Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 31:33

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If I covered my transgressions as Adam - Here is a most evident allusion to the fall. Adam transgressed the commandment of his Maker, and he endeavored to conceal it; first, by hiding himself among the trees of the garden: "I heard thy voice, and went and Hid myself;" secondly, by laying the blame on his wife: "The woman gave me, and I did eat;" and thirdly, by charging the whole directly on God himself: "The woman which Thou Gavest Me to be with me, She gave me of the tree, and I did eat." And it is very likely that Job refers immediately to the Mosaic account in the Book of Genesis. The spirit of this saying is this: When I have departed at any time from the path of rectitude, I have been ready to acknowledge my error, and have not sought excuses or palliatives for my sin.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If I covered my transgressions as Adam - That is, if I have attempted to hide or conceal them; if, conscious of guilt, I have endeavored to cloak my sins, and to appear righteous. There has been great variety of opinion about the meaning of this expression. The margin reads it, “After the manner of men.” Luther, renders it, “Have I covered my wickedness as a man” - Habe ich meine Schalkheit wie ein Menseh gedecht. Coverdale, “Have I ever done any wicked deed where through I shamed myself before men.” Herder, “Did I hide my faults like a mean man.” Schultens, “If I have covered my sin as Adam.” The Vulgate, Quasi homo - “as a man.” The Septuagint, “If when I sinned unwillingly ( ᾶκουσίως akousiōs - inadvertently, undesignedly) I concealed my sin.” Noyes, “After the manner of men.” Umbreit, Nach Menschenart- “After the manner of men.” Rosenmuller, As Adam. The Chaldee, כאדם, meaning, as Rosenmuller remarks, as Adam; and the Syriac, As men.

The meaning may either be, as people are accustomed to do when they commit a crime - referring to the common practice of the guilty to attempt to cloak their offences, or to the attempt of Adam to hide his sin from his Maker after the fall; Genesis 3:7-8. It is not possible to decide with certainty which is the correct interpretation, for either will accord with the Hebrew. But in favor of the supposition that it refers to the effort of Adam to conceal his sin, we may remark, (1.) That there can be little or no doubt that that transaction was known to Job by tradition. (2.) it furnished him a pertinent and striking illustration of the point before him. (3.) the illustration is, by supposing that it refers to him, much more striking than on the other supposition. It is true that people often attempt to conceal their guilt, and that it may be set down as a fact very general in its character; but still it is not so universal that there are no exceptions. But here was a specific and well-known case, and one which, as it was the first, so it was the most sad and melancholy instance that had ever occurred of an attempt to conceal guilt. It was not an attempt, to hide it from man - for there was then no other man to witness it; but an attempt to hide it from God. From such an attempt Job says he was free.

By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom - By attempting to conceal it so that others would not know it. Adam attempted to conceal his fault even from God; and it is common with people, when they have done wrong, to endeavor to hide it from others.

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!