Part 34: Chapter 6, Verses 22- 30
22. Did I say give me a present or from your money offer to bribe my
23. Or to save me from the enemy's hand, and redeem me from the
hand of the mighty?
24. Show me, and I will be silent; and make me
understand how I have erred.
25. How clear are logical words! [But] your
argument can prove nothing [since it is not based upon logic].
26. Do you
think that your words can prove me wrong, your [Elifaz's] words are
27. You would even fall upon [verbally attack] an orphan, and
you would dig a pit to destroy your friend.
28. And now turn to me, [and
see] if I am not righteous [as you have claimed].
29. Now return [and
examine my integrity again] and you will find that I have committed no sin,
and examine me further and you will see that I was justified [in my claims
against the G-d].
30. Is there deceit on my tongue? Can't my palate
At times, even 'good' friends' may disappoint their comrades
when asked to part with something important like money or to exert
themselves physically. Iyov turns to his friends and asks them what
difficult requests has he asked from them. He did not ask for money or to
fight his battles. I [Iyov] have asked you only for some reasonable
explanation for my suffering. You have not even supplied that.
Your approach has been to prove from my suffering that I have
sinned. But you have not revealed to me what that sin may be. The problem
that needs to be resolved is that Iyov was absolutely righteous and did not
deserve this type of treatment at the hands of the Creator that he served
so faithfully. His friends have turned his problem into their answer;
hence, Iyov suffers because he was not totally righteous. This, in Iyov's
mind, is a ludicrous argument. The answer to Iyov's understandable
confusion cannot be found in the source of the confusion itself. Iyov wants
to know the reason why he suffers. If he has sinned he wants to know what
his sin was. "I ask from you not money or physical exertion, only to help
me understand what I have done wrong. What have I done that has caused me
to receive such harsh judgment from Hashem?"
If you want to prove a point you must use sound logical
arguments. Often people try to prove their point based upon their personal
perspectives and feelings. They rely on this as proof to their
truthfulness. When you attempt to prove a point to someone you must clarify
your thoughts to the point that their truth is self evident. When you try
and pass off your well founded feelings as viable truths you are destined
for trouble. Our feelings are inevitably going to be different than our
friends and therefore can never be the basis for convincingly transmitting
You [Elifaz] are so convinced of the truth of your argument
that you think it is prophetic. I have heard no strength in your argument
and needless to say I view them with disapproval and certainly reject the
notion that they are prophetic.
Despite the weakness of their argument people may force their point with
less than perfect logic. At times they may view this as a sports-like
challenge. This may not be the most mature and honorable form of behaviour
but as long as no one is harmed it is excusable. However, in as much as it
may cause pain and anguish to another it is ignoble. And if the offended
party is unfortunate like an orphan or a friend in trouble you should be
wise enough to argue your position with the clarity of logic and reason and
leave off your feelings.
Now Iyov turns to them with the sincerity of a truly righteous
person. I [Iyov] am the focal point of this debate. The issue at hand is
whether I am righteous and unjustly afflicted; or have sinned in some way
and am deserving of this harsh treatment.
Iyov beseeches them to examine his integrity of character over
and over again and they will see that he has needlessly suffered. Iyov's
friends accuse him of not admitting his sin. This could only be possible in
one of two ways. Either Iyov is a liar or he cannot distinguish between
good and evil, and therefore does not recognize his sins. To this Iyov
responds that he is neither a liar nor a fool. Iyov stands by his claim
that he is a totally righteous man who suffers without cause.
Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Y. Schwartz and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Rosh Hayeshiva (Dean) of
Orchos Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.