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Bible Commentaries
Job 18

Dunagan's Commentary on the BibleDunagan's Commentary

Verse 1

Verse 2

18:2 "How long will you hunt for words?": "He likened Job's talk to unintelligent ramblings in which he was unsuccessfully trying to find the right words" (p. 82). "Show understanding and then we can talk": That is, "start making sense", agree with Bildad and his friends, then they can have an intelligent conversation. Bildad is wearied by what he sees in Job's constant search for arguments in which to entrap them.

Verse 3

18:3 Job had noted that the wild animals understood more about the topic of undeserved suffering than his friends did (12:7-9), and Bildad is insulted by such a claim.

Verse 4

18:4 "O you who tear yourself in your anger": Job had lamented that God tore him in His anger (16:9); Bildad responds with a different idea, that Job was actually tearing himself in his own anger, and that his hardships were the results of his own sins. 18:4 "For your sake is the earth to be abandoned, or the rock to be moved from its place?" Bildad complains that Job is insisting that God change the nature of the universe to accommodate Job's claim that he is an exception to the moral order. "If the established order of the universe dictates that suffering is the empirical proof of sin, does Job think that this order is to be modified for him?" (Strauss p. 173). "How could Job expect God to alter reality for his sake? Would everything give way to him, as if he were the only man on earth? Would God bend His ways just for Job, removing even firm things such as rocks?" (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 740).

Verse 5

18:5 "Indeed": Notice Bildad's absolute confidence that such things always happen to the wicked in this life-and Job fits in that class. Obviously things are not true just because someone sincerely believes them to be so. "The light burning in a house is symbolic of continuous prosperity (Proverbs 13:9; 20:20; 24:20), the extinction of these symbols of happiness and prosperity is a mark of judgment on the household" (Strauss p. 175).

Verse 6

18:6 The term "tent" indicates that when this book was written many people still lived in tents.

Verse 7

18:7 "His vigorous stride is shortened": The confident stride of the prosperous man comes to an end. "And his own scheme brings him down": He is defeated by his own wicked plans that come back upon him like a boomerang.

Verse 8

18:8 In verses 8-10 six different words are used for what we would call a "trap". The "net" is for catching birds or men, and the "webbing" is a light, interwoven covering over a pit. Notice the expression by his own feet, that is the wicked are caught up in their own schemes. What Bildad says here is often true-what is false is the claim that Job is such a wicked man.

Verse 9

18:9-10 The "snare" is a bird trap, and the "trap" that "snaps shut" is one with some kind of mesh. The "noose" hidden in the ground is a rope with a noose, and the "trap" on the path is the general term (Zuck p. 83). "The world of God is one network of snares for the wicked man" (Davidson).

Verse 11

18:11 As a result of all these imminent dangers facing the wicked such a person is continually frightened and fearful (Proverbs 28:1).

Verse 12

18:12 "His strength is famished, and calamity is ready at his side": The wicked man may be worn out and tired, but the calamity that stalks him remains hungry and ready to strike.

Verse 13

18:13 "His skin is devoured by disease": Clearly a direct attack on Job who had a disease-ridden body. "The firstborn of death devours his limbs": This could mean "death in its most terrible form". "A better meaning may be that among man's diseases known as death's children because they serve death's purposes Job's (disease) was the worst" (Zuck p. 83).

Verse 14

18:14 "He is torn from the security of his tent": In this verse death is pictured as the king of terrors, before whom Job will be dragged as a captive. Yet Bildad has not been listening to Job, for Job has been looking at death as a release from his suffering. In addition, the Christian should not fear death (Hebrews 2:14-15; Philippians 1:21,23).

Verse 15

18:15 "There dwells in his tent nothing of his": His possessions pass on to others (Ecclesiastes 2:18f), or are removed by God's judgment. The use of the term "brimstone" may either refer to the practice of using sulphur to fumigate the room where a corpse had lain, or an inference that Job's losing his prosperity was an act of Divine judgment (Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:22-23).

Verse 16

18:16 The wicked man becomes like a rootless, branchless tree. This may also be a veiled reference to the fact that Job had been deprived of all his children, and yet that point will be driven home in 18:19

Verse 17

18:17 People do not remember the wicked according to Bildad, he is banished into darkness, and his entire family perishes. "Lack of descendents was considered a terrible fate, for a man's name would not be perpetuated" (Zuck p. 84).

Verse 20

18:20 Such a fate would appall people everywhere.

Verse 21

18:21 "Surely": Notice again the absolute confidence of Bildad, and there are no exceptions to this rule! Bildad reasoned that since Job had lost his possessions, children, wealth, and reputation, and was plagued by numerous calamities, it is obvious that he is wicked. The term "wicked" means a "deviate" person. The inference as well is that Job does not even know God, for how can a person who refuses to repent "know" God?

Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 18". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-18.html. 1999-2014.
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