Chapter 21

1Now Job answered and said,   אוַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗וֹב וַיֹּֽאמַר:
2"Listen closely to my word, and this shall be your consolations.   בשִׁמְע֣וּ שָׁ֖מוֹעַ מִלָּתִ֑י וּתְהִי־זֹ֜֗את תַּנְח֥וּמֹֽתֵיכֶֽם:
and this shall be your consolations: The fact that you will keep your peace and listen to me this will be my consolation from you.  
3Bear with me and I will speak, and after my speech you may mock.   גשָׂאוּנִי וְאָֽנֹכִ֣י אֲדַבֵּ֑ר וְאַחַ֖ר דַּבְּרִ֣י תַלְעִֽיג:
Bear with me: Heb. שאוני, endure me.  
4Am I speaking to man? Why then should I not be short of breath?   דהֶאָֽנֹכִי לְאָדָ֣ם שִׂיחִ֑י וְאִם־מַ֜דּ֗וּעַ לֹא־תִקְצַ֥ר רוּחִֽי:
Am I speaking to man: Why should you make an issue of my complaint? Am I complaining to a man like me that he should listen to me?  
Why then should I not be short of breath: to cry out from my straits?  
5Turn to me and be silent, and place your hand upon your mouth.   הפְּנֽוּ־אֵלַ֥י וְהָשַׁ֑מּוּ וְשִׂ֖ימוּ יָ֣ד עַל־פֶּֽה:
Turn to me: to listen.  
and be silent: Be astonished at my words.  
and place your hand upon your mouth: because you will not know what to answer.  
6Now when I remember, I become frightened, and my flesh is seized with shuddering.   ווְאִם־זָכַ֥רְתִּי וְנִבְהָ֑לְתִּי וְאָחַ֥ז בְּ֜שָׂרִ֗י פַּלָּצֽוּת:
Now when I remember: the thing I wish to say, “Why do the wicked live?”  
I become frightened: for I see the wicked men of the Flood.  
7Why do the wicked live on, grow strong and powerfully rich?   זמַדּ֣וּעַ רְשָׁעִ֣ים יִֽחְי֑וּ עָ֜תְק֗וּ גַּם־גָּ֥בְרוּ חָֽיִל:
8Their children are well established in their sight with them, and their children's children are before their eyes.   חזַרְעָ֚ם נָכ֣וֹן לִפְנֵיהֶ֣ם עִמָּ֑ם וְ֜צֶֽאֱצָֽאֵיהֶ֗ם לְעֵֽינֵיהֶֽם:
9Their houses have peace from fear, and God's rod is not upon them.   טבָּֽתֵּיהֶ֣ם שָׁל֣וֹם מִפָּ֑חַד וְלֹ֣א שֵׁ֖בֶט אֱל֣וֹהַּ עֲלֵיהֶֽם:
peace from fear: Demons had no power over them.  
10His bull impregnates and does not fail; his cow bears young and does not abort.   ישׁוֹר֣וֹ עִ֖בַּר וְלֹ֣א יַגְעִ֑ל תְּפַלֵּ֥ט פָּֽ֜רָת֗וֹ וְלֹ֣א תְשַׁכֵּֽל:
His bull impregnates: a female.  
and does not fail: He does not eject into her inferior sperm, which would be cast out of her body without impregnating her. Every expression of געילה means casting out, and so it is in the language of the Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 75a), One must purge them (מגעילן) with boiling water. Similarly (II Sam. 1:21), “for there the shield of the mighty was rejected (נגעל).” Its anointing was cast out, and it was as though it had not been anointed with oil, for they were accustomed to anointing the leather shields in order that it be smooth and cause the spear or javelin that strikes it to glide off. It is like (Isa. 21:5), “princes, anoint a shield.”  
his cow bears young: She gives birth to her young at the proper time.  
and does not abort: before its time.  
11They send forth their infants like sheep, and their children dance.   יאיְשַׁלְּח֣וּ כַ֖צֹּאן עֲוִֽילֵיהֶ֑ם וְ֜יַלְדֵיהֶ֗ם יְרַקֵּדֽוּן:
They send forth their infants like sheep etc.: At the time of his birth, he would go and dance immediately, and if he would meet a demon, he would battle with him, and his mother would say to him, “Bring me a pair of scissors and I will cut your umbilical cord,” in Haggadath Bereishith, “Go and light a candle for me,” in Gen. Rabbah (36:1).  
