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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 31


But what is man's lot from God above, his inheritance from the Almighty on high?


Is it not calamity for the unrighteous, and woe for evildoers?


Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps?


Let God weigh me in the scales of justice; thus will he know my innocence!


1 If I have walked in falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit;


If my steps have turned out of the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, or any stain clings to my hands,


Then may I sow, but another eat of it, or may my planting be rooted up!


If my land has cried out against me till its very furrows complained;


If I have eaten its produce without payment and grieved the hearts of its tenants;


Then let the thistles grow instead of wheat and noxious weeds instead of barley!


2 If I have made an agreement with my eyes and entertained any thoughts against a maiden;


If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor's door;


Then may my wife grind for another, and may others cohabit with her!


For that would be heinous, a crime to be condemned;


A fire that should burn down to the abyss till it consumed all my possessions to the roots.


Had I refused justice to my manservant or to my maid, when they had a claim against me,


What then should I do when God rose up; what could I answer when he demanded an account?


Did not he who made me in the womb make him? Did not the same One fashion us before our birth?


If I have denied anything to the poor, or allowed the eyes of the widow to languish


While I ate my portion alone, with no share in it for the fatherless,


Though like a father God has reared me from my youth, guiding me even from my mother's womb - 


If I have seen a wanderer without clothing, or a poor man without covering,


Whose limbs have not blessed me when warmed with the fleece of my sheep;


3 If I have raised my hand against the innocent because I saw that I had supporters at the gate - 


Then may my arm fall from the shoulder, my forearm be broken at the elbow!


For the dread of God will be upon me, and his majesty will overpower me.


Had I put my trust in gold or called fine gold my security;


Or had I rejoiced that my wealth was great, or that my hand had acquired abundance - 


4 Had I looked upon the sun as it shone, or the moon in the splendor of its progress,


And had my heart been secretly enticed to waft them a kiss with my hand;


This too would be a crime for condemnation, for I should have denied God above.


Had I rejoiced at the destruction of my enemy or exulted when evil fell upon him,


Even though I had not suffered my mouth to sin by uttering a curse against his life - 


5 Had not the men of my tent exclaimed, "Who has not been fed with his meat!"


Because no stranger lodged in the street, but I opened my door to wayfarers - 


6 Had I, out of human weakness, hidden my sins and buried my guilt in my bosom


Because I feared the noisy multitude and the scorn of the tribes terrified me - then I should have remained silent, and not come out of doors!


Oh, that I had one to hear my case, and that my accuser would write out his indictment!


7 Surely, I should wear it on my shoulder or put it on me like a diadem;


8 Of all my steps I should give him an account; like a prince I should present myself before him. This is my final plea; let the Almighty answer me! The words of Job are ended.



1 [6-34] Job's final protestation of his innocence.

2 [8,9] Note the gradation: avoidance of sinful glances and thoughts against a maiden; desire for another's wife.

3 [21] Gate: cf notes on Job 5:4; Ruth 4:1.

4 [26-28] Job never sinned by worshiping the sun or the moon; waft them a kiss: an act of idolatrous worship.

5 [31] The members of his household will testify to his hospitality.

6 [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.

7 [36] On my shoulder: i.e., boldly, proudly.

8 [37] Like a prince: not as a frightened criminal. Final plea: literally, "tau," the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet; in the current Hebrew text this line is in Job 31:35, while the following one ends Job 31:40.

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