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Bible Commentaries
Job 8

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Job Chapter 8

Job 8:1 "Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,"

Job 8:2 "How long wilt thou speak these [things]? and [how long shall] the words of thy mouth [be like] a strong wind?" It appears that Bildad, the second friend, spoke very bluntly to Job. He was, probably, a little younger than Eliphaz, and less experienced. He spoke strongly and disrespectfully to Job. He spoke of the words of Job, as being pushy and forcing their way like a strong wind would.

Job 8:3 "Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?" Of course, the answer to this was no. This younger friend seemed to accuse Job of saying that God’s judgement was unfair. God does justice at all times. He is fair in all His dealings with men.

Job 8:4 "If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;" Bildad accused Job’s children of sinning so greatly against God, that He disposed of them. He was bluntly judging them, and also, calling their death a punishment from God.

Job 8:5 "If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;" This brasen friend was even accusing Job of not praying to God. He was actually saying that Job had not cried out to the Almighty. His accusations, of course, were not true. Job had even scolded his wife for suggesting that he curse God and die. Job had submitted himself to the LORD immediately and completely, as soon as he heard of his children’s death.

Job 8:6 "If thou [wert] pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous." This friend had made up his mind that all of this calamity had come upon Job for his sins. He told Job, if he were a righteous man, God would have already heard him, and come to his rescue. This same teaching has sprung up again in our day. We hear some ministers say that if you are in right standing with God, you will automatically be prosperous. This was not true for righteous Job, and is not true for many saints of our day, as well. God does prosper some of His children, but not all of them.

Job 8:7 "Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase." Job was now reduced to near nothing. If God did decide to bless him, He could greatly increase Job, again. I do not believe this friend of Job believed that God would do this for Job. He felt as if Job deserved all of the punishment he had endured.

Job 8:8 "For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:" His advice to Job was that he would search through the past history for an answer to this dilemma. His fathers, or grandfathers, might have had a similar problem. It appears, from this, that there had been some kind of records kept, prior to Job’s lifetime.

Job 8:9 "(For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)" Life on earth is short-lived. The moment in time is so short, that it would be difficult to learn much from it. In times of old, the people lived hundreds of years, and experienced many more things. Their lives can be of use to us, as a teacher.

Job 8:10 "Shall not they teach thee, [and] tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?" Job’s friend believed that he had made errors, that could have been avoided, had he studied his ancestors.

Job 8:11 "Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?" The rush, here, was speaking of the papyrus which grew in the very wet mire of a lake, or river. The flag was a water plant, as well. When the water was gone, both of them would die. In a spiritual sense, this is telling Job to draw water from his roots. Water, in this particular sense, would be the Word of God.

Job 8:12 "Whilst it [is] yet in his greenness, [and] not cut down, it withereth before any [other] herb." This was speaking of a time, when it had grown to its greatest height. When the land dried up where it was planted, it quickly died. At the peak of the greatness of Job, this terrible calamity had come.

Job 8:13 "So [are] the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish:" This is a true statement, but did not apply to Job. Job had not forgotten God. He was not a hypocrite. His troubles had come, because he loved God.

Job 8:14 "Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust [shall be] a spider’s web." This friend did not truly know Job. He had judged Job, without any evidence of any of this. It appears to the natural eye, that Job’s hope was cut off, A spider builds a web to trap its prey. This was a terrible statement to make about Job.

Job 8:15 "He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure." He was accusing Job of building upon something, besides the Rock of God. He was actually accusing Job of building on shifting sand. Everyone 36 around Job had a negative reason for his trouble. Job knew this was not true.

Job 8:16 "He [is] green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden." Again, he was speaking of the prosperity of Job, which was well known by everyone. He was prospering in every way.

Job 8:17 "His roots are wrapped about the heap, [and] seeth the place of stones." The water that fed the plant, in the verse above, was coming from the stones like a spring does. It appears, the plant had wrapped around the rock to ensure itself of the life-giving water.

Job 8:18 "If he destroy him from his place, then [it] shall deny him, [saying], I have not seen thee." This was speaking of the sudden calamity that came upon Job, just as this plant was suddenly uprooted.

