Chapter 13

1Behold my eye has seen everything; my ear has heard and understood it.   אהֶן־כֹּ֖ל רָֽאֲתָ֣ה עֵינִ֑י שָֽׁמְעָ֥ה אָ֜זְנִ֗י וַתָּ֥בֶן לָֽהּ:
2I know as much as you; I too am not inferior to you.   בכְּֽדַעְתְּכֶם יָדַ֣עְתִּי גַם־אָ֑נִי לֹֽא־נֹפֵ֖ל אָֽנֹכִ֣י מִכֶּֽם:
3But I would speak to the Almighty, and I wish to reason with God.   גאוּלָ֗ם אֲ֖נִי אֶל־שַׁדַּ֣י אֲדַבֵּ֑ר וְהוֹכֵ֖חַ אֶל־אֵ֣ל אֶחְפָּֽץ:
But I would speak: I wish only to speak to Him and I wish to debate with Him.  
4But you combine lies; all of you are quacks.   דוְֽאוּלָ֗ם אַ֖תֶּם טֹֽפְלֵי־שָׁ֑קֶר רֹפְאֵ֖י אֱלִ֣ל כֻּלְּכֶֽם:
combine lies: Heb. טפלי שקר,combine false words of falsehood.  
all of you are quacks: Heb. רפאי אלל. Every אֱלִיל in Scripture is an expression of אַל, nought. Our Sages, however, explained that this is the cervical ligament, which [if damaged] has no cure, and it is called אֱלָל.  
5Would that you kept silent, and it would be accounted as wisdom for you.   המִֽי־יִ֖תֵּן הַֽחֲרֵ֣שׁ תַּֽחֲרִישׁ֑וּן וּתְהִ֖י לָכֶ֣ם לְחָכְמָֽה:
6Hearken now to my reasoning, and listen to the contentions of my lips.   ושִׁמְעוּ־נָ֥א תֽוֹכַחְתִּ֑י וְרִב֖וֹת שְׂפָתַ֣י הַקְשִֽׁיבוּ:
the contentions: The proofs.  
7Will you speak unjustly for God, and will you speak deceitfully for Him?   זהַֽלְאֵל תְּדַבְּר֣וּ עַוְלָ֑ה וְ֜ל֗וֹ תְּֽדַבְּר֥וּ רְמִיָּֽה:
Will you speak unjustly for God: Since you come to contend in the place of God, it is not good that you should speak unjustly.  
and will you speak deceitfully for Him?: Heb. ולו [usually “to him”]. For His sake will you speak deceitfully? As in (below 33:6), “Behold I am like your mouth for God (לאל) ,” and like (Deut. 9:28), “to the land that He spoke for them (להם) ,” for their benefit, and like (Exod. 14:14), “will fight for you (לכם) ” ; (Jud. 6:31), “Will you contend for the Baal (לבעל) ?” (I find it difficult to compare these instances to here [this verse]. Rather, this is analogous to [Num. 17:5], “through Moses concerning him לו ,” concerning Korah.)  
8Will you show Him favor? Will you contend for God?   חהֲפָנָ֥יו תִּשָּׂא֑וּן אִם־לָאֵ֥ל תְּרִיבֽוּן:
Will you show Him favor?: Have you come to flatter Him by being partial to Him?  
for God: will you debate deceitfully?  
9Will it be good when He searches you out? Will you mock Him as one mocks a mortal?   טהֲטוֹב כִּֽי־יַחְקֹ֣ר אֶתְכֶ֑ם אִם־כְּהָתֵ֥ל בֶּֽ֜אֱנ֗וֹשׁ תְּהָתֵ֥לּוּ בֽוֹ:
Will it be good when He searches you out: and you are found to be liars?  
Will you mock him as one mocks a mortal: by saying, “We made liars of ourselves for Your honor” ?  
10He will surely reprove you- will you secretly show favor?   יהוֹכֵ֣חַ יוֹכִ֣יחַ אֶתְכֶ֑ם אִם־בַּ֜סֵּ֗תֶר פָּנִ֥ים תִּשָּׂאֽוּן:
He will surely reprove you: Will He not let you know your speech? When you stand before Him in judgment, will you secretly show Him partiality, saying there.“We showed You partiality” ?  
