on Job 31 :5
If I have walked with vanity - If I have been guilty of idolatry, or the worshipping of a false god: for thus שאו shau, which we here translate vanity, is used Jeremiah 18:15; (compare with Psalm 31:6; Hosea 12:11; and Jonah 2:9), and it seems evident that the whole of Job's discourse here is a vindication of himself from all idolatrous dispositions and practices.
on Job 31 :5
If I have walked with vanity - This is the second specification in regard to his private deportment. He says that his life had been sincere, upright, honest. The word vanity here is equivalent to falsehood, for so the parallelism demands, and so the word (שׁוא shâv') is often used; Psalm 12:3; Psalm 41:7; Exodus 23:1; Deuteronomy 5:20; compare Isa, Deuteronomy 1:13. The meaning of Job here is, that he had been true and honest. In his dealings with others he had not defrauded them; he had not misrepresented things; he had spoken the exact truth, and had done that which was without deception or guile.
If my foot hath hasted to deceit - That is, if I have gone to execute a purpose of deceit or fraud. He had never, on seeing an opportunity where others might be defrauded, hastened to embrace it. The Septuagint renders this verse, "If I have walked with scoffers - μετα γελοιαστῶν meta geloiastōn - and if my foot has hastened to deceit."
"Let me be weighed in an even balance,
That God may know mine integrity."
The balance thus used to denote judgment in this life became also the emblem of judgment in the future state, when the conduct of men will be accurately estimated, and justice dealt out to them according to the strict rules of equity. To illustrate this, I will insert a copy of an Egyptian "Death Judgment," with the remarks of the editor of the "Pictorial Bible" in regard to it: "The Egyptians entertained the belief that the actions of the dead were solemnly weighed in balances before Osiris, and that the condition of the departed was determined according to the preponderance of good or evil. Such judgment scenes are very frequently represented in the paintings and papyri of ancient Egypt, and one of them we have copied as a suitable illustration of the present subject. One of these scenes, as represented on the walls of a small temple at Dayr-el-Medeeneh, has been so well explained by Mr. Wilkinson, that we shall avail ourselves of his description, for although that to which it refers is somewhat different from the one which we have engraved, his account affords an adequate elucidation of all that ours contains. 'Osiris, seated on his throne, awaits the arrival of those souls that are ushered into Amenti. The four genii stand before him on a lotus-blossom (ours has the lotus without the genii), the female Cerberus sits behind them, and Harpocrates on the crook of Osiris. Thoth, the god of letters, arrives in the presence of Osiris, bearing in his hand a tablet, on which the actions of the deceased are noted down, while Horus and Arceris are employed in weighing the good deeds of the judged against the ostrich feather, the symbol of truth and justice. A cynocephalus, the emblem of truth, is seated on the top of the balance. At length arrives the deceased, who appears between two figures of the goddess, and bears in his hand the symbol of truth, indicating his meritorious actions, and his fitness for admission to the presence of Osiris.'
"If the Babylonians entertained a similar notion, the declaration of the prophet, 'Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!' must have appeared exceedingly awful to them. But again, there are allusions in this declaration to some such custom of literally weighing the royal person, as is described in the following passage in the account of Sir Thomas Roe's embassy to the great Mogul: 'The first of September (which was the late Mogul's birthday), he, retaining an ancient yearly custom, was, in the presence of his chief grandees, weighed in a balance: the ceremony was performed within his house, or tent, in a fair spacious room, whereinto none were admitted but by special leave. The scales in which he was thus weighed were plated with gold: and so was the beam, on which they hung by great chains, made likewise of that most precious metal. The king, sitting in one of them, was weighed first against silver coin, which immediately afterward was distributed among the poor; then was he weighed against gold; after that against jewels (as they say), but I observed (being there present with my ambassador) that he was weighed against three several things, laid in silken bags in the contrary scale. When I saw him in the balance, I thought on Belshazzar, who was found too light. By his weight (of which his physicians yearly keep an exact account), they presume to guess of the present state of his body, of which they speak flatteringly, however they think it to be. '"
Thou art weighed in the balances - That is, this, in the circumstances, is the proper interpretation of this word. It would apply to anything whose value was ascertained by weighing it; but as the reference here was to the king of Babylon, and as the whole representation was designed for him, Daniel distinctly applies it to him: "thou art weighed." On the use and application of this language, see 1 Samuel 2:3 : "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." Compare also Job 31:6; Proverbs 16:2, Proverbs 16:11.
on Job 31 :5
31:5 Walked - Dealt with men. Vanity - With lying, or falsehood. Deceit - If when I had an opportunity of enriching myself, by wronging others, I have readily and greedily complied with It.