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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Iyov - Job - Chapter 1

Iyov - Job - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was sincere and upright, God-fearing and shunning evil.   א. אִישׁ הָיָה בְאֶרֶץ עוּץ אִיּוֹב שְׁמוֹ וְהָיָה | הָאִישׁ הַהוּא תָּם וְיָשָׁר וִירֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע:
There was a man in the land of Uz: This means in the land of Aram, as it is written (Gen. 22:21): “Uz, his firstborn,” of the sons of Nahor.  
and that man was: Although that is a future expression, that is the style of the Hebrew language, and the proper expression for it is “Now that man was greater than all the children of the land of the East” ; the children of the land of the East, for Aram is in the east of the world, as it is stated (Num. 23:7): “From Aram has Balak, king of Moab, brought me, from the mountains of the East.” Another explanation: Uz is Job. Buz is Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite. This is what Job said (31:34): “and the most contemptible of families shatters me.” This one (the Buzite) who shatters my words is of my family. This is what people say: “From the very forest, the ax handle is formed.” Another explanation:  
in the land of Uz: In the land whence they take evil counsels against the Holy One, blessed be He. As it is stated (Gen. 10:11): “Out of that land Asshur went forth.” Now what counsel did they take? “He has no right to take the upper worlds and to give us the lower world.” Instead, come to the land of Shinar, where there are many gods, concerning which it is stated: “for it is a land of graven images” (Jer. 50:38): “And let us make a tower whose top shall reach to the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves” (Gen. 11:4). The word “name” stated here refers only to idolatry, as it is stated (Exod. 23:13): “You shall not make mention of the name of other gods.” What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He sat in judgment over them and stood up witnesses against them, as it is stated (Gen. 11:5): “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower.” Now does the Omnipresent have to come down to see? Is it not written: “The eyes of the Lord are roving to and fro throughout the entire earth” ? Rather, it is to teach a ruling to future generations, that judges may not pass judgment except with eyewitnesses, as it is stated (Lev.5:1): “Having seen or known.”  
was: Heb. והיה. According to its simple meaning, it is like ויהי, and its meaning is both past and future.  
sincere and upright: But [I could think] that as regards matters between him and his Maker, he was not righteous. Therefore, it is stated: God-fearing and shunning evil.  
2. Now seven sons and three daughters were born to him.   ב. וַיִּוָּלְדוּ לוֹ שִׁבְעָה בָנִים וְשָׁלוֹשׁ בָּנוֹת:
3. His livestock consisted of seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of cattle, five hundred she- donkeys, and very much production; and the man was greater than all the children of the East.   ג. וַיְהִי מִקְנֵהוּ שִׁבְעַת אַלְפֵי צֹאן וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַלְפֵי גְמַלִּים וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת צֶמֶד בָּקָר וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אֲתוֹנוֹת וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה מְאֹד וַיְהִי הָאִישׁ הַהוּא גָּדוֹל מִכָּל בְּנֵי קֶדֶם:
seven thousand sheep: He counted the largest number first.  
greater than all the children of the East: Than the generation of the division, as it is written (Gen. 11:2): “And it came to pass as they migrated from the east.” But concerning Abraham, it is not so, for concerning Abraham, it is written הגדול, the greatest, as it is stated (Josh. 14:15): “And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-Arba; he was the greatest man among the” Anakim.“ It should have said אדם גדול, a great man. Why did he write האדם הגדול, the greatest man? By this, Scripture hinted that he was a great man who passed ten tests. Therefore, his title is written with two ” heys", the numerical value of which is ten. Job, however, described by the word גדול, greater, passed only one [test], as it is stated: sincere and upright, etc., that out of that entire generation, he was not apprehended for that iniquity.  
4. Now his sons would go and make a feast in each one's house on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.   ד. וְהָלְכוּ בָנָיו וְעָשׂוּ מִשְׁתֶּה בֵּית אִישׁ יוֹמוֹ וְשָׁלְחוּ וְקָרְאוּ לִשְׁלֹשֶׁת אַחְיֹתֵיהֶם לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת עִמָּהֶם:
Now his sons would go and make a feast in each one’s house on his day: In the house of each one on his day.  
and they would send and invite: Heb. ושלחו וקראו, like ושולחים וקוראים, that they would do so constantly.  
