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Job 18:1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
Ver. 1. Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said ] Not so much disputing as inveighing against Job in a sharp and angry oration, wherein he elegantly describeth the woe of a wicked man, but wrongfully wresteth the same against good Job, who might well say with him in Tacitus, Tu linguae, ego aurium dominus, If I cannot command thy tongue, yet I can command mine own ears; or with another, Didicit ille maledicere, et ego contemnere, This man hath learned to reproach, and I to slight his contempts and contumelies; unless I should yield, that wicked men only are grievously afflicted in this life present; that they are not to be reckoned wicked who prosper in their way, but those only who suffer extremely.
Job 18:2 How long [will it be ere] ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.
Ver. 2. How long will it be ere you make an end of words? ] First he taxeth Job with being talkative, when he himself talked much, but said little, save only what he had spoken before, Job 8:1-22 , though Job had sufficiently refuted him. But as nothing in the world is more unreasonable than an ignorant person, who thinketh nothing well done but that which he doth himself; so those that bear themselves overly bold upon their own knowledge, and overween their own abilities, account it a great injury if any dissent from them in opinion and judgment, Lαλειν αριστος λεγειν δε αδυνατωτατος (De Alcibiade, Plutarch). And such a one here Bildad showeth himself to be by his exordium ex abrupto, as Junius phraseth it, his abrupt beginning, as if he could bear no longer with Job’s prittle prattle; who, if he were more prolix than his friends, he had greater reason, as being heavily afflicted and falsely accused, Quando tandem finem loquendi seu nugandi potius facies? (Lay.) Among the Romans the plaintiff was allowed only three hours, the defendant six. But why doth Bildad speak of Job here in the plural number? Was it for honour’s sake (as Cajetan holdeth)? I scarcely can agree. Was it because he thought Job to be possessed by an evil spirit (as Philip after Bede)? No. But this he seemeth to do, either by bending his speech to the bystanders, who seemed to favour Job, and sometimes to put in a word for him; whom therefore Bildad looked upon as his fellow hypocrites; or else, by an irony, he speaks unto Job as unto many (Vos, o Calliope, precor. Virg.), because he seemed to set up his opinion above all others, and would needs have his counter to stand for a thousand pounds.
Mark, and afterwards we will speak ] Let thy words be henceforth dipped and dyed in thy heart before they be uttered; let our words also be duly weighed, that some end may be put to these altercations and disputes.
Job 18:3 Wherefore are we counted as beasts, [and] reputed vile in your sight?
Ver. 3. Wherefore are we counted as beasts, &c. ] Here he taxeth Job with pride and arrogance; grounding upon those words of his taken at the worst, Job 12:7 ; Job 17:4 ; Job 17:10 , and not considering his case, that he was full of pain, which maketh wise men touchy (as oppression maketh them mad, Ecc 7:7 ), and that they had sorely provoked him by their bitter taunts and scurrilous invectives, which called for so sharp a currycomb. Pessime autem habet hypocrisin, si contemnatur, Hypocrisy loves not to be sighted, saith Brentius here. And Gregory upon this text saith, that in Bildad heretics are set forth, who stomach it much that the faithful take upon them to reprove them, as carried away by error; as if the knowledge of the truth resided in themselves only, and all others had no more understanding than beasts. "This people which know not the law are cursed," say those Pharisees, John 7:49 . "Ye know nothing at all," saith Caiaphas to his assessors, John 11:49 . The Gnostics and Illuminates referred to themselves as being the only knowing men. But if Bildad had been right, he would neither have so far misconstrued Job’s words nor yet have been behind to fool himself, as Asaph in a similar case did, Psalms 73:22 , where he useth the plural of the words here used in the singular, calling himself, Behemoth, id est, magnam et crassam bestiam, a great and a gross beast.
And reputed vile in your sight? ] Heb. Polluted or unclean; that is, as beasts unfit for food, much less fit for sacrifice. The same Hebrew word signifieth polluted and vile. Every wicked man is a vile man, be he never so high and honourable in the world’s account, as Antiochus, Daniel 11:21 ; is called a vile person, and yet he was the great king of Syria, surnamed Epiphanes, or illustrious, and by the flattering Samaritans he was styled, Antiochus, the mighty God. See Psalms 15:4 .
