Chapter 31

1I made a covenant with my eyes, and why should I gaze upon a virgin?   אבְּרִית כָּרַ֣תִּי לְעֵינָ֑י וּמָ֥ה אֶ֜תְבּוֹנֵ֗ן עַל־בְּתוּלָֽה:
I made a covenant with my eyes: not to gaze upon a married woman.  
and why should I gaze upon a virgin?: Why should I gaze upon her? Such was Job’s piety, not to lay an eye even on an unmarried woman. [He would say,] “Perhaps, after a time, she will be married, and I will find myself attracted to her.” So is [this verse] explained in Avoth D’Rabbi Nathan (2:5).  
2Now what is the portion of God from above and the heritage of the Almighty from on high?   בוּמֶ֚ה | חֵ֣לֶק אֱל֣וֹהַּ מִמָּ֑עַל וְנַֽחֲלַ֥ת שַׁ֜דַּ֗י מִמְּרֹמִֽים:
Now what is the portion etc.: that He recompensed me so?  
3Is not misfortune for the unjust and deliverance for workers of iniquity?   גהֲלֹא־אֵ֥יד לְעַוָּ֑ל וְ֜נֶ֗כֶר לְפֹ֣עֲלֵי אָֽוֶן:
Is not misfortune, for the unjust: He deserves it, not I.  
and deliverance: Heb. ונכר, after the pattern of (Obadiah 1:12) “[And] you should not have looked on the day of your brother on the day of his being delivered (נכרו).”  
4Will He not see my ways and count all my steps?   דהֲלֹא־ה֖וּא יִרְאֶ֣ה דְרָכָ֑י וְֽכָל־צְעָדַ֥י יִסְפּֽוֹר:
and count all my steps: and see whether I went with falsehood.  
5Whether I went with falsehood, and my foot hastened upon deceit.   האִם־הָלַ֥כְתִּי עִם־שָׁ֑וְא וַתַּ֖חַשׁ עַל־מִרְמָ֣ה רַגְלִֽי:
hastened: Heb. ותחש, and hurried, like (Isa. 60:22), “I will hasten it (אחישנה) ” ; (Ps. 90:10) “for it is soon (חיש) cut off.”  
6May He weigh me with a just scale and may God know my innocence!   ויִשְׁקְלֵ֥נִי בְמֹֽאזְנֵי־צֶ֑דֶק וְיֵדַ֥ע אֱ֜ל֗וֹהַּ תֻּמָּתִֽי:
7If my foot has turned away from the road and my heart has gone after my eyes and any wrong has clung to my hands,   זאִ֥ם תִּטֶּ֣ה אַשֻּׁרִי֘ מִנִ֪י הַ֫דָּ֥רֶךְ וְאַחַ֣ר עֵ֖ינַי הָלַ֣ךְ לִבִּ֑י וּבְ֜כַפַּ֗י דָּ֣בַק מֽאוּם:
wrong: Heb. מאום, that is a blemish, a shameful thing. This “alef” is written but not read, in the Great Masorah, and it is of the form of (Exod. 5:7), “You shall not continue (תאספון).” If I did this, I would deserve that this curse come upon me.  
8may I sow and another eat, and produce be uprooted.   חאֶזְרְעָה וְאַחֵ֣ר יֹאכֵ֑ל וְצֶֽאֱצָאַ֥י יְשֹׁרָֽשׁוּ:
may I sow and another eat, and my produce be uprooted: their roots should be torn up.  
9If my heart was enticed to a woman, and if I lurked at my neighbor's doorway,   טאִם־נִפְתָּ֣ה לִ֖בִּי עַל־אִשָּׁ֑ה וְעַל־פֶּ֖תַח רֵעִ֣י אָרָֽבְתִּי:
and if I lurked at my neighbor’s doorway: for his wife, He should requite me…  
10may my wife grind for someone else, and may others kneel over her.   יתִּטְחַ֣ן לְאַחֵ֣ר אִשְׁתִּ֑י וְ֜עָלֶ֗יהָ יִכְרְע֥וּן אֲחֵרִֽין:
may my wife grind for someone else: Our Sages explained this as an expression of sexual intercourse, as in (Jud. 16:21), “and he did grind in the prison house.”  
11For that is lewdness, and it is iniquity deserving punishment.   יאכִּי־הִ֥יא (כתיב הִ֥וא) זִמָּ֑ה וְ֜ה֗וּא (כתיב וְ֜ה֗יּא) עָו‍ֹ֥ן פְּלִילִֽים:
For that is lewdness: and I feared that if I committed it, that  
it is iniquity deserving punishment: iniquity for which judgment of suffering is fit to come.  