12They raise [their voice] with the tambourine and the harp, and they rejoice to the sound of the flute.   יביִשְׂאוּ בְּתֹ֣ף וְכִנּ֑וֹר וְ֜יִשְׂמְח֗וּ לְק֣וֹל עוּגָֽב:
They raise: They would raise their voice in song with the tambourine and the harp. The flute (עוגב) is only an expression of sensual laughter (עגבות) (aboyement in French, barking.) So I heard.  
13They end their days in prosperity, and in a moment they descend to the grave.   יגיְכַלּ֣וּ (כתיב יְבַלּ֣וּ) בַטּ֣וֹב יְמֵיהֶ֑ם וּ֜בְרֶ֗גַע שְׁא֣וֹל יֵחַֽתּוּ:
and in a moment they descend to the grave: When his dying day arrived, he would die in a moment, easily, without suffering.  
they descend: Heb. יחתו, they descend, which is in Targum נחיתוּ.  
14They said to God, 'Turn away from us; we do not wish to know Your ways.   ידוַיֹּֽאמְר֣וּ לָ֖אֵל ס֣וּר מִמֶּ֑נּוּ וְדַ֥עַת דְּ֜רָכֶ֗יךָ לֹ֣א חָפָֽצְנוּ:
15What is the Almighty that we should serve Him, and what will it avail us that we should pray to Him?'   טומַה־שַּׁדַּ֥י כִּֽי־נַֽעַבְדֶ֑נּוּ וּמַה־נּ֜וֹעִ֗יל כִּ֣י נִפְגַּע־בּֽוֹ:
and what will it avail us: What benefit do we have if we pray to Him? We do not need Him for the drops of rain, because “a cloud would ascend from the earth” (Gen. 2:6).  
16Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand? The counsel of the wicked has distanced itself from me.   טזהֵ֚ן לֹ֣א בְיָדָ֣ם טוּבָ֑ם עֲצַ֥ת רְ֜שָׁעִ֗ים רָ֣חֲקָה מֶֽנִּי:
Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand: This is a question: Is not all their prosperity in their hand?  
The counsel of the wicked has distanced itself from me: Job was boasting that he saw them [the wicked] and was not counted among them.  
17How long? May the lamp of the wicked be snuffed out, and may their ruin befall them; may He distribute lots in His anger.   יזכַּמָּ֚ה | נֵֽר־רְשָׁ֘עִ֚ים יִדְעָ֗ךְ וְיָבֹ֣א עָלֵ֣ימוֹ אֵידָ֑ם חֲ֜בָלִ֗ים יְחַלֵּ֥ק בְּאַפּֽוֹ:
How long? May the lamp of the wicked be snuffed out: This refers back to the above, to (verse 7) “Why do the wicked live on?” How long will You lengthen this time [the lifetime of the wicked]? Then he continues and curses them, “May the lamp of the wicked be snuffed out…”  
lots: Heb. חבלים, the lot that they deserve.  
18they shall be like straw before the wind and like chaff that the tempest has stolen.   יחיִֽהְי֗וּ כְּתֶ֥בֶן לִפְנֵי־ר֑וּחַ וּ֜כְמֹ֗ץ גְּנָבַ֥תּוּ סוּפָֽה:
19Should God lay away his pain for his sons? Let Him requite him so that he should know.   יטאֱל֗וֹהַּ יִצְפֹּֽן־לְבָנָ֥יו אוֹנ֑וֹ יְשַׁלֵּ֖ם אֵלָ֣יו וְיֵדָֽע:
Should God lay away his violence for his sons: This is a question. Is this just, that this one should sin all his life and die in peace, and his violence and his wickedness the Holy One, blessed be He, should lay away for his sons, to punish them?  
Let Him requite him so that he should know: it is a praise to the Holy One, blessed be He, that He Himself requite the wicked man his recompense so that he understand that he dealt wickedly.  
