Job 31:7
If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) If my step hath turned out of the way—The form of the expression is very emphatic: the narrow way of strict integrity and righteousness. (Compare the expression applied to the first believers, Acts 9:2men of the way.)

Job 31:7-8. If my step hath turned out of the way — If I have knowingly and willingly swerved from the way of truth and justice, which God hath prescribed to me; and my heart walked after mine eyes — A strong and beautiful expression, signifying, if my eyes have seduced my heart. If I have let my heart loose to desire forbidden objects, which my eyes have seen. Commonly sin enters by the eye into the heart: thus David, letting his heart walk after his eyes, was led into the sin, first, of adultery, and then, of murder. How careful then ought we to be, how deeply should this be fixed in our minds, not to let our heart walk after our eyes. It is a maxim which deserves to be written, we will not say in letters of gold, but, what is of more importance, on the table of every heart! And if any blot hath cleaved to my hands — Any unjust gain. If I have had or have in my hands, or possession, any goods, gotten from others by fraud or violence, which would be a great scandal and a blot to my reputation: Then let me sow, and let another eat — Let strangers enjoy the fruit of my labours. Yea, let my offspring be rooted out — Or, rather, my increase; all my plants, and fruits, and improvements, as the word צאצאי, tzeetzaai, properly signifies. Indeed, Job had not now any children to be rooted out.

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 my step hath turned out of the way - The path in which I ought to walk - the path of virtue.

And mine heart walked after mine eyes - That is, if I have coveted what my eyes have beheld; or if I have been determined by the appearance of things rather than by what is right, I consent to bear the appropriate punishment.

And if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands - To have clean hands is emblematic of innocence; Job 17:9; Psalm 24:4; compare Matthew 27:24. The word blot here means stain, blemish: Daniel 1:4. The idea is, that his hands were pure, and that he had not been guilty of any act of fraud or violence in depriving others of their property.

7. Connected with Job 31:6.

the way—of God (Job 23:11; Jer 5:5). A godly life.

heart … after … eyes—if my heart coveted, what my eyes beheld (Ec 11:9; Jos 7:21).

hands—(Ps 24:4).

If I have wittingly, and willingly, and customarily (as you accuse me) swerved from the way of truth and justice which God hath prescribed to me; for otherwise no man here is so just, but he sometimes takes a wrong step, Ecclesiastes 7:20. If I have let my heart loose to covet and seek after forbidden things, which mine eyes have seen; which may design either,

1. The lust of uncleanness; but of that he had spoken Job 31:1, and reneweth the discourse Job 31:9. Or rather,

2. The lust of covetousness, which is called the lust of the eyes, 1Jo 2:16, partly because it is oft caused by sight, as Joshua 7:21, and partly because ofttimes all the satisfaction it gives is to please the sight, Ecclesiastes 5:11. And this sin is most legible in the following punishment, Job 31:8, where his loss answers to this evil gain. The phrase notes the common method and progress of sin, which is to enter by the eye to the heart, Genesis 3:6 Numbers 15:39 Ecclesiastes 2:10 11:9.

Any blot, or blemish, to wit, any unjust gain. If I have in my hands or possession any goods gotten from others by fraud or violence, which would be a great scandal and a blot to my reputation.

If my step hath turned out of the way,.... The way of God, the way of his commandments, the good and right way, the way of truth and righteousness, so far as Job had knowledge of it: for, besides the law and light of nature the Gentiles had in common, good men had some revelation, and notions of the mind and will of God unto them, both before and after the flood, previous to the Mosaic dispensation; which in some measure directed them what way to walk in, with respect to worship and duty; and from this way Job swerved not; not that he walked so perfectly in it as to be free from sin, and never commit any; or that he never took a step out of the way, or stepped awry; but he did not knowingly, wittingly, and purposely turn out of the way; and when, through infirmity of the flesh, the temptations of Satan, and snares of the world, he was drawn aside, he did not obstinately and finally persist therein; though this may have respect not to sin in general, but to the particular sin he is clearing himself from, namely, dealing falsely and deceitfully with men, in whatsoever he had to do with them, in matters of "meum" and "tuum"; or with regard to the rules of justice and equity between man and man, he was not conscious to himself he had departed from them; a like expression to those in Psalm 7:3, where some particular sin is referred unto:

and mine heart walked after mine eyes; meaning not in the lust of uncleanness, of which he had spoken before, as such do whose eyes are full of adultery; but in the sin of covetousness, so Achan's heart walked after his eyes, Joshua 7:20; and this is one of the three things the world is full of, and the men of it indulge themselves in, the lust of the eyes, 1 John 2:16; the sense is, that when he saw the riches and wealth of others, he did not covet them, nor take any illicit methods to get them out of their hands; or, when he saw the goods they were possessed of, and had with them to dispose of, he did not take the advantage of their ignorance, or use any evil ways and means to cheat and beguile them of them: it is pleasing to the flesh for the heart to walk after the eye, or to indulge to that which it is taken with; but it is very vain and foolish, as well as very dangerous so to do, Ecclesiastes 2:10; a good man chooses a better guide than his eyes; even to be a follower of God, to tread in the steps of his living Redeemer, to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and according to the law and will of God:

and if any blot cleaved to my hands; any spot, stain, or blemish, as all sin is of a defiling nature, particularly the hands may be blotted by shedding innocent blood, by taking bribes to pervert judgment; which the Septuagint version directs to here; and by getting, holding, and retaining mammon of unrighteousness, or ill gotten goods; which is what is chiefly if not solely intended here; for it may be rendered, "if any thing hath cleaved", &c. so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom; for the word signifies both a "blot" and "anything": and the Targum takes in both senses: the meaning seems to be, that there was not anything of another man's in his hands, which he had taken from him by force and violence, or find obtained by any deceitful methods, and which he held fast, and it stuck with him as pitch to the hands, and he did not care to part with it, or restore it, whereby his hands were defiled; otherwise Job had no such opinion of the cleanness of his hands and actions, as if he thought there was no spot of sin in them, or only such as he could wash out himself; he clearly speaks the contrary, Job 9:30; which is the sense of every good man, who, conscious of his spots and blemishes, washes his hands, his actions, his conversation garments, and makes them white in the blood of the Lamb; and such, and such only, have clean hands.

If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart {e} walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;

(e) That is, has accomplished the lust of my eyes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. out of the way] i. e. the way of rectitude, set before him by God, ch. Job 23:11. This going out of the way is amplified in the next words, if mine heart walked after mine eyes, i. e. if my mind consented and yielded to the lust of the eye. By such yielding he would have fallen into deeds that would have left a “blot” or stain upon his hands; comp. Psalm 24:4.

Verse 7. - If my step hath turned out of the way. If; i.e., I have at any time knowingly and voluntarily departed from the way of thy commandments, as made known to me either by godly men or by thy law written in my heart, then let the consequences follow that are mentioned in the next verse. Or if mine heart hath walked after mine eyes, and if consequently any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; i.e. if I have been guilty of any plain act of sin. It is to be remembered that Job has the testimony of God himself to the fact that he was "a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil (Job 2:3). Job 31:7 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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