Chapter 15

1Now Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,   אוַיַּעַן אֱלִיפַ֥ז הַתֵּֽימָנִ֗י וַיֹּֽאמַר:
2"Shall a wise man raise his voice with opinions of wind, and does he fill his belly with the east wind?   בהֶֽחָכָ֗ם יַֽעֲנֶ֥ה דַֽעַת־ר֑וּחַ וִֽימַלֵּ֖א קָדִ֣ים בִּטְנֽוֹ:
Shall a wise man raise his voice with opinions of wind: It is puzzling. Should one who is wise answer and raise his voice with an opinion of wind and futility?  
3To debate over a matter from which he derives no benefit and words in which there is no avail?   גהוֹכֵ֣חַ בְּ֖דָבָר לֹ֣א יִסְכּ֑וֹן וּמִ֜לִּ֗ים לֹא־יוֹעִ֥יל בָּֽם:
To debate over a matter from which he derives no benefit: Heb. יסכון. To debate over a matter from which he will derive no benefit, like (I Kings 1:2), “and she shall be to him a warmer (סכנת) ,” and like (Ecc. 10:9), “is warmed (יסכן) by it,” i.e., he will derive benefit from it.  
4Surely you will do away with fear and increase speech before God.   דאַף־אַ֖תָּה תָּפֵ֣ר יִרְאָ֑ה וְתִגְרַ֥ע שִֹ֜יחָ֗ה לִפְנֵי־אֵֽל:
Surely you: Surely you, who are very wise, will do away with fear by the multitude of your words.  
and increase speech: Heb. ותגרע, like (below 36:27) “He will increase (יגרע) the drops of water,” and like (ibid. 15:8), “and [did] you increase (ותגרע) wisdom to yourself.”  
5For your iniquity teaches your mouth, but you should have chosen the tongue of the crafty.   הכִּֽי־יְאַלֵּ֣ף עֲו‍ֹֽנְךָ֣ פִ֑יךָ וְ֜תִבְחַ֗ר לְשׁ֣וֹן עֲרוּמִֽים:
For your iniquity teaches: Your evil inclination [teaches] your mouth to speak such words, but you should have chosen the tongue of the crafty.  
6Let your own mouth condemn you and not I, and let your own lips testify against you.   ויַרְשִֽׁיעֲךָ֣ פִ֣יךָ וְלֹֽא־אָ֑נִי וּ֜שְׂפָתֶ֗יךָ יַֽעֲנוּ־בָֽךְ:
Let your own mouth condemn you and not I: That is to say: Give me an answer to my question; the result will be that your own mouth will condemn you, for it better for me that your mouth should condemn you and not I. Now this is my question:  
7Were you born before Adam? Were you created before the hills?   זהֲרִאישׁ֣וֹן אָ֖דָם תִּוָּלֵ֑ד וְלִפְנֵ֖י גְבָע֣וֹת חוֹלָֽלְתָּ:
Were you born before Adam: Heb. הראישון. Were you born before Adam? This “hey” serves as the interrogative expression. Therefore, it is vowelized with a “hattaf pattah” and its meaning is: Were you born the first one, before Adam who was formed from the earth, so that you knew to fulfill all the wisdom of the commandments of the Creator?  
8Did you listen to the counsel of God and increase wisdom to yourself?   חהַבְס֣וֹד אֱל֣וֹהַּ תִּשְׁמָ֑ע וְתִגְרַ֖ע אֵלֶ֣יךָ חָכְמָֽה:
and increase: And bring down much [wisdom] from above to descend upon you?  
9What do you know that we do not know? [What do] you understand that is not with us?   טמַה־יָּ֖דַעְתָּ וְלֹ֣א נֵדָ֑ע תָּ֜בִ֗ין וְלֹֽא־עִמָּ֥נוּ הֽוּא:
10Both old and ancient are among us, who have more days than your father.   יגַּם־שָׂ֣ב גַּם־יָשִׁ֣ישׁ בָּ֑נוּ כַּבִּ֖יר מֵֽאָבִ֣יךָ יָמִֽים:
more: of more days than you father.  
11Are God's consolations little for you, and the thing that He gave you gently?   יאהַמְעַ֣ט מִ֖מְּךָ תַּנְחוּמ֣וֹת אֵ֑ל וְ֜דָבָ֗ר לָאַ֥ט עִמָּֽךְ:
Are God’s consolations little for you: with which the Rock benefited you until now for many days, and His good thing that He gave you with pleasantness and gentleness, viz. His fatness [i.e., plenty].  
