|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:33-40 Job clears himself from the charge of hypocrisy. We are loth to confess our faults, willing to excuse them, and to lay the blame upon others. But he that thus covers his sins, shall not prosper, Pr 28:13. He speaks of his courage in what is good, as an evidence of his sincerity in it. When men get estates unjustly, they are justly deprived of comfort from them; it was sown wheat, but shall come up thistles. What men do not come honestly by, will never do them any good. The words of Job are ended. They end with a bold assertion, that, with respect to accusation against his moral and religious character as the cause for his sufferings, he could appeal to God. But, however confident Job was, we shall see he was mistaken, chap. 40:4,5; 1Jo 1:8. Let us all judge ourselves; wherein we are guilty, let us seek forgiveness in that blood which cleanseth from all sin; and may the Lord have mercy upon us, and write his laws in our hearts!
Verses 38-40. - It is generally supposed that these verses, with the exception of the last clause of ver. 40, are misplaced. As a termination, they form an anti-climax, and greatly weaken the peroration. Their proper place would seem to be between vers. 32 and 33. Verse 38. - If my land cry against me; i.e. if my land disclaim my ownership, as having been acquired by wrong or robbery. If the furrows likewise thereof complain; or, weep, as having been torn from their rightful proprietors, and seized by a stranger. The apodosis is in ver. 40.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
If my land cry against me,.... Some think that this verse and Job 31:39 stand out of their place, and should rather follow after Job 31:34; and some place them after Job 31:25; and others after Job 31:8; but this is the order of them in all copies and versions, as they stand in our Bibles; and here, after Job had expressed his desire to have a hearer and judge of his cause, and his charge exhibited in writing, and his confidence of the issue of it, should it be granted, returns to his former subject, to clear himself from any notorious vice he was suspected of or charged with; and as he had gone through what might respect him in private life, here he gives another instance in public life, with which he concludes; namely, purging himself from tyranny and oppression, with which his friends had charged him without any proof; and he denies that the land he lived on was possessed of, and of which he was the proprietor, cried against him as being unjustly gotten, either by fraud or by force, from others; or as being ill used by him either as being too much cultivated, having never any rest, or lying fallow; and so much weakened and drained of its strength, or neglected and overrun with weeds, thorns, and thistles; or on account of the dressers and tillers of it being badly dealt with, either overworked, or not having sufficiency of food, or their wages, detained from them; all which are crying sins, and by reason of which the land by a figure may be said to cry out as the stone out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber, because of the sins of spoil, violence, oppression, and covetousness, Habakkuk 2:11;
or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; or "weep" (a), on account of the like ill usage. Jarchi, and so the Midrash, interpret this of not allowing the forgotten sheaf and corner of the field to the poor, and detaining the tithes; and of ploughing and making furrows with an ox and an ass together; but the laws respecting these things were not yet in being; and if they had been, were only binding on Israelites, and not on Job, and the men of his country.
(a) "defleant", Pagninus, Montanus; "flent", Beza, Piscator, Cocceius, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. Personification. The complaints of the unjustly ousted proprietors are transferred to the lands themselves (Job 31:20; Ge 4:10; Hab 2:11). If I have unjustly acquired lands (Job 24:2; Isa 5:8).
furrows—The specification of these makes it likely, he implies in this, "If I paid not the laborer for tillage"; as Job 31:39, "If I paid him not for gathering in the fruits." Thus of the four clauses in Job 31:38, 39, the first refers to the same subject as the fourth, the second is connected with the third by introverted parallelism. Compare Jas 5:4, which plainly alludes to this passage: compare "Lord of Sabaoth" with Job 31:26 here.
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