31 I promised myself never to stare with desire at a young woman. 2 God All-Powerful punishes men who do that. 3 In fact, God sends disaster on all who sin, 4 and he keeps a close watch on everything I do.
5 I am not dishonest or deceitful, 6 and I beg God to prove my innocence. 7 If I have disobeyed him or even wanted to, 8 then others can eat my harvest and uproot my crops. 9 If I have desired someone’s wife and chased after her, 10 then let some stranger steal my wife from me. 11 If I took someone’s wife, it would be a horrible crime, 12 sending me to destruction and my crops to the flames.[a]
13 When my servants complained against me, I was fair to them. 14 Otherwise, what answer would I give to God when he judges me? 15 After all, God is the one who gave life to each of us before we were born.
I Have Never Cheated Anyone
16 I have never cheated widows or others in need, 17 and I have always shared my food with orphans. 18 Since the time I was young, I have cared for orphans and helped widows.[b] 19 I provided clothes for the poor, 20 and I was praised for supplying woolen garments to keep them warm. 21 If I have ever raised my arm to threaten an orphan when the power was mine, 22 I hope that arm will fall from its socket. 23 I could not have been abusive; I was terrified at the thought that God might punish me. 24 I have never trusted the power of wealth, 25 or taken pride in owning many possessions. 26 I have never openly or secretly 27 worshiped the sun or moon. 28 Such horrible sins would have deserved punishment from God.
29 I have never laughed when my enemies were struck by disaster. 30 Neither have I sinned by asking God to send down on them the curse of death. 31 No one ever went hungry[c] at my house, 32 and travelers were always welcome. 33 Many have attempted to hide their sins from others— but I refused. 34 And the fear of public disgrace never forced me to keep silent about what I had done.
Why Doesn’t God Listen?
35 Why doesn’t God All-Powerful listen and answer? If God has something against me, let him speak up or put it in writing! 36 Then I would wear his charges on my clothes and forehead. 37 And with my head held high, I would tell him everything I have ever done.
38 I have never mistreated the land I farmed and made it mourn.[d] 39 Nor have I cheated my workers and caused them pain.[e] 40 If I had, I would pray for weeds instead of wheat to grow in my fields. After saying these things, Job was silent.
31.12flames: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 12.
31.18widows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.
31.31ever went hungry: Or “was ever sexually abused” (see Genesis 19.1-11; Judges 19.22-30). In ancient Israel, the lives of one’s guests were sacred and had to be protected at any cost.
31.38mourn: In biblical times there were strict regulations for proper use of the land, and land that was abused was said to “mourn” and become no longer productive.
31.39pain: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 39.
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