King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Job > Old Testament > Home

Job 31

Job declares his uprightness. (1-8) His integrity. (9-15) Job merciful. (16-23) Job not guilty of covetousness or idolatry. (24-32) Job not guilty of hypocrisy and violence. (33-40)

Job 31 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Job declares his uprightness

1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

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

3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?

4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;

6 Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.

7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;

8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

His integrity

9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door;

10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.

11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.

12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;

14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Job merciful

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 hath not eaten thereof;

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 want of clothing, or any poor without covering;

20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not 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 mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine 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.

Job not guilty of covetousness or idolatry

24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;

25 If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;

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

27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:

28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

29 If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:

30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.

31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.

32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.

Job not guilty of hypocrisy and violence

33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?

35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine 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 unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;

39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:

40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. I made. Job is compelled to proclaim his own praises, for his vindication, as S. Paul was, being at the same time convinced that he had only done his duty. Luk. xvii. 10. This is the third part of his discourse. Having given a picture of his prosperous and of his miserable condition, he observes that the latter was not inflicted in consequence of any misconduct, since he had always been attentive to avoid (C.) the most remote danger of offending God, or his neighbour. H. — That I. Heb. “for why should I think upon a virgin?” H. — Why should I expose myself, (C.) by indiscreet looks, (H.) since the passage from the eye to the heart is so easy. Eccles. ii. 10. M. — In the warfare between the flesh and the spirit, Job deemed this precaution necessary, (W.) and was thus preserved from carnal thoughts. S. Greg. xx. 2.

Ver. 2. High, if I should give way to such unchaste thoughts. M.

Ver. 3. Aversion of God. Hebrew “strange punishment.“ Prot. Incontinence is a source of much mischief, and of the most dreadful punishments, as the deluge and fate of Sodom evince. H.

Ver. 5. Vanity, or hypocrisy, (C.) so as to overreach others. M.

Ver. 6. Simplicity, and “uprightness.” Tummathi. H.

Ver. 7. Eyes. Sixtus V. read, “If my eye hath followed my heart.” C. — Job kept the utmost restraint both upon his eyes and heart, that no evil impressions from exterior objects might cause his ruin. Num. xv. 39. H. — Hands, from presents, (C.) or injustice, particularly that of impurity. H.

Ver. 9. Door, to seduce his wife. C. M.

Ver. 10. Let. Heb. “Let my wife grind for another, and let others bend over her,” urging her to work like the meanest slave. C. — Sept. “Let my wife please (Grabe substitutes l of r, and reads alesai, grind for) another, and my little children be brought low.” H. — Yet the sense of the Vulg. is most followed. Eccli. xlvii. 21. Lam. v. 13. Ausonius (epig. 5) says, molitur per utramque cavernam. C.

Ver. 11. This adultery, to which I might have given way, and that of others with my wife, (H.) which would have been a requital, of which I could not indeed have complained, (M.) but which is nevertheless a most heinous offence. H. — Iniquity. Heb. “a crime of judgment,” or capital. Gen. xxxviii. 24. C. — The canons of the Church (H.) have ranked adultery with murder and idolatry, which shews the horror in which it is held. C.

Ver. 12. Spring; the children. Eccli. xxiii. 35. Wisd. iv. 3. C. — Prot. “all mine increase.” H. — Adulteresses were formerly consigned to the flames. The injured husband would resent the offence, and even dislike her former children. Love is also like a fire, and those who entertain it, may soon consume all their substance (M.) in feasting and presents. Above all, the fire of God’s indignation in hell will still pursue the libidinous.

Ver. 13. Me, in private; as slaves had no redress in the common courts of judicature. We cannot but admire Job’s humility, and noble sentiments of God, (C.) whose majesty will eclipse all human grandeur, and place the master and the servant on the same level. S. Greg. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. x. 25. Eph. vi. 9. Col. iv. 1.

Ver. 16. Wait, and not give sentence in due time, (H.) but frustrated her expectation. M.

Ver. 17. Alone. This was objected to S. Chrysostom. C. — But his conduct proceeded not from pride or avarice. H. — The ancient patriarchs delighted much in the exercise of hospitality; and Tobias (iv. 17.) exhorts his son to invite the poor. Cœna, or “supper,” received its name from many eating “together,” while people dined alone. Plut. Sym. viii. prob. 6.

Ver. 18. Womb. I was of a compassionate disposition, with which I always corresponded. S. Greg. — Heb. “from my youth, pity (ceab, which Prot. translate “as with a father.” H.) grew up with me; and from my birth I have preserved it!” C. — Prot. “From my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her (the widow, margin) from my mother’s womb.” Sept. “I fed him as a father, Theodotion adds, and was his leader from,” &c. It was my earliest delight to assist the afflicted orphan and widow. H.

Ver. 20. Blessed me for clothing. M.

Ver. 21. Gate, in judgment, (C.) where I was the supreme judge, (H.) and none could resist me.

Ver. 22. With. Heb. “from its bone,” at the elbow. Sept. C.

Ver. 23. Bear. I knew that he would resent the injury, though I might, for a time, oppress the weak.

