Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 15:31

"Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself; For emptiness will be his reward.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Hypocrisy;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Profit and Loss;   Sin;   Wages of Sin;   The Topic Concordance - Following;   Trust;   Vanity;   Wickedness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Trust;   Vanity;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eliphaz;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Let not him that is deceived -

7. He has many vain imaginations of obtaining wealth, power, pleasure, and happiness; but he is deceived; and he finds that he has trusted בשוא bashshav, in a lie; and this lie is his recompense.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-15.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity - The sense is, “Let him not trust in vanity. He will be deceived. Vanity will be his recompense.” The idea is, that a man should not confide in that which will furnish no support. He should not rely on his wealth and rank; his houses and lands; his servants, his armies, or his power, if he is wicked, for all this is vain. He needs some better reliance, and that can be found only in a righteous life. The word vanity here means that which is unsubstantial; which cannot uphold or sustain; which will certainly give way.

For vanity will be his recompense - He will find only vanity. He will be stripped of all his honors and possessions.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-15.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity,.... Every wicked man is deceived, either by Satan, who deceives the whole world, deceived our first parents, and deceives all their posterity, not only profane sinners, but many professors of religion also; or by their own hearts, which are deceitful and desperately wicked; or through the deceitfulness of sin, which promises profit, pleasure, and liberty, and issues in ruin, pain, and bondage; and through the deceitfulness of riches, which promise that satisfaction they do not give: and such as are deceived in this manner are prone to trust in vanity; in men, who in every state, high or low, are altogether vanity; and in creature enjoyments, in outward riches and wealth, which are all vanity and vexation of spirit; and in their own hearts, and the vanity of their minds, which to do is extreme folly; and in their righteousness and external privileges, which will be of no service to them, as to their acceptance with God, and eternal happiness; and therefore trust in whatsoever is vain and empty, and affords no solid satisfaction, real pleasure, and advantage, is here dehorted from; unless the words will be allowed to be justly rendered, as I think they may, "trust not in him that is deceived by vanity"F5בשוא נתעה "per vanitatem deceptus", Beza; so Tigurine version. ; by any of the above vain things, since he must himself be a vain man, and therefore not to be confided in; to which sense the Targum inclines;

"he will not (or should not) believe in a son of man (or in a man), who errs through falsehood;'

the reason dissuading from it follows:

for vanity shall be his recompence; all that a man gets by trusting in vanity, or by trusting in a man deceived, is nothing but emptiness and vanity; he gets nothing solid and substantial, that will be of any advantage to him here or hereafter; and yet this he will not easily believe; and so Beza reads the words, "he that is deceived by vanity will not believe that vanity shall be his recompence".

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-15.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Let not him that is t deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

(t) He stands in his own conceit, that he will give no place to good counsel, therefore his own pride will bring him to destruction.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-15.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Rather, “let him not trust in vanity or he will be deceived,” etc.

vanity — that which is unsubstantial. Sin is its own punishment (Proverbs 1:31; Jeremiah 2:19).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-15.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

Vanity — In the vain and deceitful things of this world, he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief.

Vanity — Disappointment and dissatisfaction, and the loss of all his imaginary felicity.

Recompence — Heb. his exchange; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-15.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 15:31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

Ver. 31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity] Let it suffice him that he hath been once already deceived by the uncertainty of riches, which were never true to those which trusted them, nor ever will be, 1 Timothy 6:17. As Charondas was wont to say of going to sea, and another of going to law, That he wondered not at those that go once, but at those who go a second time. So may we at those that having found the deceitfulness of sin, and the instability of creature comforts, that they should again be drawn in and deceived. This folly Eliphaz here forewarneth Job of, and would not have him twice stumble at the same stone, but deliver his soul, if ever God should restore him again, and say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Why feed I upon ashes? &c., Isaiah 44:20.

