Chapter 7

1Truly man has a term of service on earth; His days are like those of a hireling—

אהֲלֹא־צָבָא לֶאֱנוֹשׁ על־[עֲלֵי־] אָרֶץ וְכִימֵי שָׂכִיר יָמָיו׃

2Like a slave who longs for [evening's] shadows, Like a hireling who waits for his wage.

בכְּעֶבֶד יִשְׁאַף־צֵל וּכְשָׂכִיר יְקַוֶּה פָעֳלוֹ׃

3So have I been allotted months of futility; Nights of misery have been apportioned to me.

גכֵּן הָנְחַלְתִּי לִי יַרְחֵי־שָׁוְא וְלֵילוֹת עָמָל מִנּוּ־לִי׃

4When I lie down, I think, “When shall I rise?” Night drags on, And I am sated with tossings till morning twilight.

דאִם־שָׁכַבְתִּי וְאָמַרְתִּי מָתַי אָקוּם וּמִדַּד־עָרֶב וְשָׂבַעְתִּי נְדֻדִים עֲדֵי־נָשֶׁף׃

5My flesh is covered with maggots and clods of earth; My skin is broken and festering.

הלָבַשׁ בְּשָׂרִי רִמָּה וגיש [וְגוּשׁ] עָפָר עוֹרִי רָגַע וַיִּמָּאֵס׃

6My days fly faster than a weaver's shuttle, And come to their end without hope.

ויָמַי קַלּוּ מִנִּי־אָרֶג וַיִּכְלוּ בְּאֶפֶס תִּקְוָה׃

7Consider that my life is but wind; I shall never see happiness again.

זזְכֹר כִּי־רוּחַ חַיָּי לֹא־תָשׁוּב עֵינִי לִרְאוֹת טוֹב׃

8The eye that gazes on me will not see me; Your eye will seek me, but I shall be gone.

חלֹא־תְשׁוּרֵנִי עֵין רֹאִי עֵינֶיךָ בִּי וְאֵינֶנִּי׃

9As a cloud fades away, So whoever goes down to Sheol does not come up;

טכָּלָה עָנָן וַיֵּלַךְ כֵּן יוֹרֵד שְׁאוֹל לֹא יַעֲלֶה׃

10He returns no more to his home; His place does not know him.

ילֹא־יָשׁוּב עוֹד לְבֵיתוֹ וְלֹא־יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקֹמוֹ׃

11On my part, I will not speak with restraint; I will give voice to the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

יאגַּם־אֲנִי לֹא אֶחֱשָׂךְ פִּי אֲ‍דַבְּרָה בְּצַר רוּחִי אָשִׂיחָה בְּמַר נַפְשִׁי׃

12Am I the sea or the Dragon, That You have set a watch over me?

יבהֲ‍יָם־אָנִי אִם־תַּנִּין כִּי־תָשִׂים עָלַי מִשְׁמָר׃

13When I think, “My bed will comfort me, My couch will share my sorrow,”

יגכִּי־אָמַרְתִּי תְּנַחֲמֵנִי עַרְשִׂי יִשָּׂא בְשִׂיחִי מִשְׁכָּבִי׃

14You frighten me with dreams, And terrify me with visions,

ידוְחִתַּתַּנִי בַחֲלֹמוֹת וּמֵחֶזְיֹנוֹת תְּבַעֲתַנִּי׃

15Till I prefer strangulation, Death, to my wasted frame.

טווַתִּבְחַר מַחֲנָק נַפְשִׁי מָוֶת מֵעַצְמוֹתָי׃

16I am sick of it. I shall not live forever; Let me be, for my days are a breath.

טזמָאַסְתִּי לֹא־לְעֹלָם אֶחְיֶה חֲדַל מִמֶּנִּי כִּי־הֶבֶל יָמָי׃

17What is man, that You make much of him, That You fix Your attention upon him?

mah e-NOSH KEE t'-ga-d'-LE-nu v'-KHEE ta-SHEET ay-LAV li-BE-kha

יזמָה־אֱנוֹשׁ כִּי תְגַדְּלֶנּוּ וְכִי־תָשִׁית אֵלָיו לִבֶּךָ׃

7:17   What is man, that You make much of him

In his despair, Iyov doubts the very worth of humanity. He declares that because man is insignificant, he is unworthy of Hashem’s attention and should be free from punishment and suffering. These words parallel the famous words of the psalmist: “What is man, that You have been mindful of him, mortal man that You have taken note of him?” However, the psalmist’s conclusion is very different from Iyov’s: “That You have made him little less than divine, and adorned him with glory and majesty” (Psalms 8:5-6). While Iyov bemoans the esteem given by God to man, the psalmist praises Hashem for granting man the capacity for greatness, though in reality he is undeserving.

18You inspect him every morning, Examine him every minute.

יחוַתִּפְקְדֶנּוּ לִבְקָרִים לִרְגָעִים תִּבְחָנֶנּוּ׃

19Will You not look away from me for a while, Let me be, till I swallow my spittle?

יטכַּמָּה לֹא־תִשְׁעֶה מִמֶּנִּי לֹא־תַרְפֵּנִי עַד־בִּלְעִי רֻקִּי׃

20If I have sinned, what have I done to You, Watcher of men? Why make of me Your target, And a burden to myself?

כחָטָאתִי מָה אֶפְעַל לָךְ נֹצֵר הָאָדָם לָמָה שַׂמְתַּנִי לְמִפְגָּע לָךְ וָאֶהְיֶה עָלַי לְמַשָּׂא׃

21Why do You not pardon my transgression And forgive my iniquity? For soon I shall lie down in the dust; When You seek me, I shall be gone.

כאוּמֶה לֹא־תִשָּׂא פִשְׁעִי וְתַעֲבִיר אֶת־עֲוׂנִי כִּי־עַתָּה לֶעָפָר אֶשְׁכָּב וְשִׁחֲרְתַּנִי וְאֵינֶנִּי׃