11Will not His majesty terrify you? Will [not] His fear fall upon you?   יאהֲלֹ֣א שְׂ֖אֵתוֹ תְּבַעֵ֣ת אֶתְכֶ֑ם וּ֜פַחְדּ֗וֹ יִפֹּ֥ל עֲלֵיכֶֽם:
Will not His majesty: Heb. שאתו. [Will not] His exaltation and His awesomeness terrify you? Others define שְׂאֵתוֹ as “His burning fire.” like (II Sam. 5:21), “and David and his men burned them (וישאם) ,” and like (Jud. 20:38), “a great pillar of (משאת) smoke.”  
12Your memorials are compared to ashes; your eminences are like eminences of clay.   יבזִכְרֹֽנֵיכֶם מִשְׁלֵי־אֵ֑פֶר לְגַבֵּי־חֹ֜מֶ֗ר גַּבֵּיכֶֽם:
your memorials are compared to ashes: Your memorials are compared to ashes. You expect to be compared to Abraham, who said (Genesis 18:27), “I am only dust and ashes.”  
are like eminences of clay: Your eminences ore equal to eminences of clay, compared to Him. The word גביכם means, your height, like (Ezek. 16:24), “and you built for yourself a platform (גב).”  
13Keep your peace and leave me alone, so that I will speak, and let come upon me what may.   יגהַֽחֲרִ֣ישׁוּ מִ֖מֶּנִּי וַֽאֲדַבְּרָה־אָ֑נִי וְיַֽעֲבֹ֖ר עָלַ֣י מָֽה:
and let come upon me what may: Whatever comes upon me because of the sin of my outcry, let it come upon me and do not care. For what reason must I bring up and hold…  
14For what reason shall I bring my flesh up into my teeth, and take my life into my hand?   ידעַל־מָ֚ה | אֶשָּׂ֣א בְשָׂרִ֣י בְשִׁנָּ֑י וְ֜נַפְשִׁ֗י אָשִׂ֥ים בְּכַפִּֽי:
my flesh up into my teeth: to afflict myself and force myself to silence?  
and take my life into my hand: to bring my life close to death with the agonies of silence.  
15Behold, let Him kill me, I will hope for Him; but I will prove my ways to His face.   טוהֵ֣ן יִ֖קְטְלֵנִי ל֣וֹ (כתיב לֹ֣א) אֲיַחֵ֑ל אַךְ־דְּ֜רָכַ֗י אֶל־פָּנָ֥יו אוֹכִֽיחַ:
Behold, let Him kill me: I will not separate from Him, and I will always hope for Him. Therefore, there is no rebellion or transgression in my words, but I will reason to His face about my way and my character traits with which I have conducted myself, to know of what He will find me guilty.  
16He is also my salvation, because a hypocrite cannot come before Him.   טזגַּם־הוּא־לִ֥י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה כִּי־לֹ֥א לְ֜פָנָ֗יו חָנֵ֥ף יָבֽוֹא:
He is also: Just as I am wholehearted with Him, so is He also my salvation, but you will not find favor in His eyes.  
because a hypocrite cannot come before Him: This is what was said to them (below 42:7): “because you did not speak to Me properly.”  
17Hearken to my word, and to my speech in your ears.   יזשִׁמְע֣וּ שָׁ֖מוֹעַ מִלָּתִ֑י וְ֜אַֽחֲוָתִ֗י בְּאָזְנֵיכֶֽם:
18Behold now I have set up judgment; I know that I will be accounted innocent.   יחהִנֵּה־נָ֖א עָרַ֣כְתִּי מִשְׁפָּ֑ט יָ֜דַ֗עְתִּי כִּֽי־אֲנִ֥י אֶצְדָּֽק:
I have set up judgement: [I have prepared] my case. I have arranged my arguments in my heart viz. what to answer.  
19Who will contend with me, for now I will be silent and perish.   יטמִי־ה֖וּא יָרִ֣יב עִמָּדִ֑י כִּֽי־עַתָּ֖ה אַֽחֲרִ֣ישׁ וְאֶגְוָֽע:
I will be silent and perish: If I will not contend, I will be silent and perish.  