He gave… gently: Heb. לאט, he gave gently. This is a verb, not a noun. Therefore, it is vowelized half with a “kamatz” and half with a “pattah.”  
12What does your heart teach you and what do your eyes hint?   יבמַה־יִּקָּֽחֲךָ֥ לִבֶּ֑ךָ וּֽמַה־יִּרְזְמ֥וּן עֵינֶֽיךָ:
teach you: Heb. יקחך, teach you, as in (Deut. 32:2), “so that my teaching (לקחי) may drip like rain.”  
hint: Heb. ירזמון, like יִרְמְזוּן; like שִׂמְלָה שַׂלְמָה (Exod. 22:8, 26).  
13That you should return your wind to God and let words come out of your mouth.   יגכִּֽי־תָשִׁ֣יב אֶל־אֵ֣ל רוּחֶ֑ךָ וְהֹצֵ֖אתָ מִפִּ֣יךָ מִלִּֽין:
14What is man that he should be innocent, and that one born of woman should be just?   ידמָֽה־אֱנ֥וֹשׁ כִּ֥י יִזְכֶּ֑ה וְכִֽי־יִ֜צְדַּ֗ק יְל֣וּד אִשָּֽׁה:
What is man that he should be innocent: What is his strength, that he can be innocent against the Holy One, blessed be He?  
15Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His eyes.   טוהֵ֣ן ֖בִּקְדֹשָׁיו (כתיב בִּ֖קְדֹשָׁו) לֹ֣א יַֽאֲמִ֑ין וְ֜שָׁמַ֗יִם לֹֽא־זַכּ֥וּ בְעֵינָֽיו:
and the heavens: the host of the heavens.  
pure: Heb. זכו, shine. Every expression of זַ is splendor.  
16Surely [not] one who is abominable and impure, a man who drinks injustice like water.   טזאַף כִּֽי־נִתְעָ֥ב וְֽנֶֽאֱלָ֑ח אִֽישׁ־שֹׁתֶ֖ה כַמַּ֣יִם עַוְלָֽה:
Surely: Heb. אף, how much more.  
and impure: Heb. ונאלח, abominable and mixed. Similarly (Ps. 53:4), “Are they all dross, altogether filthy (נאלחו) ?”  
17I will tell you, listen to me; and this I saw and I will tell.   יזאֲחַוְךָ֥ שְֽׁמַע־לִ֑י וְזֶֽה־חָ֜זִ֗יתִי וַֽאֲסַפֵּֽרָה:
18That the wise men tell and do not hide from their fathers.   יחאֲשֶׁר־חֲכָמִ֥ים יַגִּ֑ידוּ וְלֹ֥א כִֽ֜חֲד֗וּ מֵֽאֲבוֹתָֽם:
That the wise men tell: and confess their transgression.  
and do not hide: their iniquity from their fathers. This is what I saw, and behold, I will tell you. Now where did I see it? Judah confessed and was not ashamed in the incident of Tamar. Reuben confessed and was not ashamed in the incident of Bilhah. And what was their reward?  
19To them alone the land was given, and no stranger passed in their midst.   יטלָהֶ֣ם לְ֖בַדָּם נִתְּנָ֣ה הָאָ֑רֶץ וְלֹֽא־עָ֖בַר זָ֣ר בְּתוֹכָֽם:
To them alone the land was given: As a reward for this, Judah merited eternal kingship, and both took their share of the heritage, and they were not driven out of their heritage because of their iniquity, since they confessed.  
and no stranger passed in their midst: when Moses came to bless them, as it is stated (Deut. 33:6f): “Reuben shall live and not die etc. And is this for Judah?”  
And no stranger passed in their midst: in the heritage of the future that is apportioned in the Book of Ezekiel (48). But…  
20All the days of a wicked man, he mourns, even the number of years that are laid up for the oppressor.   ככָּל־יְמֵ֣י רָ֖שָׁע ה֣וּא מִתְחוֹלֵ֑ל וּמִסְפַּ֥ר שָׁ֜נִ֗ים נִצְפְּנ֥וּ לֶֽעָרִֽיץ:
All the days of a wicked man: who does not repent of his sin and does not confess his transgressions, all his days…  
he mourns: and grieves over his certainty of being requited for his evil that he committed. All the number of years that were laid up for the oppressor, he mourns. The word מתחולל is an expression of mourning, but I did not hear this.  
