Job 31:15
Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Did not he that made me in the womb make him?—He here meets the charges of Eliphaz (Job 22:6-7; Job 22:9).

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.Did not he that made me in the womb make him? - Had we not one and the same Creator, and have we not consequently the same nature? We may observe in regard to this sentiment, (1.) That it indicates a very advanced state of view in regard to man. The attempt has been always made by those who wish to tyrannize over others, or who aim to make slaves of others, to show that they are of a different race, and that in the design for which they were made, they are wholly inferior. Arguments have been derived from their complexion, from their supposed inferiority of intellect, and the deep degradation of their condition, often little above that of brutes, to prove that they were originally inferior to the rest of mankind. On this the plea has been often urged, and oftener felt than urged, that it is right to reduce them to slavery. Since this feeling so early existed, and since there is so much that may be plausibly said in defense of it, it shows that Job had derived his views from something more than the speculations of people, and the desire of power, when he says that he regarded all people as originally equal, and as having the same Creator. It is in fact a sentiment which people have been practically very reluctant to believe, and which works its way very slowly even yet on the earth; compare Acts 17:26. (2.) This sentiment, if fairly embraced and carried out, would soon destroy slavery everywhere.

If people felt that they were reducing to bondage those who were originally on a level with themselves - made by the same God, with the same faculties, and for the same end; if they felt that in their very origin, in their nature, there was that which could not be made mere property, it would soon abolish the whole system. It is kept up only where people endeavor to convince themselves that there is some original inferiority in the slave which makes it proper that he should be reduced to servitude and be held as property. But as soon as there can be diffused abroad the sentiment of Paul, that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men," Acts 17:26, or the sentiment of the patriarch Job, that "the same God made us and them in the womb," that moment the shackles of the slave will fall, and he will be free. Hence it is apparent, how Christianity, that carries this lesson on its fore-front, is the grand remedy for the evils of slavery, and needs only to be universally diffused to bring the system to an end.

And did not one fashion us in the womb - Margin, Or, did he not fashion us in one womb? The Hebrew will bear either construction, but the parallelism rather requires that given in the text, and most expositors agree in this interpretation. The sentiment is, whichever interpretation be adopted, that they had a common origin; that God would watch over them alike as his children; and that, therefore, they had equal rights.

15. Slaveholders try to defend themselves by maintaining the original inferiority of the slave. But Mal 2:10; Ac 17:26; Eph 6:9 make the common origin of masters and servants the argument for brotherly love being shown by the former to the latter. I considered that he was, though my servant, yet my fellow creature, made by the same God, and therefore one of God’s subjects, whom I could not abuse without the injury of his supreme Lord.

Did not one fashion us in the womb, Heb. did he not form us in one womb? not in one individual womb, but in a womb of the same kind, in a human womb, with a body and soul of the same nature and quality, a reasonable and immortal creature, and made after God’s image, no less than myself, to whom therefore I owed some respect for God’s sake. Did not he that made me in the womb make him?.... And her also, both his manservant and maidservant: these were made, by the Lord as Job was, and in a like place and manner as he himself; though parents are the instruments of begetting children, and of bringing them into the world, God is the Maker of men, as at the beginning, and all are alike made by him, in whatsoever rank, condition, and circumstance of life, whether masters or servants; and they are all fabricated in the same shop of nature, the womb of a woman:

and did not one fashion us in the womb? that is, he who is the one God, according to Malachi 2:10; God is one in nature and essence, though there are three Persons in the unity of the Godhead; and this one God, Father, Son, and Spirit, is the Creator of all men and things; hence we read of "Creators", Ecclesiastes 12:1; and, though one God makes the bodies and creates the souls of men now as at the first, and all are formed and fashioned by him, high, low, rich and poor, bond and free; and they have all the same rational powers and faculties of soul, Psalm 33:15; as well as the same curious art and skill are employed in forming and fashioning their bodies and the members of them, in the lower parts of the earth, in their mother's womb; yea, they are fashioned "in one womb" (h), as the words will better bear to be rendered according to the position of them in the original and the accents; not indeed in the same identical womb, but in a like one: there are two words in the original here, both translated "womb"; the one signifies the "ovarium", in which the conception is made; the other designs the "secundine", in which the fetus is wrapped or covered; for so it may be rendered, "did he not cover us?" &c. (i); though Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Ben Gersom, and others, interpret it of the one God as we do: Job's reasoning is, that seeing he and his servants were equally the workmanship of God, and both made in the womb by him, and curiously fashioned alike, and possessed of the same rational powers, it would be unreasonable in him to use them ill, who were his fellow creatures; and should he, he might expect the Maker of them both would highly resent it. Macrobius (k), an Heathen writer, gives a remarkable instance of the care heaven, as he expresses it, has of servants, and how much the contempt of it is resented thereby; and reasons much in the same manner concerning them as Job does here, that they are men, though servants; are of the same original, breathe in the same air, live and die as other men.

