For now thou numberest my steps
Or "but now" F7, at this present time thou seemest to have no desire to me, or affection for me, but the reverse. Job was in a pretty good frame of mind a little before, having in view his last change, and the glorious resurrection; but on a sudden he returns to his former complaints of God, and here of the rigour and strictness of his justice in marking his steps, and correcting him for his sin; so very uncertain are the best of frames: the outward conversation of men, whether good or bad, is often in Scripture expressed by walking, and the actions of men, good or evil, are the steps taken therein; here they signify evil ones, irregular steps, steps out of the way of God's commandments, aberrations, strayings from thence, false steps; these Job supposed God not only had knowledge of, as he has of all the ways, paths, and goings of men, but took very exact notice of his wrong steps; looked very narrowly to his paths, as in ( Job 13:27 ) ; and strictly marked them; yea, told them one by one, that he might miss none, and make up a large account, which he put down in his book, in order to produce against him; in which Job was mistaken: he thought God dealt with him as he does with wicked men, whose evil actions are not only known and observed, but are counted and put down in the book of his remembrance, which will be opened at the last day, and produced against them; but God has blotted out of his book the sins of his people, and will remember them no more; he has a book of remembrance for their good works, words, and thoughts, but none for their evil ones:
dost thou not watch over my sin?
of error, infirmity, and weakness; observe it, mark it in a strict and rigorous way, which, when God does, who can stand before him? or "watch for my sin?" ( Daniel 9:14 ) ( Jeremiah 20:10 ) as Jeremiah's enemies watched for his halting; so Job here represents God very wrongly, as if he watched for an opportunity against him, to take the advantage of it, and severely chastise him: or "thou dost not wait for my sin" F8; that is, the punishment of it as many of the Jewish writers F9 carry the sense; which is, that God did not defer the punishment of sin, or give him any respite or breathing time, but as soon as ever he committed any offence, immediately, at once, he was rough with him, and used him with great severity. Aben Ezra inserts the word "only", as explanative of the meaning of the words, thus, "thou watchest only over my sin", or dost not mark and observe anything but my sins; not my good deeds, only my evil ones; which is a wrong charge, for God takes notice of the good works of his people, and rewards them in a way of grace, though not of debt, as well as of their evil works, and chastises for them in a fatherly way: others render the words to this sense, what is not, or of no moment or consequence, thou keepest for me in mind and memory, as sin F11; that which is not sin, or at least not known to me to be sin, or however something very trifling, scarce to be called a sin, yet I am dealt with for it as if a very heinous one; or I am afflicted for I know not what, or, which is all one, for what is not known to me. Some take the words to be a petition, "do not observe my sin" F12; or mark it strictly, or keep it in mind, or reserve it against another time, but hide thy face from it, and remember it no more, nor never against me.
F7 (hte yk) "at nunc", Piscator.
F8 (ytajx le rwmvt al) "non differes punitionem meam", Pagninus,
F9 Jarchi, Gersom, Bar Tzemach.
F11 So Schultens.
F12 "Nec serves, id est, observes peccatum meum"; some in Mercerus.