Job 31


‘I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step? “If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit—let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless—if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted. “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbour’s door, then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her. For that would have been wicked, a sin to be judged. It is a fire that burns to Destruction; it would have uprooted my harvest. “If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless—but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow—if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments, and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendour I could not do such things.’ Job 31:1-23

Job Continues With His Final Defence

In this chapter, we get a little glimpse of what Job believed concerning what a person does and doesn’t do. He is well aware that it’s wrong to violate laws, but he’s also aware that the failure to do good, when anyone has an opportunity to do so, is also sin, Galatians 6:10 / James 4:17.

As we go through this chapter take note of the way Job uses the words, ‘if’ and ‘then’. In the days of Job, someone could disown a crime by calling down a curse on themselves, if they were guilty, hence why Job says, if I have done this, then may I be punished for it, 2 Samuel 3:35.

He begins by acknowledging he has made a covenant with his eyes and carefully watched his own steps, he is also fully aware that God has watched his steps too, Matthew 5:28-32 / 2 Peter 2:14. If he has sinned, then he asked what blessing should he expect from God because of his sin.

If he was found guilty, then he was willing to give up everything, including his wife. She could be given to another husband to grind his grain, Ruth 1:17. Adultery was considered by Job to be a heinous crime against another person, and so, this was punishable by severe judgment, Deuteronomy 28:30ff.

His mind is set on remaining pure in different areas of his life, he is determined not to sin, and maintains he has been living in integrity.

He is determined not to sin in business, he is determined not to sin in immorality and he is also determined not to sin with people.

He is determined not to mistreat slaves, Ephesians 6:9, and he is determined not to mistreat the poor and the oppressed, James 1:27.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Job is so conscious of his own innocence, that he is willing it should be put to the utmost proof and if found guilty, that he may be exposed to the most distressing and humiliating punishment, even to that of being deprived of his goods, bereaved of his children, his wife made a slave, and subjected to all indignities in that state.’

Job was well aware that God was a God of love and mercy but he was also well aware that God was a God of just judgment, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

‘If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendour, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.’ Job 31:24-28

Job is also determined not to sin in idolatry, he is determined not to sin with money, that is, using money as a god. If he had made gold his god, then he would have abused the rights of others in order to acquire it.

He is also determined not to sin in worship. He denied that he worshipped the sun or moon, in other words, he wasn’t an idolater. If he had worshipped other gods, then he would have denied the one true and living God.

Job’s wealth didn’t come to him because he was submissive to some idol god, for it wasn’t wealth that was the goal of his life, Jeremiah 44:17-19 / Ezekiel 8:16.

‘If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him—I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against their life—if those of my household have never said, ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’—but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveller—if I have concealed my sin as people do, by hiding my guilt in my heart because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside.’ Job 31:29-34

Job is also determined not to sin with enemies and strangers, Ezekiel 33:11. He didn’t curse his enemies by calling evil to come on them, Numbers 22:5-6 / Proverbs 24:17-18 / Proverbs 25:21-22.

Everyone in Job’s house had more than enough food to eat, no one went hungry and there was no one who travelled had to stay in the street, for Job was hospitable to everyone, Romans 12:13.

‘(“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defence—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. I would give him an account of my every step; I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—“if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, then let briers come up instead of wheat and stinkweed instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended.’ Job 31:35-40

Job is also determined not to sin by committing hypocrisy. He cried out for people to listen as to why he is innocent but no one would hear. God was silent, and his friends accused him. If his behaviour was written down, he knows he would be found to be innocent and he could approach God with the confidence of a ruler.

Job is also determined not to mistreat the land. He calls on the owners of the land to be a witness to him. If he had taken their produce without paying for it, then he assumed responsibility for his actions. If he had, then he asked that wild weeds take over his land and consume his crops.

The chapter ends by telling us that Job has now finished his arguments, both to his friends and to God.

Go To Job 32