Job 31:18
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),

King James Bible
(For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)

American Standard Version
(Nay, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, And her have I guided from my mother's womb);

Douay-Rheims Bible
(For from my infancy mercy grew up with me: and it came out with me from my mother's womb :)

English Revised Version
(Nay, from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, and I have been her guide from my mother's womb;)

Webster's Bible Translation
(For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)

Job 31:18 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

9 If my heart has been befooled about a woman,

And if I lay in wait at my neighbour's door:

10 Let my wife grind unto another,

And let others bow down over her.

11 For this is an infamous act,

And this is a crime to be brought before judges;

12 Yea, it is a fire that consumeth to the abyss,

And should root out all my increase.

As he has guarded himself against defiling virgin innocence by lascivious glances, so is he also conscious of having made no attempt to trespass upon the marriage relationship of his neighbour (רע as in the Decalogue, Exodus 20:17): his heart was not persuaded, or he did not allow his heart to be persuaded (נפתּה like πείθεσθαι), i.e., misled, on account of a woman (אשּׁה as אשׁת אישׁ, in post-bibl. usage, of another's wife), and he lay not in wait (according to the manner of adulterous lovers described at Job 24:15, which see) at his neighbour's door. We may here, with Wetzstein, compare the like-minded confession in a poem of Muhdi ibn-Muhammel: Arab. mâ nabb klb 'l-jâr mnâ ẇlâ ‛awâ, i.e., "The neighbour's dog never barked (נב, Beduin equivalent to נבח in the Syrian towns and villages) on our account (because we have gone by night with an evil design to his tent), and it never howled (being beaten by us, to make it cease its barking lest it should betray us)." In Job 31:10 follows the punishment which he wishes might overtake him in case he had acted thus: "may my wife grind to another," i.e., may she become his "maid behind the mill," Exodus 11:5, comp. Isaiah 47:2, who must allow herself to be used for everything; ἀλετρίς and a common low woman (comp. Plutarch, non posse suav. viv. c. 21, καὶ παχυσκελὴς ἀλετρὶς πρὸς μύλην κινουμένη) are almost one and the same. On the other hand, the Targ. (coeat cum alio), lxx (euphemistically ἀρέσαι ἑτέρῳ, not, as the Syr. Hexapl. shows, ἀλέσαι), and Jer. (scortum sit alterius), and in like manner Saad., Gecat., understand תּטחן directly of carnal surrender; and, in fact, according to the traditional opinion, b. Sota 10a: אין טחינה אלא לשׁון עבירה, i.e., "טחן everywhere in Scripture is intended of (carnal) trespass." With reference to Judges 16:21 and Lamentations 5:13 (where טחון, like Arab. ṭaḥûn, signifies the upper mill-stone, or in gen. the mill), this is certainly incorrect; the parallel, as well as Deuteronomy 28:30, favours this rendering of the word in the obscene sense of μύλλειν, molere, in this passage, which also is seen under the Arab. synon. of grinding, Arab. dahaka (trudere); according to which it would have to be interpreted: let her grind to another, i.e., serve him as it were as a nether mill-stone. The verb טחן, used elsewhere (in Talmud.) of the man, would here be transferred to the woman, like as it is used of the mill itself as that which grinds. This rendering is therefore not refuted by its being תּטחן and not תּטּחן. Moreover, the word thus understood is not unworthy of the poet, since he designedly makes Job seize the strongest expressions. Among moderns, תטחן is thus tropically explained by Ew., Umbr., Hahn, and a few others, but most expositors prefer the proper sense, in connection with which molat certainly, especially with respect to Job 31:9, is also equivalent to fiat pellex. It is hard to decide; nevertheless the preponderance of reasons seems to us to be on the side of the traditional tropical rendering, by the side of which Job 31:10 is not attached in progressive, but in synonymous parallelism: et super ea incurvent se alii, כּרע of the man, as in the phrase Arab. kr‛t 'l-mrât 'lâ 'l-rjl (curvat se mulier ad virum) of the acquiescence of the woman; אחרין is a poetical Aramaism, Ew. 177, a. The sin of adultery, in case he had committed it, ought to be punished by another taking possession of his own wife, for that (הוּא a neutral masc., Keri היא in accordance with the fem. of the following predicate, comp. Leviticus 18:17) is an infamous act, and that (היא referring back to זמּה, Keri הוּא in accordance with the masc. of the following predicate) is a crime for the judges. On this wavering between הוא and היא vid., Gesenius, Handwrterbuch, 1863, s. v. הוּא, S. 225. זמּה is the usual Thora-word for the shameless subtle encroachments of sensual desires (vid., Saalschtz, Mosaisches Recht, S. 791f.), and פּלילים עון (not עון), according to the usual view equivalent to crimen et crimen quidem judicum (however, on the form of connection intentionally avoided here, where the genitival relation might easily give an erroneous sense, vid., Ges. 116, rem.), signifies a crime which falls within the province of the penal code, for which in Job 31:28 it is less harshly עון פּלילי: a judicial, i.e., criminal offence. פּלילים is, moreover, not the plur. of פּלילי (Kimchi), but of פּליל, an arbitrator (root פל, findere, dirimere).

The confirmatory clause, Job 31:12, is co-ordinate with the preceding: for it (this criminal, adulterous enterprise) is a fire, a fire consuming him who allows the sparks of sinful desire to rise up within him (Proverbs 6:27.; Sir. 9:8), which devours even to the bottom of the abyss, not resting before it has dragged him whom it has seized down with it into the deepest depth of ruin, and as it were melted him away, and which ought to root out all my produce (all the fruit of my labour).

(Note: It is something characteristically Semitic to express the notion of destruction by the figure of burning up with fire [vid. supra, p. 449, note], and it is so much used in the present day as a natural inalienable form of thought, that in curses and imprecations everything, without distinction of the object, is to be burned; e.g., juhrik, may (God) burn up, or juhrak, ought to burn, bilâduh, his native country, bedenuh, his body, ‛ênuh, his eye, shawâribuh, his moustache (i.e., his honour), nefesuh, his breath, ‛omruh, his life, etc. - Wetzst.)

The function of ב is questionable. Ew. (217, f) explains it as local: in my whole revenue, i.e., throughout my whole domain. But it can also be Beth objecti, whether it be that the obj. is conceived as the means of the action (vid., on Job 16:4-5, Job 16:10; Job 20:20), or that, "corresponding to the Greek genitive, it does not express an entire full coincidence, but an action about and upon the object" (Ew. 217, S. 557). We take it as Beth obj. in the latter sense, after the analogy of the so-called pleonastic Arab. b (e.g., qaraa bi-suwari, he has practised the act of reading upon the Suras of the Koran); and which ought to undertake the act of outrooting upon my whole produce.

(Note: On this pleonastic Beth obj. (el-Bâ el-mezı̂de) vid., Samachschari's Mufassal, ed. Broch, pp. 125, 132 (according to which it serves "to give intensity and speciality"), and Beidhwi's observation on Sur. ii. 191. The most usual example for it is alqa bi-jedeihi ila et-tahlike, he has plunged his hands, i.e., himself, into ruin. The Bâ el-megâz (the metaphorical Beth obj.) is similar; it is used where the verb has not its most natural signification but a metaphorical one, e.g., ashada bidhikrihi, he has strengthened his memory: comp. De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe, i. 397.)

Job 31:18 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

her. that is, the widow

Cross References
Job 22:9
You have sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.

Job 31:17
or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it

Job 31:19
if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering,

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