Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
1Iyov again took up his theme and said:
אוַיֹּסֶף אִיּוֹב שְׂאֵת מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר׃
2O that I were as in months gone by, In the days when Hashem watched over me,
במִי־יִתְּנֵנִי כְיַרְחֵי־קֶדֶם כִּימֵי אֱלוֹהַּ יִשְׁמְרֵנִי׃
3When His lamp shone over my head, When I walked in the dark by its light,
גבְּהִלּוֹ נֵרוֹ עֲלֵי רֹאשִׁי לְאוֹרוֹ אֵלֶךְ חֹשֶׁךְ׃
4When I was in my prime, When Hashem's company graced my tent,
דכַּאֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי בִּימֵי חָרְפִּי בְּסוֹד אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵי אָהֳלִי׃
5When Shaddai was still with me, When my lads surrounded me,
הבְּעוֹד שַׁדַּי עִמָּדִי סְבִיבוֹתַי נְעָרָי׃
6When my feet were bathed in cream, And rocks poured out streams of oil for me.
ובִּרְחֹץ הֲלִיכַי בְּחֵמָה וְצוּר יָצוּק עִמָּדִי פַּלְגֵי־שָׁמֶן׃
7When I passed through the city gates To take my seat in the square,
זבְּצֵאתִי שַׁעַר עֲלֵי־קָרֶת בָּרְחוֹב אָכִין מוֹשָׁבִי׃
8Young men saw me and hid, Elders rose and stood;
חרָאוּנִי נְעָרִים וְנֶחְבָּאוּ וִישִׁישִׁים קָמוּ עָמָדוּ׃
9Nobles held back their words; They clapped their hands to their mouths.
טשָׂרִים עָצְרוּ בְמִלִּים וְכַף יָשִׂימוּ לְפִיהֶם׃
10The voices of princes were hushed; Their tongues stuck to their palates.
יקוֹל־נְגִידִים נֶחְבָּאוּ וּלְשׁוֹנָם לְחִכָּם דָּבֵקָה׃
11The ear that heard me acclaimed me; The eye that saw, commended me.
יאכִּי אֹזֶן שָׁמְעָה וַתְּאַשְּׁרֵנִי וְעַיִן רָאֲתָה וַתְּעִידֵנִי׃
12For I saved the poor man who cried out, The orphan who had none to help him.
יבכִּי־אֲמַלֵּט עָנִי מְשַׁוֵּעַ וְיָתוֹם וְלֹא־עֹזֵר לוֹ׃
13I received the blessing of the lost; I gladdened the heart of the widow.
יגבִּרְכַּת אֹבֵד עָלַי תָּבֹא וְלֵב אַלְמָנָה אַרְנִן׃
14I clothed myself in righteousness and it robed me; Justice was my cloak and turban.
ידצֶדֶק לָבַשְׁתִּי וַיִּלְבָּשֵׁנִי כִּמְעִיל וְצָנִיף מִשְׁפָּטִי׃
15I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame.
טועֵינַיִם הָיִיתִי לַעִוֵּר וְרַגְלַיִם לַפִּסֵּחַ אָנִי׃
16I was a father to the needy, And I looked into the case of the stranger.
טזאָב אָנֹכִי לָאֶבְיוֹנִים וְרִב לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי אֶחְקְרֵהוּ׃
17I broke the jaws of the wrongdoer, And I wrested prey from his teeth.
יזוָאֲשַׁבְּרָה מְתַלְּעוֹת עַוָּל וּמִשִּׁנָּיו אַשְׁלִיךְ טָרֶף׃
18I thought I would end my days with my family, And be as long-lived as the phoenix,
יחוָאֹמַר עִם־קִנִּי אֶגְוָע וְכַחוֹל אַרְבֶּה יָמִים׃
19My roots reaching water, And dew lying on my branches;
יטשָׁרְשִׁי פָתוּחַ אֱלֵי־מָיִם וְטַל יָלִין בִּקְצִירִי׃
20My vigor refreshed, My bow ever new in my hand.
ככְּבוֹדִי חָדָשׁ עִמָּדִי וְקַשְׁתִּי בְּיָדִי תַחֲלִיף׃
21Men would listen to me expectantly, And wait for my counsel.
כאלִי־שָׁמְעוּ וְיִחֵלּוּ וְיִדְּמוּ לְמוֹ עֲצָתִי׃
22After I spoke they had nothing to say; My words were as drops [of dew] upon them.
כבאַחֲרֵי דְבָרִי לֹא יִשְׁנוּ וְעָלֵימוֹ תִּטֹּף מִלָּתִי׃
23They waited for me as for rain, For the late rain, their mouths open wide.
כגוְיִחֲלוּ כַמָּטָר לִי וּפִיהֶם פָּעֲרוּ לְמַלְקוֹשׁ׃
24When I smiled at them, they would not believe it; They never expected a sign of my favor.
כדאֶשְׂחַק אֲלֵהֶם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ וְאוֹר פָּנַי לֹא יַפִּילוּן׃
25I decided their course and presided over them; I lived like a king among his troops, Like one who consoles mourners.
ev-KHAR dar-KAM v'-ay-SHAYV ROSH v'-esh-KON k'-ME-lekh ba-g'-DUD ka-a-SHER a-vay-LEEM y'-na-KHAYM
כהאֶבֲחַר דַּרְכָּם וְאֵשֵׁב רֹאשׁ וְאֶשְׁכּוֹן כְּמֶלֶךְ בַּגְּדוּד כַּאֲשֶׁר אֲבֵלִים יְנַחֵם׃
29:25 I lived like a king among his troops
Iyov notes that he was able to comfort the mourners and to deal fairly with the poor and widows because he was respected among them. It is relatively easy to be merciful and kind from a high position. Perhaps part of Iyov’s test is to learn that his kindness should not be contingent on his feelings of superiority. Compassion and sensitivity to others is built into the nature of the Land of Israel, where the Sabbatical year (Sh’mitta) is observed every seven years, to remember and provide for the needy and less fortunate (see Leviticus 25, 6-7).