Part 15C: Chapter 3, Verses 17 - 19
Verse 17. "There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary are at rest."
Verse 18. "There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of the
Verse 19. "The small and great are there; and the servant is free
from his master."
If we examine the different forms of pain and anguish we can identify two
1. Difficulties that are caused by our own physical condition. This can be
further divided into two sub categories:
-The self induced and self inflicted pain cause by bad character traits and
over indulgent life styles.
-The painful results of the pursuit of our never ending physical needs.
2. Difficulties inflicted upon us by other human beings.
In verse 17 Iyov relates to the first category and its first sub division.
The "wicked" referred to in this verse represent man's insatiable drive for
the material. They are preoccupied with a relentless chase after wealth, fame
and fun. They never "....cease from troubling..." This never ending pursuit
gives them no rest.
"... and there the weary are at rest" is a metaphor for the second sub
category. Man's pursuit of a livelihood leaves him exhausted and vulnerable
to a multitude of stress related illnesses, and needless to say with little
energy for pleasure. The dead and are free from this constant hustle. In
Iyov's view life is a vexation, non-existence is a blessing.
In verse 18-19 Iyov relates to the second category. "... the prisoners...
hear not the voice of the slave driver... the servant is free from his
master." Man possesses the destructive drive to oppress his fellow man.
Unfortunately we are quite familiar with this phenomenon and the tragedies it
creates. It seems that as long as human life continues oppression and
suffering will persist. How much sorrow is spared from the dead!
Again we can see Iyov's destructive thought pattern. He allows himself to
enter a stage of delusion. How wonderful would it be had he not been born or
died immediately after birth. Life itself is the source of his problems.
Rather than deal directly with his problems he fantasizes his own death.
Since life is the problem death must be the solution. Iyov's approach
boarders on the absurd but in his mind that is fine because it allows him to
shirk all responsibility for his future.
The bitter state of his affairs is
not his fault and therefore the solution to them is not his responsibility.
"Damn them...." and make believe that they will go away.
How often do we condemn those 'nasty' forces as the cause our frustrations?
By deluding ourselves to believe that the problem is 'out there' we seek to
vindicate ourselves and shirk responsibility for our future. Ironically,
this only serves to perpetuate and aggravate our problems. In reality even if
you 'damn them' they do not go away.
Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Y. Schwartz and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Rosh Hayeshiva (Dean) of
Orchos Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.