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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 31

Verses 1-40

Job 31:1 . A maid. The LXX, followed by the Chaldaic, read virgin; but our English version has the most ancient support. Job was pure and spotless in conversation with women. He abhorred seduction, and all its associate crimes. Genesis 34:0.

Job 31:28 . I should have denied the God that is above. Job here describes the manner in which the ancient Sabian idolaters worshipped the sun, moon, and stars, by kissing the hand; and his abhorrence of it shows that he was himself educated in the faith of Abraham. A French traveller in Louisiana describes the manner in which the Indians on certain mornings go to the top of a hill to see the rising sun, and blow towards him a full quiff of tobacco. The names of the planets are confirmations of this idolatry; and if ascribing the omnipresence of the Deity to an idol be the very essence of idolatry, let that idol be what it may; what a condition must the poor papists be in, who everywhere pray to the Virgin Mary, as though she was more merciful than her Son!

Job 31:30 . Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin. Hebrews “I have not permitted my palace [or household] to sin, in wishing his death with a curse.”

Job 31:33 . As Adam; a name in Hebrew common for man. It is the moderns only who translate it as the name of our first father. The LXX read, If when I offended inadvertently, I had concealed my sin. Jerome reads, concealed it after the manner of men. The readings in ancient versions make no reference to Adam. He hid himself, not his sin. The wide variations of the versions, mark obscurity in the original, through the latter part of this chapter.


Job, still continuing his defence against the sharp and pointed words of his friends, avers that his life, which in the patriarchal age was one of great licence, had been clothed with the glory of chastity; that he stood clear of seduction, and of the great sin of waiting at his neighbour’s door.

Job regards the punishment of those crimes as only capable of partial remission, even where repentance may follow. If those sins be mine, let me sow, and let another reap. Yea, let me die, and let my widow grind as a servant at the mill, and let another bow down to her; for adultery is a heinous crime.

The chaste and holy patriarch rises next, above all the lower clouds of darkness and obloquy: his charities were wider than the wants of indigence. He had not eaten his morsel alone; the hungry had been fed by his bounty, the naked had been clothed with the wool of his flocks, and the stranger lodged in his bourne.

He had not, like the blind and griping sons of earth, made gold his hope; nor joined the sabian idolatry, in raising his hand to the hosts of heaven.

Inspired of God with a noble mind, he had never rejoiced when his neighbour fell into poverty and ruin; that would to him be unhallowed joy; he would rather rejoice in all the fruits of grace which adorned his character, as the husbandman rejoices over his laughing field. Such was the triumph, and such the joy of holy Job. Oh believer, may this also be thy happy lot in the time of affliction.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 31". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.