Job – Chapter 21

Apparently, Crime Really DOES Pay!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Job replies to Tzofar’s none-too-subtle accusations of wrongdoing:

“Just listen up. If you can keep quiet and hear me out, that will make me happy” (presumably as opposed to the lousy job Job’s friends have done of “consoling” him). “When I’m done, then you can mock my words. Besides, I’m not even talking to you, I’m talking to G-d.”

“When I think about this, I become terrified. Why do the evil become so mighty and prosperous? They see their children and grandchildren thrive. They are free from fear and G-d doesn’t punish them. Their wealth increases and their children are secure and happy. They live joyful lives and pass away peacefully. They send G-d away from themselves, but they still prosper.”

“I kept far away from evil people,” Job says, “so how long will they be permitted to rejoice like this? I’d prefer to see G-d give them what they deserve! They should be uprooted like straw in the wind. Why should G-d make His faithful suffer? He should punish the wicked instead! Let them suffer, so they’ll understand what they’ve done wrong! Their wealth isn’t any good to them if they die!”

“Can anyone explain the way G-d judges the world? He punishes righteous people like me, while the wicked enjoy life and luxury! After death, we all experience the same grave. I know you all think I have done something to earn this treatment, but you’re mistaken. You say, ‘What happened to Job? What did he do to deserve this?’ You’ve been talking about me and people say that the wicked have ‘payback’ coming. But who would talk back to G-d and tell Him He’s being unfair? A person is mortal and dies. Your so-called ‘comforts’ are really a betrayal of our friendship.”

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