Job 31

1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.
2 For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?
4 Does he not see my ways and count my every step?
5 “If I have walked with falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit—
6 let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless—
7 if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled,
8 then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.
9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door,
10 then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her.
11 For that would have been wicked, a sin to be judged.
12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction[a] ; it would have uprooted my harvest.
13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me,
14 what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?
15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
17 if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless—
18 but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow—
19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments,
20 and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court,
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint.
23 For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
24 “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’
25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained,
26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor,
27 so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage,
28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
29 “If I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him—
30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against their life—
31 if those of my household have never said, ‘Who has not been filled with Job’s meat?’—
32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler—
33 if I have concealed my sin as people do,[b]by hiding my guilt in my heart
34 because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside—
35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of my every step; I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—
38 “if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears,
39 if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants,
40 then let briers come up instead of wheat and stinkweed 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 80

  • 1. Proverbs 4:25; Proverbs 17:24; 2 Peter 2:14
  • 2. Exodus 20:14,17; Deuteronomy 5:18; Matthew 5:28
  • 3. Numbers 26:55; Psalms 11:6; Psalms 16:5; Psalms 50:18; Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 5:19; Ecclesiastes 9:9
  • 4. S Job 16:19; S Job 20:29
  • 5. S Job 21:30
  • 6. Job 18:12
  • 7. Job 34:22; Romans 2:9
  • 8. 2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalms 139:3; Daniel 4:37; Daniel 5:23
  • 9. S ver 14; S Job 10:4; Proverbs 5:21
  • 10. S Job 15:31; Micah 2:11
  • 11. Psalms 139:23
  • 12. S Leviticus 19:36; S Job 6:2; Job 27:5-6
  • 13. S Genesis 6:9; S Job 2:3; S Job 23:10
  • 14. S Job 23:11
  • 15. S Job 9:30
  • 16. Psalms 7:3
  • 17. S Job 5:5; S Job 20:10; John 4:37; Leviticus 26:16; Job 20:18
  • 18. ver 12; Micah 6:15
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 11:16; S Job 24:15; James 1:14
  • 20. Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 7:5
  • 21. S Judges 16:21
  • 22. Deuteronomy 28:30; Jeremiah 8:10
  • 23. Proverbs 6:32-33
  • 24. S Genesis 38:24; S Exodus 21:12; John 8:4-5; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22-24
  • 25. S Job 15:30
  • 26. S Job 26:6
  • 27. S ver 8; Job 20:28
  • 28. S Deuteronomy 5:14
  • 29. Exodus 21:2-11; Leviticus 25:39-46; Deuteronomy 24:14-15
  • 30. Job 33:5
  • 31. ver 4,37; Psalms 10:13,15; Psalms 94:7; Isaiah 10:3; Jeremiah 5:31; Hosea 9:7; Micah 7:4; Colossians 4:1
  • 32. S Job 4:17; Proverbs 22:2
  • 33. S Job 10:3; Ephesians 6:9
  • 34. S Leviticus 25:17; S Job 5:16; Job 20:19
  • 35. S Job 22:9; James 1:27
  • 36. Job 22:7
  • 37. S Job 6:27; S Job 22:7; Job 29:12
  • 38. Isaiah 51:18
  • 39. Job 22:6; Isaiah 58:7
  • 40. S Job 24:4
  • 41. Job 29:13
  • 42. Judges 6:37
  • 43. S Job 22:7; James 1:27; Job 22:9
  • 44. S Job 29:7,9
  • 45. Numbers 15:30; Job 5:15; Job 38:15; Psalms 10:15; Psalms 37:17; Psalms 137:5
  • 46. S Job 10:3; S Job 30:15
  • 47. Job 13:11
  • 48. S Genesis 20:11
  • 49. S Job 22:25
  • 50. Matthew 6:24; Mark 10:24; Luke 12:15
  • 51. S Genesis 12:16; Psalms 49:6; Psalms 52:7; Psalms 62:10; Isaiah 10:14
  • 52. S Job 22:24; Ezekiel 28:5; Luke 12:20-21
  • 53. S Genesis 1:16; Ezekiel 8:16
  • 54. Job 25:5
  • 55. S Deuteronomy 11:16; S Job 24:15; James 1:14
  • 56. Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 16:11
  • 57. S Genesis 38:24; Deuteronomy 17:2-7
  • 58. S Numbers 11:20; Ezekiel 8:16
  • 59. S Numbers 14:1; Psalms 35:15; Obadiah 1:12; Matthew 5:44
  • 60. Proverbs 17:5; Proverbs 24:17-18
  • 61. Job 5:3; Romans 12:14
  • 62. S Job 22:7
  • 63. Genesis 19:2-3; Judges 19:20; Matthew 25:35; S Romans 12:13
  • 64. Psalms 32:5; Proverbs 28:13
  • 65. S Genesis 3:8
  • 66. Exodus 23:2
  • 67. Psalms 32:3; Psalms 39:2
  • 68. S Job 9:24; Job 19:7; Job 30:28
  • 69. Job 27:7; Job 35:14
  • 70. S Exodus 28:12
  • 71. Job 29:14
  • 72. S ver 14; S Job 11:11
  • 73. S Job 21:28; Job 1:3; Job 29:25
  • 74. S Genesis 4:10
  • 75. Psalms 65:10
  • 76. S 1 Kings 21:19
  • 77. S Leviticus 19:13; James 5:4
  • 78. S Genesis 3:18; Matthew 13:7
  • 79. Zephaniah 2:9; Matthew 13:26
  • 80. Psalms 72:20; Jeremiah 51:64

Footnotes 2

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

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.