Chapter 12

1Now Job replied and said,   אוַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗וֹב וַיֹּֽאמַר:
2"Indeed you are a people, and wisdom shall perish with you.   באָמְנָם כִּ֣י אַתֶּם־עָ֑ם וְ֜עִמָּכֶ֗ם תָּמ֥וּת חָכְמָֽה:
wisdom shall perish: When you die, all wisdom shall perish with you because all wisdom is in you, but I too have intelligence like you.  
3[But] I too have intelligence like you; I am not inferior to you, and with whom are there none comparable to these?   גגַּם־לִ֚י לֵבָ֨ב | כְּֽמוֹכֶ֨ם לֹֽא־נֹפֵ֣ל אָֽנֹכִ֣י מִכֶּ֑ם וְאֶת־מִי־אֵ֥ין כְּמוֹ־אֵֽלֶּה:
and with whom are there none comparable to these?: (Who is it who does not know like these) that the Holy One, blessed be He, has power to perform His will and to allow the tranquility of the wicked to last? You are only mocking me, and I am…  
4I am as one who is a laughingstock to his friend, one who calls to God and He answers him that the completely righteous will have laughter.   דשְׂחֹ֚ק לְרֵעֵ֨הוּ | אֶֽהְיֶ֗ה קֹרֵ֣א לֶֽ֖אֱלוֹהַּ וַיַּֽעֲנֵ֑הוּ שְֹ֜ח֗וֹק צַדִּ֥יק תָּמִֽים:
a laughingstock to his friend: He calls to the Holy One, blessed be He, and He answers him concerning the pain of their provocation. Now what does He answer him? To give the righteous laughter.  
completely: Heb. תָּמִים, perfectly.  
that the completely righteous will have laughter: That is the answer that He will reply with, and I know that it is as you said (8:21), (“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,”) for…  
5A brand of contempt is for the thought of the tranquil, is prepared for those whose foot has slipped.   הלַפִּ֣יד בּ֖וּז לְעַשְׁתּ֣וּת שַֽׁאֲנָ֑ן נָ֜כ֗וֹן לְמ֣וֹעֲדֵי רָֽגֶל:
A brand of contempt: The fire of Gehinnom stands for one who is tranquil in his thoughts, saying, “I will have peace.”  
prepared: The one who is tranquil in his thoughts is destined to be among those who stumble, whose foot slips.  
6The tents of robbers prosper, and those who provoke God are secure, to whomever God brought it with His hand.   ויִשְׁלָ֚יוּ אֹֽהָלִ֨ים | לְשֹֽׁדְדִ֗ים וּֽ֖בַטֻּחוֹת לְמַרְגִּ֣יזֵי אֵ֑ל לַֽאֲשֶׁ֚ר הֵבִ֖יא אֱל֣וֹהַּ בְּיָדֽוֹ:
prosper: I know that at times tents will prosper, namely those of the Kedarites who dwell in tents in the deserts, and who are robbers, as it is stated (Gen. 16:12): “a free man among men; his hand shall be against every man.”  
are secure: Those who provoke God have perfection, anyone to whom the Rock brought peace with His hand, whether he is good or bad.  
7But now inquire of the beasts and they will instruct you, and of the fowl of the heavens and they will tell you.   זוְאוּלָ֗ם שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בְהֵמ֣וֹת וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ וְע֥וֹף הַ֜שָּׁמַ֗יִם וְיַגֶּד־לָֽךְ:
8Or speak to the earth and it will instruct you, and the fishes of the sea will tell you.   חא֚וֹ שִׂ֣יחַ לָאָ֣רֶץ וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ וִֽיסַפְּר֥וּ לְ֜ךָ֗ דְּגֵ֣י הַיָּֽם:
9Who does not know of all these? For the hand of the Lord has done this,   טמִי לֹֽא־יָדַ֣ע בְּכָל־אֵ֑לֶּה כִּ֥י יַד־יְ֜הֹוָה עָ֣שְׂתָה זֹּֽאת:
10in Whose hand is the soul of all living and the spirit of all human flesh.   יאֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּ֖יָדוֹ נֶ֣פֶשׁ כָּל־חָ֑י וְ֜ר֗וּחַ כָּל־בְּשַׂר־אִֽישׁ:
11Does not the ear discern words and the palate taste its food?   יאהֲלֹא־אֹ֖זֶן מִלִּ֣ין תִּבְחָ֑ן וְ֜חֵ֗ךְ אֹ֣כֶל יִטְעַם־לֽוֹ:
Does not the ear discern words: So why did the listeners not know this, as the palate tastes to eat?  