20But do not do two things to me; then I will not hide from before You.   כאַךְ־שְׁ֖תַּיִם אַל־תַּ֣עַשׂ עִמָּדִ֑י אָ֥ז מִ֜פָּנֶ֗יךָ לֹ֣א אֶסָּתֵֽר:
But do not do two things to me: viz. Heavenly judgment and earthly judgment. If You come to judgment with one [of these], I will not hide from before You. If with Heavenly judgment, I will say, “I have sinned.” [because] (Prov. 28:13), “He who conceals his sins will not succeed.” If with earthly judgment, even I will not confess to concealing sin. I did not hear this (absent in some editions).  
21Distance Your compulsion from upon me, and let Your fear not terrify me.   כאכַּפְּךָ מֵֽעָלַ֣י הַרְחַ֑ק וְ֜אֵ֥ימָֽתְךָ֗ אַל־תְּבַֽעֲתַֽנִּי:
Distance Your compulsion from upon me: Heb. כפי, Your compulsion, as Elihu answered him (below 33:7), “and my compulsion (ואכפי) shall not weigh heavily upon you.” Some interpret כפך as “your hand.” However, it is difficult for me to say that, because we do not find כַּף in the sense of evil, but [meaning] to protect, as in (Exod. 33:22), “And I will cover you with My hand (כפי).”  
22But call, and I will answer, or I will speak and You answer me.   כבוּקְרָא וְאָֽנֹכִ֣י אֶֽעֱנֶ֑ה א֥וֹ אֲ֜דַבֵּ֗ר וַֽהֲשִׁיבֵֽנִי:
23How many iniquities and sins do I have? Let me know my transgression and my sin.   כגכַּמָּ֣ה לִ֖י עֲו‍ֹנ֣וֹת וְחַטָּא֑וֹת פִּשְׁעִ֥י וְ֜חַטָּאתִ֗י הֹֽדִיעֵֽנִי:
24Why do You hide Your face and regard me as Your enemy?   כדלָֽמָּה־פָנֶ֥יךָ תַסְתִּ֑יר וְתַחְשְׁבֵ֖נִי לְאוֹיֵ֣ב לָֽךְ:
Why do You hide Your face: from seeing the ways of my uprightness?  
25Will You frighten a rattling leaf? Will You pursue dry stubble?   כההֶּעָלֶ֣ה נִדָּ֣ף תַּֽעֲר֑וֹץ וְאֶת־קַ֖שׁ יָבֵ֣שׁ תִּרְדֹּֽף:
Will You frighten: Heb. תערוץ, will You scare?  
26That You should write disobediences against me and cause me to inherit the iniquities of my youth?   כוכִּֽי־תִכְתֹּ֣ב עָלַ֣י מְרֹר֑וֹת וְ֜תֽוֹרִישֵׁ֗נִי עֲו‍ֹנ֥וֹת נְעוּרָֽי:
disobediences: Heb. מררות. The cases of obstinacy in which I obeyed Your orders, You write [down] but not the good deeds that I performed.  
27And that You should put my feet in the stocks and guard all my ways; You engrave my footsteps.   כזוְתָ֘שֵׂ֚ם בַּסַּ֨ד | רַגְלַ֗י וְתִשְׁמ֥וֹר כָּל־אָרְחֹתָ֑י עַל־שָׁרְשֵׁ֥י רַ֜גְלַ֗י תִּתְחַקֶּֽה:
in the stocks: Heb. בסד. In Aramaic (Pesachim 28a), “The one who makes the stocks (סדנא) sits in his own stocks (בסדניה).” [This is] a large [block of] wood in which the prisoners’ feet are inserted, and in Greek it is astock(?).  
You engrave: Heb. תתחקה. You Yourself engrave my footsteps. So did this one transgress (step-Ed. Furth]), and so he did. Like (Ezek. 43:14), “from the bottom (ומחיק) upon the ground” ; [and] (verse 13), “the bottom (וחיק) shall be a cubit.” This is the foundation, affishe in Old French, to affix. (Isa. 49:16): “Behold on [My] hands have I engraved you (חקותיך).”  
28And it is like rot that decays like a moth-eaten garment.   כחוְהוּא כְּרָקָ֣ב יִבְלֶ֑ה כְּ֜בֶ֗גֶד אֲכָ֣לוֹ עָֽשׁ:
And it is like rot that decays: The body You pursue will decay like rot, and it is beneath Your dignity to pursue it.