Job 31:8
Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
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31:1-8 Job did not speak the things here recorded by way of boasting, but in answer to the charge of hypocrisy. He understood the spiritual nature of God's commandments, as reaching to the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is best to let our actions speak for us; but in some cases we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of God, solemnly to protest our innocence of the crimes of which we are falsely accused. The lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world, are two fatal rocks on which multitudes split; against these Job protests he was always careful to stand upon his guard. And God takes more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; let us therefore walk circumspectly. He carefully avoided all sinful means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure. What we have in the world may be used with comfort, or lost with comfort, if honestly gotten. Without strict honestly and faithfulness in all our dealings, we can have no good evidence of true godliness. Yet how many professors are unable to abide this touchstone!Then let me sow, and let another eat - This is the imprecation which he invokes, in case he had been guilty in this respect. He consented to sow his fields, and let others enjoy the harvest. The expression used here is common in the Scriptures to denote insecurity of property or calamity in general; see Leviticus 26:16 : "And ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it;" compare Deuteronomy 28:30; Amos 9:13-14.

Yea, let my offspring be rooted out - Or, rather, "Let what I plant be rooted up." So Umbreit, Noyes, Schultens, Rosenmuller, Herder, and Lee understand it. There is no evidence that he here alludes to his children, for the connection does not demand it, nor does the word used here require such an interpretation. The word צאצאים tse'ĕtsâ'iym - means properly shoots; that is, what springs out of anything - as the earth, or a tree - from יצא yâtsâ' - to go out, to go forth. It is applied to the productions of the earth in Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 34:1, and to children or posterity, in Isaiah 22:24; Isaiah 61:9; Isaiah 65:23; Job 5:25; Job 21:8. Here it refers evidently to the productions of the earth; and the idea is, that if he had been guilty of dishonesty or fraud in his dealings, he wished that all that he had sowed should be rooted up.

8. Apodosis to Job 31:5, 7; the curses which he imprecates on himself, if he had done these things (Le 26:16; Am 9:14; Ps 128:2).

offspring—rather, "what I plant," my harvests.

Let strangers enjoy the fruit of my labours, according to God’s curse, Leviticus 26:16 Deu 28:30.

My offspring; as this word is used, Job 5:25 27:14. Or rather, my increase, or growths, or sprouts, i.e. all my plants, and fruits, and improvements. For,

1. So the word properly signifies.

2. So this latter branch of the verse explains the former, as is most frequent in this and some other books of Scripture.

3. He had not now any children to be rooted out.

Then let me sow, and another eat,.... If what he had before said was not true; but he had turned out of the way of righteousness, and walked after the sight of his eyes, and the mammon of unrighteousness cleaved to his hands; then he wishes might sow his fields, and another enjoy the increase of them, which is one of God's judgments threatened unto the wicked and disobedient, Leviticus 26:16;

let my offspring be rooted out; but Job had no offspring or children at this time to be rooted out or destroyed; they were all destroyed already; some think therefore that this imprecation was made by him in the time of his prosperity, though here repeated as it was then, he made a covenant with his eyes; but then this might have been improved against him and retorted on him, that so it was according to his wish; and therefore he must have been guilty of the sin he would have purged himself from; others suppose that he refers to the future, and to the offspring he hoped to have hereafter; and when he should have them, wishes they may be rooted out, if he had done what he denies he had; but it does not appear that Job had any hope at all of being restored to his former state of prosperity, and of being possessed of a family and substance again, but the reverse. Gussetius (a) will have it, that he means his grandchildren; those indeed are sometimes called a man's children, and may propriety be said to be his offspring, they springing frown him; and it is possible, that, as his sons were settled from him, they were married and had children; but this is not certain, or, if they had any, that these were not destroyed with them; wherefore it is best to take the word (b) in its first and literal sense, for what springs out of the earth, herbs, plants, and trees, as in Isaiah 42:5; so Ben Gersom and Bar Tzemach, and which best agrees with the phrase of being "rooted out", and with what goes before; that as he had wished that which was sown in his fields might be eaten up by another, so what was planted and grew up in his gardens, orchards, vineyards, and olive yards, and the like, might be quite rooted out and destroyed; if he was not the man he declared himself to be, or had wronged any of their goods and property, then this would have been a just retaliation of him.

