Job 31:24
If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, You are my confidence;
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(24) If I have made gold my hope.—He here refers to the admonition of Eliphaz (Job 22:23-24), and declares that such had not been his practice.

Job 31:24. If I have made gold my hope — That is, the matter of my hope and trust, expecting safety and happiness from it, and placing my chief joy in the increase of my riches.31:24-32 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 unkind to strangers. Hospitality is a Christian duty, 1Pe 4:9.If I have made gold my hope - That is, if I have put my trust in gold rather than in God; if I have fixed my affections with idolatrous attachment on riches rather than on my Maker. Job here introduces another class of sins, and says that his conscience did not charge him with guilt in respect to them. He had before spoken mainly of social duties, and of his manner of life toward the poor, the needy, the widow, and the orphan. He here turns to the duty which he owed to God, and says that his conscience did not charge him with idolatry in any form. He had indeed been rich, but he had not fixed his affections with idolatrous attachment on his wealth.

Or have said to fine gold - The word used here (כתם kethem) is the same which is employed in Job 28:16, to denote the gold of Ophir. It is used to express that which was most pure - from the verb כתם kâtham - to hide, to hoard, and then denoting that which was hidden, hoarded, precious. The meaning is, that he had not put his trust in that which was most sought after, and which was deemed of the highest value by people.

24, 25. Job asserts his freedom from trust in money (1Ti 6:17). Here he turns to his duty towards God, as before he had spoken of his duty towards himself and his neighbor. Covetousness is covert idolatry, as it transfers the heart from the Creator to the creature (Col 3:5). In Job 31:26, 27 he passes to overt idolatry. My hope, i.e. the matter of my hope and trust, placing my chief joy and satisfaction in worldly wealth, expecting safety and happiness from it. Compare Psalm 62:10. If I have made gold my hope,.... Job here purges himself from idolatry in a figurative sense, as he afterwards does from it, taken in a literal sense; for covetousness is idolatry, and a covetous man is an idolater; he worships his gold and silver, placing his affections on them, and putting his trust and confidence in them, Ephesians 5:5; for to make gold the object or ground of hope is to place it in the room of God, who is the Hope of Israel, and in whom every good man should trust, and whom he should make his hope, Jeremiah 14:8; not gold on earth, but glory in heaven, is what the good man is hoping for; and not riches, but Christ and his righteousness, are the foundation of such an hope; to make gold our hope, is to have hope in this life, and to make a thing present the object of it; whereas true hope is of things not seen and future, and if only in this life good men have hope, they are of all most miserable; but they have in heavens better and a more enduring substance, and a better ground for hope of that substance, than worldly wealth and riches can give:

or have said to the fine gold, thou art my confidence; as bad men do, and good men are prone unto, and therefore to be cautioned against it, Psalm 49:6; for this is not only to trust in uncertain riches, and in unsatisfying ones, but to put them in the stead of God, who is or ought to be the confidence of the ends of the earth: not gold, but the living God, who gives all things richly to enjoy, is to be trusted in; when men covet riches, and trust in them as their security from evil, and that they may live independent of the providence of God, it is virtually to deny it, and carries in it secret atheism; as well as such a confidence is destruction of the worship of God, and such a temper makes a man an unprofitable hearer, plunges him into errors and hurtful lusts, and endangers his everlasting happiness, Habakkuk 2:9; in later times the Romans worshipped the goddess "Pecunia", or money, as Austin (z) relates.

(z) De Civitate Dei, l. 4. c. 21.

If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
24–34. Repudiation of another class of secret sins, that would have dishonoured him: (1) secret joy in the possession of wealth—that love of gain which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5), Job 31:24-25; (2) a momentary impulse to salute the rising sun or the moon in her splendour and thus be false to the true spiritual God on high, Job 31:26-28; (3) secret joy of heart at the misfortune of his enemy, Job 31:29-30; (4) narrowness of soul and niggardliness, Job 31:31-32; and finally, hypocrisy, Job 31:33-34.Verse 24. - If I have made gold my hope. This is a sin with which the patriarch had not been directly charged. But it had been more or less insinuated (see Job 15:28; Job 20:10, 15, 19; Job 22:24, etc.). He may also, perhaps, have felt some inclination to it. Or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence. (On the wicked man's trust in riches, see Psalm 49:6; Psalm 52:7; Psalm 62:10; Mark 10:24; Luke 12:16-19.) 16 If I held back the poor from what they desired,

