Chapter 23

1Now Job replied and said,   אוַיַּ֥עַן אִיּ֗וֹב וַיֹּֽאמַר:
2"Even today my speech is bitter; my wound is heavier than my sigh.   בגַּם־הַ֖יּוֹם מְרִ֣י שִׂחִ֑י יָ֜דִ֗י כָּבְדָ֥ה עַל־אַנְחָתִֽי:
Even today: after all these consolations.  
my speech is bitter: [The bitterness of my speech] remains in its place, for there is no consolation in your words.  
my wound is heavier: The wound of my plague is stronger than my sigh, for I do not complain and cry about my wound.  
3Would that I knew and I would find Him; I would come to the place prepared for Him.   גמִֽי־יִתֵּ֣ן יָ֖דַעְתִּי וְאֶמְצָאֵ֑הוּ אָ֜ב֗וֹא עַד־תְּכֽוּנָתֽוֹ:
and I would find Him: My Judge.  
the place prepared for Him: The place prepared for His throne.  
4I would set out [my] case before Him, and I would fill my mouth with arguments.   דאֶֽעֶרְכָ֣ה לְפָנָ֣יו מִשְׁפָּ֑ט וּפִ֜֗י אֲמַלֵּ֥א תֽוֹכָחֽוֹת:
case: [i.e., my] argument.  
5I would know the words that He would answer me, and I would understand what He would say to me.   האֵֽדְעָה מִלִּ֣ים יַֽעֲנֵ֑נִי וְ֜אָבִ֗ינָה מַה־יֹּ֥אמַר לִֽי:
I would know the words that He would answer me: Even if He stops me from speaking before Him, perhaps He would speak with me and I would know the words He would answer me.  
6Will He contend with me with much power? He will not place coercion upon me.   והַבְּרָב־כֹּ֖חַ יָרִ֣יב עִמָּדִ֑י לֹ֥א אַךְ־ה֜֗וּא יָשִׂ֥ם בִּֽי:
with much power: of words and rebukes for His sins [other editions read: my sins] will He contend with me?  
not… coercion: smiting and coercion. He will not cast His coercion and His awe upon me. (It may also be interpreted:) Nothing but [this] will He cast on me, for He will not cast on me anything but the contest of the rebukes for my sins; [that,] but not false accusations.  
7There [my] integrity will be proven with Him, and I will extricate [myself] forever from my Judge.   זשָׁ֗ם יָ֖שָׁר נוֹכָ֣ח עִמּ֑וֹ וַֽאֲפַלְּטָ֥ה לָ֜נֶ֗צַח מִשֹּֽׁפְטִֽי:
There: in the place of our contest.  
integrity: The propriety of my deeds will be proven, revealed, and it will appear with Him, i.e., before Him.  
proven: and there I will extricate [myself] forever because He will find no iniquity in me.  
8Behold, I go to the east and He is not here, and to the west and I perceive Him not.   חהֵ֚ן קֶ֣דֶם אֶֽהֱלֹ֣ךְ וְאֵינֶ֑נּוּ וְ֜אָח֗וֹר וְלֹֽא־אָבִ֥ין לֽוֹ:
Behold… east: it refers to the above (verse 3), “Would that I knew etc.”  
east: as it is stated (Exod. 27:13): “on the east side (קדמה), eastward.”  
and to the west: Heb. ואחור. Since the east is the front of the world (קדמה), the west is found to be the back of the world (אחור).  
9In the north, when He made it I do not see; He wraps up the south and I cannot see.   טשְׂמֹ֣אול בַּֽעֲשׂת֣וֹ וְלֹא־אָ֑חַז יַעְטֹ֥ף יָ֜מִ֗ין וְלֹ֣א אֶרְאֶֽה:
north: Heb. שמאוֹל, lit. left.  
when He made it: When He created it, He did not make the place of His throne there, that I should see it there.  
see: Heb. אחז, the Aramaic translation of אֶרְאֶה, I will see. Proof of this is that the accent is under the “aleph.” Now, if it were an expression of holding (אחיזה) , the accent would be at the end of the word, under the “cheth.”  
