By Louis J. Sharp
In defense of his integrity, Job makes an astonishing statement in chapter 31, verse 1: “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (KJV) A.R. Fausset remarks: “In this chapter he vindicates his character in private life.” He says “think -cast a (lustful) look. . . He not merely did not so, but put it out of the question by covenanting with his eyes against leading him into temptation.” He refers to Proverbs 6:25: “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids” (NKJ) [Jamieson, Fausset, Brown, Vol. II; p. 73]. Thus, the rendering of the NIV: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.
The NKJV likewise supports this rendering: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?” Clarke offers this thought. “My conscience and my eyes are the contracting parties; God is the Judge; and I am therefore bound not to look upon anything with a delighted or covetous eye, by which my conscience may be defiled, or my God dishonored” (Clark’s Commentary, Vol. III; p. 136).
Joseph S. Excell states: “The covenant must have been with himself. Job means that he came to a fixed resolution, by which he thenceforth guided his conduct, not even to ‘look upon a woman to lust after her’ (Matt. 5:28). We must suppose this resolution came to in his early youth, when the passions are strongest, and when so many men go astray” (Pulpit Commentary, p. 499). “Having made such a resolution, how could I possibly break it by ‘looking upon a maid?’ Job assumes that he could not be so weak as to break a solemn resolution” (Ibid., p. 499).
Several excellent lessons are brought to our attention by these brief comments. (1) The value of virtuous resolutions; (2) The exercise of self-control in one’s life; (3) Covenants made are not to be broken; (4) The covenant one makes with oneself (in our text), with one’s eyes.
Our eyes are expressive – they do speak – they reveal much about a person. I recall my mother always demanded that I “look her in the eye” when she questioned some story I was relating and she did not believe. Somehow or other, I could not lie while “looking her in the eye.” In her own way, she was instilling in me a lesson of truthfulness. In a sense, I was “covenanting with my eyes.” This may seem a little far-fetched, but it does illustrate the value of eye-contact!
In Scripture we do read of lustful eyes. 1 John 2:16: “For all that [is] in the world – . . . the lust of the eyes, – is not of the Father. . .” And the evil eye (Pro. 28:22): “He that hasteth to be rich (hath) an evil eye.” Solomon spoke of an eye “not satisfied with seeing” (Eccl. 1:8). At another time, Job asked: “Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?” (Job 10:4) And in Proverbs 27:20, Solomon says: “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” This shows how praiseworthy the covenant Job had made with his eyes.
Our Lord’s teaching concerning adulterous eyes needs to be a part of this study. Said He: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:28-29) Thus, we learn that the covenant Job had made with his eyes comports with the teaching of Jesus centuries later.
Is it any wonder that God had such a high regard for his servant Job? In chapter 1:8, he asks Satan: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” If we direct our lives and our steps as Job, we too will be called “the faithful servant of God.” “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Have you made a “covenant with your eyes?”
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 13, p. 399