Job 8:19 "Behold, this [is] the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow." Each plant lives for a short time, and then another takes its place. That was what Job’s friend was saying, here. Job would be replaced by another.

Job 8:20 "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect [man], neither will he help the evil doers:"

Job 8:21 "Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing." Job was just and upright. Bildad had no way of knowing that Job was anything but an upright man. Bildad had judged Job severely and unjustly. In that sense, Bildad was an evildoer. He was stating in the verse above, if Job was a righteous man, God would not cast him away. God would fill his mouth with laughing, and his lips would rejoice.

Job 8:22 "They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought." Bildad was speaking judgement upon the friends of Job in this. These friends included him. They had hated Job without a cause. This shame would not be long in coming. Judging others was a dangerous thing to do, especially a righteous man, such as Job.

Job 8 Questions

1. Bildad was a ________.

2. What did he say that the words of Job’s mouth were like?

3. How did he speak to Job?

4. Quote Job 8:3.

5. What was the answer to these questions?

6. Bildad accused Job’s children of what?

7. What was he calling Job’s children’s death?

8. What did he accuse Job of in Job 8:5?

9. What did he call God in Job 8:5?

10. Job had scolded his wife for what?

11. What had Job done immediately on hearing of his children’s death?

12. What had Job’s friend made up his mind about?

13. What are many ministers, today, telling their people brings automatic prosperity?

14. What was Job 8:7 saying?

15. Bildad told Job to inquire of whom?

16. Our days upon earth are a __________.

17. What was the rush in Job 8:11?

18. What was the flag?

19. Whose hope shall perish?

20. Why does a spider build a web?

21. What happened to the house in Job 8:15?

22. Where did the water come from, that was feeding the plant in Job 8:17?

23. What was Job’s friend saying in Job 8:19?

24. What would God do for the perfect man?

25. Who was Bildad speaking judgement upon in Job 8:22?

Verses 1-7

Job 8:1-7

Job 8

BILDAD’S FIRST SPEECH:

BLUNT BLUSTERY BILDAD THINKS HE KNOWS THE ANSWER;

HIS BRUTAL; DISCOURTEOUS BEGINNING

Job 8:1-7

"Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

How long wilt thou speak these things?

And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a mighty wind?

Doth God pervert justice?

Or doth the Almighty pervert righteousness?

If thy children have sinned against him,

And he hath delivered them into the hand of their transgression;

If thou wouldest seek diligently unto God,

And make thy supplication unto the Almighty;

If thou wert pure and upright:

Surely now he would awake for thee,

And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

And though thy beginning was small,

Yet thy latter end would greatly increase."

To paraphrase Bildad’s words: "You old bag of wind, how wrong you are! Doesn’t God know enough to give you just what you deserve? Your children sinned, and look what happened to them; but if you will just repent and turn to God he will yet richly bless you!

"This speech of Bildad’s was inconsiderate, unfeeling and discourteous." "He insists that God is just; and that Job’s troubles are evidence of his wickedness, and that if he would only turn to God, all would be well again." As Matthew Henry observed, "Job’s friends, like the messengers of his disasters, followed each other in rapid succession, the messengers with evil tidings, and his friends with harsh censures, perhaps both the messengers and the friends being unaware of how effectively they fitted into the design of Satan. The messengers were calculated to drive Job from his integrity; and the friends, chosen by the evil one, sought to drive him from the comfort of that integrity."

A comparison of the speeches of Eliphaz and Bildad reveals that there was a progression. "Eliphaz, at first, was gentle and considerate, but Bildad was abrupt and harsh."

"Bildad’s conviction that righteous living inevitably leads to prosperity is by no means obsolete." This writer once attended the funeral of a well-known popular Sheriff in Burkburnet, Texas. He lost his life, trying to save the lives of others when, during a Red River flood, he crossed the threatened bridge to close the Oklahoma entrance. On the way back, he was swept away when 169’ feet of the bridge collapsed. In the conversations heard at the funeral, one said, "Well, I thought he was a good man; but evidently he was evil. Look what God did to him"!

