17 What 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
יז מָה־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.