Job 31:5
If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot has hurried to deceit;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 31:5-6. If I have walked with vanity — Conversed in the world, or dealt with men, with lying, falsehood, or hypocrisy, as the word vanity is often used; or if my foot hath hasted to deceit — If, when I had an opportunity of enriching myself by wronging others, I have readily and greedily complied with it. Let me be weighed, &c. — I desire nothing more than to have my heart and life weighed in just balances, and searched out by the all-seeing God. That God may know — Or, and he will know (upon search he will find out: which is spoken of God after the manner of men) mine integrity — So this is an appeal to God to be witness of his sincerity.31:1-8 Job did not speak the things here recorded by way of boasting, but in answer to the charge of hypocrisy. He understood the spiritual nature of God's commandments, as reaching to the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is best to let our actions speak for us; but in some cases we owe it to ourselves and to the cause of God, solemnly to protest our innocence of the crimes of which we are falsely accused. The lusts of the flesh, and the love of the world, are two fatal rocks on which multitudes split; against these Job protests he was always careful to stand upon his guard. And God takes more exact notice of us than we do of ourselves; let us therefore walk circumspectly. He carefully avoided all sinful means of getting wealth. He dreaded all forbidden profit as much as all forbidden pleasure. What we have in the world may be used with comfort, or lost with comfort, if honestly gotten. Without strict honestly and faithfulness in all our dealings, we can have no good evidence of true godliness. Yet how many professors are unable to abide this touchstone!If I have walked with vanity - This is the second specification in regard to his private deportment. He says that his life had been sincere, upright, honest. The word vanity here is equivalent to falsehood, for so the parallelism demands, and so the word (שׁוא shâv') is often used; Psalm 12:3; Psalm 41:7; Exodus 23:1; Deuteronomy 5:20; compare Isa, Deuteronomy 1:13. The meaning of Job here is, that he had been true and honest. In his dealings with others he had not defrauded them; he had not misrepresented things; he had spoken the exact truth, and had done that which was without deception or guile.

If my foot hath hasted to deceit - That is, if I have gone to execute a purpose of deceit or fraud. He had never, on seeing an opportunity where others might be defrauded, hastened to embrace it. The Septuagint renders this verse, "If I have walked with scoffers - μετα γελοιαστῶν meta geloiastōn - and if my foot has hastened to deceit."

"Let me be weighed in an even balance,

That God may know mine integrity."

The balance thus used to denote judgment in this life became also the emblem of judgment in the future state, when the conduct of men will be accurately estimated, and justice dealt out to them according to the strict rules of equity. To illustrate this, I will insert a copy of an Egyptian "Death Judgment," with the remarks of the editor of the "Pictorial Bible" in regard to it: "The Egyptians entertained the belief that the actions of the dead were solemnly weighed in balances before Osiris, and that the condition of the departed was determined according to the preponderance of good or evil. Such judgment scenes are very frequently represented in the paintings and papyri of ancient Egypt, and one of them we have copied as a suitable illustration of the present subject. One of these scenes, as represented on the walls of a small temple at Dayr-el-Medeeneh, has been so well explained by Mr. Wilkinson, that we shall avail ourselves of his description, for although that to which it refers is somewhat different from the one which we have engraved, his account affords an adequate elucidation of all that ours contains. 'Osiris, seated on his throne, awaits the arrival of those souls that are ushered into Amenti. The four genii stand before him on a lotus-blossom (ours has the lotus without the genii), the female Cerberus sits behind them, and Harpocrates on the crook of Osiris. Thoth, the god of letters, arrives in the presence of Osiris, bearing in his hand a tablet, on which the actions of the deceased are noted down, while Horus and Arceris are employed in weighing the good deeds of the judged against the ostrich feather, the symbol of truth and justice. A cynocephalus, the emblem of truth, is seated on the top of the balance. At length arrives the deceased, who appears between two figures of the goddess, and bears in his hand the symbol of truth, indicating his meritorious actions, and his fitness for admission to the presence of Osiris.'

"If the Babylonians entertained a similar notion, the declaration of the prophet, 'Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!' must have appeared exceedingly awful to them. But again, there are allusions in this declaration to some such custom of literally weighing the royal person, as is described in the following passage in the account of Sir Thomas Roe's embassy to the great Mogul: 'The first of September (which was the late Mogul's birthday), he, retaining an ancient yearly custom, was, in the presence of his chief grandees, weighed in a balance: the ceremony was performed within his house, or tent, in a fair spacious room, whereinto none were admitted but by special leave. The scales in which he was thus weighed were plated with gold: and so was the beam, on which they hung by great chains, made likewise of that most precious metal. The king, sitting in one of them, was weighed first against silver coin, which immediately afterward was distributed among the poor; then was he weighed against gold; after that against jewels (as they say), but I observed (being there present with my ambassador) that he was weighed against three several things, laid in silken bags in the contrary scale. When I saw him in the balance, I thought on Belshazzar, who was found too light. By his weight (of which his physicians yearly keep an exact account), they presume to guess of the present state of his body, of which they speak flatteringly, however they think it to be. '"

Thou art weighed in the balances - That is, this, in the circumstances, is the proper interpretation of this word. It would apply to anything whose value was ascertained by weighing it; but as the reference here was to the king of Babylon, and as the whole representation was designed for him, Daniel distinctly applies it to him: "thou art weighed." On the use and application of this language, see 1 Samuel 2:3 : "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." Compare also Job 31:6; Proverbs 16:2, Proverbs 16:11.

5. Job's abstinence from evil deeds.

vanity—that is, falsehood (Ps 12:2).

Walked, i.e. conversed in the world, dealt with men.

With vanity, i.e. with lying, or falsehood, or hypocrisy, as this word is oft used, as Psalm 4:2 12:3 36:3 Proverbs 30:8, and as the next words explain it.

If my foot hath hasted to deceit; if when I have had any temptation or opportunity of enriching myself, by defrauding or wronging others, I have readily and greedily complied with it, as hypocrites (such as you account me) use to do, and have not rejected and abhorred it; for more is here understood than is expressed. The sense is imperfect, and supposeth an imprecation, which is either understood, after the manner of the Hebrews, or expressed in the next verse. If I have walked with vanity,.... Or with vain men, as Bar Tzemach interprets it, keeping company and having fellowship with them in their vain and sinful practices; or in the vanity of his mind, indulging himself in impurity of heart and life; or rather using deceitful methods to cheat and defraud others; for this seems to be another vice Job clears himself of, acting unjustly in his dealings with men, or dealing falsely with them:

or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; to cheat men in buying and selling, being ready and swift to do it, and in haste to become rich, which puts men oftentimes on evil ways and methods to attain it; see Proverbs 28:20.

If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. “Falsehood” or vanity, which is not merely in word but in thought, and “deceit” are here treated as persons; with the one Job denies that he has “walked,” i. e. accompanied it, and the other he denies that he “hasted after,” i. e. followed it. He has made no companion of falsity nor followed after deceit, to do aught that they would seduce him to. From the imprecation in Job 31:8, Let me sow and another eat! it is probable that what Job clears himself of is all false dealing prompted by cupidity.

5–8. These verses continue to amplify the thought that Job refused to give way to any evil desire. The protestation lies in Job 31:5 and Job 31:7, the curse imprecated on himself in Job 31:8, while Job 31:6 is parenthetical, thrown in to confirm the denial implicitly contained in Job 31:5.

5.  If I have walked with falsehood,

And my foot hath hasted after deceit

6.  (Let him weigh me in an even balance,

And let God know mine integrity),

7.  If my step hath turned out of the way, &c.Verse 5. - If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit. "If I have been a living lie, i.e. if, under a fair show of piety and righteousness of life, I have, as you my friends suppose, been all along a deceiver and a hypocrite, cloaking my secret sins under a mere pretence of well-doing, then the sooner I am exposed the better. Let me be weighed," etc. The painful suggestion of hypocrisy has been made by Job's friends repeatedly during the colloquy (Job 4:7-9; Job 8:6, 12; Job 11:4-6, '11-14; 15:30-35; 18:5-21; 20:5-29, etc.), and has deeply afflicted the patriarch. It is a charge so easily made, and so impossible to refute. All that the righteous man, thus falsely accused, can do is to appeal to God: "Thou, God, knowest. Thou, God, wilt one day show forth the truth." Now for the first time he speaks of his disfigurement by leprosy in particular: my skin (עורי, masc., as it is also used in Job 19:26, only apparently as fem.) is become black (nigruit) from me, i.e., being become black, has peeled from me, and my bones (עצמי, construed as fem. like Job 19:20; Psalm 102:6) are consumed, or put in a glow (חרה, Milel, from חרר, as Ezekiel 24:11) by a parching heat. Thus, then, his harp became mournful, and his pipe (ועגבי with ג raphatum) the cry of the weepers; the cheerful music (comp. Job 21:12) has been turned into gloomy weeping and sobbing (comp. Lamentations 5:15). Thus the second part of the monologue closes. It is somewhat lengthened and tedious; it is Job's last sorrowful lament before the catastrophe. What a delicate touch of the poet is it that he makes this lament, Job 30:31, die away so melodiously! One hears the prolonged vibration of its elegiac strains. The festive and joyous music is hushed; the only tones are tones of sadness and lament, mesto, flebile.
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