Job 31

1 “I made a covenant with my eyes, how then should I look lustfully at a young woman? 2 For what is the portion from God above, and the heritage from the Almighty on high? 3 Is it not calamity to the unrighteous, and disaster to the workers of iniquity? 4 Doesn’t he see my ways, and number all my steps? 5 “If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit 6 (let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity); 7 if my step has turned out of the way, if my heart walked after my eyes, if any defilement has stuck to my hands, 8 then let me sow, and let another eat. Yes, let the produce of my field be rooted out. 9 “If my heart has been enticed to a woman, and I have laid wait at my neighbor’s door, 10 then let my wife grind for another, and let others sleep with her. 11 For that would be a heinous crime. Yes, it would be 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 have despised the cause of my male servant or of my female servant, when they contended with me; 14 What then shall I do when God rises up? When he visits, what shall I answer him? 15 Didn’t he who made me in the womb make him? Didn’t one 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 alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it 18 (no, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, her have I guided from my mother’s womb); 19 if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or that the needy had no covering; 20 if his heart hasn’t blessed me, if he hasn’t been warmed with my sheep’s fleece; 21 if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, 22 then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder blade, and my arm be broken from the bone. 23 For calamity from God is a terror to me. Because his majesty, I can do nothing. 24 “If I have made gold my hope, and 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 gotten much; 26 if I have seen the sun when it shined, or the moon moving in splendor, 27 and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth, 28 this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges; for I should have denied the God who is above. 29 “If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him; 30 (yes, I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking his life with a curse); 31 if the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who can find one who has not been filled with his meat?’ 32 (the foreigner has not camped in the street, but I have opened my doors to the traveler); 33 if like Adam I have covered my transgressions, by hiding my iniquity in my heart, 34 because I feared the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and didn’t go out of the door— 35 oh that I had one to hear me! (behold, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me); let the accuser write my indictment! 36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; and I would bind it to me as a crown. 37 I would declare to him the number of my steps. as a prince would I go near to him. 38 If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together; 39 if I have eaten its fruits without money, or have caused its owners to lose their life, 40 let briers grow instead of wheat, and stinkweed instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

Job did not speak the things here recorded by way of boasting, but in answer to the charge of hypocrisy. He understood the spiritual nature of God’s commandments, as reaching to the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is best to let our actions speak for us; but in some cases we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of God, solemnly to protest our innocence of the crimes of which we are falsely accused. The lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world, are two fatal rocks on which multitudes split; against these Job protests he was always careful to stand upon his guard. And God takes more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; let us therefore walk circumspectly. He carefully avoided all sinful means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure. What we have in the world may be used with comfort, or lost with comfort, if honestly gotten. Without strict honestly and faithfulness in all our dealings, we can have no good evidence of true godliness. Yet how many professors are unable to abide this touchstone!

Verses 9–15

All the defilements of the life come from a deceived heart. Lust is a fire in the soul: those that indulge it, are said to burn. It consumes all that is good there, and lays the conscience waste. It kindles the fire of God’s wrath, which, if not quenched by the blood of Christ, will consume even to eternal destruction. It consumes the body; it consumes the substance. Burning lusts bring burning judgments. Job had a numerous household, and he managed it well. He considered that he had a Master in heaven; and as we are undone if God should be severe with us, we ought to be mild and gentle towards all with whom we have to do.

Verses 16–23

Job’s conscience gave testimony concerning his just and charitable behaviour toward the poor. He is most large upon this head, because in this matter he was particularly accused. He was tender of all, and hurtful to none. Notice the principles by which Job was restrained from being uncharitable and unmerciful. He stood in awe of the Lord, as certainly against him, if he should wrong the poor. Regard to worldly interests may restrain a man from actual crimes; but the grace of God alone can make him hate, dread, and shun sinful thoughts and desires.

Verses 24–32

Job protests, 1. That he never set his heart upon the wealth of this world. How few prosperous professors can appeal to the Lord, that they have not rejoiced because their gains were great! Through the determination to be rich, numbers ruin their souls, or pierce themselves with many sorrows. 2. He never was guilty of idolatry. The source of idolatry is in the heart, and it corrupts men, and provokes God to send judgments upon a nation. 3. He neither desired nor delighted in the hurt of the worst enemy he had. If others bear malice to us, that will not justify us in bearing malice to them. 4. He had never been unkind to strangers. Hospitality is a Christian duty, 1Pe 4:9.

Verses 33–40

Job clears himself from the charge of hypocrisy. We are loth to confess our faults, willing to excuse them, and to lay the blame upon others. But he that thus covers his sins, shall not prosper, Pr 28:13. He speaks of his courage in what is good, as an evidence of his sincerity in it. When men get estates unjustly, they are justly deprived of comfort from them; it was sown wheat, but shall come up thistles. What men do not come honestly by, will never do them any good. The words of Job are ended. They end with a bold assertion, that, with respect to accusation against his moral and religious character as the cause for his sufferings, he could appeal to God. But, however confident Job was, we shall see he was mistaken, chap. 40:4, 5; 1Jo 1:8. Let us all judge ourselves; wherein we are guilty, let us seek forgiveness in that blood which cleanseth from all sin; and may the Lord have mercy upon us, and write his laws in our hearts!

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