(a) Comment. Ebr. p. 338. (b) "germina mea", Beza, Montanus, Mercerus, Drusius, Michaelis, Schultens.

Then let me sow, and let another {f} eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

(f) According to the curse of the law, De 28:33.

8. The imprecation.

let my offspring be rooted out] Rather, let my produce, i. e. what springs out of that which I have planted or sown; comp. Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:33.

Verse 8. - Then let me sow, and let another eat (comp. Job 5:5; Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:33, 51, etc.). The expression is proverbial. Yea, lot my offspring be rooted out; rather, my produce, or the produce of my field (see the Revised Version). Job 31:8 5 If I had intercourse with falsehood,

And my foot hastened after deceit:

6 Let Him weigh me in the balances of justice,

And let Eloah know my innocence.

7 If my steps turned aside from the way,

And my heart followed mine eyes,

And any spot hath cleaved to my hands:

8 May I sow and another eat,

And let my shoots be rooted out.

We have translated שׁוא (on the form vid., on Job 15:31, and the idea on Job 11:11) falsehood, for it signifies desolateness and hollowness under a concealing mask, therefore the contradiction between what is without and within, lying and deceit, parall. מרמה, deceit, delusion, imposition. The phrase הלך עם־שׁוא is based on the personification of deceit, or on thinking of it in connection with the מתי־שׁוא (Job 11:11). The form ותּחשׁ cannot be derived from חוּשׁ, from which it ought to be ותּחשׁ, like ויּסר Judges 4:18 and freq., ויּשׂר (serravit) 1 Chronicles 20:3, ויּעט (increpavit) 1 Samuel 25:14. Many grammarians (Ges. 72, rem. 9; Olsh. 257, g) explain the Pathach instead of Kametz as arising from the virtual doubling of the guttural (Dagesh forte implicitum), for which, however, no ground exists here; Ewald (232, b) explains it by "the hastening of the tone towards the beginning," which explains nothing, since the retreat of the tone has not this effect anywhere else. We must content ourselves with the supposition that ותּחשׁ is formed from a חשׁה having a similar meaning to חוּשׁ (חישׁ), as also ויּעט, 1 Samuel 15:19, comp. 1 Samuel 14:32, is from a עטח of similar signification with עיט. The hypothetical antecedent, Job 31:5, is followed by the conclusion, Job 31:6 : If he have done this, may God not spare him. He has, however, not done it; and if God puts him to an impartial trial, He will learn his תּמּה, integritas, purity of character. The "balance of justice" is the balance of the final judgment, which the Arabs call Arab. mı̂zân 'l-a‛mâl, "the balance of actions (works)."

(Note: The manual of ethics by Ghazzli is entitled mı̂zân el-a‛mâl in the original, מאזני צדק in Bar-Chisdai's translation, vid., Gosche on Ghazzli's life and works, S. 261 of the volume of the Berliner Akademie d. Wissensch. for 1858.)

Job 31:7 also begins hypothetically: if my steps (אשּׁוּרי from אשּׁוּר, which is used alternately with אשׁוּר without distinction, contrary to Ew. 260, b) swerve (תּטּה, the predicate to the plur. which follows, designating a thing, according to Ges. 146, 3) from the way (i.e., the one right way), and my heart went after my eyes, i.e., if it followed the drawing of the lust of the eye, viz., to obtain by deceit or extortion the property of another, and if a spot (מאוּם, macula, as Daniel 1:4, equals מוּם, Job 11:15; according to Ew., equivalent to מחוּם, what is blackened and blackens, then a blemish, and according to Olsh., in מאוּמה...לא, like the French ne ... point) clave to my hands: I will sow, and let another eat, and let my shoots be rooted out. The poet uses צאצאים elsewhere of offspring of the body or posterity, Job 5:25; Job 21:8; Job 27:14; here, however, as in Isaiah, with whom he has this word in common, Job 34:2; Job 42:5, the produce of the ground is meant. Job 31:8 is, according to John 4:37, a λόγος, a proverb. In so far as he may have acted thus, Job calls down upon himself the curse of Deuteronomy 38:20f.: what he sows, let strangers reap and eat; and even when that which is sown does not fall into the hands of strangers, let it be uprooted.

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