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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Job 18

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-21



Bildad did not learn from Job's words to be a little more considerate than before, but shows only more strong opposition, reproving Job unjustly. He considered Job's words as being without understanding and advised him to "gain understanding" so that his friends would be more free to speak to him. He asks, "Why are we counted as beasts and regarded as stupid in your sight?" (v.3). No doubt if Bildad had not acted like a beast, Job would not have spoken to him as he did. Yet Job had not accused them of being stupid, but had rather protested that he was not inferior to them, and that he did not find a wise man among them (ch.12:2; 17:10). Why did Bildad not at least modify his unfair attitude?



Job had spoken of others making him suffer and God apparently doing so too. But Bildad tells him that he tears himself in his anger, in other words, that Job was causing himself all his trouble. Does Job expect the earth or the rocks to yield to his will? This was an exaggeration of what Bildad thought he perceived in Job's attitude. In verse 5 he refers back to Job's claim that his friends were changing the night into day, saying the light is near in the face of darkness (ch.17:12). "The light of the wicked indeed goes out," Bildad says, implying that since Job had no clear light in the darkness of his experience, then Job must be wicked.

Therefore he enlarges on the condition of the wicked, words true enough, but not applicable to Job as though he were wicked. What light the wicked man has is only darkness, and God will see that his lamp is totally put out (v.6). His life will be shortened and his own counsel leads to his downfall (v.7). This graphic description of the expectation of the wicked is right and good, but is no help to Job.



In these verses Bildad tells Job that the wicked, being unaware of danger because of ignorance, are easily snared by evil. The snare may be a noose hidden on the ground, perhaps covered by leaves, but drawn when one walks into it. Bildad thought that because Job had not expected the evil that came to him, therefore he had not watched against being snared, and had walked into the snare. Of course this was not the case with Job, though it is commonly true of the wicked.



Bildad goes farther here to speak of the disease that overtakes the one who is snared. His words are really a description of what Job was suffering at the time, but he embellishes this with additional fearsome afflictions intended to frighten the poor sufferer. His strength is reduced to nothing and his destruction is imminent. Disease breaks out in patches of his skin, and "the king of terrors" (death) is set as the prospect before his eyes. Others who are not of his family will take over his dwelling, scattering brimstone on it, leaving it unfit for him. Everything Bildad said may not have been literally true of Job, but it was close enough that Job knew Bildad was thrusting at him.



Thus, disease will lead to complete stagnation, both root and branch dried up and the very memory of the person perishing from the earth. Nothing is left, no name among those who are renowned, but practically driven from light to darkness, chased out of the world with no children to carry on his name. How desolate a picture! It is true of the wicked, and since all Job's children had been killed, then Bildad used this as a cruel thrust at Job as evidence that he must be wicked. At the time of course Job had no children to carry on his name; but later on he did have as many children as he had before! (Ch.42:13). Also Bildad intimated that Job would have no name among those who are renowned; but the name of Job has been one of remarkable renown for centuries since that time. As to his possessions too Job was given twice as much as he had before the dreadful experience he was given to bear (Ch.42: 10). Bildad did not consider the possibility of the whole picture changing completely, as did happen before too long.



Finally Bildad speaks of people both from the west and the east witnessing in astonished fear the bitter end of the wicked (v.20). He does not even think of a way out for Job, but places him alongside of the wicked who dwell in fear, as all the evidence shows. "This is the place of him who does not know God," he says. He ignores the fact that Job had spoken much of God and His ways, for he considered that Job's words have been hypocritical. When God eventually intervened in this matter, how totally astonished Bildad himself must have been, to witness in Job, not "the bitter end of the wicked," but the wonderful end of an honourable believer who had suffered for a while and who learned patience in his suffering. But that patience was not learned through the help of his friends, rather through the wise dealings of the Lord with him.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 18". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/job-18.html. 1897-1910.
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