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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Job 8

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-7

An Admonition to Job to Repent of his Sin

v. 1. Then answered Bildad, the Shuhite, 2:11, and said,

v. 2. How long wilt thou speak these things? An exclamation of impatience over the blasphemous impertinence which he read in Job's words. And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? He made this comparison both on account of the emptiness and bluster of the wind and on account of its destructive tendency.

v. 3. Doth God pervert judgment? Or doth the Almighty pervert justice? Would Job in his sober mind accuse God of injustice, either in principle or in act?

v. 4. If thy children have sinned against him, namely, in celebrating their feasts and banquets, 1:5-18, and he have cast them away for their transgression, abandoning them to the destructive hand of their own guilt, for sin will invariably punish the transgressor;

v. 5. if thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, turning to Him with earnest, humble entreaty, and make thy supplication to the Almighty, with the object of rendering God gracious to himself;

v. 6. if thou wert pure and upright, Bildad's inference being that this could not be the case in the circumstances, surely now He would awake for thee, arousing Himself for Job's protection and deliverance. and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous, He would restore to Job the home and the possession which he had had as a righteous man, He would let him once more enjoy the fruits of his righteousness in peace.

v. 7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase, his prosperity would certainly be very great, he would once more flourish greatly. All this God would surely send upon Job if he were the righteous, pure, and upright man which he represented himself to be. Bildad's statement was an unconscious prophecy of that which afterwards really came to pass, 42:12.

Verses 8-22

An Accusation of Wickedness against Job.

Bildad was convinced that Job was, in some way, guilty of some special great transgression against the Lord, that his present affliction was the punishment for some specific wrong committed by him. Therefore he continued his harangue in this strain.

v. 8. For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, generations of men which have gone before, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers, searching through the annals of history, finding out what the fathers had investigated and learned;

v. 9. (for we are but of yesterday and know nothing, our own experience alone counts for nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow, the term of a single human life is insufficient to fathom the eternal laws which govern the universe and determine its history;)

v. 10. shall not they teach thee and tell thee, uttering their thoughts and experiences plainly, and utter words out of their heart? Note that the heart, as the seat of understanding, is here mentioned over against the words of Job as mere products of the lips. Bildad now introduces some of the sayings of the ancients.

v. 11. Can the rush, the papyrus reed, grow up without mire, outside of the rich, moist marsh soil? Can the flag grow without water?

v. 12. Whilst it is yet in his greenness and not cut down, namely, if growing in soil which is not continually moist, though rich enough otherwise, it withereth before any other herb. Swamp-plants may thrive for a while on dry ground, if there is enough water to start their growth, but as soon as moisture fails them, they immediately wither to the ground, even if all other plants are still in rich verdure.

v. 13. So are the paths of all that forget God, in the midst of their apparent prosperity they suddenly fail; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish, the expectation of the ungodly, of him who has fallen away from the paths of righteousness, shall fail;

v. 14. whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web, that in which the godless trust, on which they place their confidence, is like a spider's web, which is broken at the slightest touch.

v. 15. He shall lean upon his house, thinking that his possessions, the object of his trust, are secure, but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast, as he feels it collapsing beneath his weight, but it shall not endure, it will tumble into ruins with all his hopes. There follows another picture of the uncertainty of the godless person's trust.

v. 16. He is green before the sun, like a succulent creeper in the sunshine, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden, the whole garden being overrun with his root-sprouts.

v. 17. His roots are wrapped about the heap, taking hold in piles of stones, and seeth the place of stones, having entwined himself between the stones by means of all his shoots, so that he embraces the entire house. So the godless person believes that nothing will cause him to lose the house of his good fortune.

v. 18. If he destroy him from his place, namely, if the Lord takes his prosperity from him, then it, the former place of his happiness, shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee, his very native ground denying him and refusing to have anything more to do with him.

v. 19. Behold, this is the joy of his way, thus his pretended joyful way of living comes to a sudden, disastrous end, and out of the earth shall others grow, out of the dust other men blessed with external prosperity will sprout, who, in turn, will crumble away as the first ones did. Bildad now again presents a contrast.

v. 20. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, He will not despise the pious man, the inference once more being that Job could not have been really pious, neither will He help the evil-doers, He will not grasp their hand to support them,

v. 21. till He, or, while He will, fill thy mouth with laughing and thy lips with rejoicing. That, Bildad intimates, would have been the lot of Job always if he had not become guilty in some unusually bad way.

v. 22. They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame, Jeremiah 3:25; Psalms 35:26; Psalms 109:29; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to naught, literally, "and the tent of the wicked, it is no more. " Bildad here acts as though he were ready to give Job the benefit of the doubt and to take his part against the wicked, but the entire purpose of his reproof is evidently that of accusing Job of some heinous act, which he wanted him to confess. He also, like many others since his time, had not grasped the purpose of God's chastisement, but accused Job wrongfully.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Job 8". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/job-8.html. 1921-23.
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