And caused the eyes of the widow to languish,

17 And ate my morsel alone

Without letting the fatherless eat thereof: -

18 No indeed, from my youth he grew up to me as to a father,

And from my mother's womb I guided her -

The whole strophe is the hypothetical antecedent of the imprecative conclusion, Job 31:22, which closes the following strophe. Since מנע דּבר ממּנוּ, cohibere aliquid ab aliquo (Job 22:7), is said as much in accordance with the usage of the language as מנעו מדּבר, cohibere aliquem ab aliquo (Numbers 24:11; Ecclesiastes 2:10), in the sense of denegare alicui aliquid, there is no reason for taking מחפץ דּלּים together as a genitival clause (a voto tenuium), as the accentuation requires it. On חפץ, vid., on Job 21:21; it signifies solicitude (what is ardently desired) and business, here the former: what is ever the interest and want of the poor (the reduced or those without means). From such like things he does not keep the poor back, i.e., does not refuse them; and the eyes of the widow he did not cause or allow to languish (כּלּה, to bring to an end, i.e., cause to languish, of the eyes, as Leviticus 26:16; 1 Samuel 2:33); he let not their longing for assistance be consumed of itself, let not the fountain of their tears become dry without effect. If he had done the opposite, if he had eaten his bread (פּת equals פּת לחם) alone, and not allowed the orphan to eat of it with him - but no, he had not acted thus; on the contrary (כּי as Psalm 130:4 and frequently), he (the parentless one) grew up to him (גּדלני equals גּדל לּי, Ges. 121, 4, according to Ew. 315, b, "by the interweaving of the dialects of the people into the ancient form of the declining language;" perhaps it is more correct to say it is by virtue of a poetic, forced, and rare brevity of expression) as to a father ( equals לאב כּמו), and from his mother's womb he guided her, the helpless and defenceless widow, like a faithful child leading its sick or aged mother. The hyperbolical expression מבּטן אמּי dates this sympathizing and active charity back to the very beginning of Job's life. He means to say that it is in-born to him, and he has exercised it ever since he was first able to do so. The brevity of the form גּדלני, brief to incorrectness, might be removed by the pointing גּדּלני (Olsh.): from my youth up he (the fatherless one) honoured me as a father; and גּדּלני (instead of כּבּדני would be explained by the consideration, that a veneration is meant that attributed a dignity which exceed his age to the נער who was not yet old enough to be a father. But גּדּל signifies "to cause to grow" in such a connection elsewhere (parall. רומם, to raise), wherefore lxx translates ἐξέτρεφον (גּדּלתּי); and גּדלני has similar examples of the construction of intransitives with the acc. instead of the dat. (especially Zechariah 7:5) in its favour: they became me great, i.e., became great in respect of me. Other ways of getting over the difficulty are hardly worth mentioning: the Syriac version reads כּאב (pain) and אנחות; Raschi makes Job 31:18, the idea of benevolence, the subj., and Job 31:18 (as מדּה, attribute) the obj. The suff. of אנחנּה Schlottm. refers to the female orphan; but Job refers again to the orphan in the following strophe, and the reference to the widow, more natural here on account of the gender, has nothing against it. The choice of the verb (comp. Job 38:32) also corresponds to such a reference, since the Hiph. has an intensified Kal-signification here.

(Note: זכר and הזכיר, to remember; זרע and הזריע, to sow, to cover with seed; חרשׁ and החרישׁ, both in the signification silere and fabricari; לעג and הלעיג, to mock, Job 21:3; משׁל and המשׁיל, dominari, Job 25:2; נטה and הטה, to extend, to bow; קנה ;w and הקנה (to obtain by purchase); קצר and הקציר, to reap, Job 24:6, are all similar. In Arab. the Kal nahaituhu signifies I put him aside by going on one side (nahw or nâhije), the Hiph. anhaituhu, I put him aside by bringing him to the side (comp. ינחם, Job 12:23).)

From earliest youth, so far back as he can remember, he was wont to behave like a father to the orphan, and like a child to the widow.

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