“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook them . . . . let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.” (Job 31:29, 40 from Job 31:29-40)
Having run out of things to say, I turn to my friend, Albert Barnes: “Job here introduces another class of offences, of which he says he was innocent. The subject referred to is the proper treatment of those who injure us. In respect to this, he says that he was entirely conscious of freedom from exultation when calamity came upon a foe, and that he had never even wished him evil in his heart. The word “destruction” [or “ruin”] here, means calamity, disappointment, or affliction of any kind. It had never been pleasant to him to see one who hated him suffer. It is needless to remark how entirely this accords with the New Testament. And it is pleasant to find such a sentiment as this expressed in the early age of the world, and to see how the influence of true religion is at all times the same. The religion of Job led him to act out the beautiful sentiment afterward embodied in the instructions of the Savior, and made binding on all his followers.”
I am intrigued with what Barnes refers to as “another class of offences [sic]”. It is very likely that the past few days the excerpts from Job’s statement have been different classes of offenses as found in Jewish law or some other listing; or different classes of virtues. And it may explain why there seems to be a repetition in Job’s statements; these are different ways one might sin when relating to other people. Or different ways to be in right relationship with one’s fellow believer and the rest of humanity.
Had I know there was a pattern to them, I might have commented differently; or been more patient with the seemingly long list of Job’s cries of innocence. And yet, I am also aware of the fact that all of the book of Job may have been a teaching tool for those learning faith, law, and theology. But I am just as glad to move on to the next set of verses from a different book in the Old Testament. And to see what learnings there are for us, gentle reader. Shalom for your day!