Job 31:21

21 "If I've ever used my strength and influence to take advantage of the unfortunate,

Job 31:21 Meaning and Commentary

Job 31:21

If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless
Either in a menacing way, threatening what he would do to them; which, from a man of wealth and authority, a civil magistrate, a judge, is very terrible to the poor and fatherless; or in order to strike him, which would be to smite with the fist of wickedness; or give a signal to others, by lifting up the hand to smite, as Ananias gave orders to smite the Apostle Paul; or thereby to give his vote against the fatherless wrongly, suffrages being sometimes made by lifting up the hands; or hereby Job signifies, that he was so far from doing the fatherless any real injury, that he had not so much as lifted up his hand, and even a finger against him:

when I saw my help in the gate;
in the court of judicature held in the gate of the city, as was usual; though he knew he had the bench of judges for him, or they would give sentence in his behalf, and against the fatherless, if he did but hold up his hand, or lift up a finger to them, so ready would they be take his part and be on his side; yet he never made use of his power and interest to their detriment, or took such an advantage against them.

Job 31:21 In-Context

19 "Have I ever left a poor family shivering in the cold when they had no warm clothes?
20 Didn't the poor bless me when they saw me coming, knowing I'd brought coats from my closet?
21 "If I've ever used my strength and influence to take advantage of the unfortunate,
22 Go ahead, break both my arms, cut off all my fingers!
23 The fear of God has kept me from these things - how else could I ever face him? If Only Someone Would Give Me a Hearing!
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.