20Let his eyes see his ruin, and let him drink of God's wrath.   כיִרְא֣וּ עֵינָ֣יו (כתיב עֵינָ֣ו) כִּיד֑וֹ וּמֵֽחֲמַ֖ת שַׁדַּ֣י יִשְׁתֶּֽה:
Let his eyes see his ruin: Heb. כידו, his ruin, but I cannot find a comparison in the Bible. However, according to the context of the verse, it appears to mean ruin, and so, many did not find a comparison to it. (כידו An expression of אֵידוֹ, his ruin. The “aleph” is substituted by a “chaff.”)  
21For what does He care about his house after him since the number of his months has been cut off?   כאכִּ֚י מַֽה־חֶפְצ֣וֹ בְּבֵית֣וֹ אַֽחֲרָ֑יו וּמִסְפַּ֖ר חֳדָשָׁ֣יו חֻצָּֽצוּ:
For what does He care about his house after him since the number of his months has been cut off: For what does he care (saklirir in Old French) or desire in his house after his death, to worry in his lifetime about the retribution destined to befall them, since the number of his months has been cut off and they will end before the evil that the Omnipresent promised them, viz. (Gen. 6:3) “therefore his days shall be 120 years.” This is what I said to you (verse 5), “Turn to me and be silent.”  
22Can anyone teach knowledge for God? But He judges high-handedly.   כבהַלְאֵ֥ל יְלַמֶּד־דָּ֑עַת וְ֜ה֗וּא רָמִ֥ים יִשְׁפּֽוֹט:
Can anyone teach knowledge for God: Is there anyone among you who is in the place of God, who can teach the knowledge of what this standard is [i.e., the standard of God’s judgment]?  
But He judges high- handedly: Heb. והוא רמים ישפוט. [He punishes the exalted.] Those like me, and the righteous and the esteemed, He chastises, judges, and requites, like (below 24:18), “and he will not turn in the way of the vineyards,” stated in regard to Noah and Methuselah in the Aggadah of [chapter] Chelek (Sanh. 108a). Another explanation: Can anyone teach God knowledge? That is, do I have to teach Him knowledge to judge fairly? He Himself knows that it is so, but He passes high-handed judgments with His loftiness and His greatness, and He does not care to be exact. I heard this one but not the first one.  
23This one dies in his full strength, completely tranquil and peaceful.   כגזֶ֗ה יָ֖מוּת בְּעֶ֣צֶם תֻּמּ֑וֹ כֻּ֜לּ֗וֹ שַׁלְאֲנָ֥ן וְשָׁלֵֽיו:
This one: The wicked man.  
dies: (Is punished.)  
in his full strength: in the appearance of his perfection, lacking nothing.  
tranquil: Heb. שַׁלְאֲנָן, like שַׁאֲנָן.  
24His pails are full of milk, and the marrow of his bones is moist.   כדעֲטִינָיו מָֽלְא֣וּ חָלָ֑ב וּמֹ֖חַ עַצְמוֹתָ֣יו יְשֻׁקֶּֽה:
His pails are full of milk: Heb. עטיניו. This is the language of the Mishnah (Menahoth 86a): “He packs it (עוטנו) in the olive press.” They gather the olives together, and their oil forms globules and gathers in its midst in order to be ready when he presses it in the press, and that vessel in which they gather it in order for its oil to gather within it is called “ma’atan.” Here too, his milk and his moisture and fat are called “atinav.”  
25And this one dies with a bitter spirit, having partaken of no good.   כהוְזֶ֗ה יָ֖מוּת בְּנֶ֣פֶשׁ מָרָ֑ה וְלֹֽא־אָ֜כַ֗ל בַּטּוֹבָֽה:
And this one dies with a bitter spirit: Those that are exalted and holy to Him-them He requites immediately.  
26Together on the earth they lie, and the worms cover them.   כויַחַד עַל־עָפָ֣ר יִשְׁכָּ֑בוּ וְ֜רִמָּ֗ה תְּכַסֶּ֥ה עֲלֵיהֶֽם:
Together on the earth they lie: After their death, it is not recognizable to the people who is good and who is bad, because this one is like that one; they lie on the earth together.  
