Chapter 6

1Now Job replied and said,   אוַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗וֹב וַיֹּֽאמַר:
2"If only my anger and my calamity were weighed, placed together on a scale,   בל֗וּ שָׁק֣וֹל יִשָּׁקֵ֣ל כַּעְשִׂ֑י וְ֜הַוָּתִ֗י (כתיב וְ֜הַיָּתִ֗י) בְּמֹֽאזְנַ֥יִם יִשְׂאוּ־יָֽחַד:
and my calamity: my ruin.  
placed together on a scale: with a weight opposite it. even if [this weight] were the sand of the seas, it would outweigh it.  
3for now, it would be heavier than the sand of the seas; therefore, my words stammer.   גכִּֽי־עַתָּ֗ה מֵח֣וֹל יַמִּ֣ים יִכְבָּ֑ד עַל־כֵּ֜֗ן דְּבָרַ֥י לָֽעוּ:
stammer: Heb. לעו. They are uncertain, like a person who has no strength to pronounce a word properly. Likewise (Obad. 16), “And they shall drink and stammer (ולעו),” because it is usual for a drunkard to stammer in his speech.  
4For the Almighty's arrows are with me, whose venom my spirit drinks; the terrors of God wage war with me.   דכִּ֚י חִצֵּ֚י שַׁדַּ֡י עִמָּדִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֣ר חֲ֖מָתָם שֹׁתָ֣ה רוּחִ֑י בִּעוּתֵ֖י אֱל֣וֹהַּ יַֽעַרְכֽוּנִי:
venom: Heb. חמתם, their poison. It was the custom of the Persians to apply snake venom to their arrows.  
5Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass or does an ox low over its fodder?   ההֲיִנְהַק־פֶּ֥רֶא עֲלֵי־דֶ֑שֶׁא אִ֥ם יִגְעֶה־שּׁ֜֗וֹר עַל־בְּלִילֽוֹ:
Does a wild donkey bray: That is to say, do I cry out for nothing? Even a stupid animal does not bray when it has food, neither does an ox low unless it does not have grain fodder. With a wild donkey, the expression used is נַהַק, braying, and with an ox, the expression of געיה, lowing.  
6Can bland food be eaten without salt, or is there a taste in the saliva of strong-tasting food?   והֲיֵֽאָכֵ֣ל תָּ֖פֵל מִבְּלִי־מֶ֑לַח אִם־יֶשׁ־טַ֜עַ֗ם בְּרִ֣יר חַלָּמֽוּת:
Can bland food be eaten: A thing that has no salt and must be salted, but was not salted, is called תָּפֵל in Mishnaic Hebrew (Shabbath 128a, Hullin 113a, Nedarim 51a).  
or is there taste in the saliva: that comes from strong tasting foods, for the one who eats a strong-tasting food that increases the saliva, e.g. garlic. That is to say, Do you think their replies that have no substance are acceptable? רִיר [means saliva] as in (I Sam. 2 1: 14), “and let his saliva (ריר) run down upon his beard.” חַלָמוּת is like (below 39:4), “Their sons wax strong (יחלמו),” an expression of strength. Some interpret it as an expression of a dream (חלום) , but this does not appeal to me because of the dagesh in the “lammed.”  
7What my body refused to touch-they are as cloths for my food.   זמֵֽאֲנָ֣ה לִנְגּ֣וֹעַ נַפְשִׁ֑י הֵ֜֗מָּה כִּדְוֵ֥י לַחְמִֽי:
What my body refused to touch: That is to say, I have reason to cry increasingly, because things that my body refused [to touch] and was disgusted to touch… לנגוֹע is an expression of touching.  
as cloths for my food: Now they are prepared for me to touch them like my tablecloths upon which my food is placed. כִּדְוֵי is an expression like (II Sam. 10:4), “and he cut off their garments (מדויהם).” I heard this from Rabbi Meshullam the physician. Another interpretation: Like cloths with which they strain the cooked foods and the food runs out of them. דְוֵי is an expression of דָוֶה, running.  
my food: Heb. לחמי, lit. my bread. All food is called לחם, as in (Dan. 5:1), “made a great feast (לחם).” and as in (Jer. 11:19), “Let us destroy his food (בלחמו) with wood.” which Jonathan renders: poison into his food. Another explanation: They are as the sights of my food. That is to say: I am accustomed to looking at them, at the worms, as I look at my food. This is Mishnaic Hebrew: “and they walk when they look (דוי) ” in Tractate Shabbath (53b).  
