Job 31:10

10 then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her.

Read Job 31:10 Using Other Translations

Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.
then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her.
then let my wife serve another man; let other men sleep with her.

What does Job 31:10 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
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.
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