Job 27


וַיֹּסֶף אִיּוֹב שְׂאֵת מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר׃   27:1

Job 27:1   And Job continued to lift up his poem, and he said,

חַי־אֵל הֵסִיר מִשְׁפָּטִי וְשַׁדַּי הֵמַר נַפְשִׁי׃   27:2

Job 27:2   “The living God has taken away my justice,

                            and the Almighty has embittered my soul.”

כִּי־כָל־עוֹד נִשְׁמָתִי בִי וְרוּחַ אֱלוֹהַּ בְּאַפִּי׃   27:3

Job 27:3   “But all the while my breath is in me,

                            and the spirit of God is in my nose;

אִם־תְּדַבֵּרְנָה שְׂפָתַי עַוְלָה וּלְשׁוֹנִי אִם־יֶהְגֶּה רְמִיָּה׃   27:4

Job 27:4   my lips shall not speak unrighteousness,

                            or my tongue utter deceit.”                                             [Return to Job 35:2]

חָלִילָה לִּי אִם־אַצְדִּיק אֶתְכֶם עַד־אֶגְוָע לֹא־אָסִיר תֻּמָּתִי מִמֶּנִּי׃   27:5

Job 27:5   “Far be it for me if I should justify you!

                            Until I die I will not put away my integrity from me.”

The pronoun you at the end of the first line of this verse is plural, so Job is addressing the three friends here.

בְּצִדְקָתִי הֶחֱזַקְתִּי וְלֹא אַרְפֶּהָ לֹא־יֶחֱרַף לְבָבִי מִיָּמָי׃   27:6

Job 27:6   “I have kept hold to my righteousness,

                            and I will not abandon it.

                   My heart shall not blaspheme in my lifetime.”

יְהִי כְרָשָׁע אֹיְבִי וּמִתְקוֹמְמִי כְעַוָּל׃   27:7

Job 27:7   “My enemy would be as a wicked one,

                            and one rising up against me as an unrighteous one.’

I suspect this verse could be a veiled reference to the three friends.  If they are his enemies, as they seem to be, they would be wicked and unrighteous.

כִּי מַה־תִּקְוַת חָנֵף כִּי יִבְצָע כִּי יֵשֶׁל אֱלוֹהַּ נַפְשׁוֹ׃   27:8

Job 27:8   “For what is the hope of the godless one,

                            though he may gain wrongfully,

                    if God will extract his soul?”

הַצַעֲקָתֹו יִשְׁמַע אֵל כִּי־תָבֹוא עָלָיו צָרָה׃   27:9

Job 27:9   “Will God hear his outcry

                            if trouble would come upon him?”

אִם־עַל־שַׁדַּי יִתְעַנָּג יִקְרָא אֱלוֹהַּ בְּכָל־עֵת׃   27:10

Job 27:10   “Will he be happy about the Almighty,

                            call to God at all times?”

אוֹרֶה אֶתְכֶם בְּיַד־אֵל אֲשֶׁר עִם־שַׁדַּי לֹא אֲכַחֵד׃   27:11

Job 27:11   I will instruct you on the ‘hand’ of God.

                            I shall not hide what is with the Almighty.”

Once more the pronoun you is plural.  Also in the next verse as well.

הֵן־אַתֶּם כֻּלְּכֶם חֲזִיתֶם וְלָמָּה־זֶּה הֶבֶל תֶּהְבָּלוּ׃   27:12

Job 27:12   “Behold, you -- all of you -- have seen!

                            So why have you become so utterly vain?”

