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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Iyov - Job - Chapter 38

Iyov - Job - Chapter 38

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 38

1. Then the Lord answered Job from the tempest and said,   א. וַיַּעַן יְהֹוָה אֶת אִיּוֹב מִן | הַסְּעָרָה וַיֹּאמַר:
from the tempest: Heb. מן הסערה. Count your hairs and I will give you as many answers. From the tempest with which you reproached Me (above 9:17), “He Who would crush me with a tempest,” I will answer you, as you will hear at the end of the chapter (verse 25), “Who has separated a place for the hair?” a shaft for every hair. Another explanation: With a tempest He afflicted him, and with a tempest He healed him, as is explained in Sifrei(?).  
2. "Who is this who gives dark counsel, with words, without knowledge?   ב. מִי זֶה | מַחְשִׁיךְ עֵצָה בְמִלִּין בְּלִי דָעַת:
who gives dark counsel: Dark and foolish counsel. Another explanation: Who is this who gives dark counsel… without knowledge? Said the Holy One, blessed be He: Who is this who darkens counsel, frustrates words, i.e., with a multiplicity of words; for I wrote: “and that man was sincere and upright,” at the beginning of the Book, in order that My name should rest on Him, but he came and darkened and frustrated what I counseled with his many words. Whereupon Job replies to Him (below 42:3): “Who is this Who hides counsel?” Had I known Your counsel, I would not have spoken so much. Then the Holy One blessed be He, answers him, “Neither did Abraham know; yet he passed ten” [tests]. So I found.  
3. Now gird your loins like a man, and I will ask you and [you] tell Me.   ג. אֱזָר נָא כְגֶבֶר חֲלָצֶיךָ וְאֶשְׁאָלְךָ וְהוֹדִיעֵנִי:
Now gird your loins like a man: He intimated to him that he should arouse himself from his illness and his sufferings.  
4. Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell if you know understanding.   ד. אֵיפֹה הָיִיתָ בְּיָסְדִי אָרֶץ הַגֵּד אִם יָדַעְתָּ בִינָה:
Where: Heb. אֵי פֹה, lit. where here.  
5. Who placed its measures if you know, or who extended a line over it?   ה. מִי שָׂם מְמַדֶּיהָ כִּי תֵדָע אוֹ מִי נָטָה עָלֶיהָ קָּו:
its measures: Heb. מְמַדֶיהָ [like] מִדוֹתֶיהָ.  
6. On what were its sockets sunk, or who laid its cornerstone?   ו. עַל מָה אֲדָנֶיהָ הָטְבָּעוּ אוֹ מִי יָרָה אֶבֶן פִּנָּתָהּ:
laid its cornerstone: in the middle of the sea, whence the entire world was founded. Where were you?  
7. When the morning stars sing together, and all the angels of God shout?   ז. בְּרָן יַחַד כּוֹכְבֵי בֹקֶר וַיָּרִיעוּ כָּל בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים:
When… sing together: from the beginning the stars of light.  
8. And [who] shut up the sea with doors when it broke forth and issued out of the womb?   ח. וַיָּסֶךְ בִּדְלָתַיִם יָם בְּגִיחוֹ מֵרֶחֶם יֵצֵא:
the sea with doors: The sand, which is its boundary.  
when it broke forth: Heb. בגיחו, when it broke forth from the deep, like (Ps. 22:10), “that You drew me (גחי) forth from the womb”; drew me forth.  
9. When I made the cloud its raiment and the dark cloud its wrapping?   ט. בְּשׂוּמִי עָנָן לְבֻשׁוֹ וַעֲרָפֶל חֲתֻלָּתוֹ:
When I made the cloud: around the ocean, which encompasses the world, and clouds encompass it like raiment.  
its wrapping: Heb. חתלתו, its wrapping, like (Ezek. 16:4), “nor were you swaddled חתלת) (והחתל לא.”  
