Job – Chapter 12

No Strength in Numbers

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Tzofar said that Job isn’t correct just because he’s verbose. He went on to suggest that Job use his suffering as an opportunity to mend his ways, while those who do not learn their lesson will perish. Now, Job replies.

“I may not automatically win just because I have a lot to say, but you won’t win just because you outnumber me. You think you’re so smart, but I’m at least as wise as you. I’m some sort of joke to you – the answer to all my problems is that the righteous will eventually rejoice? Big help, thanks. The fires of Hell are ready to receive those who get complacent and slack off. Those who mistreat their fellow man and antagonize G-d prosper in this world. Everyone knows we cannot understand G-d’s ways; what news flash is that? I’m older than you, Tzofar, and more experienced. I know G-d is all-wise and all-powerful.”

“When G-d wants to tear a person down,” Job continues, “he stays down. If G-d wants a person confined, he stays locked up. He can make wise men go mad and topple kings. He can bring enlightenment to hidden secrets. He can make nations prosperous or bring them down. He can deprive the leaders of nations of their wits, causing them to lead their people into the wilderness and darkness.”

In this reply, Job acknowledges Tzofar’s observations with a “duh.” He does not concede defeat, however, speculating that G-d merely “manually overrides” the system Job thinks He has delegated to the stars.

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