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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 16a

future world.1  While he was yet speaking there came also another and said, The fire of God … While he was yet speaking there came also another and said, The Chaldeans made three bands … and fell upon the camels and have taken them away … While he was yet speaking there came also another and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, and behold there came a great wind from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house and it fell upon the young men … Then Job arose and rent his mantle and shaved his head … and he said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not nor charged God with foolishness. Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves … and the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth etc.2  He said: Sovereign of the Universe, I have traversed the whole earth, and have not found one like thy servant Abraham. For thou didst say to him, Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it, for to thee I will give it, and when he wanted to bury Sarah he could not find a place in which to bury her, and yet he did not complain against thy ways. Then the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, for there is none like him in the earth … and he still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him to destroy him without cause.3  Said R. Johanan: Were it not expressly stated in the Scripture, we would not dare to say it. [God is made to appear] like a man who allows himself to be persuaded against his better judgment. A Tanna taught: [Satan] comes down to earth and seduces, then ascends to heaven and awakens wrath; permission is granted to him and he takes away the soul.

And Satan answered the Lord and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thine hand: only spare his life. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job etc.4  R. Isaac said: Satan's torment was worse than that of Job; he was like a servant who is told by his master, 'Break the cask but do not let any of the wine spill.' Resh Lakish said: Satan, the evil prompter, and the Angel of Death are all one. He is called Satan, as it is written, And Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.5  He is called the evil prompter:6  [we know this because] it is written in another place, [Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart] was only evil continually,7  and it is written here [in connection with Satan] 'Only upon himself put not forth thine hand.8  The same is also the Angel of Death, since it says, Only spare his life,9  which shows that Job's life belonged to him.

R. Levi said: Both Satan and Peninah had a pious purpose [in acting as adversaries]. Satan, when he saw God inclined to favour Job said, Far be it that God should forget the love of Abraham. Of Peninah it is written, And her rival provoked her sore for to make her fret.10  When R. Aha b. Jacob gave this exposition in Papunia,11  Satan came and kissed his feet.12

In all this did not Job sin with his lips.13  Raba said: With his lips he did not sin, but he did sin within his heart. What did he say?14  The earth is given into the hand of the wicked, he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if it be not so, where and who is he?15  Raba said: Job sought to turn the dish upside down.16  Abaye said: Job was referring only to the Satan. The same difference of opinion is found between Tannaim: The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. R. Eliezer said: Job sought to turn the dish upside down. R. Joshua said to him: Job was only referring to the Satan.

Although thou knowest that I am not wicked, and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.17  Raba said: Job sought to exculpate the whole world.18  He said: Sovereign of the Universe, Thou hast created the ox with cloven hoofs and thou hast created the ass with whole hoofs; thou hast created Paradise and thou hast created Gehinnom: thou hast created righteous men and thou hast created wicked men, and who can prevent thee?19  His companions answered him: Yea, thou doest away with fear' and restrainest devotion before God.20  If God created the evil inclination, He also created the Torah as its antidote.21

Raba expounded: What is meant by the verse, The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.22  'The blessing of him that lost23  came upon me:' this shows that Job used to rob orphans of a field and improve it and then restore it to them. 'And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy:' if ever there was a widow who could not find a husband, he used to associate his name with her,24  and then someone would soon come and marry her. Oh that my vexation were but weighed, and my calamity laid ill the balances together.25  Rab said: Dust should be put in the mouth of Job, because he makes himself the colleague of heaven.26  Would there were an umpire between us, that he might lay his hand upon us both.27  Rab said: Dust should be placed in the mouth of Job: is there a servant who argues with his master? I made a covenant with thine eyes; how then should I look upon a maid?28  Rab said: Dust should be placed in the mouth of Job; he refrained from looking at other men's wives. Abraham did not even look at his own, as it is written, Behold now I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon,29  which shows that up to then he did not know.

As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to Sheol shall come up no more.30  Raba said: This shows that Job denied the resurrection of the dead. For he breaketh me with a tempest and multiplieth my wounds without cause.31  Rabbah said: Job blasphemed with [mention of] a tempest, and with a tempest he was answered. He blasphemed with [mention of] a tempest, as it is written, For he breaketh me as with a tempest. Job said to God: Perhaps a tempest has passed before thee, and caused thee to confuse Iyob [Job] and Oyeb [enemy]. He was answered through a tempest, as it is written, Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind32  and said, … Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee and declare thou unto me.33  'I have created many hairs in man, and for every hair I have created a separate groove, so that two should not suck from the same groove, for if two were to suck from the same groove they would impair the sight of a man. I do not confuse one groove with another; and shall I then confuse Iyob with Oyeb? Who hath cleft a channel for the waterflood?34  Many drops have I created in the clouds, and for every drop a separate mould, so that two drops should not issue from the same mould, since if two drops issued from the same mould they would wash away the soil, and it would not produce fruit. I do not confuse one drop with another, and shall I confuse Iyob and Oyeb?' (How do we know that the word te'alah [channel] here means a mould? Rabbah b. Shila replied: Because it is written, And he made a trench [te'alah] as great as would contain two measures of seed.)35  Or a way for the lightning of the thunder.36  Many thunderclaps have I created in the clouds, and for each clap a separate path, so that two claps should not travel by the same path, since if two claps travelled by the same path they would devastate the world. I do not confuse one thunderclap with another, and shall I confuse Iyob with Oyeb? Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth, or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?37  This wild goat is heartless towards her young. When she crouches for

