|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:16-23 Job's conscience gave testimony concerning his just and charitable behaviour toward the poor. He is most large upon this head, because in this matter he was particularly accused. He was tender of all, and hurtful to none. Notice the principles by which Job was restrained from being uncharitable and unmerciful. He stood in awe of the Lord, as certainly against him, if he should wrong the poor. Regard to worldly interests may restrain a man from actual crimes; but the grace of God alone can make him hate, dread, and shun sinful thoughts and desires.
Verse 18. - For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb; i.e. I have always, so long as I can remember, protected the orphan and done my best to help the widow. It has been my habit from my earliest years so to act. The language is exaggerated; but it had, no doubt, a basis of fact to rest upon. Job was brought up in these principles.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For from my youth he was brought up with me as with a father,.... That is, the poor or the fatherless, one or both; as soon as he was at years of discretion, and was capable of observing the distressed circumstances of others, he had a tender and compassionate regard to the poor and fatherless, and acted the part of a father to them; was as affectionately concerned for them as if he had been their father, and took such care of them as if they were his children; see Job 29:16;
and I have guided her from my mother's womb; the widow, by his counsel and advice; an hyperbolical expression, signifying how early he was a succourer of such persons, by giving his friendly advice, or needful assistance; the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "from my youth mercy grew up with me", &c. a merciful disposition, a compassionate regard to the poor and fatherless; this was as it were connatural to him; for though there is no good disposition really in man, without the grace of God, of which Job might early partake, yet there is a show of it in some persons, in comparison of others; some have a natural tender disposition to the poor, when others are naturally cruel and hardhearted to them; and so Mr. Broughton renders the words to this sense,
"for from my youth this grew with me as a father, and from my mother did I tender it:''
but the first sense seems best.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Parenthetical: asserting that he did the contrary to the things in Job 31:16, 17.
guided her—namely, the widow, by advice and protection. On this and "a father," see Job 29:16.
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