Chapter 36

1Then Elihu continued and said,   אוַיֹּ֥סֶף אֱלִיה֗וּא וַיֹּֽאמַר:
Then Elihu continued: I saw in the reasons of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan (the preacher), that he delivered three addresses corresponding to Job’s three companions, and this is the fourth one. Therefore it is called an addition.  
2"Wait awhile for me and I will tell you, for God has more words.   בכַּֽתַּר־לִ֣י זְ֖עֵיר וַֽאֲחַוֶּ֑ךָּ כִּי ע֖וֹד לֶֽאֱל֣וֹהַּ מִלִּֽים:
Wait awhile for me and I will tell you: This is completely Aramaic: Wait for me a little and I will tell you. [The word] כַּתַּר is an expression of waiting, as Jonathan rendered (Isa. 42:4): “and for his instruction, islands shall long (יכתרון).”  
God has: Those representing Him have.  
3I will take up my knowledge from afar, and to my Maker I will ascribe righteousness.   גאֶשָּׂ֣א דֵ֖עִי לְמֵֽרָח֑וֹק וְ֜לְפֹֽעֲלִ֗י אֶתֶּן־צֶֽדֶק:
4For indeed, my words are not false; you have perfect knowledge.   דכִּֽי־אָ֖מְנָם לֹֽא־שֶׁ֣קֶר מִלָּ֑י תְּמִ֖ים דֵּע֣וֹת עִמָּֽךְ:
you have perfect knowledge: Behold, I will now begin to speak with you since you think that your knowledge is perfect.  
5Behold God is great and will not despise; He is great in strength of heart.   ההֶן־אֵ֣ל כַּ֖בִּיר וְלֹ֣א יִמְאָ֑ס כַּ֜בִּ֗יר כֹּ֣חַ לֵֽב:
Behold God is great: in wisdom and in mercy.  
and will not despise: the poor man.  
He is great in strength of heart: to take revenge. Therefore, He will not allow a wicked man to live.  
6He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but He gives the poor their right.   ולֹֽא־יְחַיֶּ֥ה רָשָׁ֑ע וּמִשְׁפַּ֖ט עֲנִיִּ֣ים יִתֵּֽן:
7He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous, and with kings on the throne He seats them to eternity and they are exalted.   זלֹֽא־יִגְרַ֥ע מִצַּדִּ֗יק עֵ֫ינָ֥יו וְאֶת־מְלָכִ֥ים לַכִּסֵּ֑א וַיֹּֽשִׁיבֵ֥ם לָ֜נֶ֗צַח וַיִּגְבָּֽהוּ:
He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous: until He seats him with kings.  
8And if they are bound with chains, are caught with ropes of poverty,   חוְאִם־אֲסוּרִ֥ים בַּזִּקִּ֑ים יִ֜לָּֽכְד֗וּן בְּחַבְלֵי־עֹֽנִי:
And if: you see righteous men who are bound with chains of suffering and ailments, or caught with ropes of poverty. In an expression of lots or ropes, they are called חבלים, in an expression of worry, they are called חֶבְלֵי יוֹלֵדָה, pangs of a childbearing woman.  
with ropes of poverty: Heb. בחבלי cordes in French. It is only because they sinned before Him, and He comes to requite them for their own good, to cleanse them and to admonish them to return to Him.  
9He tells them their deed and their transgressions, for they increase.   טוַיַּגֵּ֣ד לָהֶ֣ם פָּֽעֳלָ֑ם וּפִ֜שְׁעֵיהֶ֗ם כִּ֣י יִתְגַּבָּֽרוּ:
He tells them their deed: With these sufferings, He lets them know that they sinned before Him. All the words of Elihu were complete consolations and not chidings; i.e., do not worry about the sufferings if you are righteous, because they are for your good, and He says that with sufferings, they will repent of iniquity.  
10He opens their ears to discipline and commands that they repent of iniquity.   יוַיִּ֣גֶל אָ֖זְנָם לַמּוּסָ֑ר וַ֜יֹּ֗אמֶר כִּֽי־יְשׁוּב֥וּן מֵאָֽוֶן:
11If they understand and worship [Him], they will complete their days with goodness and their years with pleasantness.   יאאִם־יִשְׁמְע֗וּ וְֽיַֽעֲ֫בֹ֥דוּ יְכַלּ֣וּ יְמֵיהֶ֣ם בַּטּ֑וֹב וּשְׁ֜נֵיהֶ֗ם בַּנְּעִימִֽים:
If they understand: and worship Him.  
