Job 17
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  My spirit is consumed, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me.

א  רוּחִי חֻבָּלָה יָמַי נִזְעָכוּ קְבָרִים לִי.

2  Surely there are mockers with me, and mine eye abideth in their provocation.

ב  אִם לֹא הֲתֻלִים עִמָּדִי וּבְהַמְּרוֹתָם תָּלַן עֵינִי.

3  Give now a pledge, be surety for me with Thyself; who else is there that will strike hands with me?

ג  שִׂימָה נָּא עָרְבֵנִי עִמָּךְ מִי הוּא לְיָדִי יִתָּקֵעַ.

4  For Thou hast hid their heart from understanding; therefore shalt Thou not exalt them.

ד  כִּי לִבָּם צָפַנְתָּ מִּשָּׂכֶל עַל כֵּן לֹא תְרֹמֵם.

5  He that denounceth his friends for the sake of flattery, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

ה  לְחֵלֶק יַגִּיד רֵעִים וְעֵינֵי בָנָיו תִּכְלֶנָה.

6  He hath made me also a byword of the people; and I am become one in whose face they spit.

ו  וְהִצִּיגַנִי לִמְשֹׁל עַמִּים וְתֹפֶת לְפָנִים אֶהְיֶה.

7  Mine eye also is dimmed by reason of vexation, and all my members are as a shadow.

ז  וַתֵּכַהּ מִכַּעַשׂ עֵינִי וִיצֻרַי כַּצֵּל כֻּלָּם.

8  Upright men are astonished at this, and the innocent stirreth up himself against the godless.

ח  יָשֹׁמּוּ יְשָׁרִים עַל זֹאת וְנָקִי עַל חָנֵף יִתְעֹרָר.

9  Yet the righteous holdeth on his way, and he that hath clean hands waxeth stronger and stronger.

ט  וְיֹאחֵז צַדִּיק דַּרְכּוֹ וּטְהָר יָדַיִם יֹסִיף אֹמֶץ.

10  But as for you all, do ye return, and come now; and I shall not find a wise man among you.

י  וְאוּלָם כֻּלָּם תָּשֻׁבוּ וּבֹאוּ נָא וְלֹא אֶמְצָא בָכֶם חָכָם.

11  My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

ya-MAI a-v’-RU zi-mo-TAI ni-t’-KU mo-ra-SHAY l’-va-VEE

יא  יָמַי עָבְרוּ זִמֹּתַי נִתְּקוּ מוֹרָשֵׁי לְבָבִי.

17:11   My purposes are broken off

Job begins to feel distance from God and believe that he can no longer communicate meaningfully with the Lord. Job can no longer beg God to give him succour and end his suffering, and therefore feels he is close to death. Similarly, the Sages state that from the time of the destruction of the Temple, an iron wall separates mankind from their Father in Heaven. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook explains the symbolism of the iron wall as follows. Iron is symbolic of death and destruction, as it is a material used to make instruments of war and execution. While iron is a material used to shorten life, the goal of the Temple was to prolong life and promote peace in the world. With the destruction of the Temple, its influence was replaced by the influence of iron in the world. Rabbi Kook concludes that it is only when justice and integrity will be restored that the iron wall will come down, and the Temple will resume its place at the center of prayer and inspiration for the entire world.


12  They change the night into day; the light is short because of darkness.

יב  לַיְלָה לְיוֹם יָשִׂימוּ אוֹר קָרוֹב מִפְּנֵי חֹשֶׁךְ.

13  If I look for the nether-world as my house; if I have spread my couch in the darkness;

יג  אִם אֲקַוֶּה שְׁאוֹל בֵּיתִי בַּחֹשֶׁךְ רִפַּדְתִּי יְצוּעָי.

14  If I have said to corruption: ‘Thou art my father’, to the worm: ‘Thou art my mother, and my sister’;

יד  לַשַּׁחַת קָרָאתִי אָבִי אָתָּה אִמִּי וַאֲחֹתִי לָרִמָּה.

15  Where then is my hope? And as for my hope, who shall see it?

טו  וְאַיֵּה אֵפוֹ תִקְוָתִי וְתִקְוָתִי מִי יְשׁוּרֶנָּה.

16  They shall go down to the bars of the nether-world, when we are at rest together in the dust.

טז  בַּדֵּי שְׁאֹל תֵּרַדְנָה אִם יַחַד עַל עָפָר נָחַת.

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Job 16
Job 18

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Job 17