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Job 31 That is All
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This is the 29th in a series of 40 poems I wrote based on the book of Job. This is from Job 31, Job's final protest of innocence. Open your Bible, read along and let me know your thoughts!
here is my signature
I have promised that both of my eyes keep my oath
to not lust as young virgins pass by.
For then what is our lot God in heaven has wrought?
What's our share from Almighty on high?
Is not ruin the end for degenerate men,
and disaster the wages of sin?
Does he not see my ways spent consuming my days?
Counting footsteps, he knows where I've been.
If I walked in a lie, falsely spoke in reply,
if I ran toward deception and fraud;
I would not be afraid to be honestly weighed —
I'd be pure on the just scales of God.
If my footsteps have strayed, if my heart was betrayed
by my eyes and my hands were corrupt;
let them take what I've sown, let them eat what I've grown,
let the crops of my field be torn up.
If I fell to the charms of a strange woman's arms,
or I lurked at my neighbor's back door,
let my own wife behave as another man's slave,
and become still to others a whore.
Whether chance or design — it's so heinous a crime
that the judges would punish my shame.
Such illicit desire would consume me with fire;
all I've done would be lost in that flame.
If I'd ever malign any servants of mine
when they had accusations to mount,
how could I ever face God to judge in my case?
Could I answer when called to account?
Did he not oversee both my servants and me
when he formed us alike in the womb?
Have I ever refused both the poor and abused;
turned the hopes of the widow to gloom?
Hoarding food on my shelf to feed only myself,
and not giving the orphans a share?
No, from youth orphans saw I was father to all,
and since birth, I've shown widows I care.
Though men perish for lack of warm clothes on their back
and the needy have no warmth for sleep,
was I not thanked and blessed for the way they were dressed,
staying warm from the fleece of my sheep?
If I lifted my hand against orphans and planned
my advantage with friends at the gate;
let that arm I approved from the joint be removed;
and the elbow be snapped as its fate.
That's a much better path than to suffer God's wrath,
for his splendor I cannot endure.
I have not placed in gold the assurance I hold,
nor my trust in the gold that is pure.
Have I gleefully shown you the wealth that I own,
and the fortunes that my hands have made?
If I squinted my eyes at the sun in the skies,
or the glorious moon there displayed,
if I'd feel my heart melt for the worship I felt,
and threw both of them kisses of love —
for these sins I could see judges punishing me,
for I would have denied God above.
I have never enjoyed it when foes were destroyed,
nor was glad when their troubles got worse.
I would sin if I said that I wished they were dead,
or had prayed that their lives held a curse.
If my men servants spoke after bread had been broke,
they'd say, Who here can eat anymore?
Not a stranger I’d meet ever slept in the street;
to the traveler I'd open my door.
If my sin remained hid just as Adam once did,
then the guilt in my heart I would hide;
fearing those I might face or a public disgrace,
I kept still and would not go outside.
Oh, if someone would hark! I have signed with my mark.
Let my charges be all written down!
I would carry it there on my shoulder to wear;
it would proudly be worn as a crown.
I would note in a book every step that I took;
like a prince, I'd approach him with pride.
If I've misused the land that I've farmed with my hand,
and the furrows together have cried;
if I've eaten the yield from another man's field,
shown contempt for the true owners' needs;
let the briers then grow — not the wheat — in the row,
and in lieu of the barley, grow weeds.
Job's words are ended.
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