8Would that my request were granted, and God would give what I hope for.   חמִֽי־יִ֖תֵּן תָּב֣וֹא שֶֽׁאֱלָתִ֑י וְ֜תִקְוָתִ֗י יִתֵּ֥ן אֱלֽוֹהַּ:
9And may God desire and crush me, enlarge His hand and finish me off.   טוְיֹאֵ֣ל אֱ֖לוֹהַּ וִֽידַכְּאֵ֑נִי יַתֵּ֥ר יָ֜ד֗וֹ וִֽיבַצְּעֵֽנִי:
desire: and may He want.  
and crush me: [This is] an expression of death.  
enlarge his hand: May He enlarge His hand with His plague like (Exod. 9:3), “Behold God’s hand is.”  
and finish me off: Heb. ויבצעני, and finish me off, as in (Lam. 2:17), “He has carried out (בצע) His word,” and (Zech. 4:9), “and his hands shall finish it (תבצענה).”  
10Then should I yet have comfort, and I will beg, shuddering, that he have no pity, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.   יוּֽתְהִי ע֨וֹד | נֶֽ֘חָ֚מָתִ֗י וַֽאֲסַלְּדָ֣ה בְ֖חִילָה לֹ֣א יַחְמ֑וֹל כִּֽי־לֹ֥א כִ֜חַ֗דְתִּי אִמְרֵ֥י קָדֽוֹשׁ:
Then should I yet have comfort: And this shall yet be to me for comfort.  
and I will beg, shuddering, that He should have no pity: And I will beg of Him with shuddering (Shem Ephraim) that He not refrain from finishing me off: I cannot find any similar word in Scriptures, except that in Mishnaic Hebrew it is an expression of fear and concern, that the hand fears them lest it be scalded in boiling water. That is to say, I will shudder with concern and with shuddering request this.  
for I have not denied: I did not fail to fulfill His words.  
11What is my strength that I should wait and what is my end that I should restrain my desire?   יאמַה־כֹּחִ֥י כִּי אֲיַחֵ֑ל וּמַה־קִּ֜צִּ֗י כִּֽי־אַֽאֲרִ֥יךְ נַפְשִֽׁי:
What is my strength: How strong is it to bear [my pains]?  
that I should wait: That I should wait until the day of recovery or until the day of death?  
I should wait: Heb. איחל, like (Gen. 8:10), “And he waited (ויחל) again,” concerning Noah.  
and what: Of what importance is my end that I should be able to restrain my desire to bear?  
my desire: Heb. נפשי. This [word denoting] a person’s temptation toward desire [is used] in many places, as (Gen. 23:8), “If it is truly your will (נפשכם).”  
12Is my strength the strength of stones or is my flesh copper?   יבאִם־כֹּ֣חַ אֲבָנִ֣ים כֹּחִ֑י אִם־בְּשָׂרִ֥י נָחֽוּשׁ:
13Have I no help, or is counsel lost to me?   יגהַאִ֬ם אֵ֣ין עֶזְרָתִ֣י בִ֑י וְ֜תֻֽשִׁיָּ֗ה נִדְּחָ֥ה מִמֶּֽנִּי:
Have I no help: This is an expression of wonder. Will this too come upon me, that I have no help? Those friends that I had to help me are not helping me.  
or is counsel lost: The counsel of counselors is lost from me, because you have risen against me to provoke and to reject.  
