Job: Part VIII
Rabbi Israel Chait
Student’s edited notes from taped lectures
This chapter commences with Bildad’s view that “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” – “God works peace in His heights.” Bildad means that God’s perfected system is not in the realm of the physical, but in the metaphysical world, “in His heights.” Bildad attempts to answer Job’s claim against Earth-bound injustice, by suggesting that justice does exist perfectly in the heavens, but as this system of justice is filtered down to Earth, it becomes imperfect. It is odd, as Bildad herein offers the answer of Eliphaz. Job states that Bildad’s remarks help only Bildad, but not himself.
The Rasha’s Own Undoing
The problem in this chapter is that in verses 9 and 10, Job seems to be stating that there is a system with which God works, wherein the Rasha is punished from God:
“Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous. 8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? 9. Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 10. Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God?”
This goes against the tenor of Job’s words up to this point. However, Job is not saying that God brings evil upon the Rasha, but rather, that living a wicked life in and of itself goes against reality: even without God stepping in, the Rasha will fail. First, (verse 8) Job tells the three that he won’t and cannot move from living honestly and that they are the hypocrites. And when he seems to start showing partiality towards the idea of there being a system, he really is not changing his course. He refers only to the state of the Rasha, not whether or not God hears him, viz. “will God hear his cry” should read, “will his cry be heard.” The words “Will he cry” means: will the Rasha recognize reality so as to cry. Job’s critique is on the ignorance of the Rasha, not on the absence of God’s response. And verse 10 means, “Will he partake of the enjoyment of knowledge?” Job means to say, “Will the Rasha exist in reality?” Job is consistent.
We must ask why Job does not say the opposite regarding the righteous, i.e., that the righteous – while living in reality – will prosper, and not necessarily from God? The reason being that it is not true