Significance of Human Integrity. In a few cases the Hebrew tom conveys simply the idea of honest motive, innocence as to wrong intention. (Compare Ge 20:5, 6; 2Sa 15:11.) But mainly these related Hebrew terms describe unswerving devotion to righteousness. Biblical usage and examples emphasize unbreakable devotion to a person, Jehovah God, and to his expressed will and purpose as the course of vital importance.
Involved in the supreme issue. The first human pair were given the opportunity to manifest integrity in Eden. The restriction regarding the tree of knowledge put to the test their devotion to their Creator. Under the pressure of outside influence from God’s Adversary and his appeal to selfishness, they gave way to disobedience. Their shame, their reluctance to face their Creator, and their lack of candor in responding to his questions all gave evidence of their lack of integrity. (Compare Ps 119:1, 80.) Obviously, however, they were not the first to break integrity, since the spirit creature who led them into a rebellious course had already done so.—Ge 3:1-19; compare his course with the dirge pronounced against the king of Tyre at Eze 28:12-15; see SATAN.
Satan’s rebellion, visibly initiated in Eden, produced an issue of universal importance—that of the rightfulness of God’s sovereignty over all his creatures, his right to require full obedience of them. Since the issue was not one of superiority of power but, rather, was a moral issue, it could not be settled merely by the exercise of power, as by God’s immediately crushing Satan and the human pair out of existence. This fact is an aid in understanding why wickedness and its author, Satan, have been allowed to continue so long. (See WICKEDNESS.) Since God’s Adversary first drew upon humans for support and endorsement of his rebel course (the earliest evidence for any siding with Satan on the part of spirit sons of God not appearing until sometime prior to the Flood; Ge 6:1-5; compare 2Pe 2:4, 5), this made the question of man’s integrity to God’s sovereign will an essential part of the overall issue (though Jehovah’s sovereignty is not itself dependent on the integrity of his creatures). Proof of this is seen in the case of Job.
Job. Job, who evidently lived in the period between the death of Joseph and the time of Moses, is described as a man who had “proved to be blameless [Heb., tam] and upright, and fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:1; see JOB.) That human integrity forms part of the issue between Jehovah God and Satan is clear from God’s questioning his Adversary about Job when Satan appeared during an angelic assembly in the courts of heaven. Satan imputed false motive to Job’s worship of God, alleging that Job served not out of pure devotion but for selfish benefits. He thereby placed in question Job’s integrity to God. Permitted to divest Job of his vast possessions and even of his children, Satan failed to crack Job’s integrity. (Job 1:6–2:3) He then claimed that Job was selfishly willing to endure the loss of possessions and children as long as he could save his own skin. (Job 2:4, 5) Thereafter stricken with a painful, consuming disease and subjected to dissuasion from his own wife as well as to disparaging criticism and slurs from companions who misrepresented God’s standards and purposes (Job 2:6-13; 22:1, 5-11), Job’s response was that he would not deny having been a man of integrity. “Until I expire I shall not take away my integrity from myself! On my justness I have laid hold, and I shall not let it go; my heart will not taunt me for any of my days.” (Job 27:5, 6) His maintaining integrity demonstrated that God’s Adversary was a liar.
Satan’s challenging statements in Job’s case show he held the position that all persons could be drawn away from God’s side, that none served out of a purely unselfish motive. Thus humans, as well as God’s spirit sons, have the remarkable privilege of contributing to the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty by a course of integrity to him. In doing so they also sanctify his name. The ones “blameless in their way are a pleasure” to Jehovah.—Pr 11:20; contrast this with the false view advanced by Eliphaz at Job 22:1-3.
Basis for divine judgment. Having a favorable judgment from God is dependent on the creature’s integrity-keeping course. (Ps 18:23-25) As King David wrote: “Jehovah himself will pass sentence on the peoples. Judge me, O Jehovah, according to my righteousness and according to my integrity in me. Please, may the badness of wicked ones come to an end, and may you establish the righteous one.” (Ps 7:8, 9; compare Pr 2:21, 22.) Suffering Job expressed the confidence that “[Jehovah] will weigh me in accurate scales and God will get to know my integrity.” (Job 31:6) Job thereafter lists about a dozen examples from actual life that, if true of him, would have demonstrated a lack of integrity.—Job 31:7-40.