10. And broke for it My prescribed limit, and placed a bar and doors?   י. וָאֶשְׁבֹּר עָלָיו חֻקִּי וָאָשִׂים בְּרִיחַ וּדְלָתָיִם:
and broke: I made breaks in it [the sea] all around to keep it back within them, and they are its boundary, which it shall not pass, as in (Josh 7:5), “and they pursued them until the quarries (השברים) ” which are the ditches around the city.  
11. And said, 'Until here you may come but no further, and here [your strength] shall place your waves with pride.'   יא. וָאֹמַר עַד פֹּה תָבוֹא וְלֹא תֹסִיף וּפֹא יָשִׁית בִּגְאוֹן גַּלֶּיךָ:
12. In [all] your days, did you command the morning? Did you tell the dawn its place?   יב. הֲמִיָּמֶיךָ צִוִּיתָ בֹּקֶר יִדַּעְתָּ הַשַּׁחַר מְקוֹמוֹ:
In [all] your days: From the day you were born.  
13. To grasp the corners of the earth so that the wicked shall be shaken from it?   יג. לֶאֱחֹז בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ וְיִנָּעֲרוּ רְשָׁעִים מִמֶּנָּה:
To grasp the corners of the earth: Moreover, in all your days, did you command [anyone] to grasp the corners of the earth like a man who grasps the corners of a garment and shakes it? So am I destined to grasp it [the earth] by its corners and shake the wicked [out of it]. Likewise, Scripture states (Isa. 31:3): “and the Lord shall turn His hand, and the helper shall stumble,” like a person who, holding something in his hand, drops it by inclining his hand.  
14. The seal changes like clay and they shall stand like a garment.   יד. תִּתְהַפֵּךְ כְּחֹמֶר חוֹתָם וְיִתְיַצְּבוּ כְּמוֹ לְבוּשׁ:
changes: in formation.  
The seal… like clay: The cast of man’s countenance [changes] when he dies, and at the resurrection of the dead they will live again, and they will stand up in their clothing.  
15. And their light shall be withheld from the wicked, and the high arm shall be broken.   טו. וְיִמָּנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם וּזְרוֹעַ רָמָה תִּשָּׁבֵר:
And… shall be withheld: then from the wicked their light, and the high arm shall be broken.  
16. Have you come until the locks of the sea, and have you walked in the searching out of the deep?   טז. הֲבָאתָ עַד נִבְכֵי יָם וּבְחֵקֶר תְּהוֹם הִתְהַלָּכְתָּ:
the locks of the sea: Heb. נבכי, like (Ex. 14:3), “They are trapped (נבכים) in the land.”  
17. Have the gates of death been revealed to you, and do you see the gates of the shadow of death?   יז. הֲנִגְלוּ לְךָ שַׁעֲרֵי מָוֶת וְשַׁעֲרֵי צַלְמָוֶת תִּרְאֶה:
the gates of death: This is Gehinnom.  
18. Do you understand [everything] until the breadths of the earth? Tell if you know it all.   יח. הִתְבֹּנַנְתָּ עַד רַחֲבֵי אָרֶץ הַגֵּד אִם יָדַעְתָּ כֻלָּהּ:
19. Which is the way to [the place] where the light dwells, and as for darkness-where is its place?   יט. אֵי זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ יִשְׁכָּן אוֹר וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי זֶה מְקֹמוֹ:
20. That you should take it to its border and that you should understand the paths of its house?   כ. כִּי תִקָּחֶנּוּ אֶל גְּבוּלוֹ וְכִי תָבִין נְתִיבוֹת בֵּיתוֹ:
21. You knew- for then you were born, and the number of your days would be many.   כא. יָדַעְתָּ כִּי אָז תִּוָּלֵד וּמִסְפַּר יָמֶיךָ רַבִּים:
You knew: all this.  
for then you were born: when I created (them).  