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. R. Johanan understands the text to imply that so soon as the oxen had ploughed and the seed had been cast, the produce sprang up and the asses ate it. Similarly in the future world conception and birth will be on the same day (v. Sanh. 30b).
  2. Ibid. I, 18 — II, 2.
  3. Ibid. 3.
  4. Ibid. 4-7.
  5. Ibid. 7.
  6. Heb. Yezer Hara'.
  7. Gen. VI, 5.
  8. Job I, 12.
  9. Ibid. II, 6.
  10. I Sam. I, 6. By making Hannah fret, Peninah caused her to pray.
  11. [A place between Bagdad and Pumbeditha, Obermeyer, op. cit., p. 242.]
  12. Out of gratitude.
  13. Job II, 10.
  14. Which shows that he harboured sinful thoughts?
  15. Ibid. IX, 24.
  16. I.e., to declare all God's works worthless.
  17. Ibid. X, 7.
  18. Raba translates [H]: Didst thou will, I should not be wicked.
  19. As much as to say, that the wall is not free.
  20. Ibid. XV, 4.
  21. Lit., 'spices'.
  22. Ibid. XXIX, 13.
  23. So Raba translates the word [H].
  24. By saying that she was a relative of his, or pretending to woo her.
  25. Ibid. VI, 2.
  26. By desiring to weigh his pleas in the balance with those of God.
  27. Ibid. IX, 33.
  28. Ibid.XXXI, I.
  29. Gen.XII, 11.
  30. Job VII, 9.
  31. Ibid. IX, 17.
  32. The Hebrew word is se'arah, which can also be translated 'hair'.
  33. Ibid. XXXVIII, 1, 3.
  34. Ibid. 25.
  35. I Kings XVIII, 32.
  36. Job XXXVIII, 25.
  37. Ibid. XXXIX, 1.

Baba Bathra 16b

delivery, she goes up to the top of a mountain so that the young shall fall down and be killed, and I prepare an eagle to catch it in his wings and set it before her, and if he were one second too soon or too late it would be killed.1  I do not confuse one moment with another, and shall I confuse Iyob with Oyeb? Or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? This hind has a narrow womb. When she crouches for delivery, I prepare a serpent which bites her at the opening of the womb, and she is delivered of her offspring; and were it one second too soon or too late, she would die.2  I do not confuse one moment with another, and shall I confuse Iyob with Oyeb? Job speaketh without knowledge, and his words are without wisdom.3  Raba said: This teaches that a man is not held responsible for what he says when in distress.4

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil which was come upon him, they came every one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to bemoan him and to comfort him.5  What is the meaning of, they made an appointment together? — Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: It teaches that they all entered [the town together] through one gate, although, as it has been taught, each one lived three hundred parasangs away from the other. How did they know [of Job's trouble]? — Some say that they had crowns,6  and some say that they had had certain trees, the distortion or withering of which was a sign to them. Raba said: This bears out the popular saying: Either a friend like the friends of Job or death.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply [larob] on the face of the ground and daughters were born to them.7  R. Johanan says: [the word larob indicates that] increase [rebiah] came in to the world;8  Resh Lakish says [it indicates that] strife [meribah] came into the world. Said Resh Lakish to R. Johanan: On your view that it means that increase came into the world, why was not the number of Job's daughters doubled?9  He replied: Though they were not doubled in number,10  they were doubled in beauty, as it says, He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch11  — Jemimah, because she was like the day [yom]; Keziah, because the emitted a fragrance like cassia [keziah]; Keren-Happuch12  because — so it was explained in the academy of R. Shila13  — she had a complexion like the horn of a keresh.14  This explanation was laughed at in the West,15  [where it was pointed out that a complexion like] the horn of a keresh would be a blemish.16  [But what it should be], said R. Hisda, [is], like garden crocus of the best kind.17  (The word puch means pigment, as it is said, Though thou enlargest thine eyes with paint [puch].)18

