Job 31:14
What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
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31:9-15 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.What then shall I do when God riseth up? - That is, when he rises up to pronounce sentence upon people, or to execute impartial justice. Job admits that if he had done injustice to a servant, he would have reason to dread the divine indignation, and that he could have no excuse. "I tremble," said President Jefferson, speaking of slavery in the United States "when I remember that God is just!" Notes on Virginia.

And when he visiteth - When he comes to inspect human conduct. Umbreit renders it "when he punishes." The word visit is often used in this sense in the Scriptures.

14, 15. Parenthetical; the reason why Job did not despise the cause of his servants. Translate: What then (had I done so) could I have done, when God arose (to call me to account); and when He visited (came to enquire), what could I have answered Him? When God riseth up, to wit, to plead the cause of the oppressed against the oppressor, and to execute judgment, as this phrase is used, Psalm 68:1 Zechariah 2:13, and elsewhere. I used my servant like one who was also myself a servant, and had a Master in heaven, Colossians 4:1, to whom I was to give an account of my carriage to my servant and to all men.

When he visiteth, i.e. when he shall call me to his tribunal, and severely examine all my actions, and particularly the cause between me and my servant, what apology shall I make for myself?

What then shall I do when God riseth up?.... That is, if he had despised and rejected the cause of his servants, or had neglected, or refused to do them justice; he signifies he should be at the utmost loss to know what to do, what excuse to make, or what to say in his own defence, when God should rise up to defend the cause of the injured; either in a way of Providence in this life, or at the great day of judgment in the world to come, when everything will be brought to account, and masters and servants must stand alike before the judgment seat of God, to receive for the things they have done, whether good or evil:

and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? when he makes a visitation among men, either in this world, even in a fatherly way, visits transgressions, and reproves and corrects for them; had he been guilty of ill usage of his servants, he must have silently submitted to such visitations and chastisements, having nothing to say for himself why he should not be thus dealt with; or in the world to come, in the great day of visitation, when God shall make inquisition for sin, and seek it out, and call to an account for it; and should this be produced against him, even contempt of the cause of his servants, he was sensible he could not answer him for it, nor for anyone sin of a thousand, as no man will be able to do; but must be speechless, unless he has a better righteousness than his own to answer for him in that time to come. This is Job's first reason which deterred him from using his servants ill; another follows.

What then shall I do when {k} God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

(k) If I had oppressed others, how would I have escaped God's judgment.

14. when God riseth up] i. e. to judge, as the expression “visiteth” in the next clause suggests.

Verses 14, 15. - What then shall I do when God riseth up? Job regards God as the Avenger and Champion of all the oppressed. If he had been harsh and cruel to his dependants, he would have provoked God's anger, and God would assuredly "rise up" one day to punish. What, then, could he (Job) do? What but submit in silence? When he visiteth, what shall I answer him? There could be no valid defence. The slave was still a man, a brother - God's creature, equally with his master. Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? God "hath made of one Mood all nations of men," and all individual me, "to dwell on the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26). All have rights - in a certain sense, equal rights. All are entitled to just treatment, to kind treatment, to merciful treatment. Job is before his age in recognizing the substantial equality of the slave with the freeman, which otherwise was scarcely taught by any until the promulgation of the gospel (see 1 Timothy 6:2; Philemon 1:16). Job 31:1413 If I despised the cause of my servant and my maid,

When they contended with me:

14 What should I do, if God should rise up,

And if He should make search, what should I answer Him?

15 Hath not He who formed me in the womb formed him also,

And hath not One fashioned us in the belly?

It might happen, as Job 31:13 assumes, that his servant or his maid (אמה, Arab. amatun, denotes a maid who is not necessarily a slave, ‛abde, as Job 19:15, whereas שׁפחה does not occur in the book) contended with him, and in fact so that they on their part began the dispute (for, as the Talmud correctly points out, it is not בּריבי עמּם, but בּריבם עמּדי), but he did not then treat them as a despot; they were not accounted as res but personae by him, he allowed them to maintain their personal right in opposition to him. Christopher Scultetus observes here: Gentiles quidem non concedebant jus servo contra dominum, cui etiam vitae necisque potestas in ipsum erat; sed Iob amore justitiae libere se demisit, ut vel per alios judices aut arbitros litem talem curaret decidi vel sibi ipsi sit moderatus, ut juste pronuntiaret. If he were one who despised (אמאס not מאסתּי) his servants' cause: what should he do if God arose and entered into judgment; and if He should appoint an examination (thus Hahn correctly, for the conclusion shows that פקד is here a synon. of בחן Psalm 17:3, and חקר Psalm 44:22, Arab. fqd, V, VIII, accurate inspicere), what should he answer?

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