Job – Chapter 11

He'd Tell It To Your Face: "Man, You're Some Kind of Sinner"

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

To recap: Bildad reiterated the point made by Elifaz, that G-d does not act capriciously. Job must have done something wrong, but the punishment of the righteous is an opportunity for them to correct their ways. Job rejects Bildad’s premise, that identical afflictions can befall the righteous and the wicked alike for different reasons and with different outcomes.

Now, Job’s third friend, Tzofar the Naamasite, offers his opinion.

“Doesn’t a person with so much to say deserve to be answered? You’re not automatically right just because you’re so passionate on the subject. You may sway some, but you’re simply wrong. You claim to be innocent of any wrongdoing – if only G-d would speak for Himself, He’d tell you and you’d know. If anything, He has only given you a taste of your full punishment.”

“Do you really think you’re so perfect?” Tzofar asked Job. “You don’t know anything – not the heights of Heaven, nor the depths of the grave. So do you really think you understand the ways of G-d? If He wants to punish someone, no power in Heaven or on Earth can stop Him. He doesn’t have to put up with sin. A person should use the punishments he receives to learn to improve his ways. Turn to G-d and distance yourself from sin. When you do, He will fix you up better than you were before. Your future will be so bright that even your dark times will seem like daybreak. You will dwell securely, without fear, and even powerful people will turn to you for aid. Those who wish you harm will not only fail to see it, but what they hoped for you will befall them”

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