The Jewish Eye
Part 21 - Perek 26-31: The Debate With His Three Friends Is Over With No Winners... For Now
Iyov begins responding to Bildad, and he denies the truth of Bildad's shitah. Bildad had said that Hashem will not manipulate nature to spare the tzaddik pain, or cause the rasha to suffer when his mazal dictates otherwise. However, in the next world, where the system of nature has no power, each man will receive his due reward or punishment. This answer is not satisfactory to Iyov, who did not have faith in life after death which is hidden from the eyes of mankind. In addition, he argued with Bildad's premise that Hashem cannot reward and punish against the seder of nature. Iyov asserted that the stars do not rule in all the matters of the world, and Hashem can utilize reward and punishment which are not dependent on the movement of the stars.
This time, Iyov's friends do not answer him. Rashi says that Elihu, who had refrained from speaking until now due to his young age, reprimanded them, and they desisted from speaking. When Iyov saw that his friends were not answering, he continued speaking. Iyov questioned why Hashem hides His chochmah from the eyes of mankind in a way that they are incapable of understanding His hanhaga in the world. Hashem's hanhaga is so shrouded with secrets and mystery that mankind is forced to conclude that Hashem's wisdom can only be understood after death.
Iyov continues to talk, and describes his "glory days" when he experienced success in spirituality, health, children, wealth, and honor. He then contrasts his past success to his present suffering and disgrace. However, he also accounts that he is innocent of any sin which could have led to his terrible suffering. He was scrupulous in morality and honesty; he was always careful to give tzedaka and perform chessed. Iyov asserts that he is completely righteous and his suffering cannot be justified; his debate with his friends is over.
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