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?


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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