Job 31:23

23 For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.

Read Job 31:23 Using Other Translations

For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.
That would be better than facing God’s judgment. For if the majesty of God opposes me, what hope is there?

What does Job 31:23 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Job 31:23

For destruction [from] God [was] a terror to me
Though he feared not men, they being at his beck and command, ready to do any thing for him he should order, yet he feared God; and the dread of his resentment, and of destruction from him the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, had such an influence on him as to deter and keep him from all unkindness to the poor, and in justice to the fatherless; he dreaded the destruction of himself, his family, and substance in this world, and everlasting destruction of soul and body in the world to come; which of all things is to be feared, ( Matthew 10:28 ) ; and Old Testament saints were much under a spirit of bondage to fear, and were actuated thereby; and, though Job might not be under any dread of eternal damnation, knowing his interest in the living Redeemer; yet he might fear temporal destruction, as it is certain he did; which thing he feared came upon him, though not for any crime or crimes he was guilty of, see ( Job 30:25 ) ; he might fear, as a good man may, the chastisements and corrections of his heavenly Father:

and by reason of his highness I could not endure;
God is higher than the highest angels, or men; he is above all gods, so called; he is God over all, blessed for ever; and such is his height, his glory, and his majesty, that it is terrible, and the dread of them makes men afraid; nor can any sinner stand before him, nor withstand him, nor hope to prevail against him, nor flee from his presence, nor escape out of his hand, nor bear his wrath and indignation, and the coming down of his arm; for what hands can be strong, or heart endure, when the almighty God deals with them? or Job's sense may be, that such an awe of the divine Being was always upon him, that he could not do any unkind thing to the poor, or unjust one to the fatherless.

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