12For it is fire; it consumes to destruction, and it uproots all my grain.   יבכִּ֚י אֵ֣שׁ הִ֖יא עַד־אֲבַדּ֣וֹן תֹּאכֵ֑ל וּבְכָל־תְּב֖וּאָתִ֣י תְשָׁרֵֽשׁ:
and it uproots all my grain: i.e., this fire. Therefore, I refrained from committing [this sin]. When he speaks with an expression of uprooting, he says תְּשָרֵש, and to express roots, he also uses תְּשָרֵש. Similarly, יְשׁרָשוּ is an expression of uprooting and יְשׁרָשוּ is an expression of a root.  
13If I rejected the judgment of my slave or my bondwoman in their cause with me,   יגאִם־אֶמְאַ֗ס מִשְׁפַּ֣ט עַ֖בְדִּי וַֽאֲמָתִ֑י בְּ֜רִבָ֗ם עִמָּדִֽי:
14then what will I do when God arises and when He visits what will I answer Him?   ידוּמָ֣ה אֶֽ֖עֱשֶׂה כִּֽי־יָק֣וּם אֵ֑ל וְכִֽי־יִ֜פְקֹ֗ד מָ֣ה אֲשִׁיבֶֽנּוּ:
then what will I do etc.: I took this to heart, and when He visits, what will I answer Him?  
15Did not my Maker make him in the womb, and [did not] One form us both in the womb?   טוהֲֽלֹא־ בַ֖בֶּטֶן עֹשֵׂ֣נִי עָשָׂ֑הוּ וַ֜יְכוּנֶ֗נּוּ בָּרֶ֥חֶם אֶחָֽד:
and form us both in the womb?: I in my mother’s womb and he in his mother’s womb-did not One creator form us?  
16Did I refrain from the desire of the poor, or did I cause the eyes of a widow to fail?   טזאִם־אֶ֖מְנַע מֵחֵ֣פֶץ דַּלִּ֑ים וְעֵינֵ֖י אַלְמָנָ֣האֲכַלֶּֽה:
I cause… to fail: in that I did not fulfill her desire, which is “failure of the eyes.” One who desires and does not achieve is called “failure of the eyes.”  
17Did I eat my morsel alone and did no orphan eat therefrom?   יזוְאֹכַ֣ל פִּתִּ֣י לְבַדִּ֑י וְלֹֽא־אָכַ֖ל יָת֣וֹם מִמֶּֽנָּה:
18For, from my youth it raised me like a father, and from my mother's womb I led it.   יחכִּ֣י מִ֖נְּעוּרַי גְּדֵלַ֣נִי כְאָ֑ב וּמִבֶּ֖טֶן אִמִּ֣י אַנְחֶֽנָּה:
For, from my youth it raised me: This virtue [raised me] as a father who raises me and teaches me. So did the uprightness of my heart teach me from my youth.  
and from my mother’s womb I led it: This trait.  
19Did I see a person perishing without a garment or that a needy person had no covering?   יטאִם־אֶרְאֶ֣ה א֖וֹבֵד מִבְּלִ֣י לְב֑וּשׁ וְאֵ֥ין כְּ֜ס֗וּת לָֽאֶבְיֽוֹן:
20Did not his loins bless me, and with the fleece of my lambs [did he not] warm himself?   כאִם־לֹ֣א בֵֽרְכ֣וּנִי חֲלָצָ֑יו (כתיב חֲלָצָ֑ו) וּמִגֵּ֥ז כְּ֜בָשַׂי יִתְחַמָּֽם:
21If I raised my hand against an orphan because I saw my help in the gate,   כאאִם־הֲנִיפ֣וֹתִי עַל־יָת֣וֹם יָדִ֑י כִּֽי־אֶרְאֶ֥ה בַ֜שַּׁ֗עַר עֶזְרָתִֽי:
22may my shoulder fall from its shoulder-blade and may my arm be broken from its bone.   כבכְּתֵפִי מִשִּׁכְמָ֣ה תִפּ֑וֹל וְ֜אֶזְרֹעִ֗י מִקָּנָ֥ה תִשָּׁבֵֽר:
from its shoulder blade: That is the width of the shoulder.  
from its bone: That is the upper bone, which is round as a reed (קנה), and because it is round as a reed, it is called so.  
