Job 29
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1  And Iyov again took up his parable, and said:

א  וַיֹּסֶף אִיּוֹב שְׂאֵת מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר.

2  Oh that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me;

ב  מִי יִתְּנֵנִי כְיַרְחֵי קֶדֶם כִּימֵי אֱלוֹהַּ יִשְׁמְרֵנִי.

3  When His lamp shined above my head, and by His light I walked through darkness;

ג  בְּהִלּוֹ נֵרוֹ עֲלֵי רֹאשִׁי לְאוֹרוֹ אֵלֶךְ חֹשֶׁךְ.

4  As I was in the days of my youth, when the converse of God was upon my tent;

ד  כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי בִּימֵי חָרְפִּי בְּסוֹד אֱלוֹהַּ עֲלֵי אָהֳלִי.

5  When the Almighty was yet with me, and my children were about me;

ה  בְּעוֹד שַׁדַּי עִמָּדִי סְבִיבוֹתַי נְעָרָי.

6  When my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil!

ו  בִּרְחֹץ הֲלִיכַי בְּחֵמָה וְצוּר יָצוּק עִמָּדִי פַּלְגֵי שָׁמֶן.

7  When I went forth to the gate unto the city, when I prepared my seat in the broad place,

ז  בְּצֵאתִי שַׁעַר עֲלֵי קָרֶת בָּרְחוֹב אָכִין מוֹשָׁבִי.

8  The young men saw me and hid themselves, and the aged rose up and stood;

ח  רָאוּנִי נְעָרִים וְנֶחְבָּאוּ וִישִׁישִׁים קָמוּ עָמָדוּ.

9  The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth;

ט  שָׂרִים עָצְרוּ בְמִלִּים וְכַף יָשִׂימוּ לְפִיהֶם.

10  The voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.

י  קוֹל נְגִידִים נֶחְבָּאוּ וּלְשׁוֹנָם לְחִכָּם דָּבֵקָה.

11  For when the ear heard me, then it blessed me, and when the eye saw me, it gave witness unto me;

יא  כִּי אֹזֶן שָׁמְעָה וַתְּאַשְּׁרֵנִי וְעַיִן רָאֲתָה וַתְּעִידֵנִי.

12  Because I delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless also, that had none to help him.

יב  כִּי אֲמַלֵּט עָנִי מְשַׁוֵּעַ וְיָתוֹם וְלֹא עֹזֵר לוֹ.

13  The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

יג  בִּרְכַּת אֹבֵד עָלַי תָּבֹא וְלֵב אַלְמָנָה אַרְנִן.

14  I put on righteousness, and it clothed itself with me; my justice was as a robe and a diadem.

יד  צֶדֶק לָבַשְׁתִּי וַיִּלְבָּשֵׁנִי כִּמְעִיל וְצָנִיף מִשְׁפָּטִי.

15  I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

טו  עֵינַיִם הָיִיתִי לַעִוֵּר וְרַגְלַיִם לַפִּסֵּחַ אָנִי.

16  I was a father to the needy; and the cause of him that I knew not I searched out.

טז  אָב אָנֹכִי לָאֶבְיוֹנִים וְרִב לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אֶחְקְרֵהוּ.

17  And I broke the jaws of the unrighteous, and plucked the prey out of his teeth.

יז  וָאֲשַׁבְּרָה מְתַלְּעוֹת עַוָּל וּמִשִּׁנָּיו אַשְׁלִיךְ טָרֶף.

18  Then I said: ‘I shall die with my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the phoenix;

יח  וָאֹמַר עִם קִנִּי אֶגְוָע וְכַחוֹל אַרְבֶּה יָמִים.

19  My root shall be spread out to the waters, and the dew shall lie all night upon my branch;

יט  שָׁרְשִׁי פָתוּחַ אֱלֵי מָיִם וְטַל יָלִין בִּקְצִירִי.

20  My glory shall be fresh in me, and my bow shall be renewed in my hand.’

כ  כְּבוֹדִי חָדָשׁ עִמָּדִי וְקַשְׁתִּי בְּיָדִי תַחֲלִיף.

21  Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence for my counsel.

כא  לִי שָׁמְעוּ וְיִחֵלּוּ וְיִדְּמוּ לְמוֹ עֲצָתִי.

22  After my words they spoke not again; and my speech dropped upon them.

כב  אַחֲרֵי דְבָרִי לֹא יִשְׁנוּ וְעָלֵימוֹ תִּטֹּף מִלָּתִי.

23  And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.

כג  וְיִחֲלוּ כַמָּטָר לִי וּפִיהֶם פָּעֲרוּ לְמַלְקוֹשׁ.

24  If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

כד  אֶשְׂחַק אֲלֵהֶם לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ וְאוֹר פָּנַי לֹא יַפִּילוּן.

25  I chose out their way, and sat as chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the 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  אֶבְחַר דַּרְכָּם וְאֵשֵׁב רֹאשׁ וְאֶשְׁכּוֹן כְּמֶלֶךְ בַּגְּדוּד כַּאֲשֶׁר אֲבֵלִים יְנַחֵם.

29:25   And dwelt as a king in the army

Job notes that he was able to comfort the mourners and deal fairly with the poor and widows because he was so respected among them. It is very easy to be merciful and kind from a high position. Perhaps part of Job’s test is to learn that his kindness should not be contingent on his own feelings of superiority. Compassion and sensitivity to others is built into the nature of the Land of Israel where the Sabbatical (Shmitta) is observed every seven years in order to remember and provide for the needy and less fortunate (see Leviticus 25, 6-7).

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Job 29