Yes, as Bildad insisted in this speech, "This is the wisdom of the fathers" (Job 8:8); but how wrong it is! In our sin-cursed world, headed on a collision course with disaster, in outright rebellion against God, worshipping not the God of all grace, but the god of this world - Yes, in this world it is often, far too often, that it is the wicked who prosper, and the righteous who suffer. From the days of Abel who was slain because his deeds were righteous (1 John 3:12) to the Christian woman who lost her job this week because she refused to participate in the immorality and drunkenness of her contemporaries, the total experience of the human race denies the glib theology of Job’s friends.

This age-old error is today prevalent in our own country. Hesser explained why. In the days of the great English writer Chaucer, "The ideal man was presented as the poor man; and the rich religious leaders of Medieval times were severely attacked in Canterbury Tales; but John Calvin taught that God would not justify reprobates by giving them prosperity. Successful business men were therefore honored as God’s elect. When the Calvinistic Puritans settled America, they brought with them this evil doctrine, along with other Calvinistic errors." The near-universal habit of churches in choosing successful business men as their ruling committee reveals the influence of that old theology.

"If thy children have sinned against him (God)" (Job 8:4). Barnes wrote that the word "if," as used here means "since"; and James James Moffatt’s translation of the Bible, 1929, agreed with this, rendering the passage, "Though your children sinned against him."

Pope identified this verse as an important witness to the unity of the Book of Job: "This verse connects the Dialogue and the Prologue, indicating that the two are not independent compositions."

Kelly properly noted that, "One purpose of the Book of Job is to challenge the mechanical view of life," represented by Bildad’s speech. In Bildad’s view, the rich and prosperous people are the saints of God, and the poor, distressed and suffering people are the wicked. The stupidity of that view is matched only by that of the people who accept it.

Of course, God blesses his children; but their sufferings are inevitable because our whole human family, in the greatest extent, are dominated and controlled by that Evil One whom our progenitors chose to obey, rather than the Lord. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"! Luke’s account of this beatitude is, "Blessed are ye poor"!

E.M. Zerr:

Job 8:1-2. The three friends took turns speaking to Job, while he had to do all the talking for his side. In all of the speeches of the three we will see the same thread of thought, accusing Job of having done some great sin and receiving the afflictions as a punishment. In this paragraph Bildad charged Job with being what the modern language calls "a windy speaker."

Job 8:3. This affirms that God is never unjust in any of his dealings, which was something that Job never denied.

Job 8:4-5. Bildad even intimated that the afflictions were because of the sin of Job’s children. But that theory will not hold good, for even if they had done wrong they were not living then. Neither would the afflictions of Job be in punishment for sins of his children committed before their death. In Job 1:5 we read that Job was faith- ful in atoning for all possible wrongs of his children.

Job 8:6. This is the same old doctrine of the three friends. Awake for thee means that God would be merciful to Job if he would purify himself by proper actions.

Job 8:7. Bildad unconsciously predicted the very thing that did occur (Job 42:12), but it did not come on account of the reasons that Bildad was assigning to it.

Verses 8-10

Job 8:8-10

Job 8:8-10

BILDAD QUOTES THE FATHERS AS ENDORSING HIS WORDS

"For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age,

And apply thyself to that which their fathers have searched out

(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,

Because our days on earth are a shadow);

Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee,

And utter words out of their heart?"

"Inquire ... of the former age ... that which ... fathers have searched out" (8). "Back to the fathers, they say, back to antiquity; but there is no guarantee that they will not select the follies of the past instead of its wisdom." Bildad was correct in one thing, namely, that the wisdom of the world in his day harmonized exactly with what he was saying. "Much of the Mesopotamian Wisdom Literature is in accord with Bildad’s doctrine." Anderson wrote that one of the purposes of the Book of Job is to challenge and repudiate, "The unthinking acceptance of such traditions."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 8:8-10. Bildad presumed to exhort Job to take a lesson from the forefathers. That was good advice but was not needed, for Job had already been credited by the Lord with being better than any other man in the world. (Job 1:8.)

Verses 11-15

Job 8:11-15

Job 8:11-15

BILDAD SPEAKS OF JOB AS ONE WHO FORGETS GOD

"Can the rush grow up without mire?

Can the flag grow without water?