5. Now it would come about when the cycle of the feasting days would be over, that Job would send and summon them, and offer up burnt-offerings early in the morning burnt- offerings according to the number of all of them, for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and blasphemed God in their hearts." So would Job do all the days.   ה. וַיְהִי כִּי הִקִּיפוּ יְמֵי הַמִּשְׁתֶּה וַיִּשְׁלַח אִיּוֹב וַיְקַדְּשֵׁם וְהִשְׁכִּים בַּבֹּקֶר וְהֶעֱלָה עֹלוֹת מִסְפַּר כֻּלָּם כִּי אָמַר אִיּוֹב אוּלַי חָטְאוּ בָנַי וּבֵרְכוּ אֱלֹהִים בִּלְבָבָם כָּכָה יַעֲשֶׂה אִיּוֹב כָּל הַיָּמִים:
Now it would come about when the cycle of the feasting days would be over: When the days of the feasting would be over, Job would act in this manner; upon every termination of the seven days on which the days of feasting rotated, he would send and summon them (ויקדשם) ; i.e., he would prepare them and summon them, as in (Num. 11:18).“Prepare yourselves for tommorow.”  
and offer up… early in the morning: The meaning is that he would offer up burnt-offerings early. Therefore, Scripture wrote in the future tense, that he was wont to do so always at the end of every seven days.  
the number of all of them: The sons and the daughters.  
and blasphemed: Heb. וברכו, lit. and blessed. A euphemism [used in] referring to the Most High.  
So would Job do: Heb. יעשה, lit. will do. He would always do in this manner. When Scripture writes about a constant occurrence, sometimes it writes in the past tense, and sometimes in the future tense.  
6. Now the day came about, and the angels of God came to stand beside the Lord, and the Adversary, too, came among them.   ו. וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל יְהֹוָה וַיָּבוֹא גַם הַשָּׂטָן בְּתוֹכָם:
Now the day came about: That day which was Rosh Hashanah, (known as a day of sounding the shofar, and the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded the Adversary to bring the merit and the guilt of all creatures. This is the meaning of “from going to and fro on the earth.”)  
and the angels of God came to stand beside the Lord: to contend with Him, because the expression of standing refers only to judgment, as it is stated (Isa. 3:13): “The Lord stands to plead.”  
and the Adversary, too, came among them: to accuse the people.  
7. The Lord said to the Adversary, "Where are you coming from?" And the Adversary answered the Lord and said, "From going to and fro on the earth and from walking in it."   ז. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל הַשָּׂטָן מֵאַיִן תָּבֹא וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמַר מִשּׁוּט בָּאָרֶץ וּמֵהִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּהּ:
“From going to and fro on the earth and from walking in it.”: So is my wont to go to and fro, to see the evil ones and the good ones. Now I went to and fro throughout the entire earth and I did not find anyone like Abraham, about whom it is said (Gen. 13:17): “Rise, go to and fro in the land.” The Sages of blessed memory (Baba Bathra 16a) said that the Adversary meant this for the sake of Heaven, in order that Abraham’s merit not be forgotten by our God.  
8. Now the Lord said to the Adversary, "Have you paid attention to My servant Job? For there is none like him on earth, a sincere and upright man, God-fearing and shunning evil."   ח. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל הַשָּׂטָן הֲשַׂמְתָּ לִבְּךָ עַל עַבְדִּי אִיּוֹב כִּי אֵין כָּמֹהוּ בָּאָרֶץ אִישׁ תָּם וְיָשָׁר יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע:
Have you paid attention to My servant Job: that you should desire to denounce him?  
9. And the Adversary answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?   ט. וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמַר הַחִנָּם יָרֵא אִיּוֹב אֱלֹהִים:
“Does Job fear God for nothing?”: This is a question.  
10. Haven't You made a hedge around him, his household, and all that he has on all sides? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land.   י. הֲלֹא אַתָּה שַׂכְתָּ בַעֲדוֹ וּבְעַד בֵּיתוֹ וּבְעַד כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ מִסָּבִיב מַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו בֵּרַכְתָּ וּמִקְנֵהוּ פָּרַץ בָּאָרֶץ:
Haven’t You made a hedge around him: Because he knows that You visit him frequently to perform miracles for him, and he is fruitful and multiplies; therefore he performs all these righteous deeds-but You have not tested him.  