21The voice of terrors is in his ears; in peace a robber will come upon him.   כאקֽוֹל־פְּחָדִ֥ים בְּאָזְנָ֑יו בַּ֜שָּׁל֗וֹם שׁוֹדֵ֥ד יְבוֹאֶֽנּוּ:
The voice of terrors is in his ears: saying that the time of his retribution has arrived.  
in peace: And when he lives in peace, then the robber will come upon him.  
22He will not believe that he shall return from darkness, and he is destined to the sword.   כבלֹא־יַֽאֲמִ֣ין שׁ֖וּב מִנִּי־חֹ֑שֶׁךְ וְצָפ֖וּי (כתיב וְצָפ֖וּ) ה֣וּא אֱלֵי־חָֽרֶב:
and he is destined to the sword: Heb. וצפוי. He is destined to the sword, and his eye to wander for bread-where should he find it?  
23He wanders for bread, where is it? He knows that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.   כגנֹ֘דֵ֚ד ה֣וּא לַלֶּ֣חֶם אַיֵּ֑ה יָדַ֓ע | כִּֽי־נָכ֖וֹן בְּיָד֣וֹ י֣וֹם חֹֽשֶׁךְ:
He wanders: i.e., he is assured of wandering.  
He knows: in fact.  
that… is ready: and prepared to come to his hand, i.e., to him, and with him is the day of darkness.  
at his hand: Like (Gen. 32:14), “from what came into his hand.”  
24Distress and anguish frighten him; it overpowers him like a king destined for the inferno,   כדיְֽבַֽעֲתֻהוּ צַ֣ר וּמְצוּקָ֑ה תִּ֜תְקְפֵ֗הוּ כְּמֶ֚לֶךְ | עָתִ֬יד לַכִּידֽוֹר:
it overpowers him: The anguish is stronger than him and it will prevail over him.  
like a king destined for the inferno: Heb. לכידור. I have not found anything similar to it, but it may be interpreted by means of the interchangeable letters, “resh” with “dalet,” like (Gen. 10: 3), “Ashkenaz and Riphath” in the Torah, and in Chronicles (I, 1: 6): “Ashkenaz and Diphath;” and similarly (Gen. 10:4).“Kittim and Dodanim” Here too, לַכִּידוֹר is equivalent to לַכִּידוֹד, to the king who is destined to burn (ליקוד) in the fire of Gehinnom; i.e., Sennacherib, about whom the prophet prophesied (Isa. 30:33): “For Tophteh has been set up from yesterday, that too has been prepared for the king,” to burn his legions; (Isa. 10:16), “a burning shall burn.” Similar to this (below 41:11), “sparks of (כידודי) fire go forth” ; either brands or flames.  
25for he stretched his hand to God and showed his strength against the Almighty.   כהכִּֽי־נָטָ֣ה אֶל־אֵ֣ל יָד֑וֹ וְאֶל־שַׁ֜דַּ֗י יִתְגַּבָּֽר:
26He runs toward Him with his neck upright, with the thickness of the body of his shields.   כויָר֣וּץ אֵלָ֣יו בְּצַוָּ֑אר בַּֽ֜עֲבִ֗י גַּבֵּ֥י מָֽגִנָּֽיו:
He runs towards Him: He would run toward the Creator with his neck high and upright, in order to provoke Him.  
the thickness of the body of his shields: With the power of his strength.  
the body of: an expression of height, as (Ezek 16:24), “and you built yourself a platform (גב).”  
27For he has covered his face with his fat, and he has made collops of fat on his loins.   כזכִּֽי־כִסָּ֣ה פָנָ֣יו בְּחֶלְבּ֑וֹ וַיַּ֖עַשׂ פִּימָ֣ה עֲלֵי־כָֽסֶל:
collops of fat on his loins: He made a mouth on his loins, for his fat and the thickness of his blubber is folded on his loins, and they look like a sort of mouth.  
