Job 31:1

(1) I made a covenant with mine eyes.--Job makes one grand profession of innocence, rehearsing his manner of life from the first; and here he does not content himself with traversing the accusations of his friends, but professes his innocence also of sins less manifest to the observance of others, and affecting the secret conduct and the heart--namely, sensual transgression and idolatry. His object, therefore, is to show his friends that he has really been more upright than their standard demanded or than they supposed him to be, till his affliction made them suspect him; and this uprightness was the consequence of rigid and inflexible adherence to principle, for he made a covenant with his eyes, as the avenues of sinful desires. (Comp. Matthew 5:28.)

Verse 1. - I made a covenant with mine eyes; rather, for mine eyes. The covenant must have been with himself. Job means that be came to a fixed resolution, by which he thenceforth guided his conduct, not even to "look upon a woman to lust after her" (Matthew 5:28). We must suppose this resolution come to in his early youth, when the passions are strongest, and when so many men go astray. How then should I look upon a maid! Having made such a resolution, how could I possibly break it by "looking upon a maid"? Job assumes that he could not be so weak as to break a solemn resolution.

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!I made a covenant with mine eyes,.... Not to look upon a woman, and wantonly gaze at her beauty, lest his heart should be drawn thereby to lust after her; for the eyes are inlets to many sins, and particularly to uncleanness, of which there have been instances, both in bad men and good men, Genesis 34:2; so the poet (t) represents the eye as the way through which the beauty of a woman passes swifter than an arrow into the hearts of men, and makes impressions there; see 2 Peter 2:14; hence Zaleucus ordered adulterers to be punished, by plucking out the eyes of the adulterer (u); wherefore Job, to prevent this, entered into a solemn engagement with himself, laid himself under a strong obligation, as if he had bound himself by a covenant, made a resolution in the strength of divine grace, not to employ his eyes in looking on objects that might ensnare his heart, and lead him to the commission of sin; he made use of all ways and means, and took every precaution to guard against it; and particularly this, to shut or turn his eyes from beholding what might be alluring and enticing to him: it is said (x) of Democritus, that he put out his eyes because he could not look upon a woman without lusting after her:

why then should I think upon a maid; of corrupting and defiling her, since he had made a covenant with his eyes, and this would be a breach of that covenant: and therefore, besides the sin of lusting after her, or of corrupting her, he would be a covenant breaker, and so his sin would be an aggravated one: or he made a covenant with his eyes, to prevent any impure thoughts, desires, and inclinations in him; for the eye affects the heart, and stirs up lust in it, and excites unclean thoughts and unchaste desires: this shows that the thought of sin is sin; that fornication was reckoned a sin before the law of Moses; and that Job better understood the spirituality of the law than the Pharisees did in the time of Christ, and had the same notion of lust in the heart being fornication and adultery as he had; and that good men are not without temptation to sin, both from within and from without; and therefore should carefully shun all appearances of evil, and whatsoever leads unto it, and take every necessary precaution to guard against it.

(t) Musaeus de Heron. & Leand. v. 92, &c. (u) Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 13. c. 24. (x) Tertullian. Apolog. c. 46.

Job 30:31
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