22. Have you come to the treasures of snow, and did you see the treasures of hail?   כב. הֲבָאתָ אֶל אֹצְרוֹת שָׁלֶג וְאוֹצְרוֹת בָּרָד תִּרְאֶה:
23. That I saved for a time of trouble, for a day of battle and war?   כג. אֲשֶׁר חָשַׂכְתִּי לְעֶת צָר לְיוֹם קְרָב וּמִלְחָמָה:
That I saved: I withheld.  
for a time of trouble: For the five kings in Gibeon.  
for a day of battle: The war of Gog and Magog.  
24. Which way is the light parted, [which way] does the eastern one spread it over the earth?   כד. אֵי זֶה הַדֶּרֶךְ יֵחָלֶק אוֹר יָפֵץ קָדִים עֲלֵי אָרֶץ:
is the light parted: The irradiation of the sun, which diverges this way and that way like the horns of a hind.  
the eastern one: The sun of the east.  
25. Who has separated a place for the hair and a way for the cloud of the thunderclaps?   כה. מִי פִלַּג לַשֶּׁטֶף תְּעָלָה וְדֶרֶךְ לַחֲזִיז קֹלוֹת:
Who has separated a place for the hair: Heb. לטשף. In Arabia, a hair is called שִׁיטְפָא. To every hair on the head I have given תְעָלָה, a separate shaft from which to draw sap. If two would draw from the same shaft, a person’s eyesight would fail. These have not been changed by Me, how then should I change אִיוֹב, Job, for אוֹיֵב, enemy? And this is the meaning of מן הסערה, from the hair. Another explanation: לַשֶטֶף a streaming raindrop. I set apart for each drop a hole in the clouds, for if they were to come down [together] from one opening, they would soften the earth and turn it into a mire.  
and a way for the cloud of the thunderclaps: who parted? Every thunderclap has its own path, and if two of them would go along one path, the creatures would not be able to bear the sound.  
26. To rain on the earth where no man is; a desert in which there is no man.   כו. לְהַמְטִיר עַל אֶרֶץ לֹא אִישׁ מִדְבָּר לֹא אָדָם בּוֹ:
27. To sate darkness and desolation and to cause a source of grass to sprout.   כז. לְהַשְׂבִּיעַ שֹׁאָה וּמְשֹׁאָה וּלְהַצְמִיחַ מֹצָא דֶשֶׁא:
darkness: A land that is dark because of hunger.  
28. Has the rain a father, or who begot the waves of dew?   כח. הֲיֵשׁ לַמָּטָר אָב אוֹ מִי הוֹלִיד אֶגְלֵי טָל:
waves of dew: Heb. אגלי, waves of גלי, dew, and the “aleph” is superfluous, as in (above 13:17), “and to my speech (ואחותי) in your ears.” The “aleph” is superfluous at the beginning of the word because it is a noun, and similarly (Ezek. 21:20), “the scream of (אבחת) the sword,” like נבוח, barking, the scream of the sword. Another explanation: is like אַגְנֵי, basins of dew. A type of basins, divisions in which the dew is deposited. The “lammed” is interchangeable with a “nun,” and so in the Book of Ezra (Neh. 13: 7), chamber (נִשְׁכָּה) like לִשְׁכָּה.  
29. From whose womb did the ice emerge, and the frost of the heaven-who bore it?   כט. מִבֶּטֶן מִי יָצָא הַקָּרַח וּכְפֹר שָׁמַיִם מִי יְלָדוֹ:
and the frost: glass or glassa in Old French.  
30. Like a stone, the water hides, and the face of the deep is caught.   ל. כָּאֶבֶן מַיִם יִתְחַבָּאוּ וּפְנֵי תְהוֹם יִתְלַכָּדוּ:
Like a stone… hides: because of the ice that congeals in drops upon their faces.  
and the face of the deep is caught: and held together by it.  
31. Can you tie the chains of the Pleiades or loose the straps of Orion?   לא. הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ מוֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ:
the chains of the Pleiades: [Tie] the chains of the Pleiades so that all its cold should not go forth and destroy the world with cold.  
or loose the straps of Orion: to bring out its heat, to mitigate the cold of the Pleiades.  
