1. Job proceeds to prove that he deserved a
better lot. As in the twenty-ninth chapter, he showed his uprightness
as an emir, or magistrate in public life, so in this chapter he
vindicates his character in private life.
1-4. He asserts his guarding against being
allured to sin by his senses.
think—rather, "cast a (lustful) look."
He not merely did not so, but put it out of the question by covenanting
with his eyes against leading him into temptation (Pr 6:25; Mt
2. Had I let my senses tempt me to sin, "what
portion (would there have been to me, that is, must I have expected)
from (literally, of) God above, and what inheritance from (literally,
of) the Almighty," &c. [Maurer]
3. Answer to the question in Job 31:2.
4. Doth not he see? &c.—Knowing
this, I could only have expected "destruction" (Job 31:3), had I committed this sin (Pr 5:21).
5. Job's abstinence from evil deeds.
vanity—that is, falsehood (Ps 12:2).
6. Parenthetical. Translate: "Oh, that God
would weigh me … then would He know," &c.
7. Connected with Job 31:6.
the way—of God (Job 23:11; Jer
5:5). A godly life.
heart … after … eyes—if my
heart coveted, what my eyes beheld (Ec 11:9; Jos 7:21).
8. Apodosis to Job 31:5, 7; the curses which he imprecates on
himself, if he had done these things (Le 26:16; Am 9:14; Ps
offspring—rather, "what I plant," my
9-12. Job asserts his innocence of
deceived—hath let itself be seduced
(Pr 7:8; Ge 39:7-12).
laid wait—until the husband went
10. grind—turn the handmill. Be the most
abject slave and concubine (Isa 47:2; 2Sa 12:11).
11. In the earliest times punished with death
38:24). So in later times
22:22). Heretofore he had
spoken only of sins against conscience; now, one against the community,
needing the cognizance of the judge.
12. (Pr 6:27-35; 8:6-23, 26,
27). No crime more provokes
God to send destruction as a consuming fire; none so desolates
13-23. Job affirms his freedom from unfairness
towards his servants, from harshness and oppression towards the
despise the cause—refused to do them
14, 15. Parenthetical; the reason why Job did
not despise the cause of his servants. Translate: What then (had I done
so) could I have done, when God arose (to call me to account); and when
He visited (came to enquire), what could I have answered Him?
15. Slaveholders try to defend themselves by
maintaining the original inferiority of the slave. But Mal 2:10; Ac 17:26; Eph 6:9 make the common origin of masters and
servants the argument for brotherly love being shown by the former to
16. fail—in the vain expectation of
relief (Job 11:20).
17. Arabian rules of hospitality require the
stranger to be helped first, and to the best.
18. Parenthetical: asserting that he did the
contrary to the things in Job 31:16, 17.
guided her—namely, the widow, by
advice and protection. On this and "a father," see Job 29:16.
19. perish—that is, ready to perish
20. loins—The parts of the body
benefited by Job are poetically described as thanking him; the loins
before naked, when clad by me, wished me every blessing.
21. when—that is, "because."
I saw—that I might calculate on the
"help" of a powerful party in the court of justice—("gate"), if I
should be summoned by the injured fatherless.
22. Apodosis to Job 31:13, 16, 17, 19, 20,
21. If I had done those
crimes, I should have made a bad use of my influence ("my arm,"
figuratively, Job 31:21):
therefore, if I have done them let my arm (literally) suffer. Job
alludes to Eliphaz' charge (Job 22:9).
The first "arm" is rather the shoulder. The second "arm" is the
from the bone—literally, "a reed";
hence the upper arm, above the elbow.
23. For—that is, the reason why Job
guarded against such sins. Fear of God, though he could escape
man's judgment (Ge 39:9).
Umbreit more spiritedly translates, Yea,
destruction and terror from God might have befallen me (had I done so):
mere fear not being the motive.
endure—I could have availed nothing
24, 25. Job asserts his freedom from trust in
6:17). Here he turns to his
duty towards God, as before he had spoken of his duty towards
himself and his neighbor. Covetousness is covert
idolatry, as it transfers the heart from the Creator to the creature
3:5). In Job 31:26, 27 he passes to overt idolatry.
26. If I looked unto the sun (as an object of
worship) because he shined; or to the moon because she
walked, &c. Sabaism (from tsaba, "the heavenly hosts") was
the earliest form of false worship. God is hence called in
contradistinction, "Lord of Sabaoth." The sun, moon, and stars, the
brightest objects in nature, and seen everywhere, were supposed to be
visible representatives of the invisible God. They had no temples, but
were worshipped on high places and roofs of houses (Eze
8:16; De 4:19; 2Ki 23:5, 11).
The Hebrew here for "sun" is light. Probably light was
worshipped as the emanation from God, before its embodiments, the sun,
&c. This worship prevailed in Chaldea; wherefore Job's exemption
from the idolatry of his neighbors was the more exemplary. Our
"Sun-day," "Mon-day," or Moon-day, bear traces of Sabaism.