A daughter was born to R. Simeon the son of Rabbi, and he felt disappointed. His father said to him: Increase has come to the world. Bar Kappara said to him: Your father has given you an empty consolation. The world cannot do without either males or females. Yet happy is he whose children are males, and alas for him whose children are females. The world cannot do without either a spice-seller or a tanner. Yet happy is he whose occupation is that of a spice-seller, and alas for him whose occupation is that of a tanner. On this point19  there is a difference between Tannaim. [It is written,] The Lord had blessed Abraham in all things20  [ba-kol].What is meant by 'in all things'? R. Meir said: In the fact that he had no daughter; R. Judah said: In the fact that he had a daughter. Others say that Abraham had a daughter whose name was ba-kol. R. Eliezer the Modiite said that Abraham possessed a power of reading the stars21  for which he was much sought after by the potentates of East and West.22  R. Simeon b. Yohai said: Abraham had a precious stone hung round his neck which brought immediate healing to any sick person who looked on it, and when Abraham our father departed from this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, suspended it from the orb of the sun. Abaye said: This bears out the popular saying, As the day advances the illness lightens. Another explanation is that Esau did not break loose so long as he was alive. Another explanation is that Ishmael repented while he was still alive. How do we know that Esau did not break loose while he was alive? Because it says, And Esau came in from the field23  and he was faint.24  It has been taught [in connection with this] that that was the day on which Abraham our father died, and Jacob our father made a broth of lentils to comfort his father Isaac. Why was it of lentils? — In the West they say in the name of Rabbah b. Mari: Just as the lentil has no mouth,25  so the mourner has no mouth [for speech]. Others say: Just as the lentil is round, so mourning comes round to all the denizens of this world. What difference does it make in practice which of the two explanations we adopt? — The difference arises on the question whether we should comfort with eggs.26

R. Johanan said: That wicked [Esau] committed five sins on that day. He dishonoured a betrothed maiden, he committed a murder, he denied God, he denied the resurrection of the dead, and he spurned the birthright. [We know that] he dishonoured a betrothed maiden, because it is written here, And Esau came in from the field,27  and it is written in another place [in connection with the betrothed maiden], He found her in the field.28  [We know that] he committed murder, because it is written here [that he was] faint, and it is written in another place, Woe is me now, for my soul fainteth before the murderers.29  [We know that] he denied God, because it is written here, What benefit is this to me, and it is written in another place, This is my God and I will make him an habitation.30  [We know that] he denied the resurrection of the dead because he said, Behold, I am on the way to die: also that he spurned the birthright because it is written, So Esau despised his birthright.

And whence do we know that Ishmael repented while Abraham was still alive? — From the discussion which took place between Rabina and R. Hama b. Buzi when they were once sitting before Raba while he was dozing. Said Rabina to R. Hama b. Buzi: Do your people really maintain that wherever the term 'giving up the ghost' [gewi'ah] is used in connection with the death of any person, it implies that that person died righteous? That is so, he replied. But what then of the generation of the Flood?31  [he asked.] We only make this inference, he replied, if both, 'giving up the ghost' and 'gathering in' are mentioned. But, he rejoined, what of Ishmael, who is said both to have 'given up the ghost' and 'been gathered in'?32  At this point Raba awoke and heard them. Children, he said, this is what R. Johanan has said: Ishmael repented in the lifetime of his father. [We know this] because it says, And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him.33  But perhaps the text arranges them in the order of their wisdom? — If that were so, then why in the verse, And Esau and Jacob his sons buried him34  are they not arranged in the order of their wisdom? What we have to say is that the fact of the text placing Isaac first shows that Ishmael made way35  for him, and from the fact that he made way for him we infer that he repented in Abraham's lifetime.

Our Rabbis taught: There were three to whom the Holy One, blessed be He, gave a foretaste

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. [V. Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, p. 115.]
  2. V. Lewysohn, op. cit., p. 111.
  3. Job XXXIV, 3 5.
  4. Since it simply says 'without knowledge' but not 'with wickedness'.
  5. Ibid. II, II.
  6. On which a portrait of each was engraved, and if trouble came upon any one of them, the portrait changed.
  7. Gen. VI, 1.
  8. Because girls are married earlier than boys.
  9. Like his cattle. V. Job XLII, 22.
  10. Lit., 'in names
  11. Job XL, 13, 24.
  12. Lit., 'horn of pigment'.
  13. [In Nehardea.]
  14. A kind of antelope.
  15. Palestine. [By this expression R. Jose b. Haninah is meant. V. San. 17b.]
  16. Because it is blackish.
  17. This is according to the reading of Rashi, [H. Tosaf., however, reads [H] 'pigment made from saffron', which had a specially beautifying effect on the skin. In this case the name Keren-Happuch will mean, 'the gloss of pigment'.
  18. Jer. IV, 30.
  19. Whether a daughter is a blessing or not.
  20. Gen. XXIV, 1.
  21. [A variant rendering: 'He possessed an astrological instrument'. Current texts have 'in his heart' — Tosef. Kid. V, reads 'in his hand'. V. Bacher, Agada der Tanaiten, I, 200.]
  22. Lit., 'the potentates … used to attend early at his gate'.
  23. This implies that he had broken loose, v. infra.
  24. Gen. XXV, 29.
  25. I.e., not cleft, like other kinds of pulse.
  26. Which have no cleft, but are not perfectly round.
  27. Gen. XXV, 29.
  28. Deut. XXII, 27.
  29. Jer. IV, 31.
  30. Ex. XV, 2.
  31. Of which it is written, And all flesh gave up the ghost (wa-yigwa'), Gen. VII, 21.
  32. Gen. XXV, 17.
  33. Ibid. 9.
  34. Ibid. XXXV, 29.
  35. Lit., 'made him lead'.