Job 18:4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?
Ver. 4. He teareth himself in his anger ] Here he chargeth Job with desperate madness, as if through extreme impatience he fell foul upon his own flesh, as did that demoniac in the Gospel, Bajazet, the Great Turk, in his iron cage, Pope Boniface VIII, when clapped up close prisoner in St Angelo; and as they say the tiger doth, when he heareth a drum struck up, he teareth his own flesh with his teeth; or as all ravenous beasts tear in pieces the prey which they have taken. Many read the text thus, O the man which teareth his soul in his anger; or, O thou which tearest thyself, &c. The moralist describeth an angry man forcibly held by his friends, biting his own lips, rending his clothes, and dashing himself against the pillars, Labia mordet, caput quassat, vestimenta scindit, et se in columnas impingit (Senec.). Such a one Bildad maketh Job to be, horn-mad, or mankind, as we say; and he takes occasion, likely, from those words of his, Job 13:14 . But love would have thought no evil. Bildad herein sinned against the law of love, as likewise he doth much more in the following vehement interrogation, charging Job with insolent boldness against God.
Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? ] Shall God cast off the care of his earthly kingdom to gratify thee, and to make good thine assertion, that good men may suffer, and bad men go unpunished? Never think it; thou mayest sooner expect him to overturn the whole world for thy sake, and put everything out of that order he hath decreed and made it in, than cease to be just in punishing the wicked. The course of justice is as firmly settled as the course of nature is. Fiat iustitia, pereat mundus. Of Fabricius it was said, that the sun might as easily be turned out of his track as he out of his path of justice; much more may it be so said of Almighty God, the rock that cannot be removed, though he varieth the manner, the means, the times and seasons of executing justice, as seemeth best unto his heavenly wisdom.
Job 18:5 Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
Ver. 5. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out ] The ensuing description of a wicked man’s unhappiness in like, at death, and after death, is very true, and daintily set forth, but falsely and wrongfully wrested against Job. Yea, or of a surety, the light of the wicked shall be put out, though thou wilt not hear of it; but the truth shall be spoken, however it be taken, and thou shalt hereby see thyself to be a wicked man, because thy light is extinct, that is, thy outward prosperity, fitly compared to light, because, 1. It cheereth our minds; 2. Directeth our hands to every business; 3. Lesseneth our frights; 4. Rendereth us conspicuous. The light of the wicked shall put out itself (so some render it); he is commonly the cause of his own ruin (Merlin).
And the spark of his fire shall not shine ] He is quenched as the fire of the thorns, Psalms 118:12 . Whereof, after a while, neither spark nor spunk remaineth.
Job 18:6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.
Ver. 6. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle ] The glory of his family shall be obscured; he and his shall come to utter and unexpected ruin, as Haman’s did.
And his candle shall be put out with him ] He and his prosperity shall die together; he shall go out in a snuff, and leave nothing behind him but a detestable name. Sicut felis fugiens pedit, sic ille moriens hunc crepitum cecinit, saith Melancthon concerning Eckius’ last piece, De coniugio sacerdotum. Or, his candle shall be put out above him, so the Vulgate interpreter; the lamps which glittered overhead, during the pride and pomp of his feasts, shall give no more light; or if they give any, it shall be but to shine upon his tomb.
Job 18:7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
Ver. 7. The steps of his strength shall be straitened ] That is, saith Vatablus, he shall not do what he would and was wont. He shall lose his courage in the midst of his enterprises, and not be able to effect his attempts.
And his own counsel shall cast him down ] His cunning shall fail him, his counsel, whereby once he rose, shall serve but to advance his overthrow, and to precipitate him into misery. We use to say of a cunning pated fellow, that he never lacked a trick wherewith to help himself; but there is neither power nor policy against the Lord and his judgments. Of the Athenians it is said, that Minerva turned all their evil counsel into good unto them. God’s enemies have no such friend to help them at a dead lift. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall bring down the golden image with a powder, and make it like the chaff of the summer floor, Daniel 2:35 .