12In elders there is wisdom and in longevity there is understanding.   יבבִּֽישִׁישִׁ֥ים חָכְמָ֑ה וְאֹ֖רֶךְ יָמִ֣ים תְּבוּנָֽה:
In elders there is wisdom etc.: to know that with Him is wisdom.  
13With Him is wisdom and might; He has counsel and understanding.   יגעִמּוֹ חָכְמָ֣ה וּגְבוּרָ֑ה ל֜֗וֹ עֵצָ֥ה וּתְבוּנָֽה:
14Behold, He breaks down and it cannot be rebuilt; He shuts up a man and there can be no opening.   ידהֵ֣ן יַֽ֖הֲרוֹס וְלֹ֣א יִבָּנֶ֑ה יִסְגֹּ֥ר עַל־אִ֜י֗שׁ וְלֹ֣א יִפָּתֵֽחַ:
15Behold He withholds the water and it dries up; He sends it away and it overturns the earth.   טוהֵ֚ן יַעְצֹ֣ר בַּמַּ֣יִם וְיִבָ֑שׁוּ וִֽ֜ישַׁלְּחֵ֗ם וְיַֽהַפְכוּ־אָֽרֶץ:
He sends it away and it overturns the earth: As His agents, as He did to the generation of Enosh, when He inundated a third of the world.  
16With Him is might and counsel; His are the misled and the misleader.   טזעִמּוֹ עֹ֣ז וְתֽוּשִׁיָּ֑ה ל֜וֹ֗ שֹׁגֵ֥ג וּמַשְׁגֶּֽה:
His are the misled: The man who is misled.  
and the misleader: The Adversary, who misleads.  
17He leads counselors away with madness and He makes judges into fools.   יזמוֹלִ֣יךְ יֽוֹעֲצִ֣ים שׁוֹלָ֑ל וְֽשֹׁפְטִ֥ים יְהוֹלֵֽל:
madness: Heb. שולל. It is a noun, ‘madness.’ He leads them away with madness when He wishes to confuse and destroy their wisdom, as in (Isa. 59: 15), “and he who turns away from evil is considered mad (משתולל) ” ; (Ps. 76:6), “The stouthearted became mad אשתוללוּ.” The “tav” in משתולל and in אשתוללוּ [is inserted because] so is the structure of the Hebrew language: in a word that has a radical “shin” or “sammech,” and which is used in passive or reflexive conjugation, a “tav” is placed after the first radical, like (Ecc. 8:10), “and they will be forgotten (וישתכחו) in the city” ; (Micah 6: 16), “For the statutes of Omri are kept (וישתמר) ” ; (Exod. 9:17), “You still exalt yourself very high (מסתולל) above My people” ; (Ecc. 12:5), “and the grasshopper shall drag himself along (ויסתבל).”  
Me makes… fools: Heb. יהולל, He makes mad, an expression of folly and foolishness.  
18He loosens the bond of kings and He binds a girdle to their loins.   יחמוּסַ֣ר מְלָכִ֣ים פִּתֵּ֑חַ וַיֶּאְסֹ֥ר אֵ֜ז֗וֹר בְּמָתְנֵיהֶֽם:
He loosens the bond of kings: He removed the bond of the yoke from Nebuchadnezzar and dethroned him.  
and He binds a girdle to their loins: At his start, when He desired him, He girded his loins, and imbued him with strength for kingship.  