12And if they do not take heed, they will pass away by the sword and perish because of lack of knowledge.   יבוְאִם־לֹ֣א יִ֖שְׁמְעוּ בְּשֶׁ֣לַח יַֽעֲבֹ֑רוּ וְ֜יִגְוְע֗וּ כִּבְלִי־דָֽעַת:
13But the wicked of heart bring about wrath; they do not beg mercy when He binds them.   יגוְחַנְפֵי־לֵ֖ב יָשִׂ֣ימוּ אָ֑ף לֹ֥א יְ֜שַׁוְּע֗וּ כִּ֣י אֲסָרָֽם:
But the wicked of heart: who are wicked-they bring about wrath; when suffering comes upon them, they curse and blaspheme, and they do not beg mercy with supplication when He binds them with sufferings; therefore He does not heal them.  
14Their soul shall die by strangulation, and their living spirit among the profligate.   ידתָּמֹ֣ת בַּנֹּ֣עַר נַפְשָׁ֑ם וְ֜חַיָּתָ֗ם בַּקְּדֵשִֽׁים:
shall die by strangulation: Their soul [shall die] by the strangulation that is upon them, but the poor man, who makes himself poor in the matter of supplications…  
15He extricates a poor man in his poverty and opens their ear through oppression.   טויְחַלֵּ֣ץ עָנִ֣י בְעָנְי֑וֹ וְיִ֖גֶל בַּלַּ֣חַץ אָזְנָֽם:
He extricates: from Gehinnom because of his poverty, which He brought upon him.  
and opens their ear through oppression: Through the oppression that He brought upon him, He opens his ear to say, “Return to Me.”  
16Moreover, it allured you from the narrow mouth, that is wide, not cramped below; and the bedecking of your table shall be full of fatness.   טזוְאַ֚ף הֲסִֽיתְךָ֨ | מִפִּי־צָ֗ר רַ֖חַב לֹֽא־מוּצַ֣ק תַּחְתֶּ֑יהָ וְנַ֥חַת שֻׁ֜לְחָֽנְךָ֗ מָ֣לֵא דָֽשֶׁן:
Moreover: This is yet another great benefit that He did for you with these sufferings: He allured you and enticed you out of Gehinnom, whose mouth is narrow and whose base is wide.  
not cramped: so that its smoke should be gathered into its midst, and furthermore, that you should merit the world to come; and the bedecking of your table shall be full of fatness.  
17And if you have had your fill of the sentence of the wicked, the judgment and the sentence will support [you].   יזוְדִֽין־רָשָׁ֥ע מָלֵ֑אתָ דִּ֖ין וּמִשְׁפָּ֣ט יִתְמֹֽכוּ:
And if you have had your fill of the sentence of the wicked: And if you have had your fill of the sufferings of the wicked, the judgment and the sentence-which are [represented by] the sufferings-will support you in the future from Gehinnom, and you must accept them lovingly.  
18For [there shall be] wrath, lest it entice you to multiply [words], and great ransom will not turn you away.   יחכִּי־חֵ֖מָה פֶּן־יְסִֽיתְךָ֣ בְשָׂ֑פֶק וְרָב־כֹּ֜֗פֶר אַל־יַטֶּֽךָּ:
For wrath: [There] shall be great [wrath].  
lest it entice you: [Lest] your evil inclination [entice you to speak] words.  
to multiply: Heb. בשפק, lit. with multiplicity; [i.e., with] which you multiply and increase your words toward God; and after you have raised His wrath, much ransom, [i.e.,] much money will not turn you away [rescue you] from it.  
19Will you set up your prayer so that no trouble [befall you], nor any forces of strength?   יטהֲיַֽעֲרֹ֣ךְ שֽׁ֖וּעֲךָ לֹ֣א בְצָ֑ר וְ֜כֹ֗ל מַֽאֲמַצֵּי־כֹֽחַ:
Will you set up your prayer so that no trouble: Have you come to set up a cry that no trouble befall you, or any forces of strength to rob you? If so, with what will He collect His debt?  