Job 18:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.
Ver. 8. For he is cast into a net by his own feet ] Wicked men are even ambitious for destruction; judgments need not go to find them out; they run to meet their bane. Divine justice and their own indiscretion undo them. He hath sent his feet into the net, so the Vulgate rendereth it. He is sent into a net by his own feet, so Mr Broughton. "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins," Proverbs 5:22 ; these shall cast him into inextricable straits.
And he walketh upon a snare ] Upon a platted gin, saith Broughton; whereupon the more he strives to get, the more he entangleth himself. Sic laqueas fera dum iactat astringit. Sic aves viscum dum trepidantes excutiunt, plumis omnibus illinunt (Sen. de Ira, lib. iii. cap. 6): So the beast, while he tosseth the snares wherein he is taken, straiteneth them. So the birds, while they think to shake off the birdlime, besmear all their feathers with it.
Job 18:9 The gin shall take [him] by the heel, [and] the robber shall prevail against him.
Ver. 9. The gin shall take him by the heel ] Or, he shall lay hold on the trap with his heel, so Mercer readeth it; that is, he foolishly runs upon his own ruin, he perisheth by his own oversight.
And the robber shall prevail against him ] Horridi sitibundi, the shag-haired ruffians, that have wasted their own estates, and now thirst after other men’s. Broughton readeth it, The savage shall lay hold on him. So that either by secret contrivance or open violence he shall be undone.
Job 18:10 The snare [is] laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.
Ver. 10. The snare is laid for him in the ground, &c. ] This heap of words, net, snare, gin, trap, cords, showeth that God hath many ways to catch the wicked with, and that nusquam et nunquam non eis impendeat exitium, destruction is ready to meet them at every turning. God cannot lack a weapon to beat a rebel.
And a trap for him in the way ] He walks as it were upon a mine of gunpowder. The Hebrew hath it, His trap; such as most of the Caesars, till Constantine the Great, met with; and among the rest Maximinus, that inastive tyrant, eight feet high, who daily devoured forty pounds of flesh, and drank thereto six gallons of wine. This foul beast, after he had raised the sixth persecution against the Christians, especially against the pastors of the Church, and exercised many other great cruelties, was told to his teeth ( Mimus in Theatre ),
Eleptias grandis est, et occiditur;
Leo fortis est, et occiditur:
Cave multos, si singulos non times.
And it befell him accordingly, for at the siege of Aquileia, in Italy, he was slain as he slept at noon in his tent by his own soldiers (Euseb.). Ezekiel foretelleth the degenerate sons of Josiah, that they shall be taken by the king of Babylon as beasts in a toil. So Pharaoh, that natural brute beast, was "made to be taken and destroyed," 2Pe 2:12 Exodus 9:16 . So Saul complaineth that God had forsaken him, and the Philistines, those savage creatures, were upon him, 1 Samuel 28:15 "Behold, I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them," &c., Jeremiah 16:16 .
Job 18:11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.
Ver. 11. Terrors shall make him afraid on every side ] These terrors are, as it were, the cruel sergeants and merciless officers of that king of terrors, Job 18:14 , arresting him, as it were, in the devil’s name, and bringing him to justice, Apparitores et lictores (Jun.). How can it be but a terrible time with him, when death comes with a writ of Habeas corpus, Let you keep the body, and the devil with a writ of Habeas animam? Let you keep the spirit, when the cold earth must have his body, and hot hell hold his soul, according to that of the psalmist, "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them," Psalms 55:15 . The sad forethought hereof causeth many unutterable griefs and grapings, perplexities of spirit and convulsions of soul, a very hell above ground, and a foretaste of eternal torments. The word here rendered terror signifieth utmost frights, such as put a man well nigh out of his wits and distract him. R. Solomon understandeth it to be devils; others to be furies, such as the poets feign. Most certain it is, that a body is not so tormented with stings or torn with stripes as a mind with remembrance of wicked actions and fear of future evils (Cic. Orat. pro Rose. Amer.).