זֶה חֵלֶק־אָדָם רָשָׁע עִם־אֵל וְנַחֲלַת עָרִיצִים מִשַּׁדַּי יִקָּחוּ׃   27:13

Job 27:13   “This would be the portion of a wicked person with God,

                            and the heritage of oppressors they would receive from the Almighty:

With this verse Job begins to instruct the friends.  This verse must be introductory to the remainder of this chapter.  Job next explains what might happen to a wicked person.  Unfortunately, and perplexingly, his description seems to conform to the beliefs of the friends rather than to his own.  He seems to be saying in the ensuing verses that the unjust face trouble and destruction.  Somehow he seems to be inadvertently lending support to the beliefs of the friends, and in the process, he is describing -- therefore condemning -- himself.  Very strange.  The sages and scholars seem to have the same trouble with the rest of this chapter.  Some have offered the observation that the third speech of Zophar is missing from the book.  Each of the other friends have provided their views in three speeches, but the third of Zophar’s is absent.  They suggest that the rest of this chapter is actually a review of Zophar’s beliefs.  Without a doubt, the mystery remains to this day.  No one has provided a supportable resolution to this dilemma.  The most likely possibility in my mind is that a verse preceding this one has been excised from the original texts, and it would have said “And Zophar responded, and he said,” and it would separate the rest of this chapter from the preceding twelve verses.  Thus the rest of this chapter would be counted as Chapter 28.

אִם־יִרְבּוּ בָנָיו לְמוֹ־חָרֶב וְצֶאֱצָאָיו לֹא יִשְׂבְּעוּ־לָחֶם׃   27:14

Job 27:14   If his children were multiplied it would be for the sword,

                            and his offspring would not have their fill of bread.”

שְׂרִידֹו) [שְׂרִידָיו] בַּמָּוֶת יִקָּבֵרוּ וְאַלְמְנֹתָיו לֹא תִבְכֶּינָה׃   27:15

Job 27:15   “His survivors would be buried in death,

                            and his widows would not lament.”

The word before the left parenthesis is missing a second yad.  The correction is in the brackets.

אִם־יִצְבֹּר כֶּעָפָר כָּסֶף וְכַחֹמֶר יָכִין מַלְבּוּשׁ׃   27:16

Job 27:16   “If he were to pile up silver like dust,

                            and furnish apparel as if clay,

יָכִין וְצַדִּיק יִלְבָּשׁ וְכֶסֶף נָקִי יַחֲלֹק׃   27:17

Job 27:17   he may furnish, but one righteous would wear,

                            and an innocent one would divide the silver.”

בָּנָה כָעָשׁ בֵּיתוֹ וּכְסֻכָּה עָשָׂה נֹצֵר׃   27:18

Job 27:18   “He builds his house like a moth,

                            or like a booth a guard makes.”

I see this verse as difficult to interpret, although commentators seem to agree that the verse is intended to convey flimsiness.  Some bibles translate the second word of the verse as like a spider.  In other words, the house is fragile and temporary.  The house can collapse at any time.  Some commentators also see the moth as an allusion to someone who steals from the material of others to build his house.

עָשִׁיר יִשְׁכַּב וְלֹא יֵאָסֵף עֵינָיו פָּקַח וְאֵינֶנּוּ׃   27:19

Job 27:19   “He may lie down rich, but he would not gather.

                            He opens his eyes, and he has nothing.”

תַּשִּׂיגֵהוּ כַמַּיִם בַּלָּהֹות לַיְלָה גְּנָבַתּוּ סוּפָה׃   27:20

Job 27:20   “Terrors would overtake him like water,

                            at night a storm steals him away.”

יִשָּׂאֵהוּ קָדִים וְיֵלַךְ וִישָׂעֲרֵהוּ מִמְּקֹמוֹ׃   27:21

Job 27:21   “The east wind would carry him away,

                            and he would go as it sweeps him away from his place,

וְיַשְׁלֵךְ עָלָיו וְלֹא יַחְמֹל מִיָּדוֹ בָּרוֹחַ יִבְרָח׃   27:22

Job 27:22   and it hurls at him, and would have no pity.

                            He would hastily flee from its power.”

יִשְׂפֹּק עָלֵימוֹ כַפֵּימוֹ וְיִשְׁרֹק עָלָיו מִמְּקֹמוֹ׃   27:23

Job 27:23   “One may clap his hands at him,

                            and hiss at him from his place.”

At the end we are left with exasperation and wonder over what was intended in this chapter.


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