(h) , Sept. "in utero uno", Munster; so Beza, Drusius, Michaelis. (i) Saturnal. l. 1. c. 11. (k) Vid. Hackman. Praecidan. Sacr. p. 193.

Did not he that made me in the womb make {l} him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

(l) He was moved to show pity to servants, because they were God's creatures as he was.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9 If my heart has been befooled about a woman,

And if I lay in wait at my neighbour's door:

10 Let my wife grind unto another,

And let others bow down over her.

11 For this is an infamous act,

And this is a crime to be brought before judges;

12 Yea, it is a fire that consumeth to the abyss,

And should root out all my increase.

As he has guarded himself against defiling virgin innocence by lascivious glances, so is he also conscious of having made no attempt to trespass upon the marriage relationship of his neighbour (רע as in the Decalogue, Exodus 20:17): his heart was not persuaded, or he did not allow his heart to be persuaded (נפתּה like πείθεσθαι), i.e., misled, on account of a woman (אשּׁה as אשׁת אישׁ, in post-bibl. usage, of another's wife), and he lay not in wait (according to the manner of adulterous lovers described at Job 24:15, which see) at his neighbour's door. We may here, with Wetzstein, compare the like-minded confession in a poem of Muhdi ibn-Muhammel: Arab. mâ nabb klb 'l-jâr mnâ ẇlâ ‛awâ, i.e., "The neighbour's dog never barked (נב, Beduin equivalent to נבח in the Syrian towns and villages) on our account (because we have gone by night with an evil design to his tent), and it never howled (being beaten by us, to make it cease its barking lest it should betray us)." In Job 31:10 follows the punishment which he wishes might overtake him in case he had acted thus: "may my wife grind to another," i.e., may she become his "maid behind the mill," Exodus 11:5, comp. Isaiah 47:2, who must allow herself to be used for everything; ἀλετρίς and a common low woman (comp. Plutarch, non posse suav. viv. c. 21, καὶ παχυσκελὴς ἀλετρὶς πρὸς μύλην κινουμένη) are almost one and the same. On the other hand, the Targ. (coeat cum alio), lxx (euphemistically ἀρέσαι ἑτέρῳ, not, as the Syr. Hexapl. shows, ἀλέσαι), and Jer. (scortum sit alterius), and in like manner Saad., Gecat., understand תּטחן directly of carnal surrender; and, in fact, according to the traditional opinion, b. Sota 10a: אין טחינה אלא לשׁון עבירה, i.e., "טחן everywhere in Scripture is intended of (carnal) trespass." With reference to Judges 16:21 and Lamentations 5:13 (where טחון, like Arab. ṭaḥûn, signifies the upper mill-stone, or in gen. the mill), this is certainly incorrect; the parallel, as well as Deuteronomy 28:30, favours this rendering of the word in the obscene sense of μύλλειν, molere, in this passage, which also is seen under the Arab. synon. of grinding, Arab. dahaka (trudere); according to which it would have to be interpreted: let her grind to another, i.e., serve him as it were as a nether mill-stone. The verb טחן, used elsewhere (in Talmud.) of the man, would here be transferred to the woman, like as it is used of the mill itself as that which grinds. This rendering is therefore not refuted by its being תּטחן and not תּטּחן. Moreover, the word thus understood is not unworthy of the poet, since he designedly makes Job seize the strongest expressions. Among moderns, תטחן is thus tropically explained by Ew., Umbr., Hahn, and a few others, but most expositors prefer the proper sense, in connection with which molat certainly, especially with respect to Job 31:9, is also equivalent to fiat pellex. It is hard to decide; nevertheless the preponderance of reasons seems to us to be on the side of the traditional tropical rendering, by the side of which Job 31:10 is not attached in progressive, but in synonymous parallelism: et super ea incurvent se alii, כּרע of the man, as in the phrase Arab. kr‛t 'l-mrât 'lâ 'l-rjl (curvat se mulier ad virum) of the acquiescence of the woman; אחרין is a poetical Aramaism, Ew. 177, a. The sin of adultery, in case he had committed it, ought to be punished by another taking possession of his own wife, for that (הוּא a neutral masc., Keri היא in accordance with the fem. of the following predicate, comp. Leviticus 18:17) is an infamous act, and that (היא referring back to זמּה, Keri הוּא in accordance with the masc. of the following predicate) is a crime for the judges. On this wavering between הוא and היא vid., Gesenius, Handwrterbuch, 1863, s. v. הוּא, S. 225. זמּה is the usual Thora-word for the shameless subtle encroachments of sensual desires (vid., Saalschtz, Mosaisches Recht, S. 791f.), and פּלילים עון (not עון), according to the usual view equivalent to crimen et crimen quidem judicum (however, on the form of connection intentionally avoided here, where the genitival relation might easily give an erroneous sense, vid., Ges. 116, rem.), signifies a crime which falls within the province of the penal code, for which in Job 31:28 it is less harshly עון פּלילי: a judicial, i.e., criminal offence. פּלילים is, moreover, not the plur. of פּלילי (Kimchi), but of פּליל, an arbitrator (root פל, findere, dirimere).