And shall drive him to his feet ] As they did Cain, that wretch, Qui factus est a corde sua fugitivus (Tertul.), who would fain have fled from his own conscience (if he could have known whither), and become a fugitive and a vagabond upon the earth, Genesis 4:12 , seeking to outrun his terrors, which yet dogged him hard at the heels. They shall press him at his feet, so Broughton readeth this text.
Job 18:12 His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction [shall be] ready at his side.
Ver. 12. His strength shall be hunger bitten ] Heb. His strength (or wealth) shall be famine, Fit famelicum robur eius. Or, Famine shall be his strength. He, who while, having health and wealth at will, fared deliciously and gathered strength, shall be hunger starved, and hardly have prisoner’s pittance; so much only as will neither keep him alive nor suffer him to die. See 1 Samuel 2:5 ; 1 Samuel 2:36 . It is as much, saith Brentius, as we use to say of an extreme poor or feeble person, his wealth is poverty, his strength weakness.
And destruction shall be ready at his side ] i.e. Shall suddenly and inevitably seize upon him, there will be no running away from it, for can a man run from his side? The word signifieth not an ordinary calamity, but a dreadful and direful destruction. Some understand it to be the pleurisy, or ulcers in the side of a man. Others of rib rest, as they call it, tortures inflicted on condemned persons, as Hebrews 11:34 , who are beaten with bats.
Job 18:13 It shall devour the strength of his skin: [even] the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.
Ver. 13. It shall devour the strength of his skin ] i.e. His bones, which support his skin; these destruction shall devour or swallow up at a bite, as a hungry monster.
The firstborn of death shall devour his strength ] i.e. The devil, say some, that destroyer, Revelation 9:11 , that old manslayer, John 8:44 , Prince of death, Hebrews 2:14 , as Christ is called Prince of life, Acts 3:15 , and firstborn of death, as Christ is the firstborn of the resurrection, Colossians 1:18 . Others understand it, De cruentissima ac funestissima morte, to be the most tragic and cruel kind of death, see Isaiah 14:30 . Broughton readeth it, A strange death shall eat the branches of his body, judgments shall come upon thee in their perfection, saith God to Babylon, Isaiah 47:9 .
Job 18:14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
Ver. 14. And his confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle ] Whatsoever he trusteth in about his house shall be pulled up by the roots, or grubbed up. Thus it befell Doeg, Psalms 52:7 . And this disappointment, this broken confidence of his, shall bring him, or make him go, to the king of terrors; i.e. to death, that most terrible of terribles, as the philosopher calleth it (Aristot.). Or the devil (as R. Solomon interpreteth it), that black prince, Ephesians 6:12 , to whom wicked men are brought by death, which to them is not only nature’s slaughterman, but God’s curse, and hell’s purveyor. Hence Revelation 6:8 , death haleth hell at the heels of it.
Job 18:15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
Ver. 15. It shall dwell in his tabernacles, because it is none of his ] Heb. Not his; Why? the king of terrors hath turned him out of it, and taken it up for a habitation for himself. Some render it thus, nothing, or have nothing (that is, want) shall dwell in his tabernacle, his house shall be replenished with emptiness, scarcity shall be the furniture of his habitation.
Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation ] As is also threatened, Psalms 11:6 . And as was executed upon Sodom and her sisters; as also upon Dioclesian, the tyrant, who, giving over his empire, decreed to lead the rest of his life quietly. But he escaped not so, for after that his house was wholly consumed with lightning, and a flame of fire that fell from heaven, not without a sulphurous smell, he hiding himself for fear of the lightning, died a short time later. (Euseb. de Vita Const. lib. v.)
Job 18:16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
Ver. 16. His roots shall be dried up beneath, &c. ] The meaning is, saith Diodati, he shall be deprived of God’s grace, which is the root of all happiness, and of his blessing, which is the top of it.
Job 18:17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.
Ver. 17. His remembrance shall perish from the earth ] As a tree, when root and branch is gone, is clean forgotten, and no man remembereth where it grew; so shall it be with the wicked, Non celebrabitur eius nomen et fama, nisi in malum, Ecclesiastes 8:10 (Mercer). It is reckoned as a great benefit to a wicked man to have his memory die with him, which, if it be preserved, stinks in keeping, and remains as a curse and perpetual disgrace.
And he shall have no name ] i.e. No honourable name, no renown. A good name only is a name, Ecclesiastes 7:1 , as a good wife only is a wife, Proverbs 18:22 . Every married woman is not a wife. Zillah, Lamech’s wife, was but the shadow of a wife, as her name also signifieth. In like sort, those only have a name in the streets or public places who are talked about for good; like the martyrs, who have left their names for a blessing, Isaiah 65:15 , when as their wretched persecutors have left a vile snuff behind, their lamps being put out in obscurity.
Job 18:18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
Ver. 18. He shall be driven out of light into darkness ] Heb. They shall drive him; sc. the devils shall drive him out of the light of life into outer darkness, as they did that rich wretch, Luke 12:20 ; confer Matthew 8:12 ; Matthew 25:30 . The Dutch translation readeth it, Men shall drive him. Others understand it to be his troubles and sorrows.
And chased out of the world ] As Tarquin was by Collatine, as Phocas was by Heraclius; kicked off the stage of the world, as one phraseth it; or, as Job saith of some wicked, buried before half dead, Job 27:15 . "Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place," Job 27:23 .
Job 18:19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.
Ver. 19. He shall neither have son nor nephew, &c. ] A sore affliction to be written childless, which yet is the portion of some good people, as Abel; many prophets and apostles, for whose comfort that is written, Isaiah 56:4-5 . God, as he will be to his childless children better than ten sons; so he will give them in his house, and within his walls, a place and a name, better than of sons and of daughters, he will give them an everlasting name that shall never be cut off, 1Sa 1:8 Isaiah 56:5 . Not so the ungodly, those men of God’s hand, for though, full of children, they leave the rest of their substance to their babes, Psalms 17:14 , yet it will prove to be but luctuosa faecunditas, as Jerome speaketh, they shall weep for their lost children, and not be comforted, because they are not. Or if they survive, they prove singular cuts and crosses to their wretched parents, who have cause enough to cry out, as Moses sometime did, Let me die out of hand, and not see my wretchedness, Numbers 11:15 . They are filled with unmedicinable sorrows, in the loss either of their children, or of their estates by their wasteful children, so that they praise the dead above the living, and wish they had never been born, Ecclesiastes 4:2-3 .
Nor any remaining in his dwellings ] When the soldiers slew the tyrant Maximinus and his son, at the siege of Aquileia, they cried out, Ex pessimo genere ne catulum quidem habendum, Of so ill a kind let not a whelp be kept alive.
Job 18:20 They that come after [him] shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.
Ver. 20. They that come after him shall be astonied at his day ] Future ages, hearing the relation of his dismal destruction, shall stand aghast, as if they beheld the dirty ruins of some once beautiful city. Happy they, if in good earnest they could make that good use of it which Herodotus, the historian, saith men should make of the overthrow of Troy; viz. to take notice thereby that great sinners must look for great punishments from God, Tων μεγαλων αδικηματων μεγαλιε εισι και αι τιμωριαι παρα του Yεου (Herod.). But Ham and his posterity were little the better for the deluge in their days, nor the adjacent countries for Sodom’s downhill.
As they that went before were affrighted ] sc. His contemporaries and eyewitnesses of his calamity apprehended horror, so the Hebrew hath it, they took a fright; which yet was little to the purpose without faith and repentance; and unless their hearts fell down when their hairs stood upright.
Job 18:21 Surely such [are] the dwellings of the wicked, and this [is] the place [of him that] knoweth not God.
Ver. 21. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked ] As sure as death it is so; and this is oft inculcated, because hardly believed. Bildad hints at Job in all this, and therefore speaks of the wicked here in the singular number; as who should say, Thou art the man. But Job’s innocence served him for a Heptaboean buckler.
And this is the place ] That is, the state.
Of him that knoweth not God ] Periphrasis impii, saith Drusius; this is the character of a graceless man. "Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?" Psalms 14:4 . No, none that they were a button the better for.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29