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Job's final appeal to God includes this assertion of innocence:

I have covenanted with my eyes
Not to gaze on a maiden.—Job 31:1 (NJPS)

The ESV reads this as a rhetorical question:

I have made a covenant with my eyes;
    how then could I gaze at a virgin?

—Job 31:1 (ESV)

In either case, the covenant is between Job and his eyes. But I would have expected that he would avoid looking at another woman because of his covenant with his wife, i.e. his marriage. Is this a known metaphor for the marital promises? Is there some other reading that makes sense of this verse in some other way?

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I ran across this verse while answering the question: Is it a sin to lust after my wife? –  Jon Ericson Aug 20 '12 at 21:53
And just in case the question comes up, I don't see room in the Hebrew to interpret this "with" as agency. I.e. Job isn't using his eyes to make a covenent with an un-named other; the covenant is between him and his eyes. –  Gone Quiet Aug 20 '12 at 22:09
@GoneQuiet: What an interesting thought! I have to say I'm relieved its off the table, however. –  Jon Ericson Aug 20 '12 at 22:21
Jon, I aim for completeness. :-) ("With" in English can mean both -- "with this ring I be wed" versus "I make a covenant with you" -- and I've seen translation-based issues come up here before. So, y'know, just covering the bases...) –  Gone Quiet Aug 20 '12 at 23:13

1 Answer 1

The beauty of a young woman comes to us through our eyes, whereby we might be drawn into sin and adultery. Therefore, possibly making a covenant with our eyes is just a poetic way of saying: ‘I have agreed within myself, swore to myself and all the prime members involved, that I will not lustfully gaze after a maiden.’ One might say 'I made a covenant with my hands that I will not shed blood.'

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