|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 23. - For destruction from God was a terror to me. I could not, i.e., have acted in the way charged against me by Eliphaz, since I was always God-fearing, and should have been deterred, if by nothing else, at any rate by dread of the Divine vengeance. And by reason of his highness I could not endure. God's majesty and excellency are such that I could not have had the face to resist them. If! had begun such a course of life as Eliphaz laid to my charge (Job 22:5-9), I could not have persisted in it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For destruction from God was a terror to me,.... Though he feared not men, they being at his beck and command, ready to do any thing for him he should order, yet he feared God; and the dread of his resentment, and of destruction from him the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, had such an influence on him as to deter and keep him from all unkindness to the poor, and in justice to the fatherless; he dreaded the destruction of himself, his family, and substance in this world, and everlasting destruction of soul and body in the world to come; which of all things is to be feared, Matthew 10:28; and Old Testament saints were much under a spirit of bondage to fear, and were actuated thereby; and, though Job might not be under any dread of eternal damnation, knowing his interest in the living Redeemer; yet he might fear temporal destruction, as it is certain he did; which thing he feared came upon him, though not for any crime or crimes he was guilty of, see Job 30:25; he might fear, as a good man may, the chastisements and corrections of his heavenly Father:
and by reason of his highness I could not endure; God is higher than the highest angels, or men; he is above all gods, so called; he is God over all, blessed for ever; and such is his height, his glory, and his majesty, that it is terrible, and the dread of them makes men afraid; nor can any sinner stand before him, nor withstand him, nor hope to prevail against him, nor flee from his presence, nor escape out of his hand, nor bear his wrath and indignation, and the coming down of his arm; for what hands can be strong, or heart endure, when the almighty God deals with them? or Job's sense may be, that such an awe of the divine Being was always upon him, that he could not do any unkind thing to the poor, or unjust one to the fatherless.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. For—that is, the reason why Job guarded against such sins. Fear of God, though he could escape man's judgment (Ge 39:9). Umbreit more spiritedly translates, Yea, destruction and terror from God might have befallen me (had I done so): mere fear not being the motive.
endure—I could have availed nothing against it.
Job 31:23 Parallel Commentaries
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