20Do not yearn for the night when peoples are taken away [as they stand] in their place.   כאַל־תִּשְׁאַ֥ף הַלָּ֑יְלָה לַֽעֲל֖וֹת עַמִּ֣ים תַּחְתָּֽם:
Do not yearn for the night: That is to say that you should not choose other sufferings. Do not yearn for, or desire the night that came to Amraphel, to Egypt, and to Sennacherib, to take away peoples from the world when they are in their place in tranquility, for they perished both from this world and from the world to come.  
are taken away: Heb. לעלות, like (Ps. 102:25), “do not take me away (תעלני) in the midst of my days.”  
21Beware, do not turn to iniquity, for you chose this over poverty.   כאהִשָּֽׁמֶר אַל־תֵּ֣פֶן אֶל־אָ֑וֶן כִּ֥י־עַל־זֶ֜֗ה בָּחַ֥רְתָּ מֵעֹֽנִי:
Beware, do not turn to iniquity: to contend and to say, “He should have judged me with the sufferings of poverty.”  
for… this: These sufferings are to be chosen above poverty. A man to whom people behaved with respect and who has been accustomed to wealth all his life, will now stand and bargain, and having no money [to pay with], will be embarrassed and return home in disappointment. Now if you say that Job was a poor man in addition to his sufferings, we do not find that he lost anything except his livestock, but not silver or gold. And even if he lost his cattle with silver and gold, it is better for him to be a poor sick man than to be healthy and go in the marketplaces empty- handed [and be embarrassed as well]. In this manner, it is explained in the midrash of Rabbi Tanchuma (Mishpatim 11) from this verse, that Job’s sufferings are preferable to the sufferings of poverty, and so in the Aggadoth of the Talmud (Baba Bathra 116a).  
22Behold God deals loftily in His power; who is a teacher like Him?   כבהֶן־אֵ֖ל יַשְׂגִּ֣יב בְּכֹח֑וֹ מִ֖י כָמֹ֣הוּ מוֹרֶֽה:
Behold God deals loftily in His power: Because His power is great, and one cannot be saved from before Him. Therefore…  
who is a teacher like Him?: When He teaches a sinner to return to Him, He warns Him before the plague because He knows that he cannot beware of His plague, as He would warn Pharaoh concerning each plague (Ex. 8:17), “I shall let loose the beasts of the wilderness upon you etc.” ; (ibid. 10:4), “I will bring locusts… tomorrow,” and so all of them. [In contrast,] when a mortal king wishes to wreak vengeance upon his enemies, he comes upon him suddenly, for, if he warns him, he will repent and be saved from him.  
23Who charged Him with His way, and who said, 'You have performed an injustice'?   כגמִֽי־פָקַ֣ד עָלָ֣יו דַּרְכּ֑וֹ וּמִֽי־אָ֜מַ֗ר פָּעַ֥לְתָּ עַוְלָֽה:
Who charged Him with His way: [Who] commanded Him from time immemorial, “You shall follow this way” ?  
24Mention [this] for you will magnify His work, which men have seen.   כדזְכֹר כִּֽי־תַשְׂגִּ֣יא פָֽעֳל֑וֹ אֲשֶׁ֖ר שֹֽׁרְר֣וּ אֲנָשִֽׁים:
Mention: His ways, and when you mention [them], you will automatically magnify the praise of the works of His attributes.  
which men have seen: Heb. שררו, which men have seen, like (Num. 24:17), “I behold it (אשורנו), but it is not near.”  
25All men have seen it; mortal man looks from afar.   כהכָּל־אָדָ֥ם חָֽזוּ־ב֑וֹ אֱ֜נ֗וֹשׁ יַבִּ֥יט מֵֽרָחֽוֹק:
have seen it: His work.  
from afar: from the Creation or the world until now.  
26Behold God is great and we do not know; the number of His years is unfathomable.   כוהֶן־אֵ֣ל שַׂ֖גִּיא וְלֹ֣א נֵדָ֑ע מִסְפַּ֖ר שָׁנָ֣יו וְלֹֽא־חֵֽקֶר:
the number of His years is unfathomable: Therefore man must look from afar to ask what happened to the first people, and he will learn from them.  