19He leads princes away with madness and He overthrows the mighty.   יטמוֹלִ֣יךְ כֹּֽהֲנִ֣ים שׁוֹלָ֑ל וְאֵֽתָנִ֣ים יְסַלֵּֽף:
princes: Heb. כהנים, like (Exod. 3:1), “the prince (כהן) of Midian” ; (Gen. 41:45), “the prince (כהן) of On.”  
20He removes the speech from trusty men, and takes away the sense of the elders.   כמֵסִ֣יר שָׂ֖פָה לְנֶֽאֱמָנִ֑ים וְטַ֖עַם זְקֵנִ֣ים יִקָּֽח:
from trusty men: Even from trusty men. (Even to those who believe in Him. Etz Chayim ms.) Sometimes his lips become confused, speaking improper words, e.g. Abraham (about whom it is written:] (Gen. 15:6), And he believed in the Lord.“ And later, he stumbled [by saying,] ” How will I know?"  
21He pours contempt upon princes and loosens the belt of the strong.   כאשׁוֹפֵ֣ךְ בּ֖וּז עַל־נְדִיבִ֑ים וּמְזִ֖יחַ אֲפִיקִ֣ים רִפָּֽה:
and loosens the belt of the strong: And He loosens the belt of the strong. He opens their belt to weaken them, like (Ps. 109:19), “and for the girdle (ולמזח) wherewith he is girded continually.”  
the strong: Heb. אפיקים, like (below 40:18), “as strong as (אפיקי) copper; (ibid. 41:7),” He is proud of the strength of (אפיקי) His scales."  
22He uncovers deep things out of darkness and brings to light the shadow of death.   כבמְגַלֶּ֣ה עֲ֖מֻקּוֹת מִנִּי־ח֑שֶׁךְ וַיֹּצֵ֖א לָא֣וֹר צַלְמָֽוֶת:
23He makes nations great and destroys them; He spreads out the nations and leads them.   כגמַשְׂגִּ֣יא לַ֖גּוֹיִם וַיְאַבְּדֵ֑ם שֹׁטֵ֥חַ לַ֜גּוֹיִ֗ם וַיַּנְחֵֽם:
He makes nations great and destroys them: Heb. משׂגיא. Some say, as He did to the Egyptians when they overtook Israel before Baal-zephon (Exod. 14:9). They erred and said,"You should know that He agreed with us, to drown them in the sea as we decreed, ‘Every son that is born you shall cast into the river’ (ibid. 1:22), and [they also said] that their deity Baal-zephon is mighty, seeing that no acts of judgment were performed upon it, as [they were upon) all the [other] gods of Egypt, and the Omnipresent caused them to be misled in order to drown them. But this explanation is not the main one, for were it so, it should have been dotted on the right, מַשְׁגִיא like שׁוגֶה, the misled. This is the main explanation: It means making great, an expression of שׂגיא כֹח, having great strength. He makes the nations great and causes them to prosper, and their heart becomes haughty with their prosperity, so that [the fact] that they prosper is their destruction.  
He spreads out: He multiplies them to spread them out over the earth and to cover them.  
24He takes away the intelligence of the heads of the people of the land, and He causes them to wander in a wasteland [that is] not a road.   כדמֵסִ֗יר לֵ֖ב רָאשֵׁ֣י עַם־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַ֜יַּתְעֵ֗ם בְּתֹ֣הוּ לֹֽא־דָֽרֶךְ:
in a wasteland not a road: In a wasteland that is not a road.  
25They grope in the darkness without light, and he causes them to wander like a drunkard.   כהיְמַֽשְׁשׁוּ־ח֥שֶׁךְ וְלֹא־א֑וֹר וַ֜יַּתְעֵ֗ם כַּשִּׁכּֽוֹר: