Job 31:28
This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) By the judge.—Rather, perhaps, by my judge, i.e., God; unless, indeed, there be any reference to the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 17:2-7), which does not seem likely.

Job 31:28. This also were an iniquity — No less than the other fore- mentioned sins of adultery, oppression, &c.; to be punished by the judge — The civil magistrate; who, being advanced and protected by God, is obliged to maintain and vindicate his honour, and consequently to punish idolatry. For I should have denied God — Not directly, but by consequence, because this was to rob God of his prerogative, by giving to the creature that worship which is peculiar to God.31:24-32 Job protests, 1. That he never set his heart upon the wealth of this world. How few prosperous professors can appeal to the Lord, that they have not rejoiced because their gains were great! Through the determination to be rich, numbers ruin their souls, or pierce themselves with many sorrows. 2. He never was guilty of idolatry. The source of idolatry is in the heart, and it corrupts men, and provokes God to send judgments upon a nation. 3. He neither desired nor delighted in the hurt of the worst enemy he had. If others bear malice to us, that will not justify us in bearing malice to them. 4. He had never been unkind to strangers. Hospitality is a Christian duty, 1Pe 4:9.This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judqe - Note Job 31:11. Among the Hebrews idolatry was an offence punishable by death by stoning; Deuteronomy 17:2-7. It is possible, also, that this might have been elsewhere in the patriarchal times a crime punishable in this manner. At all events, Job regarded it as a heinous offence, and one of which the magistrate ought to take cognizance.

For I should have denied the God that is above - The worship of the heavenly bodies would have been in fact the denial of the existence of any Superior Being. This, in fact, always occurs, for idolaters have no knowledge of the true God.

28. The Mosaic law embodied subsequently the feeling of the godly from the earliest times against idolatry, as deserving judicial penalties: being treason against the Supreme King (De 13:9; 17:2-7; Eze 8:14-18). This passage therefore does not prove Job to have been subsequent to Moses. This also, no less than the other forementioned sins, adultery, oppression, &c.

By the judge, i.e. by the civil magistrate; who being advanced and protected by God, is obliged to maintain and vindicate his honour, and consequently to punish idolatry. And this did not cease to be his duty, although the magistrates of the world in Job’s time were so far from this, that they themselves also were idolaters. Yet considering that both Job and his friends, who lived in his time and neighbourhood, were most probably the posterity or kindred of Abraham and his family, and by him or his instructed in the knowledge of the true God, and were also men of great power and authority in their places; it seems most likely that they did restrain and punish idolatry in their several jurisdictions, or at least in their own large and numerous families, where the masters anciently had power of life and death without control.

I should have denied God; not directly, (for nothing is more evident than this, that divers of the wiser heathens, who did worship the sun and moon, did yet acknowledge and adore the sovereign and supreme God over and above all,) but by consequence and construction, because this was to rob God of his prerogative, by giving to the creature that religious honour or worship which is peculiar to God.

That is above; who is above the sun and moon, not only in place, his glorious mansion and palace being far above all visible heavens, but also in power and dignity, or adorable excellency. This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge,.... As well as adultery, Job 31:11; by the civil magistrates and judges of the earth, who are God's vicegerents, and therefore it behooves them to take cognizance of such an iniquity, and to punish for it, which affects in so peculiar a manner the honour and worship of the true God; this by the law of Moses was punished by stoning to death, Deuteronomy 13:9; however this will be taken notice of and punished by God the Judge of all, whose law is broken hereby, and who will visit this iniquity more especially on those who commit it, and their posterity after them. Idolaters of every sort shall have their part and portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, Exodus 20:3; the consideration of its being such a heinous sin, and so deserving of punishment, deterred Job from it; the Targum paraphrases it, a most amazing iniquity, it being, as follows, a denial of the true God:

for I should have denied the God that is above; that is, had he worshipped the sun and moon secretly or openly; for, as the atheist denies him in words, the idolater denies him in facts, worshipping the creature besides the Creator, and giving his glory to another, and his praise to idols; which is a virtual denial of him, even of him who is above the sun and moon in place, being higher than the heavens; and in nature, excellency, and glory, being the Creator of them, and they his creatures; and in power and authority, who commands the sun, and it rises not, and has appointed the moon for seasons, Job 9:7.