27For He increases drops of water; they pour rain into His cloud.   כזכִּי יְגָרַ֣ע נִטְפֵי־מָ֑יִם יָזֹ֖קּוּ מָטָ֣ר לְאֵדֽוֹ:
For He increases: Heb. יגרע, for He increases, like (above 15: 4), “and increase (ותגרע) speech.” Others interpret: He withdraws them from the heavens to bring them down to earth.  
they pour: The firmaments [pour] the rain.  
into His cloud: Heb. לְאֵדוֹ, into His cloud.  
28That the heavens drip; yea, they drip because of a great man.   כחאֲשֶֽׁר־יִזְּל֥וּ שְׁחָקִ֑ים יִ֜רְעֲפ֗וּ עֲלֵ֚י | אָדָ֬ם רָֽב:
29Or will one understand the spreading of a cloud, the darkness of His pavilion?   כטאַ֣ף אִם־יָ֖בִין מִפְרְשֵׂי־עָ֑ב תְּ֜שֻׁא֗וֹת סֻכָּתֽוֹ:
Or will one understand: Or will man understand what is in the spreadings of the clouds? This is a question.  
the darkness: Heb. תשאות, an expression of the thick darkness of His pavilion.  
30Behold He spread His rain over it, and He covered the roots of the sea.   להֵֽן־פָּרַ֣שׂ עָלָ֣יו אוֹר֑וֹ וְשָׁרְשֵׁ֖י הַיָּ֣ם כִּסָּֽה:
Behold He spread: (on the cloud His rain) and covered the roots of the sea therewith.  
31For He judges the nations therewith; He gives food to one who has many [children].   לאכִּי־בָ֖ם יָדִ֣ין עַמִּ֑ים יִֽתֶּן־אֹ֥כֶל לְמַכְבִּֽיר:
For… therewith: With the clouds He judges peoples and chastises them by withholding rain, causing famine, as well as all sorts of plagues. When the Generation of the Flood sinned (Gen. 7:11), “and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.” As for the people of Sodom (Deut. 29:22), “Sulfur and salt, all the soil is burned up.” As for Sisera (Jud. 5:20), “From heaven they fought… against Sisera.”  
He gives food to one who has many: From there comes sustenance (Ex. 16:4): “See, I am about to have bread rain down from heaven for you.” This is to be compared to a baker who is standing before the oven. If an enemy comes in, he rakes coals and casts them at him; if his friend comes in, he takes out hot bread and gives it to him.  
to the one who has many: to the one whose children are many and numerous; to one who increases children and requires food.  
32Over the clouds He covers the rain, and He commands it through one who prays.   לבעַל־כַּפַּ֥יִם כִּסָּה־א֑וֹר וַיְצַ֖ו עָלֶ֣יהָ בְמַפְגִּֽיעַ:
Over the clouds: Heb. כפים, over the clouds. Similarly (Lam. 3:41), “Let us lift our heart to the clouds (כפים) ,” based on (I Kings 18:44), “… a cloud as small as a man’s palm (ככף).” But our Rabbis said (Taanith 7b): Because of the sin of (the robbery of) the hands.  
He covers the rain: The rain is withheld.  
and He commands it: to come through one who entreats with prayer. (The beloved one of the generation, and the great man and sage thereof will relate to Him-before the Holy One, blessed be He-the straits of the generation and their necessities].  
33Their beloved one preaches to them; [this is] the acquisition, for it also ascends on high.   לגיַגִּ֣יד עָלָ֣יו רֵע֑וֹ מִ֜קְנֶ֗ה אַ֣ף עַל־עוֹלֶֽה:
Their beloved one preaches to them: He preaches to them to search their deeds for themselves and to return to Him.  
the acquisition: This is the acquisition whereby the rain is acquired.  
it also ascends on high: Heb. על. It also [ascends] higher and higher [in this manner], like (Hosea 7:16), “They will return, but not to the Most High (על) ” or (II Sam. 23:1), “raised on high (על).” [See Comm. Dig. to Hosea 7:16.] Our Sages, however, interpret it (Taanith 8a) as the acquisition of anger and wrath upon one who becomes haughty [after his prayers have been answered], but the vowelization, viz. that מִקְנֶה is vowelized with a “pattah” [meaning a “seggol”], does not substantiate [the theory] that it is connected to אַף, for were it connected to אַף, it would be vowelized with a “kamatz” [meaning a “tzeireh”], and it would not be punctuated by a cantillation sign that denotes a pause, viz. a revi’i.