Job: Part XI


Rabbi Israel Chait


Student’s edited notes from taped lectures



Chapter 29

“1. Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2. Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;  3. When His candle shined upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; 4. As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle.”


 Job now reflects on his ignorant state, as he thought, “God walked with me”. Job says he remembers his joy in this thought. This joy was his sensing his religiosity.

He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.” (30:19)


How could Job entertain the idea of his being “cast into the mire” if Job also maintained Aristotle’s opinion that there is no Divine Providence? With this view of being “cast” by God, Job contradicts his position that man receives Divine Providence. However, we may suggest two answers: 1) God did not cast him directly, or, 2) within some system of God’s creation, man may fall into a “bad lot.”



Chapter 31

Job discusses sinning with eyes, followed by sinning in action, viz., “laid wait at my neighbor’s door.” (31:9) Job was describing the eyes and heart: first, the eyes see, and then the heart desires. Job describes two matters: 1) he did not follow his eyes to fall prey to his emotions, and 2) even if the emotions got the better of him, he did not succumb and sin. With his words, he describes the two pitfalls towards sin. The former is following desires before emotional involvement, and the latter is after the emotions grip the person.

Job continues to describe the emotions, to which he did not fall prey. In verse 13, Job describes how he never looked down upon a servant based on egoistic drives sourced in his relatively higher position. Why does Job state the words, “manservant and maidservant when they contended with me”? A manservant denotes the plain idea of “looking ‘down upon”, while the second part deals with the idea of feeling that he could use his position as “master” to mistreat his maidservant. In verse 15 Job explains why he should not feel any more important: both he and the servants were ‘made in the belly’ alike. Thus, they are the same and the feeling of importance due to a situation, did not have a hold upon him.  In verse 14, Job states, “he did not make gold his hope.” He never felt any different due to the wealth that he had.  Verse 29, he felt no joy in seeing his enemy’s fall.  He never succumbed to base emotions.  Verse 34, no amount of pressure could cause him to deviate from his values.

Job ends his words here, and states that if a man totally righteous like he could be subject to so much evil, this refutes God’s Providence.

The story of Job to this point, as an account of someone who lived his best, according to Halacha and philosophy, and yet, very terrible tidings befell him.  This is to say that this could happen to anyone even though he tries his best to keep Judaism. How is this possible that one can do everything in his power to live the correct life and yet the system of God does not work for him?