Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 31:36

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Surely I would take it upon my shoulder - I would be contented to stand before the bar as a criminal, bearing upon my shoulder the board to which the accusation is affixed. In a book of Chinese punishments now before me, containing drawings representing various criminals brought to trial, in trial, and after trial, charged with different offenses; in almost all of them a board appears, on which the accusation or crime of which they are accused, or for which they suffer, is fairly written. Where the punishment is capital, this board appears fastened to the instrument, or stuck near the place of punishment. In one case a large, heavy plank, through which there is a hole to pass the head, - or rather a hole fitting the neck, like that in the pillory, - with the crime written upon it, rests on the criminal's shoulders; and this he is obliged to carry about for the weeks or months during which the punishment lasts. It is probable that Job alludes to something of this kind, which he intimates he would bear about with him during the interim between accusation and the issue in judgment; and, far from considering this a disgrace, would clasp it as dearly as he would adjust a crown or diadem to his head; being fully assured, from his innocence, and the evidence of it, which would infallibly appear on the trial, that he would have the most honorable acquittal. There may also be an allusion to the manner of receiving a favor from a superior: it is immediately placed on the head, as a mark of respect; and if a piece of cloth be given at the temple, the receiver not only puts it on his head, but binds it there.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Surely, I would take it upon my shoulder - That is, the book or bill which the Almighty would write in the case. Job says that he has such confidence that what God would record in his case would be in his favor, such confidence that he had no charge of hypocrisy against him, and that he who knew him altogether would not bring such an accusation against him, that he would bear it off triumphantly on his shoulders. It would be all that he could desire. This does not refer to what a judge would decide if the cause were submitted to him, but to a case where an opponent or adversary in court should bring all that he could say against him. He says that he would bear even such a bill on his shoulders in triumph, and that it would be a full vindication of his innocence. It would afford him the best vindication of his character, and would be that which he had long desired.

And bind it as a crown to me - I would regard it as an ornament - a diadem. I would bind it on my head as a crown is worn by princes, and would march forth exultingly with it. Instead of covering me with shame, it would be the source of rejoicing, and I would exhibit it every where in the most triumphant manner. It is impossible for anyone to express a more entire consciousness of innocence from charges alleged against him than Job does by this language.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Job clears himself from the charge of hypocrisy. We are loth to confess our faults, willing to excuse them, and to lay the blame upon others. But he that thus covers his sins, shall not prosper, Pr 28:13. He speaks of his courage in what is good, as an evidence of his sincerity in it. When men get estates unjustly, they are justly deprived of comfort from them; it was sown wheat, but shall come up thistles. What men do not come honestly by, will never do them any good. The words of Job are ended. They end with a bold assertion, that, with respect to accusation against his moral and religious character as the cause for his sufferings, he could appeal to God. But, however confident Job was, we shall see he was mistaken, chap. 40:4,5; 1Jo 1:8. Let us all judge ourselves; wherein we are guilty, let us seek forgiveness in that blood which cleanseth from all sin; and may the Lord have mercy upon us, and write his laws in our hearts!