Ver. 24. Fine obrizo. Heb. cethem. C. xxviii. 15. H.

Ver. 27. Rejoiced. Heb. and Chal. “been seduced” to idolatry. M. — The worship of the sun and moon was most ancient. Ezec. viii. 16. — Mouth, to testify respect and admiration. This custom prevailed in many nations. Lucian (dial. de sacrif.) observes that this only sacrifice of the poor was not disregarded. The Syrians still extend their hands towards the altar, and then apply them to their mouth and eyes, when the body and blood of Christ are offered in the Mass. Life of M. de Chateuil. C. — Sept. (26) “Do I not see the shining sun eclipsed, (H.) and the moon disappear, for light does not belong to them,” but to the Creator, from whom we have every thing; (C.) so that we should not swell with pride. Theodotion adds, (27) “and if my heart was secretly deceived.” Sept. continue, “if indeed, putting my hand to my mouth, I kissed, (28) this would also be imputed to me as a great transgression, because I should have acted falsely before the most high God.” H. — He will admit of no rival; hence the man who admits another god, denies Him. M. — Job repels the charge which had been indirectly brought against him. W.

Ver. 29. Rejoiced. Heb. “lifted up myself.” Sept. “said in my heart, well, well;” euge. H. — These sentiments of perfection shew that the same Spirit animated those who lived under the law of nature, as well as those who were favoured with the Mosaic or Christian dispensation. C.

Ver. 30. For. Sept. “Then let mine ear hear my curse, and may I fall a prey to the whispers of my people.”

Ver. 31. Filled. If my servants have not testified sufficient affection for me, (H.) because I kept them under restraint, and obliged them to wait on my guests, (M. S. Greg.) I still would not omit that duty; (v. 32. H.) or if they gave way to the greatest excesses of rage, so as to threaten to devour me, I refrained from wishing any evil to my enemy, v. 30. C. — Others suppose that Job’s domestics urged him on to revenge, and spoke as if they were ready to eat his enemies; (Cajet. T.) while some explain the expression in a contrary sense, to denote the extreme attachment of Job’s servants to his person; in which manner the Church uses it, speaking of Christ’s feeding us with his own body and blood. C. — Sept. “If frequently my maids said who?” &c. Heb. “said not, oh! that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.” Prot. H. — Have I given my servants any reason to utter these expressions?

Ver. 33. A man. Heb. “Adam,” who, to excuse himself, threw the blame upon Eve. Gen. iii. 12. C. — His posterity have too frequently imitated his example. The name of Adam often designates any man. H. — It was requisite that Job should assert his sincerity, that his friends might not suppose that he was actuated by self-love or obstinacy to defend his innocence. C. — Sept. “If falling into an involuntary fault I hid my sin, (for I feared not the crowd of people, that I should not plead before them) but if I let the needy pass my gate with his bosom empty.” Theod. xxxv. subjoins, “who would give me a hearer? but if I did not revere the hand of the Lord.” Sept. go on, “the bond which I had against any one, if I placed on my shoulder, as a crown, and read, an did not rather tear it, and give it up, taking nothing from my debtor. If,” &c. v. 38. According to this version, Job insists on his pity for the distressed, and shews that he had no reason to fear. But the Hebrew is more conformable to the Vulg.

Ver. 34. Have not. Heb. “that I kept silence, not going out of doors” to defend the innocent. H. — Moses commands judges to do their duty without fear. Ex. xxiii. 2. People in such situations ought to be uninfluenced by hatred, love, &c. Cæsar says, justly, (in Sallust) “qui de rebus dubiis consultant, ab adio, amicitiâ, irá atque misericordia vacuos esse decet. Haud facilè animus verum providet, ubi illa officiunt.“ H.

Ver. 35. He himself. Heb. “my adversary would write a book.” His very accusation would establish my cause, provided he adhered to the truth. C. — I would carry it about as a trophy. H. — A book. The judge wrote down the sentence. Job appeals to God, and fears not being condemned.

Ver. 36. Crown. This shews that something pliable was then used to write on. The people of the East still lift up to their heads such letters as they respect. Chardin Perse, p. 218. See 4 K. xi. 12. C.

Ver. 37. To a. Heb. “as a prince would I approach to him,” and not fear my adversary. H.

Ver. 38. Mourn, as if I possessed the land unjustly, or had committed some crime.

Ver. 39. Money. Or paying for them. M. — And have. Prot. “or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life.”

Ver. 40. Thorns. Prot. “cockle.” Marg. “loathsome weeds.” H. — The precise import of the word is not known; but it means something “stinking.” C. — Sept. Batos, “a briar.” H. — Ended. Many Latin editions omit these words with S. Gregory, &c. The old Vulg. has & quieverunt verba Job, as a title. C. — Sept. place at the beginning of the next chapter, “And Job ceased to speak. His three friends also left off contending with Job; for Job was just before them.” Grabe substitutes “himself,” as they were not perhaps yet convinced. H. — Job, however, addresses his discourse no more to them, but only to God, (C.) acknowledging some unadvised speeches; (W.) or want of information. H.