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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
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] (Job 20:29; 27:13).
3. Answer to the question in
6. Parenthetical. Translate: "Oh, that God would weigh me . . . then would He know," &c.
11. In the earliest times punished with death (Ge 38:24). So in later times (De 22:22). Heretofore he had spoken only of sins against conscience; now, one against the community, needing the cognizance of the judge.
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 the latter.
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
Job 31:16, 17.
19. perish--that is, ready to perish (Job 29:13).
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,
therefore, if I have done them let my arm (literally) suffer. Job
alludes to Eliphaz' charge
The first "arm" is rather the shoulder. The second "arm" is the
23. For--that is, the reason why Job guarded against such sins.
Fear of God, though he could escape man's judgment
UMBREIT more spiritedly translates, Yea,
destruction and terror from God might have befallen me (had I done so):
mere fear not being the motive.
24, 25. Job asserts his freedom from trust in money (1Ti 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 (Col 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 idolatry.
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."
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 to eat.
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 (Pr 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.
36. So far from hiding the adversary's "answer" or "charge" through
38. Personification. The complaints of the unjustly ousted
proprietors are transferred to the lands themselves
If I have unjustly acquired lands
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] (1Ki 21:19).
40. thistles--or brambles, thorns.