Chapter 4

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite said in reply:

va-YA-an e-lee-FAZ ha-tay-ma-NEE va-yo-MAR

אוַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וַיֹּאמַר׃

4:1   Then Eliphaz the Temanite said in reply

Eliphaz the Temanite is the first of Iyov’s friends to respond to his suffering. He asserts that Hashem would not punish those who are free of sin, as Iyov seems to believe; since all people sin, Iyov must not be an exception. He urges Iyov to confess his secret sins in order to alleviate his suffering. Though he means well, Eliphaz’s view of divine justice is criticized by God Himself at the end of the book (42:7). Eliphaz is called a Temanite, presumably because he is from the city called Teman, which belonged to the descendants of Esau, the Edomites, and is mentioned in Sefer Ovadya (1:9). Eliphaz was also the name of Esau’s firstborn son (Genesis 36:4). Many therefore assume that Eliphaz is an Edomite, and in Sefer Iyov represents Edomite wisdom, which was well-known in biblical times (see Jeremiah 49:7).

2If one ventures a word with you, will it be too much? But who can hold back his words?

בהֲנִסָּה דָבָר אֵלֶיךָ תִּלְאֶה וַעְצֹר בְּמִלִּין מִי יוּכָל׃

3See, you have encouraged many; You have strengthened failing hands.

גהִנֵּה יִסַּרְתָּ רַבִּים וְיָדַיִם רָפוֹת תְּחַזֵּק׃

4Your words have kept him who stumbled from falling; You have braced knees that gave way.

דכּוֹשֵׁל יְקִימוּן מִלֶּיךָ וּבִרְכַּיִם כֹּרְעוֹת תְּאַמֵּץ׃

5But now that it overtakes you, it is too much; It reaches you, and you are unnerved.

הכִּי עַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ וַתֵּלֶא תִּגַּע עָדֶיךָ וַתִּבָּהֵל׃

6Is not your piety your confidence, Your integrity your hope?

והֲלֹא יִרְאָתְךָ כִּסְלָתֶךָ תִּקְוָתְךָ וְתֹם דְּרָכֶיךָ׃

7Think now, what innocent man ever perished? Where have the upright been destroyed?

זזְכָר־נָא מִי הוּא נָקִי אָבָד וְאֵיפֹה יְשָׁרִים נִכְחָדוּ׃

8As I have seen, those who plow evil And sow mischief reap them.

חכַּאֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי חֹרְשֵׁי אָוֶן וְזֹרְעֵי עָמָל יִקְצְרֻהוּ׃

9They perish by a blast from Hashem, Are gone at the breath of His nostrils.

טמִנִּשְׁמַת אֱלוֹהַ יֹאבֵדוּ וּמֵרוּחַ אַפּוֹ יִכְלוּ׃

10The lion may roar, the cub may howl, But the teeth of the king of beasts are broken.

ישַׁאֲגַת אַרְיֵה וְקוֹל שָׁחַל וְשִׁנֵּי כְפִירִים נִתָּעוּ׃

11The lion perishes for lack of prey, And its whelps are scattered.

יאלַיִשׁ אֹבֵד מִבְּלִי־טָרֶף וּבְנֵי לָבִיא יִתְפָּרָדוּ׃

12A word came to me in stealth; My ear caught a whisper of it.

יבוְאֵלַי דָּבָר יְגֻנָּב וַתִּקַּח אָזְנִי שֵׁמֶץ מֶנְהוּ׃

13In thought-filled visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men,

יגבִּשְׂעִפִּים מֵחֶזְיֹנוֹת לָיְלָה בִּנְפֹל תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל־אֲנָשִׁים׃

14Fear and trembling came upon me, Causing all my bones to quake with fright.

ידפַּחַד קְרָאַנִי וּרְעָדָה וְרֹב עַצְמוֹתַי הִפְחִיד׃

15A wind passed by me, Making the hair of my flesh bristle.

טווְרוּחַ עַל־פָּנַי יַחֲלֹף תְּסַמֵּר שַׂעֲרַת בְּשָׂרִי׃

16It halted; its appearance was strange to me; A form loomed before my eyes; I heard a murmur, a voice,

טזיַעֲמֹד וְלֹא־אַכִּיר מַרְאֵהוּ תְּמוּנָה לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי דְּמָמָה וָקוֹל אֶשְׁמָע׃

17“Can mortals be acquitted by Hashem? Can man be cleared by his Maker?

יזהַאֱנוֹשׁ מֵאֱלוֹהַ יִצְדָּק אִם מֵעֹשֵׂהוּ יִטְהַר־גָּבֶר׃

18If He cannot trust His own servants, And casts reproach on His angels,

יחהֵן בַּעֲבָדָיו לֹא יַאֲמִין וּבְמַלְאָכָיו יָשִׂים תָּהֳלָה׃

19How much less those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose origin is dust, Who are crushed like the moth,

יטאַף שֹׁכְנֵי בָתֵּי־חֹמֶר אֲשֶׁר־בֶּעָפָר יְסוֹדָם יְדַכְּאוּם לִפְנֵי־עָשׁ׃

20Shattered between daybreak and evening, Perishing forever, unnoticed.

כמִבֹּקֶר לָעֶרֶב יֻכַּתּוּ מִבְּלִי מֵשִׂים לָנֶצַח יֹאבֵדוּ׃

21Their cord is pulled up And they die, and not with wisdom.”

כאהֲלֹא־נִסַּע יִתְרָם בָּם יָמוּתוּ וְלֹא בְחָכְמָה׃