This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is {t} above.

(t) By putting confidence in anything but in him alone.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. Comp. Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3-7. Such adoration would have been a “denial” of, or a being false to, God, the one spiritual God, above. Much more than a thousand years later Mohammed has still to say to his Arabs, “Worship not the sun, neither the moon: but worship God who created them,” Kor. ch. 41. A pretty fable is told also of Abraham—“When night closed over him he saw a star, and said, This is my Lord; but when it set he said, I love not those that set. And when he saw the moon appearing he said, This is my Lord; but when it set he said, Surely if my Lord direct me not aright I shall be of the people that go astray. And when he saw the sun rising he said, This is my Lord, this is the greatest; but when it set he said, O my people, verily I am clear of what ye associate with God; verily I have turned my face towards Him who hath created heaven and earth,” &c. Kor. ch. 6:76.Verse 28. - This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge (see the comment on ver. 11, adfin.). It is rightly concluded from this expression that, in the country and age of Job, the sort of idolatry which is here mentioned was practised by some, and also that it was legally punishable. For I should have denied the God that is above. The worship of any other god besides the supreme God is, practically, atheism, since "no man can serve two masters." Moreover, to set up two independent gods is to destroy the idea of God, which implies supremacy over every other being. 19 If I saw one perishing without clothing,

And that the needy had no covering;

20 If his loins blessed me not,

And he did not warm himself from the hide of my lambs;

21 If I have lifted up my hand over the orphan,

Because I saw my help in the gate:

22 Let my shoulder fall out of its shoulder-blade,

And mine arm be broken from its bone;

23 For terror would come upon me, the destruction of God,

And before His majesty I should not be able to stand.

On אובד comp. on Job 4:11; Job 29:13; he who is come down from his right place and is perishing (root בד, to separate, still perfectly visible through the Arab. bâda, ba‛ida, to perish), or also he who is already perished, periens and perditus. The clause, Job 31:19, forms the second obj. to אם אראה, which otherwise signifies si video, but here, in accordance with the connection, signifies si videbam. The blessing of the thankful (Job 29:13) is transferred from the person to the limbs in Job 31:20, which need and are benefited by the warmth imparted. אם־לא here is not an expression of an affirmative asseveration, but a negative turn to the continuation of the hypothetical antecedents. The shaking, הניף, of the hand, Job 31:21, is intended, like Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 19:16 (comp. the Pilel, Isaiah 10:32), Zechariah 2:13, as a preparation for a crushing stroke. Job refrained himself from such designs upon the defenceless orphan, even when he saw his help in the gate, i.e., before the tribunal (Job 29:7), i.e., even when he had a certain prospect or powerful assistance there. If he has acted otherwise, his כּתף, i.e., his upper arm together with the shoulder, must fall out from its שׁכם, i.e., the back which bears it together with the shoulder-blades, and his אזרע, upper and lower arm, which is considered here according to its outward flesh, must be broken out of its קנה, tube, i.e., the reed-like hollow bone which gives support to it, i.e., be broken asunder from its basis (Syr. a radice sua), this sinning arm, which did not compassionate the naked, and mercilessly threatened the defenceless and helpless. The ת raphatum which follows in both cases, and the express testimony of the Masora, show that משּׁכמה and מקּנה have no Mappik. The He quiescens, however, is in both instances softened from the He mappic. of the suff., Ew. 21,f. פּחד in Job 31:23 is taken by most expositors as predicate: for terror is (was) to me evil as God, the righteous judge, decrees it. But אלי is not favourable to this. It establishes the particular thing which he imprecates upon himself, and that consequently which, according to his own conviction and perception, ought justly to overtake him out of the general mass, viz., that terror ought to come upon him, a divine decreed weight of affliction. איד אל is a permutative of פחד equals פחד אלהים, and אלי with Dech equivalent to אלי (יבא) יהיה, comp. Jeremiah 2:19 (where it is to be interpreted: and that thou lettest no fear before me come over thee). Thus also Job 31:23 is suitably connected with the preceding: and I should not overcome His majesty, i.e., I should succumb to it. The מן corresponds to the prae in praevalerem; שׂאת (lxx falsely, λῆμμα, judgment, decision equals משׂא, Jer. pondus) is not intended otherwise than Job 13:11 (parall. פחד as here).

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