11. But now, stretch forth Your hand and touch all that he has, will he not blaspheme You to Your face?"   יא. וְאוּלָם שְׁלַח נָא יָדְךָ וְגַע בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ אִם לֹא עַל פָּנֶיךָ יְבָרְכֶךָּ:
But: were you to touch all that he has, would he not blaspheme You to Your face immediately? This is a question. And then, the Lord said to the Adversary, “Behold, all that he has is in your hands.”  
12. Now the Lord said to the Adversary, "Behold, all that he has is in your hands; only upon him do not stretch forth your hand." Now the Adversary left the presence of the Lord.   יב. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל הַשָּׂטָן הִנֵּה כָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ בְּיָדֶךָ רַק אֵלָיו אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ וַיֵּצֵא הַשָּׂטָן מֵעִם פְּנֵי יְהֹוָה:
"Behold, all that he has etc.: Another explanation:  
[6] Now the day came about: That day when they recommenced the cycle [and were] to eat at the house of their eldest brother.  
the angels of God: The heavenly hosts, which are near the Divine Presence, to be the members of His household, and were therefore called His children.  
to stand beside the Lord: Heb. Around Him, as (Gen. 45:1) “all who stood around him (עליו).”  
[7] “Where are you coming from?”: Scripture speaks of etiquette, that the greater one speaks first and permits the smaller one to reply.  
“From going to and fro on the earth”: As is explained above, and it is in the homiletic section of the chapter [that begins], “The partners.”  
[8] “Have you paid, etc.”: An expression of a wonder.  
sincere and upright: Perfect in his deeds.  
[10]: made a hedge around him. You protected him like a wall, as in (Isa. 5:5) “I will remove its hedge (משוכתו),” its wall. Every expression of בעד stated in the Hebrew language is only an expression of “opposite and before him,” as in (Lev.16:6), “and he shall effect atonement for himself (וכפר בעדו) ,” he shall wipe away the sin from opposite you and before you (sic), so that the atonement shall be a shield about you. Similarly (Ps. 3:4), “[But You,] O Lord, are a shield about me (בעדי).”  
spread out in the land: Heb. פרץ, gained strength, as in (Exod. 1:12),"So would they gain strength (יפרץ), which the Targum renders: And so would they become strong. This is its simple meaning, but our Sages of blessed memory stated in the Aggadah (Baba Bathra 15b, 16a) that they broke the fence of the world, for the goats would slay the wolves.  
13. Now the day came about that his sons and daughters were dining and drinking wine at the home of their firstborn brother,   יג. וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם וּבָנָיו וּבְנֹתָיו אֹכְלִים וְשֹׁתִים יַיִן בְּבֵית אֲחִיהֶם הַבְּכוֹר:
14. and a messenger came to Job and said, "The cattle were plowing, and the she-donkeys were grazing beside them,   יד. וּמַלְאָךְ בָּא אֶל אִיּוֹב וַיֹּאמַר הַבָּקָר הָיוּ חֹרְשׁוֹת וְהָאֲתֹנוֹת רֹעוֹת עַל יְדֵיהֶם:
beside them: Heb. על ידיהם lit. on their hands. This is an expression of a place only because it is prepared and available at his hand. Our Sages of blessed memory said in the Aggadah (Baba Bathra 15b, 16a), that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave them a taste of the world to come; for after the plowing by the she- donkeys, they would sow with the plowing, and the she-donkeys would immediately graze on the young greens from the furrow.  
15. and Sheba fell upon them and took them, and they slew the youths by the sword, and only I alone escaped to tell you."   טו. וַתִּפֹּל שְׁבָא וַתִּקָּחֵם וְאֶת הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי חָרֶב וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ:
And Sheba: The kingdom of Sheba fell upon them and encamped beside them, as in (Gen. 25:18), “before all his brethren he settled.”  
the youths: Your servants who were guarding them.  
and I… escaped: Heb. ואמלטה. The word מליטה is only an expression of withdrawal, that one withdrew from trouble.  
16. This one was still talking, and another one came and said, "A tremendous fire fell from heaven and burned the flocks and the youths and consumed them; only I alone escaped to tell you."   טז. עוֹד | זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר אֵשׁ אֱלֹהִים נָפְלָה מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וַתִּבְעַר בַּצֹּאן וּבַנְּעָרִים וַתֹּאכְלֵם וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ:
and the youths: Scripture speaks of the guards of the flocks.  