27. enticed—away from God to
kissed … hand—"adoration,"
literally means this. In worshipping they used to kiss the hand, and
then throw the kiss, as it were, towards the object of worship (1Ki
19:18; Ho 13:2).
28. The Mosaic law embodied subsequently the
feeling of the godly from the earliest times against idolatry, as
deserving judicial penalties: being treason against the Supreme King
(De 13:9; 17:2-7; Eze 8:14-18). This passage therefore does not prove
Job to have been subsequent to Moses.
29. lifted up myself—in malicious
triumph (Pr 17:5; 24:17; Ps 7:4).
30. mouth—literally, "palate." (See on
wishing—literally, "so as to demand
his (my enemy's) soul," that is, "life by a curse." This verse
parenthetically confirms Job 31:30.
Job in the patriarchal age of the promise, anterior to the law,
realizes the Gospel spirit, which was the end of the law (compare Le 19:18; De 23:6, with Mt 5:43, 44).
31. That is, Job's household said, Oh, that we
had Job's enemy to devour, we cannot rest satisfied till we have! But
Job refrained from even wishing revenge (1Sa 26:8; 2Sa 16:9, 10). So Jesus Christ (Lu 9:54, 55). But, better (see Job 31:32), translated, "Who can show (literally,
give) the man who was not satisfied with the flesh (meat) provided by
Job?" He never let a poor man leave his gate without giving him enough
32. traveller—literally, "way," that is,
wayfarers; so expressed to include all of every kind (2Sa 12:4).
33. Adam—translated by Umbreit, "as men do" (Ho 6:7, where see Margin). But
English Version is more natural. The very same word for "hiding"
is used in Ge 3:8, 10,
of Adam hiding himself from God. Job elsewhere alludes to the
flood. So he might easily know of the fall, through the two links which
connect Adam and Abraham (about Job's time), namely, Methuselah and
Shem. Adam is representative of fallen man's propensity to concealment
28:13). It was from
God that Job did not "hide his iniquity in his bosom," as on the
contrary it was from God that "Adam" hid in his lurking-place. This
disproves the translation, "as men"; for it is from their fellow
men that "men" are chiefly anxious to hide their real character as
guilty. Magee, to make the comparison
with Adam more exact, for my "bosom" translates, "lurking-place."
34. Rather, the apodosis to Job 31:33, "Then let me be fear-stricken before a
great multitude, let the contempt, &c., let me keep silence (the
greatest disgrace to a patriot, heretofore so prominent in assemblies),
and not go out," &c. A just retribution that he who hides his sin
from God, should have it exposed before man (2Sa 12:12). But Job had not been so exposed, but
on the contrary was esteemed in the assemblies of the
"tribes"—("families"); a proof, he implies, that God does not
hold him guilty of hiding sin (Job 24:16, contrast with Job 29:21-25).
35. Job returns to his wish (Job 13:22;
19:23). Omit "is"; "Behold my
sign," that is, my mark of subscription to the statements just
given in my defense: the mark of signature was originally a
cross; and hence the letter Tau or T. Translate, also "Oh,
that the Almighty," &c. He marks "God" as the "One" meant in
the first clause.
adversary—that is, he who contends
with me, refers also to God. The vagueness is designed to express
"whoever it be that judicially opposes me"—the Almighty if it be
had written a book—rather, "would
write down his charge."
36. So far from hiding the adversary's
"answer" or "charge" through fear,
I would take it on my shoulders—as a
public honor (Isa 9:6).
a crown—not a mark of shame, but of
distinction (Isa 62:3).
37. A good conscience imparts a princely
dignity before man and free assurance in approaching God. This can be
realized, not in Job's way (Job 42:5, 6); but only through Jesus Christ (Heb 10:22).
38. Personification. The complaints of the
unjustly ousted proprietors are transferred to the lands themselves
(Job 31:20; Ge 4:10; Hab 2:11). If I have unjustly acquired lands
(Job 24:2; Isa 5:8).
furrows—The specification of these
makes it likely, he implies in this, "If I paid not the laborer for
tillage"; as Job 31:39,
"If I paid him not for gathering in the fruits." Thus of the four
clauses in Job 31:38, 39, the first refers to the same subject as
the fourth, the second is connected with the third by introverted
parallelism. Compare Jas 5:4, which
plainly alludes to this passage: compare "Lord of Sabaoth" with Job 31:26 here.
39. lose … life—not literally, but
"harassed to death"; until he gave me up his land gratis [Maurer]; as in Jud 16:16; "suffered him to languish" by taking
away his means of living [Umbreit]
40. thistles—or brambles, thorns.
cockle—literally, "noxious weeds."
The words … ended—that is, in
the controversy with the friends. He spoke in the book afterwards, but
not to them. At Job 31:37
would be the regular conclusion in strict art. But Job 31:38-40 are naturally added by one whose
mind in agitation recurs to its sense of innocence, even after it has
come to the usual stopping point; this takes away the appearance of
rhetorical artifice. Hence the transposition by Eichorn of Job 31:38-40 to follow Job 31:25 is quite unwarranted.