New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 I made a covenant with my eyes
not to gaze upon a virgin.
2 What portion comes from God above,
what heritage from the Almighty on high?
3 Is it not calamity for the unrighteous,
and woe for evildoers?
4 Does he not see my ways,
and number all my steps?(A)
5 If I have walked in falsehood[a]
and my foot has hastened to deceit,
6 Let God weigh me in the scales of justice;
thus will he know my innocence!(B)
7 If my steps have turned out of the way,
and my heart has followed my eyes,
or any stain clings to my hands,
8 Then may I sow, but another eat,
and may my produce be rooted up!
9 If my heart has been enticed toward a woman,
and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;
10 Then may my wife grind for another,
and may others kneel over her!
11 For that would be heinous,
a crime to be condemned,(C)
12 A fire that would consume down to Abaddon[b]
till it uprooted all my crops.(D)
13 Had I refused justice to my manservant
or to my maidservant, when they had a complaint against me,
14 What then should I do when God rises up?
What could I answer when he demands an account?
15 Did not he who made me in the belly make him?
Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
16 If I have denied anything that the poor desired,(E)
or allowed the eyes of the widow to languish
17 While I ate my portion alone,
with no share in it for the fatherless,
18 Though like a father he[c] has reared me from my youth,
guiding me even from my mother’s womb—
19 If I have seen a wanderer without clothing,
or a poor man without covering,
20 Whose limbs have not blessed me
when warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
21 If I have raised my hand against the innocent
because I saw that I had supporters at the gate—[d]
22 Then may my arm fall from the shoulder,
my forearm be broken at the elbow!
23 For I dread calamity from God,
and his majesty will overpower me.
24 Had I put my trust in gold
or called fine gold my security;
25 Or had I rejoiced that my wealth was great,
or that my hand had acquired abundance—
26 Had I looked upon the light[e] as it shone,(F)
or the moon in the splendor of its progress,
27 And had my heart been secretly enticed
to blow them a kiss with my hand,
28 This too would be a crime for condemnation,
for I should have denied God above.(G)
29 Had I rejoiced at the destruction of my enemy
or exulted when evil came upon him,(H)
30 Even though I had not allowed my mouth to sin
by invoking a curse against his life—
31 Had not the men of my tent exclaimed,
“Who has not been filled with his meat!”[f]
32 No stranger lodged in the street,
for I opened my door to wayfarers—
33 [g]Had I, all too human, hidden my sins
and buried my guilt in my bosom
34 Because 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 [h]Oh, that I had one to hear my case:
here is my signature:[i] let the Almighty answer me!
Let my accuser write out his indictment!(I)
36 Surely, I should wear it on my shoulder[j]
or put it on me like a diadem;
37 Of all my steps I should give him an account;
like a prince[k] I should present myself before him.
38 If my land has cried out against me
till its furrows wept together;
39 If I have eaten its strength without payment
and grieved the hearts of its tenants;
40 Then 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.