Job – Chapter 7

Life After Death

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Job continues where he left off at the end of the previous chapter:

“A person is only on Earth for a short time. I’m like a slave, toiling away, waiting for a rest, or like a hired servant, waiting for his wages. I have been given this life of trouble. At night, I lie awake waiting for sunrise, but during the day I can’t wait for night because of all my afflictions. My life zooms by quickly and I don’t expect much out of it. A person who sees me now will not see me again because when a person is dead and buried, he’s never coming back.” (The Talmud in Baba Basra 16a points out from here that Job denied techiyas hameisim, the revival of the dead in the post-Messianic era.)

“And so,” said Job, “I won’t shut up. I’m bitter and angry and I’m going to voice my complaints. You think you can silence me? You think that sleep will ease my pain? My dreams are full of the horrible things I endure during the day. I would rather be dead than live this life. So leave me be, because it’s all pointless.”

Job asks G-d why He should pay attention to something as insignificant as man. (David expressed a similar sentiment in Psalm 8, but with a very different intention; there, the reason is to praise G-d.) Job wants to know why he deserves such unrelenting torment. “Even if I did sin,” he says, “which I didn’t, but let’s just say, how could it hurt You, G-d? Why did You create me just to torture me? Why don’t You forgive whatever it was that angered You? Soon, I’ll be dead and gone.”

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