14By one who withholds kindness from his friend and who abandons the fear of the Almighty?   ידלַמָּ֣ס מֵֽרֵעֵ֣הוּ חָ֑סֶד וְיִרְאַ֖ת שַׁדַּ֣י יַֽעֲזֽוֹב:
By one who withholds kindness from his friend: Heb. למס, by one who withholds kindness. The “lammed” is a prefix, as in (Num. 26:54), “to the numerous one (לָרַב) ”; “to the one who returns (?) (לָשָב) ,” and (Isa. 28:10, 13) “for a precept (לצו).” מָס too is an expression of a verb, like בָּא, comes: שָב, returns; גָר, dwells; these also are an expression of doing [i.e., the present tense]: who withholds kindness, who destroys it, like (Exod. 16:21), “when the sun grew hot, it melted (ונמס).”  
15My brethren have betrayed [me] like a stream; like the source of streams they pass,   טואַחַי בָּֽגְד֣וּ כְמוֹ־נָ֑חַל כַּֽאֲפִ֖יק נְחָלִ֣ים יַֽעֲבֹֽרוּ:
My brethren: Those who defend me.  
betrayed: me like the stream that betrays [many] betrayals, as is explained in this chapter.  
like the source of streams: the source of streams, they pass from the proper trait of friendship. Now what is the betrayal of a stream?  
16which wrinkle from the ice-upon them snow is hidden.   טזהַקֹּֽדְרִ֥ים מִנִּי־קָ֑רַח עָ֜לֵ֗ימוֹ יִתְעַלֶּם־שָֽׁלֶג:
which wrinkle from the ice: if ice comes upon them, they wrinkle and become like boards (Shem Ephraim), and upon them the snow disappears-it is covered, for it falls with the ice. This is one betrayal, for it [the stream] is hidden from the eye, and a thirsty man does not find water to drink.  
17At the time they become warm, they retreat; when it heats up, they jump from their place.   יזבְּעֵת יְזֹֽרְב֣וּ נִצְמָ֑תוּ בְּ֜חֻמּ֗וֹ נִדְעֲכ֥וּ מִמְּקוֹמָֽם:
At the time they become warm: Heb. יזרבו, an expression of יְצֹרָבוּ, they become warm from the heat of the sun.  
they retreat: Heb. נצמתו, retrait in Old French, shrink, contract, as “and the vinegar shrinks them (צומתן), (Pesachim 41a) in Talmudic Hebrew. [In the word יְזֹרָבוּ], the ” zaddi “ is converted to a” zayin, “ like צעקה and זעקה, a cry. [Therefore,] יְזֹרָבוּ is an expression of (Ezekiel 21:3),” and all faces shall be scorched (ונצרבו) , “ and like (Prov. 16:27),” searing (צרבת) fire."  
they jump: they jump from their place.  
18The paths of their way are held [by them]; they go up in waste and are lost.   יחיִלָּֽפְתוּ אָרְח֣וֹת דַּרְכָּ֑ם יַֽעֲל֖וּ בַתֹּ֣הוּ וְיֹאבֵֽדוּ:
are held: Heb. ילפתו. They hold the paths of their way, as in (Jud. 16:29), “And Samson grasped (וילפת) ,” and similarly (Ruth 3:8), “and the man quaked and was taken around (וילפת),” for the woman embraced him.  
19They look at the paths of Tema; they make a line for the roads of Sheba.   יטהִבִּיטוּ אָרְח֣וֹת תֵּמָ֑א הֲלִיכֹ֥ת שְׁ֜בָ֗א קִוּוּ־לָֽמוֹ:
They look at the paths of Tema: The land of Ishmael, which is low, and the water flows there.  
they make a line: Heb. קוו, an expression of an extended line. Another explanation: it is an expression of (Gen. 1:9) “Let the waters… gather (יקוו).”  
20They are ashamed because they had hoped; they came to it and were disgraced.   כבֹּ֥שׁוּ כִֽי־בָטָ֑ח בָּ֥אוּ עָ֜דֶ֗יהָ וַיֶּחְפָּֽרוּ:
They are ashamed because they had hoped; they came to it: Those who drink it are ashamed because everyone had hoped to drink thereof.  
