The Trial of Job

Chapter 31

Job makes a solemn protestation of his integrity in various duties, 1-40.

"I made a covenant with my eyes./
Why then should I think upon a virgin?

For what portion of God is there from above,/
and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

Is destruction not for the wicked/
and a strange punishment for the workers of iniquity?

Does he not see my ways/
and count all my steps?

If I have walked with vanity,/
or if my foot has hastened to deceit,

Let me be weighed in an even balance/
so that God may know my integrity.

If my step has turned out of the way/
and my heart walked after my eyes,/
and if any blot has cleaved to my hands,

Then let me sow and let another eat,/
even let my offspring be rooted out.

If my heart has been deceived by a woman,/
or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door,

10 Then let my wife grind to another/
and let others bow down upon her.

11 For this is a heinous crime./
Indeed, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.

12 For it is a fire that consumes to destruction/
and would root out all my increase.

13 If I despised the cause of my man-servant/
or of my woman-servant/
when they contended with me,

14 What then shall I do when God rises up?/
And when he visits, what shall I answer him?

15 Did he who made me in the womb not make him?/
And did one not fashion us in the womb?

16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire,/
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone,/
and the fatherless has not eaten of it

18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father,/
and I have guided her from my mother's womb),

19 If I have seen any perish for lack of clothing,/
or any poor without covering,

20 If his loins have not blessed me/
and if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep,

21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless/
when I saw my help in the gate,

22 Then let my arm fall from my shoulder-blade/
and my arm be broken from the bone.

23 For destruction from God was a terror to me,/
and by reason of his highness I could not endure.

24 If I have made gold my hope,/
or have said to the fine gold, 'You are my confidence,'

25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great/
and because my hand had gained much,

26 If I have beheld the sun when it shined,/
or the moon walking in brightness,

27 And my heart has been secretly enticed,/
or my mouth has kissed my hand,

28 This also would have been an iniquity to be punished by the judge,/
for I would have denied the God who is above.

29 If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,/
or have lifted up myself when evil found him

30 (For I have not allowed my mouth to sin/
by wishing a curse to his soul),

31 If the men of my tabernacle have not said,/
'Who can find one who has not been satisfied with his flesh?'

32 (The stranger did not lodge in the street,/
but I opened my doors to the traveler),

33 If I have covered my transgressions as Adam/
by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

34 Because I feared a great multitude,/
or the contempt of families terrified me,/
so that I kept silence and did not go out of the door,

35 Oh that one would hear me!/
Behold, my desire is that the Almighty would answer me/
and that my adversary had written a book.

36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder/
and bind it as a crown to me.

37 I would declare to him the number of my steps./
As a prince I would go near to him.

38 If my land cries against me,/
or its furrows likewise complain,

39 If I have eaten its fruits without money,/
or have caused its owners to lose their life,

40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat/
and weeds instead of barley."

[The words of Job are finished.]


Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 31[➚]


John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter Job gives an account of himself in private life, of the integrity and uprightness of his life, and his holy walk and conversation, with this view, that it might be thought that the afflictions which were upon him were not on account of a vicious course of life he had indulged to, as was suggested; and he clears himself from various crimes which it might be insinuated he was guilty of, as from unchastity; and he observes the method he took to prevent his falling into it, and the reasons that dissuaded him from it (verses 1-4); from injustice in his dealings with men (verses 5-8); from the sin of adultery (verses 9-12); from ill usage of his servants (verses 13-15); from unkindness to the poor, which he enlarges upon, and gives many instances of his charity to them (verses 16-23); from covetousness, and a vain confidence in wealth (verses 24-25); from idolatry, the worship of the sun and moon (verses 26-28); from a revengeful spirit (verses 29-31); and from inhospitality to strangers (verse 32); from covering his sin (verse 33); and fear of men (verse 34); and then wishes his cause might be heard before God (verses 35-37); and the chapter is closed with an imprecation on his head if guilty of any injustice (verses 38-40).

[v.13] - "when they contended with me" - From the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge: "In ancient times slaves had no action at law against their owners; but Job admitted them to all civil rights, and permitted them to complain even against himself."

[v.15] - "one" - That is, he, as in God.

[v.18] - "her" - That is, the widow.

[v.33] - "Adam" - Or, "after the manner of men."