Job 31
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Job 31:1

'Chastity,' said Bishop Camus of Belley, 'is timid and sensitive, trembling at every shadow, quick at every sound, fearing every peril. It takes alarm at a glance—as a very Job, who had made a covenant with his eyes; the slightest word disconcerts it; it is suspicious of sweet scents; good food seems a snare, mirth a levity, society treacherous, light reading a danger. It moves along all eyes and ears, like one covered with jewels who crosses a forest, and starts at every step, fancying he hears robbers.'

Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it.

—Thoreau, Walden (' Higher Laws').

Reference.—XXXI. 14.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 130.

Job 31:15

The races to whom we owe the Bible were cruel in war; they were revengeful; their veins were filled with blood, hot with lust; they knew no art, nor grace, nor dialectic, such as Greece knew, but one service they at least have rendered to the world. They have preserved in their prophets and poets this eternal verity—He that made me in the womb made him—and have proclaimed with Divine fury a Divine wrath upon all who may be seduced into forgetfulness of it.

—Mark Rutherford in The Deliverance.

When Job had spoken of his duty to the lowly, he had given the sanction for it in the thought: Did not One fashion us? Jesus gives a higher sanction: Does not one Father love you all? In the presence of the Father the children are to lose their separateness.—Royce, Religious Aspect of Philosophy, p. 42.

Job 31:16-17Eugenius prescribes to himself many particular days of fasting and abstinence, in order to increase his private bank of charity, and sets aside what would be the current expenses of those times for the use of the poor. He often goes afoot when his business calls him, and at the end of his walk has given a shilling, which in his ordinary methods of expense would have gone for coach hire, to the first necessitous person that has fallen in his way. I have known him, when he has been going to a play or an opera, divert the money which was designed for that purpose upon an object of Charity whom he has met in the street.

—Addison, Spectator (No. 177).

Job 31:19

'It was one of Job's boasts that "he had seen none perish for want of clothing"; and that he had often "made the heart of the widow to rejoice". And doubtless Dr. Sanderson,' says Izaak Walton, 'might have made the same religious boast of this and very many like occasions. But, since he did not, I rejoice that I have this just occasion to do it for him.'

Job 31:24

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth command us, we are poor indeed.

—Burke, First Letter on a Regicide Peace.

Job 31:26-27

'The scholar of the sixteenth century,' says Ruskin in the third volume of The Stones of Venice, 'if he saw the lightning shining from the east to the west, thought forthwith of Jupiter, not of the Son of Man; if he saw the moon walking in brightness, he thought of Diana, not of the throne which was to be established for ever as a faithful witness in heaven; and though his heart was but secretly enticed, yet thus he denied the God that is above.'

'Were I obliged to have a religion,' said Napoleon, 'I would worship the sun—the source of all life—the real God of the earth.'

For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?
Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;
Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;
Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door;
Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.
For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;
What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;
(For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)
If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;
If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:
Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.
For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.
The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.
Nicoll - Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

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