For vanity shall be his recompense] i.e. Poverty and misery shall be his portion, as shame shall be the portion of fools, Proverbs 3:35. As he hath sowed the wind, so he shall reap the whirlwind, whereof he is likely to have a great catch, Hosea 8:7; {See Trapp on "Hosea 8:7"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 15:31". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-15.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 15:31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity Let him not trust in prosperity; it is a mere illusion; for it will turn out nothing but vanity: Heath: who renders the next verse, For his branch shall not flourish; it shall be cut off before its time.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 15:31". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-15.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 466

THE FOLLY OF TRUSTING IS VANITY

Job 15:31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

THE friends of Job were enlightened and pious men; but they altogether mistook the character of Job, and misinterpreted the dispensations of God towards him. They had assumed a principle which they carried too far: they laid it down as an invariable rule, that hypocrites would be visited with some peculiar judgments, and that extraordinary afflictions were in themselves a proof of some extraordinary wickedness which had procured them. But though they were mistaken in this, their observations are frequently most weighty and important. The words in our text are a kind of general truth, founded upon what Eliphaz had spoken in reference to Job. As applied to Job, it was not by any means pertinent: but as an abstract truth, it is deserving of our deepest attention. Let us consider,

I. The caution—

Men are universally “deceived” through the influence of a corrupt heart, a tempting world, and a subtle adversary. And that deception shews itself, as in other things, so particularly in the “trust” which they place in “lying vanities.” They trust,

1. In vain conceits—

[Men conceive themselves to be possessed of wisdom, goodness, strength, in such a degree at least as to warrant their expectation of happiness in a future world. Tell them from God, that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and they will deny your positions as false, and ridicule them as enthusiastic. They have no idea that they need the influences of the Holy Ghost to enlighten their minds, or the blood of Christ to atone for their sins, or the grace of Christ to renovate their hearts.

But let them examine their boasted attainments, and see whether they amount to any thing more than “vanity.” Let them see whether their wisdom has made them like-minded with God: let them bring their goodness to the touchstone of God’s law: let them try their strength in any act of spiritual obedience: let them see if they can love God with all their heart and mind and soul and strength: and they must soon be convinced, that they are trusting to a mere vanity.]

2. In vain possessions—

[If a man possess much of this world’s goods he presently trusts in it for happiness [Note: 1 Timothy 6:17.]: “his wealth is his strong city [Note: Proverbs 10:15.];” and he says to gold, “Thou art my confidence [Note: Job 31:24.].”

But is not wealth also vanity? What can it do to assuage our anguish? or what stability is there in the possession of it? Do not “riches often make themselves wings, and fly away?” Or, when we are saying, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine case, eat, drink, and be merry;” may not God reply, “Thou fool! this night shall thy soul be required of thee?”

Let it not be said, that men do not trust in riches; for the reverse is manifest beyond the possibility of contradiction, seeing that the acquisition of wealth is regarded as the chief step towards happiness; and men bestow ten-fold more pains in the attainment of it, than they do in the pursuit of heaven.]

3. In vain hopes—

[Every one hopes that he shall be happy when he dies. But, if we “ask men a reason of the hope that is in them,” they can make no reply that will at all justify their expectations. They will say, that they live as well as others, and that God is too merciful to condemn them: but as for any Scriptural reason, they can assign none.

What a vanity then is this! If a man were hoping for a harvest while he neglected to use the proper means to obtain one, would not his folly be manifest to all? Wherefore then will men dream of going to heaven when they die, not only without having one word in all the inspired volume to warrant such a hope, but in direct opposition to the plainest declarations of God concerning them? Is not this a strange infatuation, a fatal delusion?]

4. In vain purposes—

[There is no one so hardened, but he intends at some future period to repent. All who have ever reflected on the value of their souls, or the importance of eternity, must have purposed in their minds that they would prepare to meet their God. But in this state they continue without carrying their purposes into execution. The young confess the necessity of repentance, and declare their intention to seek it: but they arrive at manhood, and repentance is unattained: they proceed to a more advanced period of life, and even to old age, and it still is as far from them as ever. Thus they live, always purposing, but never accomplishing their purpose, till the time for working is for ever past.