28And he dwelt in ruined cities, in houses that could not be inhabited, that were destined to become heaps.   כחוַיִּשְׁכּ֨וֹן | עָ֘רִ֚ים נִכְחָד֗וֹת בָּ֖תִּים לֹא־יֵ֣שְׁבוּ לָ֑מוֹ אֲשֶׁ֖ר הִתְעַתְּד֣וּ לְגַלִּֽים:
And he dwelt in ruined cities: So is the custom of haughty people, to build ruins for a name.  
29He will not become wealthy, and his possessions will not remain; neither will the gratification of their desire bend to the earth.   כטלֹֽא־יֶ֖עְשַׁר וְלֹֽא־יָק֣וּם חֵיל֑וֹ וְלֹֽא־יִטֶּ֖ה לָאָ֣רֶץ מִנְלָֽם:
and his possessions will not remain: They will not be preserved for long.  
neither will… bend: Heb. יטה, [like] ינטה, like (I Sam. 8: 3), “and they turned (ויטו) after gain.” They themselves turned (וינטו). It means that they did not bend from heaven to earth.  
the gratification of their desire: Heb. מנלם, the granting of their desire and the fulfillment of their plans. It is like two words, מן להם. מן means their preparation, like (Dan. 1:5), “And the king prepared (וימן) for them.” Similar to it is (I Sam. 13:21), “a file פים) (הפצירה,” in two words. [The analogy is obscure.] (Isa. 33:7), “Behold I will appear to them (אראלם),” which Jonathan renders: I will appear to them. So it appears to me, and Menachem supports me. Another explanation: מִנְלָם is an expression of (Isa. 33:1), “when you finish (כנלתך) dealing treacherously,” in which the “nun” is a radical that sometimes is omitted, an expression of completion. It will not bend to the ground to be freed from a decree of destruction.  
30He will not turn away from darkness; a flame will dry out his young branches, and he will turn away by the breath of His mouth.   ללֹֽא־יָס֨וּר | מִנִּי־חֹ֗שֶׁךְ יֽ֖וֹנַקְתּוֹ תְּיַבֵּ֣שׁ שַׁלְהָ֑בֶת וְ֜יָס֗וּר בְּר֣וּחַ פִּֽיו:
and he will turn away: from the world.  
by the breath of His mouth: Of the Ruler of the world. This is an ellipsis, Others interpret this to mean: because of the breath of his mouth that was guilty of speaking lies.  
31He who was misled by futility will not believe that his recompense shall be futility.   לאאַל־יַֽאֲמֵ֣ן בַּשָּׁ֣וְא (כתיב בַּשָּׁ֣וְ) נִתְעָ֑ה כִּֽי־שָׁ֜֗וְא תִּהְיֶ֥ה תְמוּרָתֽוֹ:
will not believe: He who was misled by futility will not believe that his recompense and his toil shall be futility, like (Ruth 4:7), “and concerning exchange (התמורה).”  
32Before his time it will be completed, and his branches will not be green.   לבבְּֽלֹא־י֖וֹמוֹ תִּמָּלֵ֑א וְ֜כִפָּת֗וֹ לֹ֣א רַֽעֲנָֽנָה:
Before his time: his recompense will be complete [and will cease] from growing and prospering anymore, like (Gen. 50:3), “were fulfilled for him,” i.e., they were completed.  
and his branches: His bent-over branches. All branches of a tree resemble a dome.  
33He will cast off his unripe grapes like a vine, and he will throw off his blossom like an olive tree.   לגיַחְמֹ֣ס כַּגֶּ֣פֶן בִּסְר֑וֹ וְיַשְׁלֵ֥ךְ כַּ֜זַּ֗יִת נִצָּתֽוֹ:
34Because the company of a hypocrite is lonely, and a fire consumes the tents of bribery.   לדכִּֽי־עֲדַ֣ת חָנֵ֣ף גַּלְמ֑וּד וְ֜אֵ֗שׁ אָֽכְלָ֥ה אָֽהֳלֵי־שֹֽׁחַד:
35They conceive trouble and bear iniquity, and their belly prepares deceit."   לההָרֹ֣ה עָ֖מָל וְיָ֣לֹֽד אָ֑וֶן וּ֜בִטְנָ֗ם תָּכִ֥ין מִרְמָֽה:
They conceive trouble and bear iniquity: They commit evil and are recompensed. The recompense of the birth is in accordance with the conception.  
prepares: makes ready.  
deceit: Their desire shall be converted for them into deceit.