32. Can you take out the constellations each in its time, and can you console Ayish for her children?   לב. הֲתֹצִיא מַזָּרוֹת בְּעִתּוֹ וְעַיִשׁ עַל בָּנֶיהָ תַנְחֵם:
constellations: All the other constellations.  
and… Ayish: The largest star in the Pleiades, to which many stars are attached. He took two stars from it to open the windows of the Deluge, and they were placed in the constellation of Aries and the Holy One, blessed be He, is destined to restore them to her. Tanchuma.  
33. Do you know the ordinances of heaven; can you place his dominion upon the earth?   לג. הֲיָדַעְתָּ חֻקּוֹת שָׁמָיִם אִם תָּשִׂים מִשְׁטָרוֹ בָאָרֶץ:
his dominion: The dominion of the constellations appointed to bring upon the earth cold and heat, summer and winter.  
34. Can you lift up your voice to the cloud, or will an abundance of water cover you?   לד. הֲתָרִים לָעָב קוֹלֶךָ וְשִׁפְעַת מַיִם תְּכַסֶּךָּ:
Can you lift up your voice to the cloud: to command it to tie up with the darkness of water so that an abundance of water cover you? That is the darkening of clouds, like (above 22:11), “or darkness so that you do not see.”  
[or] will an abundance of water: from Heaven cover you by your commands.  
35. Will you send forth lightning bolts so that they should go and say to you, 'Here we are'?   לה. הַתְשַׁלַּח בְּרָקִים וְיֵלֵכוּ וְיֹאמְרוּ לְךָ הִנֵּנוּ:
and say to you: in the place where they were sent, ‘Here we are; we have performed our errand,’ because they need not return to their place to reply to their Sender, for the Shechinah is everywhere.  
36. Who placed wisdom in the inward parts or who gave the rooster understanding?   לו. מִי שָׁת בַּטֻּחוֹת חָכְמָה אוֹ מִי נָתַן לַשֶּׂכְוִי בִינָה:
in the inward parts: These are the reins.  
the rooster: Heb. לשכוי. This is the rooster in the language of the Sages (Rosh Hashanah 26a). And some say: This is the heart, which looks (שוכה), watches, and considers the coming events.  
37. Who charges the skies with wisdom, and who brings down the bottles of heaven?   לז. מִי יְסַפֵּר שְׁחָקִים בְּחָכְמָה וְנִבְלֵי שָׁמַיִם מִי יַשְׁכִּיב:
charges: Heb. יספר, will speak and charge with their mission.  
the bottles: Made like bottles in which the rains are collected, as in (I Sam. 1:24), “and an earthenware jug (ונבל) of wine.”  
38. When the dust was poured into a mass and the clods cleaved together?   לח. בְּצֶקֶת עָפָר לַמּוּצָק וּרְגָבִים יְדֻבָּקוּ:
When the dust was poured: On the day that I poured the dust.  
into a mass: for the foundation of the world, into its midst.  
and the clods cleaved together: around it on all sides, until its length and width were filled.  
39. Do you hunt the prey for the old lion, or do you fill the appetite of the young lions?   לט. הֲתָצוּד לְלָבִיא טָרֶף וְחַיַּת כְּפִירִים תְּמַלֵּא:
40. When they crouch in their dens, they abide in the covert to lie in wait?   מ. כִּי יָשֹׁחוּ בַמְּעוֹנוֹת יֵשְׁבוּ בַסֻּכָּה לְמוֹ אָרֶב:
they crouch: They stand crouching to lie in wait.  
to lie in wait: so is the habit of those who lie in wait, to crouch and to stoop themselves so that they will not be recognized.  
41. Who prepares for the raven his prey, when his young cry out to God, they wander for lack of food?   מא. מִי יָכִין לָעֹרֵב צֵידוֹ כִּי יְלָדָיו אֶל אֵל יְשַׁוֵּעוּ יִתְעוּ לִבְלִי אֹכֶל:
they wander for lack of food: for their own fathers hate them, and the Holy One, blessed be He, prepares gnats for them, which are created from their dung, and they enter their mouths.  
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