Job 31

Listen to Job 31

Job's Final Appeal

1 "I have made a covenant with my 1eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
2 What would be 2my portion from God above and 3my heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?
4 4Does not he see my ways and 5number all my steps?
5 "If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit;
6 (Let me be 6weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!)
7 if my step has turned aside from the way and 7my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any 8spot has stuck to my hands,
8 then let me 9sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me[a] be rooted out.
9 "If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have 10lain in wait at my neighbor's door,
10 then let my wife 11grind for another, and let others 12bow down on her.
11 For that would be a heinous crime; that would be an iniquity 13to be punished by the judges;
12 for that would be a fire 14that consumes as far as Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my increase.
13 "If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me,
14 what then shall I do when God rises up? When he 15makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
15 Did 16not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?
16 "If I have 17withheld anything that the poor desired, or have 18caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17 or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it
18 (for from my youth the fatherless[b] grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother's womb I guided the widow[c]),
19 if I have seen anyone 19perish for 20lack of clothing, or the needy without 21covering,
20 if his body has not 22blessed me,[d] and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against 23the fatherless, because I saw my help in 24the gate,
22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23 For I was 25in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his 26majesty.
24 27"If I have made gold my 28trust or called 29fine gold my confidence,
25 if I have 30rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because 31my hand had found much,
26 32if I have looked at the sun[e] when it shone, or 33the moon moving in splendor,
27 and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand,
28 this also would be 34an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.
29 "If I have 35rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him
30 (36I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse),
31 if the men of my tent have not said, 'Who is there that has not been filled with his 37meat?'
32 (38the sojourner has not lodged in the street; I have opened my doors to the traveler),
33 if I 39have concealed my transgressions 40as others do[f] by hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
34 because I stood in great fear of 41the multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors--
35 Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty 42answer me!) Oh, that I had 43the indictment written by my adversary!
36 Surely I would carry it on my 44shoulder; I would 45bind it on me as 46a crown;
37 I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him.
38 "If my land has cried out against me and its furrows have wept together,
39 47if I have eaten its yield without payment and made its owners 48breathe their last,
40 let 49thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley."The words of Job are ended.

Job 31 Commentary

Chapter 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)

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 ( 1 Peter. 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, ( Proverbs 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, chap. 40:5 ; 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!

Cross References 49

  • 1. [Isaiah 33:15; Matthew 5:28]
  • 2. See Job 20:29
  • 3. See Job 20:29
  • 4. Job 14:16; Job 34:21; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 5:21; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17; Jeremiah 32:19; Zechariah 4:10
  • 5. Job 14:16
  • 6. Daniel 5:27
  • 7. Numbers 15:39; Ecclesiastes 11:9
  • 8. [Job 11:15]
  • 9. Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:30, 38; [John 4:37]
  • 10. [Job 24:15]
  • 11. [Exodus 11:5; Isaiah 47:2]
  • 12. [2 Samuel 12:11; Jeremiah 8:10]
  • 13. ver. 28; [Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22]
  • 14. See Proverbs 6:27-29
  • 15. Psalms 17:3
  • 16. Job 34:19; Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 22:2; [Ephesians 6:9]
  • 17. [Job 22:7]
  • 18. Job 11:20; Job 17:5
  • 19. Job 29:13
  • 20. Job 24:7, 10
  • 21. Job 24:7, 10
  • 22. Job 29:13; Deuteronomy 24:13
  • 23. Job 22:9
  • 24. See Job 5:4
  • 25. Job 13:11
  • 26. Job 13:11
  • 27. Mark 10:24, 25
  • 28. Job 4:6
  • 29. Job 28:16
  • 30. Psalms 62:10
  • 31. Deuteronomy 8:17
  • 32. Deuteronomy 4:19; [Deuteronomy 17:3; 2 Kings 23:5, 11; Ezekiel 8:16]
  • 33. See Jeremiah 44:17-19
  • 34. ver. 11
  • 35. Proverbs 17:5
  • 36. [Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14]
  • 37. Exodus 16:12; 1 Samuel 25:11
  • 38. [Genesis 19:2, 3; Judges 19:20, 21; Matthew 25:35; Hebrews 13:2]
  • 39. Proverbs 28:13
  • 40. Genesis 3:8, 12
  • 41. [Exodus 23:2]
  • 42. Job 13:22
  • 43. [Job 19:23]
  • 44. Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 22:22
  • 45. Proverbs 6:21
  • 46. Zechariah 6:11
  • 47. [Job 22:6-9; Luke 10:7; 2 Timothy 2:6; James 5:4]
  • 48. [1 Kings 21:16, 19]
  • 49. Genesis 3:18

Footnotes 6

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 unto, 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, Job 31:1-4; from injustice in his dealings with men, Job 31:5-8; from the sin of adultery, Job 31:9-12; from ill usage of his servants, Job 31:13-15; from unkindness to the poor, which he enlarges upon, and gives many instances of his charity to them, Job 31:16-23; from covetousness, and a vain confidence in wealth, Job 31:24,25; from idolatry, the worship of the sun and moon, Job 31:26-28; from a revengeful spirit, Job 31:29-31; and from inhospitality to strangers, Job 31:32; from covering his sin, Job 31:33; and fear of men, Job 31:34; and then wishes his cause might be heard before God, Job 31:35-37; and the chapter is closed with an imprecation on his head if guilty of any injustice, Job 31:38-40.

Job 31 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.