Job 31:11
For this is an heinous crime; yes, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 31:11-12. For this is a heinous crime — Namely, adultery, whether committed by choice and design, or by the solicitation of a woman; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished, &c. — Hebrew, an iniquity of the judges; which it belongs to them to take cognizance of, and to punish, even with death; and that not only by the law of Moses, but even by the law of nature, as appears from the known laws and customs of the heathen nations. For it is a fire that consumeth, &c. — Lust is a fire in the soul; it consumes all that is good there, convictions of sin, desires after God, devout affections, pious resolutions, holy comforts, and lays the conscience waste. The sin of adultery, or fornication, consumes the body, the reputation, the substance, rooting out all the increase: it kindles the fire of God’s wrath, which, if not quenched by the blood of Christ, in consequence of repentance and faith in him, will burn to the lowest hell.31:9-15 All the defilements of the life come from a deceived heart. Lust is a fire in the soul: those that indulge it, are said to burn. It consumes all that is good there, and lays the conscience waste. It kindles the fire of God's wrath, which, if not quenched by the blood of Christ, will consume even to eternal destruction. It consumes the body; it consumes the substance. Burning lusts bring burning judgments. Job had a numerous household, and he managed it well. He considered that he had a Master in heaven; and as we are undone if God should be severe with us, we ought to be mild and gentle towards all with whom we have to do.For this is an heinous crime - This expresses Job's sense of the enormity of such an offence. He felt that there was no palliation for it; he would in no way, and on no pretence, attempt to vindicate it.

An iniquity to be punished by the judges - A crime for the judges to determine on and decide. The sins which Job had specified before this, were those of the heart; but here he refers to a crime against society - an offence which deserved the interposition of the magistrate. It may be observed here, that adultery has always been regarded as a sin "to be punished by the judges." In most countries it has been punished with death; see the notes at John 8:5.

11. In the earliest times punished with death (Ge 38:24). So in later times (De 22:22). Heretofore he had spoken only of sins against conscience; now, one against the community, needing the cognizance of the judge. To wit, adultery, whether committed by choice and design, or by the solicitation of the woman, Job 31:9. Heb. an iniquity of the judges, i.e. which belongs to them to take cognizance of, and to punish, and that with death; and that not only by the law of Moses, Deu 22:22, but even by the law of nature, as appears from the known laws and customs of heathen nations in that case. See also Genesis 38:24. This is opposed to those secret and lesser sins, which are only known to and punished by God. For this is an heinous crime,.... Adultery; it is contrary to the light of nature, and is condemned by it as a great sin, Genesis 20:9; as well as contrary to the express will and law of God, Exodus 20:14; and, though all sin is a transgression of the law of God, and deserving of death; yet there are some sins greater and more heinous than others, being attended with aggravating circumstances; and such is this sin, it is a breach of the marriage contract and covenant between man and wife; it is doing injury to a man's property, and to that which is the nearest and dearest to him, and is what introduces confusion into families, kingdoms, and states; and therefore it follows:

yea, it is an iniquity to he punished by the judges; who might take cognizance of it, examine into it, and pass sentence for it, and execute it; and, if they neglect do their duty, God, the Judge of all the earth, will punish for it in the world to come, unless repented of: "for whoremongers and adulterers God will judge", Hebrews 13:4; the punishment of adultery was death by the law of God, and that by stoning, as appears from Leviticus 20:10; and it is remarkable, that the Heathens, who were ignorant of this law, enjoined the same punishment for it; so Homer (e) introduces Hector reproving Paris for this sin, and suggests to him, that if he had his deserved punishment, he would have been clothed with a "stone coat", as he beautifully expresses it; which Suidas (f) explains, by being overwhelmed with stones, or stoned; as Eustathius (g).

(e) Iliad. 3. v. 57. (f) In voce (g) In Homer. ibid.

