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Job and Self Justification (Job 31)

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CHAPTER 31 Dec. 23 
Job Clears Himself
I made a covenant with my eyes, how then should I look lustfully at a young woman? 2For what is the portion from God above, and the heritage from the Almighty on high? 3Is it not calamity to the unrighteous, and disaster to the workers of iniquity? 4Doesn’t He see my ways, and number all my steps? 5If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit 6(let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity); 7if my step has turned out of the way, if my heart walked after my eyes, if any defilement has stuck to my hands, 8then let me sow, and let another eat. Yes, let the produce of my field be rooted out. 9If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door, 10then let my wife grind for another, and let others sleep with her. 11For that would be a heinous crime. Yes, it would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges: 12for it is a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase. 13If I have despised the cause of my male servant or of my female servant, when they contended with me; 14what then shall I do when God rises up? When He visits, what shall I answer Him? 15Didn’t He who made me in the womb make him? Didn’t One fashion us in the womb? 16If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 17or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it 18(no, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, her have I guided from my mother’s womb); 19if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or that the needy had no covering; 20if his heart hasn’t blessed me, if he hasn’t been warmed with my sheep’s fleece; 21if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, 22then let my shoulder fall from the shoulder blade, and my arm be broken from the bone. 23For calamity from God is a terror to me. Because of His majesty, I can do nothing. 24If I have made gold my hope, and have said to the fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’; 25if I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because my hand had gotten much; 26if I have seen the sun when it shined, or the moon moving in splendour, 27and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth, 28this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges; for I should have denied the God who is above. 29If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him; 30(yes, I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking his life with a curse); 31if the men of my tent have not said, ‘Who can find one who has not been filled with his meat?’ 32(the foreigner has not lodged in the street, but I have opened my doors to the traveller); 33if like Adam I have covered my transgressions, by hiding my iniquity in my heart, 34because I feared the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and didn’t go out of the door— 35oh that I had one to hear me! Behold, here is my signature, let the Almighty answer me; let the accuser write my indictment! 36Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; and I would bind it to me as a crown. 37I would declare to Him the number of my steps. As a prince would I go near to Him. 38If my land cries out against me, and its furrows weep together; 39if I have eaten its fruits without money, or have caused its owners to lose their life, 40let briars grow instead of wheat, and stinkweed instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.


31:4 Doesn’t He see my ways, and number all my steps?- Job dismissed as monstrous the idea that he had committed adultery or even looked lustfully upon a woman because God sees and knows all things. We cannot passively accept that fact; it will mean that sexual sin, which for the most part is committed in ‘secret’, cannot be a serious option for us because nothing in our lives is secret before God.
31:33 See on 10:9.
31:34 Because I feared the great multitude- It’s so often the fear of losing face and image, the fear of the multitude, which stops us from confessing sin. But seeing that all will be open to all our brethren eternally, we should have no need to be hypocritical in this life. God glories to forgive us, so we should have the same openness and zeal in repentance.
31:38 If my land cries out against me- Job was sensitive to the natural creation, even to his land, in the way he farmed it.