Can there be a greater vanity than this? And does not the trusting in such a vanity prove a man deceived?]

That we may not ourselves be guilty of this folly, let us consider,

II. The reason with which the caution is enforced—

God has wisely ordained that men should reap according to what they sow [Note: Galatians 6:7-8. Proverbs 4:8.]. And it will surely be found, sooner or later, that “they who trust in vanity, shall have vanity for their recompence:” they shall reap,

1. Disappointment—

[God alone is the proper object of our trust and confidence, because he alone can support us, and make us happy. If we have looked to sin for happiness, we will venture to ask, with the Apostle, “What fruit have we now of those things whereof we are ashamed?” If we have sought happiness in things lawful, still we must confess, that the creature, however excellent in itself, is but a broken cistern that can hold no water, and that must consequently fail us when we most need its support. We may fitly compare those who expect solid satisfaction in the creature, to a man almost famished, who dreams that he is eating and drinking, but awakes afterwards as empty and unsatisfied as before [Note: Isaiah 29:8.]. Truly, “he fills his belly with the east wind [Note: ver. 2.]:” and his fairest prospects shall “be as the unripe grape shaken off from the vine, or the blossom cast off from the olive [Note: ver. 33,].”]

2. Vexation—

[Solomon has observed respecting all the choicest things under the sun, that they are “vanity and vexation of spirit:” and the experience of all attests the truth of his observation. The more we trust in the creature, the more pain, generally speaking, it will occasion us: it will not only be a broken staff that refuses to support us, but a sharp “reed that will pierce through the hand that leans upon it [Note: 2 Kings 18:21.].” When Ahaz relied upon the Assyrian monarch to extricate him from his troubles, he found nothing but additional vexation: “Tiglathpilneser distressed him, but helped him not [Note: 2 Chronicles 28:16; 2 Chronicles 28:20.].” Thus it will be with all who trust in vanities of any kind, or seek for happiness in any thing but God. They may not yet have reached the crisis of their fate; but vanity and vexation are inseparable, both in this world and in the world to come. They may think that they have a feast to come; but while dreaming of something pleasing to their palate, they will find that they are “feeding on ashes, and a deceived heart hath turned them aside [Note: Isaiah 44:20. See also Ecclesiastes 5:16-17.].”]

3. Ruin—

[We well know how the tasting of the forbidden fruit, which promised such gratification and benefit to our first parents, terminated, and what misery it brought on them and their posterity: and the same recompence awaits us also, if we trust in lying vanities, instead of depending wholly on our God. Hear what God himself says respecting this: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and that maketh flesh his arm, and whose hope departeth from the Lord [Note: Jeremiah 17:5.].” How should we tremble at such a denunciation as this! O let it have a becoming influence on our minds; and stimulate us to seek our happiness where alone it can be found.]

We conclude with observing,

1. How necessary is it to mark the state and habit of our minds!

[If it were said that gross sin should issue in misery, we should not be surprised: but we are told that the mere “trusting in vanity,” independent of any gross sins which may flow from it, “will have vanity for its recompence.” Let us look then not to our actions only, but to the state and habit of our minds; since our happiness both in time and in eternity depends no less on the latter than on the former. Let us not be satisfied that we are free from any flagrant transgressions, while we are relying on any thing besides God. Let us observe whether we practically feel the emptiness of all created things, and their utter insufficiency to make us happy either here or hereafter. And let us be going forth to God in the constant exercise of prayer, and “commit our souls to him in well-doing, as into the hands of a faithful Creator.”]

