthearted; Shaddai has terrified me.

טזוְאֵל הֵרַךְ לִבִּי וְשַׁדַּי הִבְהִילָנִי׃

17Yet I am not cut off by the darkness; He has concealed the thick gloom from me.

יזכִּי־לֹא נִצְמַתִּי מִפְּנֵי־חֹשֶׁךְ וּמִפָּנַי כִּסָּה־אֹפֶל׃