For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. a heinous crime] Or, an enormity, Hosea 6:9 marg.; cf. Leviticus 18:17. Adultery was a capital crime in Israel, Deuteronomy 22:22; John 8:5.Verse 11. - For this is an heinous crime. The crime of adultery subverts the family relation, on which it has pleased God to erect the entire fabric of human society. Hence, in the Jewish Law, adultery was made a capital offence (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22), both in the woman and in the man. Among other nations the adulteress was commonly punished with death, but the adulterer escaped scot-free. In modern communities adultery is mostly regarded, not as a crime, but as a civil wrong, on account of which an action lies against the adulterer. It is an iniquity to be punished by the judges; literally, it is an iniquity of judges; i.e. one of which judges take cognizance. 5 If I had intercourse with falsehood,

And my foot hastened after deceit:

6 Let Him weigh me in the balances of justice,

And let Eloah know my innocence.

7 If my steps turned aside from the way,

And my heart followed mine eyes,

And any spot hath cleaved to my hands:

8 May I sow and another eat,

And let my shoots be rooted out.

We have translated שׁוא (on the form vid., on Job 15:31, and the idea on Job 11:11) falsehood, for it signifies desolateness and hollowness under a concealing mask, therefore the contradiction between what is without and within, lying and deceit, parall. מרמה, deceit, delusion, imposition. The phrase הלך עם־שׁוא is based on the personification of deceit, or on thinking of it in connection with the מתי־שׁוא (Job 11:11). The form ותּחשׁ cannot be derived from חוּשׁ, from which it ought to be ותּחשׁ, like ויּסר Judges 4:18 and freq., ויּשׂר (serravit) 1 Chronicles 20:3, ויּעט (increpavit) 1 Samuel 25:14. Many grammarians (Ges. 72, rem. 9; Olsh. 257, g) explain the Pathach instead of Kametz as arising from the virtual doubling of the guttural (Dagesh forte implicitum), for which, however, no ground exists here; Ewald (232, b) explains it by "the hastening of the tone towards the beginning," which explains nothing, since the retreat of the tone has not this effect anywhere else. We must content ourselves with the supposition that ותּחשׁ is formed from a חשׁה having a similar meaning to חוּשׁ (חישׁ), as also ויּעט, 1 Samuel 15:19, comp. 1 Samuel 14:32, is from a עטח of similar signification with עיט. The hypothetical antecedent, Job 31:5, is followed by the conclusion, Job 31:6 : If he have done this, may God not spare him. He has, however, not done it; and if God puts him to an impartial trial, He will learn his תּמּה, integritas, purity of character. The "balance of justice" is the balance of the final judgment, which the Arabs call Arab. mı̂zân 'l-a‛mâl, "the balance of actions (works)."

(Note: The manual of ethics by Ghazzli is entitled mı̂zân el-a‛mâl in the original, מאזני צדק in Bar-Chisdai's translation, vid., Gosche on Ghazzli's life and works, S. 261 of the volume of the Berliner Akademie d. Wissensch. for 1858.)

Job 31:7 also begins hypothetically: if my steps (אשּׁוּרי from אשּׁוּר, which is used alternately with אשׁוּר without distinction, contrary to Ew. 260, b) swerve (תּטּה, the predicate to the plur. which follows, designating a thing, according to Ges. 146, 3) from the way (i.e., the one right way), and my heart went after my eyes, i.e., if it followed the drawing of the lust of the eye, viz., to obtain by deceit or extortion the property of another, and if a spot (מאוּם, macula, as Daniel 1:4, equals מוּם, Job 11:15; according to Ew., equivalent to מחוּם, what is blackened and blackens, then a blemish, and according to Olsh., in מאוּמה...לא, like the French ne ... point) clave to my hands: I will sow, and let another eat, and let my shoots be rooted out. The poet uses צאצאים elsewhere of offspring of the body or posterity, Job 5:25; Job 21:8; Job 27:14; here, however, as in Isaiah, with whom he has this word in common, Job 34:2; Job 42:5, the produce of the ground is meant. Job 31:8 is, according to John 4:37, a λόγος, a proverb. In so far as he may have acted thus, Job calls down upon himself the curse of Deuteronomy 38:20f.: what he sows, let strangers reap and eat; and even when that which is sown does not fall into the hands of strangers, let it be uprooted.

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