27Lo, I know your thoughts and the devices that you wrongfully think against me.   כזהֵ֣ן יָ֖דַעְתִּי מַחְשְׁבֽוֹתֵיכֶ֑ם וּ֜מְזִמּ֗וֹת עָלַ֥י תַּחְמֹֽסוּ:
Lo, I know your thoughts and the devices that you wrongfully think against me: You do wrong to think injustice.  
28For you will say, 'Where is the house of the prince, and where is the tent [and] the dwellings of the wicked?'   כחכִּ֚י תֹֽאמְר֗וּ אַיֵּ֥ה בֵֽית־נָדִ֑יב וְ֜אַיֵּ֗ה אֹ֚הֶל | מִשְׁכְּנ֬וֹת רְשָׁעִֽים:
For etc.: Because of the evil that has befallen me, you say, “Look, where is the house of this man who was a prince, and where is the tent and the dwellings of the other wicked men?” That is to say that he is like them. Because of his wickedness, his house was lost. (Now why do you rely on your tranquility?)  
29Have you not asked the wayfarers? Then do not make their signs strange [to yourselves].   כטהֲלֹ֣א שְׁ֖אֶלְתֶּם ע֣וֹבְרֵי דָ֑רֶךְ וְ֜אֹתֹתָ֗ם לֹ֣א תְנַכֵּֽרוּ:
Have you not asked etc.: All these parables you are composing about me.  
and their signs: which they made known to you, you shall not make strange to yourselves by not paying attention to them, like (Gen. 42:7), “But he made himself a stranger (ויתנכר) to them.”  
30That the wicked man is reserved for the day of calamity; they are brought for the day of wrath.   לכִּ֚י לְי֣וֹם אֵ֖יד יֵחָ֣שֶׂךְ רָ֑ע לְי֖וֹם עֲבָר֣וֹת יוּבָֽלוּ:
That: They told you that…  
the wicked man is reserved for the day of calamity: The wicked man is withheld and spared from evil and reserved for the day that is appointed for his calamity, like (below 38:23), “That I have saved for a time of trouble.” I laid them away and spared them to let them know until the day of battle and war.  
31Who will tell His way to His face? He did, and who will requite Him?   לאמִֽי־יַגִּ֣יד עַל־פָּנָ֣יו דַּרְכּ֑וֹ וְהוּא־עָ֜שָׂ֗ה מִ֣י יְשַׁלֶּם־לֽוֹ:
Who will tell His way to His face: Who is the great king who will tell His way to His face and will not fear Him? How exalted He is! That is the Holy One, blessed be He, Who did.  
and who will requite Him: Who will requite Him with the recompense for His wickedness?  
32But he will be borne to the grave and he will hasten to be beside the stacks of grain.   לבוְהוּא לִקְבָר֣וֹת יוּבָ֑ל וְעַל־גָּדִ֥ישׁ יִשְׁקֽוֹד:
But he will be borne to the grave: He will ultimately be borne to the grave.  
and he will hasten to be beside the stacks of grain: when he is buried in the fields beside the stacks of grain.  
33The clods of the valley will be sweet to him, and all men draw after him as there were innumerable ones before him.   לגמָֽתְקוּ־ל֗וֹ רִגְבֵ֫י נָ֥חַל וְ֖אַֽחֲרָיו כָּל־אָדָ֣ם יִמְשׁ֑וֹךְ וּ֜לְפָנָ֗יו אֵ֣ין מִסְפָּֽר:
clods: balast in French (which the sailors bring into the holds of the ships in order to weigh them down.)  
as there were innumerable ones before him: Those who draw after the same way. All these devices you think against me.  
34Now how do you comfort me with futility, and [only] betrayal remains of your replies."   לדוְאֵיךְ תְּנַֽחֲמ֣וּנִי הָ֑בֶל וּתְ֜שׁוּבֹֽתֵיכֶ֗ם נִשְׁאַר־מָֽעַל:
Now how do you comfort me with futility: Since only betrayal remains of your replies, the replies of wisdom are forgotten and lost from you, and of your replies, [those] left in your hands are only replies of betrayal.  
betrayal: This word (מעל) is a noun, which is why it is voweled with a kamatz, and the accent is on the first syllable.