2. How thankful should we be, that there is an all-sufficient Friend in whom we may trust!

[God in Christ is the only legitimate object of our hope and confidence. We are told, under the figure of Eliakim, that “Christ has the key of David; that he openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth; and that on him must hang all the glory of his Father’s house [Note: Isaiah 22:20-24.].” “Every vessel in the Lord’s house, whether great or small, must hang on him;” and every care must be devolved on him. In him there is a fulness of all that we can want. “In him is wisdom for the blind, righteousness for the guilty, sanctification for the polluted, and redemption for the enslaved: and all this he will become to those who trust in him [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:30.].” Be thankful then, Brethren, for such a friend, and for the command given you by God, “Trust in him at all times, ye people.” Rejoice that he can bear your every burthen, and supply your every want; and that, as a trust in vanity will have vanity for its recompence, so a “confidence in Jesus will have a great, substantial, everlasting recompence of reward [Note: Hebrews 10:35.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Job 15:31". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/job-15.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In vanity, i.e. in the vain and deceitful things of this world, such as power, riches, honour, &c., of which, and of the loss of them, he had been largely discoursing; and now he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief with the forementioned persons; and withal he secretly intimates Job’s great sin, which was the cause of his ruin, to wit, his carnal confidence in those vain things, the wealth, and glory, and children which God had given him; from which crime he therefore vindicates himself hereafter. For vanity, i.e. disappointment and dissatisfaction, and the vanishing or loss of all their imaginary felicity; the same word vanity being elegantly repeated in another sense, as is usual in Scripture and all authors.

His recompence, Heb. his exchange; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity. But this verse is and may be rendered otherwise; the Hebrew particle al being here, as it is elsewhere, taken for a simple negation. Thus, He that is deceived with vanity, (i.e. with the vain things of this world, wherewith most men are deceived and bewitched,) will not believe that vanity (i.e. emptiness, and disappointment, and misery) shall be his recompence. And so this is an aggravation of his calamity, that it surprised him when he was confident and secure from all fears of such an event.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 15:31". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-15.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

31.Let him not trust in evil; he is deceived, for evil shall be his reward. (Conant and most moderns.)

Recompense — Literally, exchange. The word translated vanity signifies also evil, or sin and destruction. For sin the wicked man gets destruction. Let him not be deceived, for this is the exchange he makes. Galatians 6:7.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-15.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 15:31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity — That is, in the vain and deceitful things of this world, such as power, riches, honour, &c., of which, and of the loss of them, he had been discoursing largely; and now he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief with the fore-mentioned persons: and, withal, he secretly intimates what, he judged, had been Job’s great sin, and the cause of his ruin, namely, his carnal confidence in those vain things, his wealth and glory, and the children which God had given him: from which crime Job, therefore, vindicates himself hereafter. For vanity — Disappointment, dissatisfaction, and the loss of all his imaginary felicity; the same word vanity being elegantly repeated in another sense, as is usual in the Scripture, and all authors. Shall be his recompense — Hebrew, תמורתו, temuratho, permutatio vel commutatio ejus; his exchange, Leviticus 27:33; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity. This verse however may be rendered otherwise, thus: He that is deceived with vanity (that is, with the vain things of this world, wherewith most men are deceived and bewitched) will not believe that vanity (namely, emptiness, disappointment, and misery) shall be his recompense. And thus this is an aggravation of his calamity, that it surprised him when he was confident, and secure from all fears of such an event.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 15:31". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-15.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

That he. Hebrew and Septuagint, "for vanity shall be his reward." (Haydock) --- If he would repent, he might still be safe. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-15.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

The evil man who trusts in worthless possessions will receive nothing of value.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-15.html. 1999-2014.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

Rather, 'let him not trust in vanity (or) he will be deceived,' etc.

Vanity, [ shaaw' (Hebrew #7723)] - that which is unsubstantial. Sin is its own punishment (Proverbs 1:31; Jeremiah 2:19).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-15.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(31) Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity.—Or, Let him not trust in vanity deceiving himself. (Comp. James 1:26; 1 Samuel 12:21.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-15.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
not him
12:16; Isaiah 44:20; Galatians 6:3,7; Ephesians 5:6
trust
Psalms 62:10; Isaiah 59:4; Jonah 2:8
for vanity
4:8; Proverbs 22:8; Isaiah 17:10,11; Hosea 8:7; Galatians 6:8
Reciprocal: Job 22:5 - not thy;  Job 34:33 - he will

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 15:31". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-15.html.