Job 29
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1  Iyov again took up his theme and said:

א  וַיֹּסֶף אִיּוֹב שְׂאֵת מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר׃

2  O that I were as in months gone by, In the days when Hashem watched over me,

ב  מִי־יִתְּנֵנִי כְיַרְחֵי־קֶדֶם כִּימֵי אֱלוֹהַּ יִשְׁמְרֵנִי׃

3  When His lamp shone over my head, When I walked in the dark by its light,

ג  בְּהִלּוֹ נֵרוֹ עֲלֵי רֹאשִׁי לְאוֹרוֹ אֵלֶךְ חֹשֶׁךְ׃

4  When I was in my prime, When Hashem‘s company graced my tent,

ד  כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי בִּימֵי חָרְפִּי בְּסוֹד אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵי אָהֳלִי׃

5  When Shaddai was still with me, When my lads surrounded me,

ה  בְּעוֹד שַׁדַּי עִמָּדִי סְבִיבוֹתַי נְעָרָי׃

6  When my feet were bathed in cream, And rocks poured out streams of oil for me.

ו  בִּרְחֹץ הֲלִיכַי בְּחֵמָה וְצוּר יָצוּק עִמָּדִי פַּלְגֵי־שָׁמֶן׃

7  When I passed through the city gates To take my seat in the square,

ז  בְּצֵאתִי שַׁעַר עֲלֵי־קָרֶת בָּרְחוֹב אָכִין מוֹשָׁבִי׃

8  Young men saw me and hid, Elders rose and stood;

ח  רָאוּנִי נְעָרִים וְנֶחְבָּאוּ וִישִׁישִׁים קָמוּ עָמָדוּ׃

9  Nobles held back their words; They clapped their hands to their mouths.

ט  שָׂרִים עָצְרוּ בְמִלִּים וְכַף יָשִׂימוּ לְפִיהֶם׃

10  The voices of princes were hushed; Their tongues stuck to their palates.

י  קוֹל־נְגִידִים נֶחְבָּאוּ וּלְשׁוֹנָם לְחִכָּם דָּבֵקָה׃

11  The ear that heard me acclaimed me; The eye that saw, commended me.

יא  כִּי אֹזֶן שָׁמְעָה וַתְּאַשְּׁרֵנִי וְעַיִן רָאֲתָה וַתְּעִידֵנִי׃

12  For I saved the poor man who cried out, The orphan who had none to help him.

יב  כִּי־אֲמַלֵּט עָנִי מְשַׁוֵּעַ וְיָתוֹם וְלֹא־עֹזֵר לוֹ׃

13  I received the blessing of the lost; I gladdened the heart of the widow.

יג  בִּרְכַּת אֹבֵד עָלַי תָּבֹא וְלֵב אַלְמָנָה אַרְנִן׃

14  I clothed myself in righteousness and it robed me; Justice was my cloak and turban.

יד  צֶדֶק לָבַשְׁתִּי וַיִּלְבָּשֵׁנִי כִּמְעִיל וְצָנִיף מִשְׁפָּטִי׃

15  I was eyes to the blind And feet to the lame.

טו  עֵינַיִם הָיִיתִי לַעִוֵּר וְרַגְלַיִם לַפִּסֵּחַ אָנִי׃

16  I was a father to the needy, And I looked into the case of the stranger.

טז  אָב אָנֹכִי לָאֶבְיוֹנִים וְרִב לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי אֶחְקְרֵהוּ׃

17  I broke the jaws of the wrongdoer, And I wrested prey from his teeth.

יז  וָאֲשַׁבְּרָה מְתַלְּעוֹת עַוָּל וּמִשִּׁנָּיו אַשְׁלִיךְ טָרֶף׃

18  I thought I would end my days with my family, And be as long-lived as the phoenix,

יח  וָאֹמַר עִם־קִנִּי אֶגְוָע וְכַחוֹל אַרְבֶּה יָמִים׃

19  My roots reaching water, And dew lying on my branches;

יט  שָׁרְשִׁי פָתוּחַ אֱלֵי־מָיִם וְטַל יָלִין בִּקְצִירִי׃

20  My vigor refreshed, My bow ever new in my hand.

כ  כְּבוֹדִי חָדָשׁ עִמָּדִי וְקַשְׁתִּי בְּיָדִי תַחֲלִיף׃

21  Men would listen to me expectantly, And wait for my counsel.

כא  לִי־שָׁמְעוּ וְיִחֵלּוּ וְיִדְּמוּ לְמוֹ עֲצָתִי׃

22  After I spoke they had nothing to say; My words were as drops [of dew] upon them.

כב  אַחֲרֵי דְבָרִי לֹא יִשְׁנוּ וְעָלֵימוֹ תִּטֹּף מִלָּתִי׃

23  They waited for me as for rain, For the late rain, their mouths open wide.

כג  וְיִחֲלוּ כַמָּטָר לִי וּפִיהֶם פָּעֲרוּ לְמַלְקוֹשׁ׃

24  When I smiled at them, they would not believe it; They never expected a sign of my favor.

כד  אֶשְׂחַק אֲלֵהֶם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ וְאוֹר פָּנַי לֹא יַפִּילוּן׃

25  I 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

כה  אֶבֲחַר 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).1 comment

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Job 29

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