23For the misfortune from God is fear to me, and I cannot bear its weight.   כגכִּ֚י פַ֣חַד אֵ֖לַי אֵ֣יד אֵ֑ל וּ֜מִשְּׂאֵת֗וֹ לֹ֣א אוּכָֽל:
fear to me: His misfortune, which He brought upon the wicked, was fear in my eyes; therefore, I refrained from doing it.  
24If I put my hope in gold, and to jewelry I said, 'My confidence,'   כדאִם־שַׂ֣מְתִּי זָהָ֣ב כִּסְלִ֑י וְ֜לַכֶּ֗תֶם אָמַ֥רְתִּי מִבְטַחִֽי:
my hope: Heb. כסלי, like (8: 14), “whose confidence (כסלו) shall be cut off.” My hope and my thought, and because the kidneys are on the flanks (כסלים), and the kidneys advise, the thought is called כֶּסֶל.  
and to jewelry: A gathering of gold and treasures.  
I said, ‘My confidence.’: therewith to strengthen myself over the poor.  
25If I rejoiced because my wealth was great and because my hand found much;   כהאִם־ אֶ֖שְׂמַח כִּי־רַ֣ב חֵילִ֑י וְכִֽי־כַ֜בִּ֗יר מָֽצְאָ֥ה יָדִֽי:
If I rejoiced because my wealth: I did not behave with joy in the presence of the poor so as not to make them envious of me.  
26If I saw light shining and the moon becoming brighter,   כואִם־אֶרְאֶ֣ה א֖וֹר כִּ֣י יָהֵ֑ל וְ֜יָרֵ֗חַ יָקָ֥ר הֹלֵֽךְ:
If I saw light shining: The sun in the orbit of its might, and its brightness.  
and the moon becoming brighter: Heb. יקר. Progressively brighter, like (Zech. 14:6), “bright (יקרות) light” ; (Ps. 37:20), “like the glory (כיקר) off the meadows.”  
27And my heart was secretly enticed, and my mouth kissed my hand,   כזוַיִּ֣פְתְּ בַּסֵּ֣תֶר לִבִּ֑י וַתִּשַּׁ֖ק יָדִ֣י לְפִֽי:
And my heart was secretly enticed: to the sun and the moon, saying that they are gods, like some heathens, who have gone astray (and worship) all the host of heaven.  
28this too is iniquity that bears punishment, for I would have denied God above.   כחגַּם־ה֖וּא עָו‍ֹ֣ן פְּלִילִ֑י כִּֽי־כִחַ֖שְׁתִּי לָאֵ֣ל מִמָּֽעַל:
29If I rejoiced with the misfortune of my enemy, and was aroused because harm had befallen him,   כטאִם־אֶ֖שְׂמַח בְּפִ֣יד מְשַׂנְאִ֑י וְ֜הִתְעֹרַ֗רְתִּי כִּי־מְצָ֥אוֹ רָֽע:
30but I did not allow my palate to sin, to ask his soul through an oath.   לוְלֹֽא־נָתַ֣תִּי לַֽחֲטֹ֣א חִכִּ֑י לִשְׁאֹ֖ל בְּאָלָ֣ה נַפְשֽׁוֹ:
but I did not allow my palate to sin: to provoke my enemy and to sue him for money that he does not owe me, in order to adjure him and to ask for the soul of my enemy with an oath.  
31If the people of my tent did not say, 'Who will give [us] of his flesh? We will not be sated.'   לאאִם־לֹ֣א אָֽ֖מְרוּ מְתֵ֣י אָֽהֳלִ֑י מִֽי־יִתֵּ֥ן מִ֜בְּשָׂר֗וֹ לֹ֣א נִשְׂבָּֽע:
We will not be sated: Because of the hatred that they bore against me for burdening them with hospitality toward guests.  
32A stranger did not lodge outside; my doors I would open to the road.   לבבַּחוּץ לֹֽא־יָלִ֣ין גֵּ֑ר דְּ֜לָתַ֗י לָאֹ֥רַח אֶפְתָּֽח:
to the road: The doors of my house were not inside and enclosed by a gatehouse outside, or surrounded by corners to stop the wayfarers from coming, but open to the crossroads so that whoever wishes to come may do so.  
33Did I, like men, cover my transgressions, to conceal my iniquity in my hiding place?   לגאִם־כִּסִּ֣יתִי כְאָדָ֣ם פְּשָׁעָ֑י לִטְמ֖וֹן בְּחֻבִּ֣י עֲו‍ֹֽנִי:
in my hiding place: Heb. בחבי, like בְּמַחַבוֹאִי.  