21For now you are like it; you fear ruin; yea you fear.   כאכִּֽי־עַ֖תָּה הֱיִ֣יתֶם ל֑וֹ תִּֽירְא֥וּ חֲ֜תַ֗ת וַתִּירָֽאוּ:
For now you are like it: You are compared to that stream  
you fear ruin: The fear of the plague, and you are afraid to say the truth, thereby flattering my opponent.  
22Did I say, "Give me," or "Offer a bribe for me from your wealth"?   כבהֲכִי־אָ֖מַרְתִּי הָ֣בוּ לִ֑י וּ֜מִכֹּֽחֲכֶ֗ם שִֽׁחֲד֥וּ בַֽעֲדִֽי:
or “Offer a bribe for me from your wealth”: [Heb. מכחכם, lit. from your strength.] And from your wealth.  
23And "Rescue me from an enemy," and "Ransom me from the hands of tyrants"?   כגוּמַלְּט֥וּנִי מִיַּד־צָ֑ר וּמִיַּ֖ד עָֽרִיצִ֣ים תִּפְדּֽוּנִי:
24Instruct me and I will be silent, and allow me to understand where I have erred.   כדהוֹרוּנִי וַֽאֲנִ֣י אַֽחֲרִ֑ישׁ וּמַה־שָּׁ֜גִ֗יתִי הָבִ֥ינוּ לִֽי:
25How clear are words of uprightness, but what does your proof prove?   כהמַה־נִּמְרְצ֥וּ אִמְרֵי־יֹ֑שֶׁר וּמַה־יּוֹכִ֖יחַ הוֹכֵ֣חַ מִכֶּֽם:
How clear: Heb. נמרצו, like (I Kings 2: 8), “a clear curse (נמרצת) ,” an expression of (Prov. 25:11) “a word spoken with proper basis.” and similarly (Ps. 119:103), “How clear (נמלצו) are Your words to my palate.” All of them are expressions of clarification (מליצה) , and the “lammed” is converted to a “resh.”  
words of uprightness: If you were saying words of uprightness, they would be accepted, but now, what does your proof prove? Every expression of תוֹכָחָה in Job means the clarification and verification of matters.  
26 Do you think to clarify words: Heb. הלהוכח, Do you think to clarify words?  
They are like wind: They are likened [to wind].  
words of futility: which have no substance, like (Jer. 2:25), “but you said. I despair (נואש).” I am not concerned with the words of the prophets.  
26Do you think to clarify words? They are like wind, words of futility.   כוהַֽלְהוֹכַ֣ח מִלִּ֣ים תַּחְשֹׁ֑בוּ וּ֜לְר֗וּחַ אִמְרֵ֥י נוֹאָֽשׁ:
27You cast wrath upon an orphan, and you dig [a pit] for your friend.   כזאַף־עַל־יָת֥וֹם תַּפִּ֑ילוּ וְ֜תִכְר֗וּ עַל־רֵֽיעֲכֶֽם:
You cast: with your judgment, you cast wrath upon a poor man like me, with the line of judgment; and you dig a pit for your friend into which to cast him.  
28But now, agree and turn to me and [see] whether I lie to your face.   כחוְעַתָּה הוֹאִ֣ילוּ פְנוּ־בִ֑י וְעַל־פְּ֜נֵיכֶ֗ם אִם־אֲכַזֵּֽב:
agree: Be willing to turn to me and to hear my words. Then you will see whether I lie to your face.  
29Return now; there will be no injustice, and return again [to see that] my cause is righteous.   כטשֻׁ֣בוּ נָ֖א אַל־תְּהִ֣י עַוְלָ֑ה וְשׁ֥וּבוּ (כתיב וְשֻׁ֥ביּ) ע֜וֹד צִדְקִי־בָֽהּ:
Return now: to test, and you will determine that there shall be no more injustice; return to investigate, and behold, my righteousness will be found in it.  
30Is there injustice in my tongue, or will my palate not understand wickedness?   להֲיֵֽשׁ־בִּלְשׁוֹנִ֥י עַוְלָ֑ה אִם־חִ֜כִּ֗י לֹֽא־יָבִ֥ין הַוּֽוֹת:
or will my palate not understand wickedness?: Will it not understand when I speak words of wickedness?