XXXI Job's protestation of his innocence, with regard to wantonness, ver. 1-4. Fraud and injustice, ver. 5-8. Adultery, ver. 9-12. Haughtiness and severity toward his servants, ver. 13-15. Unmercifulness to the poor, ver. 16-23. Confidence in his wealth, ver. 24, 25. Idolatry, ver. 26-28. Revenge, ver. 29-31. Neglect of poor strangers, ver. 32 Hypocrisy, or not reproving others, ver. 33, 34. He wishes God would answer and that his words might be recorded, ver. 35-37. Protests his innocence, as to oppression, ver. 38-40.
Verse 1. I made - So far have I been from any gross wickedness, that I have abstained from the least occasions and appearances of evil.
Verse 2. For - What recompence may be expected from God for those who do otherwise. Above - How secretly soever unchaste persons carry the matter, so that men cannot reprove them, yet there is one who stands upon an higher place, whence he seeth in what manner they act.
Verse 5. Walked - Dealt with men. Vanity - With lying, or falsehood. Deceit - If when I had an opportunity of enriching myself, by wronging others, I have readily and greedily complied with It.
Verse 6. Let me - I desire nothing more than to have my heart and life weighed in just balances, and searched out by the all-seeing God. That God - Or, and he will know; (upon search he will find out: which is spoken of God after the manner of men:) Mine integrity - So this is an appeal to God to be witness of his sincerity.
Verse 7. Heart - If I have let my heartloose to covet forbidden things, which mine eyes have seen: commonly sin enters by the eye into the heart. A blot - Any unjust gain.
Verse 8. Increase - All my plants, and fruits, and improvements.
Verse 10. Then - Not as if Job desired this; but that if God should give up his wife to such wickedness, he should acknowledge his justice in it.
Verse 11. This - Adultery. It is - Hebrew. an iniquity of the Judges; which belongs to them to take cognizance of, and to punish, even with death; and that not only by the law of Moses, but even by the law of nature, as appears from the known laws and customs of the Heathen nations.
Verse 12. Destruction - Lust is a fire in the soul; it consumes all that is good there, the convictions, the comforts; and lays the conscience waste. It consumes the body, consumes the substance, roots out all the increase. It kindles the fire of God's wrath, which if not quenched by the blood of Christ, will burn to the lowest hell.
Verse 16. If I - Denied them what they desired of me. To fail - With tedious expectation of my justice or charity. Job is most large upon this head, because in this matter Eliphaz had most particularly accused him.
Verse 18. Youth - As soon as I was capable of managing mine own affairs. With me - Under my care. A father - With all the diligence and tenderness of a father. Her - The widow mentioned ver. 16. From - From my tender years; ever since I was capable of discerning good and evil.
Verse 19. Perish - When it was in my power to help them.
Verse 21. When - When I saw I could influence the Judges to do what I pleased.
Verse 23. For - I stood in awe of God and of his judgments. I could not - I knew myself unable either to oppose his power, or to bear his wrath. Even good men have need to restrain themselves from sin, with the fear of Destruction from God. Even when salvation from God is a comfort to us, yet destruction from God should be a terror to us. Adam in innocency was awed by a threatning.
Verse 26. I - This place speaks of the worship of the host of heaven, and especially of the sun and moon, the most eminent and glorious of that number, which was the most ancient kind of idolatry, and most frequent in the eastern countries. Shined - In its fullstrength and glory.
Verse 27. Kissed - In token of worship, whereof this was a sign.
Verse 28. The judge - The civil magistrate; who being advanced and protected by God, is obliged to maintain and vindicate his honour, and consequently to punish idolatry. Denied God - Not directly but by consequence, because this was to rob God of his prerogative, by giving to the creature, that worship which is peculiar to God.
Verse 29. Lift up - Hebrew. stirred up myself to rejoice and insult over his misery.
Verse 31. If - My domesticks and familiar friends. His flesh - This is farther confirmation of Job's charitable disposition to his enemy. Although all who were daily conversant with him, and were witnesses of his and their carriage, were so zealous in Job's quarrel, that they protested they could eat their flesh, and could not be satisfied without. Yet he restrained both them and himself from executing vengeance upon them.
Verse 34. Did I fear - No: all that knew Job knew him to be a man of resolution, that boldly appeared, spoke and acted, in defense of religion and justice. He durst not keep silence, or stay within, when called to speak or act for God. He was not deterred by the number, or quality, or insults of the injurious, from reproving them, and doing justice to the injured.
Verse 35. Had written - Had given me his charge written in a book or paper, as the manner was in judicial proceedings. This shews that Job did not live, before letters were in use. And undoubtedly the first letters were those wrote on the two tables, by the finger of God. He wishes, his friends, who charged him with hypocrisy, would draw up the charge in writing.
Verse 36. Take it - As a trophy or badge of honour.
Verse 37. Him - My judge, or adversary. My steps - The whole course of my life. A prince - With undaunted courage and confidence.
Verse 38. Cry - Because I have gotten it by fraud or violence.
Verse 39. Without money - Either without paying the price for the land, or by defrauding my workmen of their wages. Life - Killing them that I might have undisturbed possession of it, as Ahab did Naboth.