1I made a covenant with my eyes
not to gaze upon a virgin.
2What portion comes from God above,
what heritage from the Almighty on high?
3Is it not calamity for the unrighteous,
and woe for evildoers?
4Does he not see my ways,
and number all my steps?a
5If I have walked in falsehood*
and my foot has hastened to deceit,
6Let God weigh me in the scales of justice;
thus will he know my innocence!b
7If my steps have turned out of the way,
and my heart has followed my eyes,
or any stain clings to my hands,
8Then may I sow, but another eat,
and may my produce be rooted up!
9If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;
10Then may my wife grind for another,
and may others kneel over her!
11For that would be heinous,
a crime to be condemned,c
12A fire that would consume down to Abaddon*
till it uprooted all my crops.d
13Had I refused justice to my manservant
or to my maidservant, when they had a complaint against me,
14What then should I do when God rises up?
What could I answer when he demands an account?
15Did not he who made me in the belly make him?
Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
16If I have denied anything that the poor desired,e
or allowed the eyes of the widow to languish
17While I ate my portion alone,
with no share in it for the fatherless,
18Though like a father he* has reared me from my youth,
guiding me even from my mother’s womb—
19If I have seen a wanderer without clothing,
or a poor man without covering,
20Whose limbs have not blessed me
when warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21If I have raised my hand against the innocent
because I saw that I had supporters at the gate—*
22Then may my arm fall from the shoulder,
my forearm be broken at the elbow!
23For I dread calamity from God,
and his majesty will overpower me.
24Had I put my trust in gold
or called fine gold my security;
25Or had I rejoiced that my wealth was great,
or that my hand had acquired abundance—
26Had I looked upon the light* as it shone,f
or the moon in the splendor of its progress,
27And had my heart been secretly enticed
to blow them a kiss with my hand,
28This too would be a crime for condemnation,
for I should have denied God above.g
29Had I rejoiced at the destruction of my enemy
or exulted when evil came upon him,h
30Even though I had not allowed my mouth to sin
by invoking a curse against his life—
31Had not the men of my tent exclaimed,
“Who has not been filled with his meat!”*
32No stranger lodged in the street,
for I opened my door to wayfarers—
33* Had I, all too human, hidden my sins
and buried my guilt in my bosom
34Because I feared the great multitude
and the scorn of the clans terrified me—
then I should have remained silent, and not come out of doors!
35* Oh, that I had one to hear my case:
here is my signature:* let the Almighty answer me!
Let my accuser write out his indictment!i
36Surely, I should wear it on my shoulder*
or put it on me like a diadem;
37Of all my steps I should give him an account;
like a prince* I should present myself before him.
38If my land has cried out against me
till its furrows wept together;
39If I have eaten its strength without payment
and grieved the hearts of its tenants;
40Then let the thorns grow instead of wheat
and stinkweed instead of barley!
The words of Job are ended.
* [31:5–34] In a series of purificatory oaths, Job protests his innocence.
* [31:12] Abaddon: see note on 26:6.
* [31:18] He: presumably God.
* [31:21] Gate: cf. notes on 5:4; Ru 4:1.
* [31:26–28] Light: of the sun. Job never sinned by worshiping the sun or the moon. Blow them a kiss: an act of idolatrous worship.
* [31:31] The members of his extended family will testify to his hospitality.
* [31:33–34] Job’s present protest is made, not in spite of hidden sins which he had been unwilling to disclose, but out of genuine innocence. All too human: can also be translated “like Adam.”
* [31:35–37] This concluding bravado fits better after v. 40a.
* [31:35] My signature: lit., “tau,” the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, shaped like a cross. Job issues a subpoena to God, and challenges him to follow proper legal procedure as well.
* [31:36] On my shoulder: i.e., boldly, proudly.
* [31:37] Like a prince: not as a frightened criminal.
a. [31:4] Jb 14:16; 34:21; Ps 139:3; Prv 5:21.
c. [31:11] Ex 20:14; Lv 20:10; Dt 22:22.