Job 31:33
If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
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(33) As Adam.—Or, as man, i.e., commonly does. There may or may not be here some indication of acquaintance with the narrative of Genesis. (See the margin.)

Job 31:33. If I covered my transgressions as Adam — As Adam did in paradise. By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom — In my own breast, and from the sight of all men; or, in secret, as R. Levi renders בחבי, bechobbi. Job alludes to Adam’s hiding himself among the trees of the garden, and palliating his sin; a circumstance in the history of the fall, recorded by Moses, Genesis 3:7, and doubtless imparted by the godly patriarchs to their children before Moses’s time, and therefore well known to Job, who here says he did not act thus, but was ever ready to acknowledge his errors. The allusion is quite proper and apposite: but if we should render the passage, agreeably to the marginal reading, after the manner of men, it becomes an accusation of others; and the vindication of himself has a mixture of pride in it, which does not suit the character of the speaker. See Sherlock on Prophecy, p. 212.

31:33-40 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!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.

33. Adam—translated by Umbreit, "as men do" (Ho 6:7, where see Margin). But English Version is more natural. The very same word for "hiding" is used in Ge 3:8, 10, of Adam hiding himself from God. Job elsewhere alludes to the flood. So he might easily know of the fall, through the two links which connect Adam and Abraham (about Job's time), namely, Methuselah and Shem. Adam is representative of fallen man's propensity to concealment (Pr 28:13). It was from God that Job did not "hide his iniquity in his bosom," as on the contrary it was from God that "Adam" hid in his lurking-place. This disproves the translation, "as men"; for it is from their fellow men that "men" are chiefly anxious to hide their real character as guilty. Magee, to make the comparison with Adam more exact, for my "bosom" translates, "lurking-place." This he adds to prevent or answer an objection. So the sense is, either,

1. And whereas amongst these and other virtues it may well be presumed that I had divers failings, as I do not now deny them, so I never covered them, but was forward to confess them to God or to men, as I had occasion. Or, (which I propose with submission to better judgments,)

2. If I used all this care and caution in my carriage towards strangers, and enemies, and others only as a cloak to any secret and subtle way of wickedness, such as you accuse me of, and did not seek to purge out all sin as in God’s sight, but only to hide my sins from men, and to have the better opportunity for oppressing others, or indulging myself in any other close sin, under a colour, and with a reputation of justice and holiness. As Adam; either,

1. As Adam did in Paradise; which history is recorded by Moses, Genesis 3:7, &c., and was doubtless imparted by the godly patriarchs to their children before Moses’s time. Or,

2. Like a man, or after the manner of men in their corrupt estate. Compare Hosea 6:7.

In my bosom; in my own breast, and from the sight of all men.

If I covered my transgressions as Adam,.... Job could not be understood, by this account he had given of the holiness of his life, that he thought himself quite free from sin; he had owned himself to be a sinner in several places before, and disclaimed perfection; and here he acknowledges he was guilty of transgressing the law of God, and that in many instances; for he speaks of his "transgressions" in the plural number; but then he did not seek to cover them from the of God or men, but frankly and ingenuously confessed them to both; he did not cover them, palliate, excuse, and extenuate them, as Adam did his, by laying the blame to his wife; and as she by charging it on the serpent; and those excuses they made are the inventions they found out, Ecclesiastes 7:29; or the meaning is, Job did not do "as men" (k) in common do; who, when they have sinned, either through fear or shame, endeavour to conceal it, and keep it out of the sight of others, unless they are very hardened and audacious sinners, such as the men of Sodom were, see Hosea 6:7;

by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom; meaning perhaps some particular iniquity which his nature was most inclined to; this he did not attempt to hide in secret, as what is put into the bosom is; or that he did not spare it and cherish it, and, from an affection to it, keep it as persons and things beloved are, laid in the bosom; and so Mr. Broughton reads the words, "hiding my sin of a self-love"; either having a self-love to it, or hiding it of self-love, that is, from a principle of self-love, to preserve his honour, credit, and reputation among men.

(k) "ut homo", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Beza, Bolducius, Mercerus, Drusius, Schmidt; "more hominum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Aben Ezra.

If I covered {x} my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

(x) Not confessed it freely, by which it is evident that he justified himself before men, and not before God.

33–34. The verses should probably be read,

33.  If I have covered my transgressions like men,

Hiding mine iniquity in my bosom,

34.  Because I feared the great multitude,

And the contempt of the families terrified me,

So that I kept still and went not out of the door.

33. as Adam] This is possible, and so Hosea 6:7; such a reference, however, seems without motive here. The words rather mean, like common men, like the world (Ew.), Psalm 17:4.

Verse 33. - If I covered my transgressions as Adam; or, after the manner of men It does not seem to me likely that Job had such a knowledge of Adam's conduct in the garden of Eden as would have made an allusion to it in this place natural or probable. The religious traditions of the Chaldees, which note the war in heaven, the Deluge, the building of the Tower of Babel, and the confusion of tongues, contain no mention of Adam or of Paradise. Nor. so far as I am aware, is there, among other ancient legends, any near parallel to the story of the Fall as related in Genesis 4. Much less does the subordinate detail of Adam hiding himself make its appearance in any of them. The marginal rendering, "after the manner of men," is therefore, I think, to be preferred. By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom. This is not particularly apposite to the case of Adam, who "hid himself from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden" (Genesis 4:8). Job 31:3333 If I have hidden my wickedness like Adam,

Concealing my guilt in my bosom,

34 Because I feared the great multitude

And the contempt of families affrighted me,

So that I acted secretly, went not out of the door. -

Most expositors translate כּאדם: after the manner of men; but appropriate as this meaning of the expression is in Psalm 82:7, in accordance with the antithesis and the parallelism (which see), it would be as tame here, and altogether expressionless in the parallel passage Hosea 6:7 -

(Note: Pusey also (The Minor Prophets with Commentary, P. i. 1861) improves "like men" by translating "like Adam.")

the passage which comes mainly under consideration here - since the force of the prophetic utterance: "they have כאדם transgressed the covenant," consists in this, "that Israel is accused of a transgression which is only to be compared to that of the first man created: here, as there, a like transgression of the expressed will of God" (von Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 412f.); as also, according to Romans 5:14, Israel's transgression is that fact in the historical development of redemption which stands by the side of Adam's transgression. And the mention of Adam in Hosea cannot surprise one, since he also shows himself in other respects to be familiar with the contents of Genesis, and to refer back to it (vid., Genesis, S. 11-13). Still much less surprising is such a reference to primeval history in a book that belongs to the literature of the Chokma (vid., Introduction, 2). The descent of the human race from a single pair, and the fall of those first created, are, moreover, elements in all the ancient traditions; and it is questionable whether the designation of men by beni Adama (children of Adam), among the Moslems, first sprang from the contact of Judaism and Christianity, or whether it was not rather an old Arabic expression. Therefore we translate with Targ., Schult., Boullier, Rosenm., Hitz., Kurtz, and von Hofm.: if I have hidden (disowned) like Adam my transgression. The point of comparison is only the sinner's dread of the light, which became prominent as the prototype for every succeeding age in Adam's hiding himself. The לטמון which follows is meant not so much as indicating the aim, as gerundive (abscondendo); on this use of the inf. constr. with ל, vid., Ew. 280, d. חב, bosom, is ἁπ. γεγρ.; Ges. connects it with the Arab. habba, to love; it is, however, to be derived from the חב, occulere, whence chabı̂be, that which is deep within, a deep valley (comp. חבא, chabaa, with their derivatives); in Aramaic it is the common word for the Hebr. חיק.

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