Job 31:10

10 then may my wife grind for another and others kneel over her;

Job 31:10 Meaning and Commentary

Job 31:10

[Then] let my wife grind unto another
Which some understand literally, of her being put to the worst of drudgery and slavery, to work at a mill, and grind corn for the service of a stranger, and be exposed to the company of the meanest of persons, and to their insults and abuses; as we find such as were taken captives and made prisoners by an enemy were put unto, as Samson, ( Judges 16:21 ) ; and it may be observed, that to grind in a mill was also the work of women, ( Exodus 11:5 ) ( Matthew 24:41 ) ; as it was in early times; Homer F3 speaks of it as in times before him; but others take the words in a figurative sense, as if he imprecated that she lie with another man, and be defiled by him, as the Targum, Aben Ezra, and others F4; see ( Isaiah 47:1 Isaiah 47:2 ) ; and in like manner the following clause:

and let others bow down upon her;
both which phrases are euphemisms, or clean and decent expressions, signifying what otherwise is not to be named; the Scriptures hereby directing, as to avoid unchaste thoughts, inclinations, and desires, and impure actions, so obscene words and filthy talking, as becometh saints: but there is some difficulty in Job's imprecating or wishing such a thing might befall his wife; it could not be lawful, if he had sinned, to wish his wife might sin also; or, if he was an adulterer, that she should be an adulteress; the sense is not, that Job really wished such a thing; but he uses such a way of speaking, to show how remote he was from the sin of uncleanness, there being nothing more disagreeable to a man than for his wife to defile his bed; it is the last thing he would wish for: and moreover Job suggests hereby, that had he been guilty of this sin, he must own and acknowledge that he would be righteously served, and it would be a just retaliation upon him, should his wife use him, or she be used, in such a manner; likewise, though a man may not wish nor commit a sin for the punishment of another; yet God sometimes punishes sin with sin, and even with the same kind of sin, and with this; so David's sin with Bathsheba was punished with Absalom lying with his wives and concubines before the sun, ( 2 Samuel 12:11 ) ; see ( Deuteronomy 28:30 ) .


F3 Odyss. 7. v. 107. & Odyss. 20. v. 109.
F4 So T. Bab Sotah, fol. 10. 1. & Luther, Schmidt apud Stockium, p. 414.

Job 31:10 In-Context

8 then let me sow and another reap; let my offspring be uprooted.
9 If my heart has been drawn to a woman and I have lurked at my neighbor's door,
10 then may my wife grind for another and others kneel over her;
11 for that's a crime; it's a punishable offense;
12 indeed, it's a fire that consumes to the underworld, uprooting all my harvest.
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