17. This one was still talking, and another one came and said, "Chaldeans formed three bands, spread out on the camels and took them, and slew the youths with the sword, and only I alone escaped to tell you."   יז. עוֹד | זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר כַּשְׂדִּים שָׂמוּ | שְׁלֹשָׁה רָאשִׁים וַיִּפְשְׁטוּ עַל הַגְּמַלִּים וַיִּקָּחוּם וְאֶת הַנְּעָרִים הִכּוּ לְפִי חָרֶב וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ:
spread out on the camels: This is an expression of plundering plunder according to their custom that as long as they are walking, they stick together and walk stealthily lest people recognize them and drive the cattle away. When they reach the place of the cattle, they spread out in the width of the herd, one on each side, in order to gather the cattle. Now these messengers were messengers of the Adversary, and in order to provoke him [Job] and cause him to sin, they first informed him of a small loss and later of a larger one. So is the sequence of all of them.  
18. While this one was still talking, another one came and said, "Your sons and daughters were dining and drinking wine at the home of their firstborn brother,   יח. עַד זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה בָּא וַיֹּאמַר בָּנֶיךָ וּבְנוֹתֶיךָ אֹכְלִים וְשֹׁתִים יַיִן בְּבֵית אֲחִיהֶם הַבְּכוֹר:
19. when, behold, a great wind came from the other side of the desert, and struck the four corners of the house; it fell upon the youths, who died, and only I alone escaped to tell you."   יט. וְהִנֵּה רוּחַ גְּדוֹלָה בָּאָה | מֵעֵבֶר הַמִּדְבָּר וַיִּגַּע בְּאַרְבַּע פִּנּוֹת הַבַּיִת וַיִּפֹּל עַל הַנְּעָרִים וַיָּמוּתוּ וָאִמָּלְטָה רַק אֲנִי לְבַדִּי לְהַגִּיד לָךְ:
from the other side of the desert: From the other side of the desert, for the house was on this side. This is the meaning of עֵבֶר, as it is found in Scriptures.  
upon the youths: The sons, but it is unnecessary to mention the daughters. (  
to tell you: He was permitted only to tell, and at that moment, he died. Not found in certain editions.)  
20. Then Job stood up, and rent his robe and tore his hair; then he fell to the ground and prostrated himself.   כ. וַיָּקָם אִיּוֹב וַיִּקְרַע אֶת מְעִלוֹ וַיָּגָז אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ וַיִּפֹּל אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ:
tore: Heb. ויגז, tore out, as in (Jer. 7:29), “Tear out (גזי) your hair for your great men,” which Jonathan renders: תלישה tear out, and like (Ps. 71: 6) “From my mother’s womb You pull me (גוזי) ,” pull me.  
21. And he said, "From my mother's womb, I emerged naked, and I will return there naked. The Lord gave and the Lord took; may the name of the Lord be blessed."   כא. וַיֹּאמֶר עָרֹם יָצָאתִי מִבֶּטֶן אִמִּי וְעָרֹם אָשׁוּב שָׁמָּה יְהֹוָה נָתַן וַיהֹוָה לָקָח יְהִי שֵׁם יְהֹוָה מְבֹרָךְ:
From my mother’s womb: the earth, “whence I was taken,” or actually, “my mother.”  
and I will return there naked: He is not referring to the womb. What then is the meaning of “there” ? To the place of his return, for which he is destined, and he will not change the law, to return anywhere but to the earth. Therefore, it was not necessary to mention it.  
22. Despite all this, Job did not sin, neither did he ascribe unseemliness to God.   כב. בְּכָל זֹאת לֹא חָטָא אִיּוֹב וְלֹא נָתַן תִּפְלָה לֵאלֹהִים:
unseemliness: Heb. תפלה. He did not ascribe any blemish or unseemliness to the Holy One, Blessed be He. Similarly (Jer. 23:13), “And in the prophets of Samaria I saw unseemliness (תפלה).”  
neither did he ascribe: Heb. נתן lit. gave, to ascribe unseemliness and injustice to the Holy One, blessed be He, like (I Sam. 18:8) “They ascribed (נתנו) to David ten thousands, and to me they ascribed (נתנו) the thousands.”  
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