34For I would subdue a great multitude, and the most contemptible of families frighten me; yet I remain silent and do not go outside the doorway.   לדכִּ֚י אֶֽעֱר֨וֹץ | הָ֘מ֚וֹן רַבָּ֗ה וּבֽוּז־מִשְׁפָּח֥וֹת יְחִתֵּ֑נִי וָֽ֜אֶדֹּ֗ם לֹא־אֵ֥צֵא פָֽתַח:
For I would subdue: Originally I would subdue a great multitude of wicked men, but now, even among the Chaldeans-“This people has never been” (Isa. 23:13).  
35Would that I were given one who will listen to me; behold my inscription; may the Almighty bear witness for me and may my opponent write a book.   להמִ֚י יִתֶּן־לִ֨י | שֹׁ֘מֵ֚עַ לִ֗י הֶן־תָּ֖וִי שַׁדַּ֣י יַֽעֲנֵ֑נִי וְסֵ֥פֶר כָּ֜תַ֗ב אִ֣ישׁ רִיבִֽי:
behold my inscription; may the Almighty bear witness for me: Would that the Omnipresent bear witness for me in judgment, as He wrote concerning me (1:8): “For there is none like him on earth, a sincere and upright man, God- fearing.” Also Moses, who wrote his Book and my Book, will bear witness concerning me. (Another explanation:) This is what Job says, “Give it to inscribe me and my virtue.”  
may the Almighty answer me: for this request.  
and may my opponent write a book: May he too write a book to contend with me.  
36Would I not carry him on my shoulder, bind it to me as crowns?   לואִם־לֹ֣א עַל־שִׁ֖כְמִי אֶשָּׂאֶ֑נּוּ אֶֽעֶנְדֶ֖נּוּ עֲטָר֣וֹת לִֽי:
Would I not carry him: The writer of the book.  
bind it: I will bind the book to me as crowns.  
37I will tell him the number of my steps; I will draw him near, as a prince.   לזמִסְפַּ֣ר צְ֖עָדַי אַגִּידֶ֑נּוּ כְּמוֹ־נָ֜גִ֗יד אֲקָֽרְבֶֽנּוּ:
I will tell him the number of my steps: to that man.  
38If my soil complains about me, and its furrows weep together,   לחאִם־עָ֖לַי אַדְמָתִ֣י תִזְעָ֑ק וְ֜יַ֗חַד תְּלָמֶ֥יהָ יִבְכָּיֽוּן:
If my soil complains about me: concerning the gleanings, the forgotten sheaves, and the end [of the field], as well as tithes, [claiming] that I did not extract tithes properly.  
and its furrows weep together: that I plowed with an ox and with a donkey together.  
39if I consumed its strength without money, and I caused pain to its owner,   לטאִם־כֹּ֖חָהּ אָכַ֣לְתִּי בְלִי־כָ֑סֶף וְנֶ֖פֶשׁ בְּעָלֶ֣יהָ הִפָּֽחְתִּי:
without money: to hire workers and to oppress them [by not paying them]. Another explanation. This refers to the second tithe, concerning which it is written (Deut. 14:25): “And you shall tie the money in your hand.”  
and I caused pain to its owner: The sharecropper who tills it.  
40instead of wheat, thistles shall emerge, and instead of barley, noisome weeds. Job's words are ended."   מתַּ֚חַת חִטָּ֨ה | יֵ֥צֵא ח֗וֹחַ וְתַֽחַת־שְׂעֹרָ֥ה בָאְשָׁ֑ה תַּ֜֗מּוּ דִּבְרֵ֥י אִיּֽוֹב:
noisome weeds: Heb. באשה, (a malodorous plant) like בְּאֻשִׁים (Isa. 5:2). And if I did not do so, may thistles emerge instead of wheat. (Rabbi Oshia taught: The Torah teaches you practical advice, that in a field beset with thistles it is advisable to sow wheat, and in a field beset with weeds, it is advisable to sow barley. This is the reading of Yalkut.) Now what is the reason? “Instead of wheat, thistles shall emerge.” Until this point, he repeatedly prophesies many prophecies, and you say: Job’s words are ended? Rather, Job says as follows, “If I have not done so, may Job’s words be ended, and may he have no pretext for saying before You (Deut. 26:13), ‘I have cleared away what is holy.’” I saw this in the Pesikta of the portion עשר תעשר (ibid. 14), explained in this manner from these verses.