In looking back over the whole ethical content of. Job 31 some prominent features stand out clearly. They need no elaboration here, for
they have been already suggested in the foregoing discussions.
The ethical terminology, though not expressed extensively in that chapter, is derived largely from the covenant relationship. The sense of justice, truthfulness and kindness, shorn towards the neighbours and fellow- members of the community, such as the poor and the needy, the widow and the fatherless, indicates the social aspect of Israelite ethics within the framework of the covenant idea. Significantly, the sense of individual worth and responsibility is involved in this `totality' thinking. The basic human rights are assumed in Job's ideal as expressed in his attitudes towards the slave- servants, the sojourner, as well as the enemy.
The ethical conception of Job is religiously grounded. The relation between morals and religion is everywhere evident in that chapter. In the motive clauses of Job's confession, the sanction and authority for morals are furnished by religion. The God to whom Job refers is not merely the God of Israel, but the universal God who is the giver of life, also the giver of both the moral and religious laws. This Creator God requires of all men undivided loyalty to Himself as well as to their fellow-men.
Therefore, idolatry is to be avoided not as a purely cultic aberration, but as a sin related to the moral life.
The ethical motivation of Job is the fear of God, not a mere dread of punishnent, not even a desire for reward. To him, godly fear is a moral quest, aiming at the divine approval. Therefore Job's ethics is both deohtological and teleological in nature. His ethical ideal. His ethical ideal is not confined to the duty to God and to man, but its stress is that a good human relation is not sufficient without an integral relation with God. His Meal of human perfection and the presence of God are posited as the ethical goal of man. Thus, as Job's ethics has common features with that of other Israelite sages, it goes beyond the latter in this emphasis.
The ethical ideal of Job is characterized by its inwardness. This is indicated not only by the religious sentiment of godly fear, but also by the close relation of thought, desire, and motive with conduct. While the heart as the motivating power of the whole being covers potentially the whole of consciousness, the peripheral parts of the body, such as the eye, foot, and. hand, are the symbols of ethical conduct. This metaphorical use of the bodily organs arises from the Israelite conception of man as a psycho-physical organism.
While the form and content of Job 31 have many affinities with those of ancient Near Eastern literature, their complete dependence on the latter can hardly be maintained. The ethics of Job is characteristically
Israelite, it accords the teaching of the Torah, and of the prophets of Israel. Therefore it has an integral place in the ethics of the Old Testament.