Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 31:16

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If I have withheld the poor from their desire - Job now turns to another class of virtues, regarded also as of great importance in the patriarchal ages, kindness to the poor and the afflicted; to the fatherless and the widow. He appeals to his former life on this subject; affirms that he had a good conscience in the recollection of his dealings with them, and impliedly declares that it could not have been for any deficiency in the exercise of these virtues that his calamities had come upon him. The meaning here is, that he had not denied to the poor their wish. If they had come and desired bread of him, he had not withheld it; see Job 22:7.

Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail - That is, I have not frustrated her hopes, or disappointed her expectations, when she has looked intently upon me, and desired my aid. The “failing of the eyes” refers to failing of the object of their expectation; or the expression means that she had not looked to him in vain; see Job 11:20.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Job's conscience gave testimony concerning his just and charitable behaviour toward the poor. He is most large upon this head, because in this matter he was particularly accused. He was tender of all, and hurtful to none. Notice the principles by which Job was restrained from being uncharitable and unmerciful. He stood in awe of the Lord, as certainly against him, if he should wrong the poor. Regard to worldly interests may restrain a man from actual crimes; but the grace of God alone can make him hate, dread, and shun sinful thoughts and desires.