The confirmatory clause, Job 31:12, is co-ordinate with the preceding: for it (this criminal, adulterous enterprise) is a fire, a fire consuming him who allows the sparks of sinful desire to rise up within him (Proverbs 6:27.; Sir. 9:8), which devours even to the bottom of the abyss, not resting before it has dragged him whom it has seized down with it into the deepest depth of ruin, and as it were melted him away, and which ought to root out all my produce (all the fruit of my labour).

(Note: It is something characteristically Semitic to express the notion of destruction by the figure of burning up with fire [vid. supra, p. 449, note], and it is so much used in the present day as a natural inalienable form of thought, that in curses and imprecations everything, without distinction of the object, is to be burned; e.g., juhrik, may (God) burn up, or juhrak, ought to burn, bilâduh, his native country, bedenuh, his body, ‛ênuh, his eye, shawâribuh, his moustache (i.e., his honour), nefesuh, his breath, ‛omruh, his life, etc. - Wetzst.)

The function of ב is questionable. Ew. (217, f) explains it as local: in my whole revenue, i.e., throughout my whole domain. But it can also be Beth objecti, whether it be that the obj. is conceived as the means of the action (vid., on Job 16:4-5, Job 16:10; Job 20:20), or that, "corresponding to the Greek genitive, it does not express an entire full coincidence, but an action about and upon the object" (Ew. 217, S. 557). We take it as Beth obj. in the latter sense, after the analogy of the so-called pleonastic Arab. b (e.g., qaraa bi-suwari, he has practised the act of reading upon the Suras of the Koran); and which ought to undertake the act of outrooting upon my whole produce.

(Note: On this pleonastic Beth obj. (el-Bâ el-mezı̂de) vid., Samachschari's Mufassal, ed. Broch, pp. 125, 132 (according to which it serves "to give intensity and speciality"), and Beidhwi's observation on Sur. ii. 191. The most usual example for it is alqa bi-jedeihi ila et-tahlike, he has plunged his hands, i.e., himself, into ruin. The Bâ el-megâz (the metaphorical Beth obj.) is similar; it is used where the verb has not its most natural signification but a metaphorical one, e.g., ashada bidhikrihi, he has strengthened his memory: comp. De Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe, i. 397.)

Links
Job 31:15 Interlinear
Job 31:15 Parallel Texts


Job 31:15 NIV
Job 31:15 NLT
Job 31:15 ESV
Job 31:15 NASB
Job 31:15 KJV

Job 31:15 Bible Apps
Job 31:15 Parallel
Job 31:15 Biblia Paralela
Job 31:15 Chinese Bible
Job 31:15 French Bible
Job 31:15 German Bible

Bible Hub






Job 31:14
Top of Page
Top of Page