Have you Considered my servant Job?
Eliphaz begins with a gentle and conciliatory tone (vv. 3–5), but quickly moves to one of his main themes: The righteous prosper while the wicked suffer (vv. 7–9). He describes a vision (vv. 12–16) in which God judges humankind (vv. 17–21). After extolling God’s greatness (5:8–16), he closes by encouraging Job to accept God’s discipline (5:17–27).
31:1–40 Job finishes his speech with a lengthy oath swearing his innocence. In it, he lists many specific sins: lust (vv. 1–4), falsehood (vv. 5–8), adultery (vv. 9–12), mistreatment of servants (vv. 13–15), failure to care for the poor (vv. 16–23), trusting in wealth (vv. 24–25), idolatry (vv. 26–28), rejoicing at an enemy’s misfortune (vv. 29–30), lack of generosity (vv. 31–32), hypocrisy (vv. 33–34), and abusing the land (vv. 38–40). He denies that he has committed any of them, and asks for a hearing so he can be vindicated (vv. 35–37).
Job has already sworn an oath asserting his innocence with the oath formula “As God lives …” (see note on 27:2). Here, he uses a formula similar to “May God/Yahweh do to me …” (Ruth 1:17; 1 Sam 14:44). Job is so sure of his innocence that he pronounces curses on himself if he is found guilty (Job 31:8, 10, 22, 40). All of these curses involve aspects of Job’s life that were not affected by the catastrophes he has already experienced (1:13–19; 2:7–8).
Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.