8 Would you impugn My justice? Would you condemn Me that you may be right?
ha-AF ta-FAYR mish-pa-TEE tar-shee-AY-nee l’-MA-an titz-DAK
ח הַאַף תָּפֵר מִשְׁפָּטִי תַּרְשִׁיעֵנִי לְמַעַן תִּצְדָּק׃
40:8 Would you condemn Me that you may be right?
The Sages of the Talmud (Bava Batra 15a) try to determine the time period in which Iyov lived. Although some opinions have him living during the period of the Exodus from Egypt (see commentary to 2:7), another suggests that he was among the Babylonian exiles who returned to the Land of Israel after the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash. The identification of Iyov with the generation that experienced the destruction of the Temple and exile from Eretz Yisrael is fitting. Throughout the book, Iyov struggles with the reality that he is suffering, though seemingly righteous. He challenges God’s justice, trying to make sense of the age-old question about why bad things happen to good people. Likewise, the Jews at the time of the exile also struggled to understand why they deserved to suffer as they did (see Ezekiel 18). Though the Jews sinned and Iyov did not, his personal suffering is seen as emblematic of the suffering of the Nation of Israel.