He wraps up the south: He covers the face of the south before me in order that I should not see Him.  
10Because He knows the way that is with me; He has tested me that I will emerge like gold.   יכִּי־יָ֖דַע דֶּ֣רֶךְ עִמָּדִ֑י בְּ֜חָנַ֗נִי כַּזָּהָ֥ב אֵצֵֽא:
Because He knows the way: that is  
with me: therefore, He does not come to contend with me.  
He has tested me: that  
I will emerge like gold: if He contends with me.  
11My foot has held to His path; I have kept His way and do not turn away.   יאבַּֽאֲשֻׁרוֹ אָֽחֲזָ֣ה רַגְלִ֑י דַּרְכּ֖וֹ שָׁמַ֣רְתִּי וְלֹֽא־אָֽט:
to His path: Heb. באשרו, to His path, like (below 31:7), “If my foot (אשרי) has turned away from the road” ; (Ps. 40:3), “He has established my paths (אשרי).”  
and do not turn away: I am not accustomed to turn away.  
12[I kept] the commandment of His lips and I do not remove [it]; more than my daily bread I kept the words of His mouth.   יבמִצְוַ֣ת שְׂ֖פָתָיו וְלֹ֣א אָמִ֑ישׁ מֵ֜חֻקִּ֗י צָפַ֥נְתִּי אִמְרֵי־פִֽיו:
more than my daily bread I kept the words of His mouth: More than my daily food I was eager to keep the words of His mouth. [The expression חקי] is like (Prov. 30:8), “my daily bread (לחם חקי) ,” my food.  
13But He is One, and who will answer Him? [Therefore,] whatever His soul desires He does.   יגוְה֣וּא בְ֖אֶחָד וּמִ֣י יְשִׁיבֶ֑נּוּ וְנַפְשׁ֖וֹ אִוְּתָ֣ה וַיָּֽעַשׂ:
But He: Since He is One in the world and knows the knowledge and the thoughts of the creatures, and what they have to reply to Him, therefore replies are prepared before Him.  
and who will answer Him: Therefore, what His soul desires, He does.  
14For He will complete my sentence, and there are many such things with Him.   ידכִּי יַשְׁלִ֣ים חֻקִּ֑י וְכָהֵ֖נָּה רַבּ֣וֹת עִמּֽוֹ:
For He will complete my sentence: I know that He will not draw back His hand until He completes the sentence of His decrees, the retribution that He has decreed against me.  
and there are many such things with Him: For He did many such things.  
15Therefore, I am startled by Him; I ponder and am frightened of Him.   טועַל־כֵּ֖ן מִפָּנָ֣יו אֶבָּהֵ֑ל אֶ֜תְבּוֹנֵ֗ן וְאֶפְחַ֥ד מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
Therefore: Since He does not requite man according to his ways.  
I am startled by Him: and when I ponder His ways, I am frightened of Him.  
16Yea, God has made my heart faint, and the Almighty has startled me.   טזוְאֵל הֵרַ֣ךְ לִבִּ֑י וְ֜שַׁדַּ֗י הִבְהִילָֽנִי:
17Because I was not cut off from before the darkness, and [because He did not] cover the thick darkness from before me.   יזכִּֽי־לֹ֣א נִ֖צְמַתִּי מִפְּנֵי־חֹ֑שֶׁךְ וּ֜מִפָּנַ֗י כִּסָּה־אֹֽפֶל:
Because I was not cut off from before the darkness: Because of this I am startled; because I was not completely cut off and laid permanently in the grave before this darkness that has come upon me, and because He did not cover this thick darkness from before me until my death.  
and [because He did not] cover the thick darkness from before me: This refers back to “because not” at the beginning of the verse.