Whilst it is yet in its greenness, and not cut down,

It withereth before any other herb.

So are the paths of all that forget God;

And the hope of the godless man shall perish.

Whose confidence shall break in sunder,

And whose trust is a spider’s web.

He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand:

He shall hold fast thereby, but it shall not endure."

"They perish before any other herb" (Job 8:12). Bildad, in this passage, appeals to the suddenness with which the rushes that grow in the marsh or edge of the river wither if their water supply fails. This is only a thinly veiled allusion to the suddenness of those disasters that came to Job; and he brutally applied his illustration to Job, affirming that, "So it happens to the godless man, and the man that forgets God" (Job 7:13).

"Whose trust is a spider’s web" (Job 8:14). What Bildad says here, applying it to Job, of course, is that, "The hope of the ungodly man is as insubstantial as a spider’s web."[ In these words, Bildad sees the false hope, (as he thinks Job’s hope is false) as something that Job has produced within himself, just as a spider’s web is spun from that which comes out of the spider’s body. This is actually a very accurate picture of false hope; but it had no application whatever to Job.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 8:11-12. This is the same old argument; no effect without a cause. Job admitted all that but that did not even touch the question of what was the real cause in the case under consideration.

Job 8:13-14. The very point in dispute is what these friends always assumed. The hypocrite’s hope will perish but it had not been proved that Job was a hypocrite.

Job 8:15. Bildad intimated that Job was leaning on his house (his claim of being innocent) and that it would not sustain him. Even at the very moment it was beginning to topple as evidenced by the afflictions being suffered.

Verses 16-19

Job 8:16-19

Job 8:16-19

BILDAD IRONICALLY DESCRIBES THE GODLESS MAN’S JOY

"He is green before the sun,

And his shoots go forth over his garden.

His roots are wrapped about the stone heap,

He beholdeth the place of stones.

If he be destroyed from his place,

Then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.

Behold, this is the joy of his way;

And out of the earth shall others spring."

"He is green before the sun" (Job 8:16). This is a reference to Job in the days of his prosperity. Then Bildad went on to speak of, "the place of stones," Job’s rocky road, (Job 8:17), and of his being "destroyed" and "denied" (Job 8:18), adding sarcastically and ironically, "This is the joy" of the way Job was going! We are grateful to Samuel Terrien for his word that, "Behold, this is the joy of his way, should be interpreted ironically."

All of the Commentators have mentioned the difficulty of the text in these verses, some of it "making little sense"; but we have commented on the words as they stand in our version.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 8:16-17. For a while man may prosper as Job did, and be compared to a green and lively plant.

Job 8:18. But if the false support is taken from the plant it will go down, and the surrounding territory will deny that it ever knew the plant. The argument is that when Job is finally cut down he will be forgotten as was the plant that had been cut off from moisture.

Job 8:19. The man who rests upon false security as Job has been doing will fall and others more worthy will take his place.

Verses 20-22

Job 8:20-22

Job 8:20-22

BILDAD’S FINAL THRUST AT JOB

"Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man,

Neither will he uphold the evil-doers.

He will yet fill thy mouth with laughter,

And thy lips with shouting.

They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame;

And the tent of the wicked shall be no more."

"God will not cast away a perfect man" (Job 8:20). Bildad’s assertion here makes him the precursor of those who mocked Jesus on the Cross using this same logic: `He trusts in God; let God deliver him’ (Matthew 27:43)."

"Neither will he uphold the evil-doers" (Job 8:20). The Anchor Bible translates this, "Nor grasp the hand of evil doers." However, that does not alter the meaning.

"He will yet fill thy mouth with laughter" (Job 8:21). This should be interpreted in the light of those tremendous Ifs that stand at the head of the chapter. Bildad means that all of this joy and laughter will come to Job, only IF he will repent, confess his wickedness, and pray to God.

"Bildad’s tragic mistake lay in this, that he thought his commonplace utterances were sufficient to explain all the mysteries of life." "When we know about the sufferings of Jesus, our despair and perplexity can never approach that which befell Job."

E.M. Zerr:

Job 8:20. If God will not cast away a perfect man and yet has cast off Job, it follows that Job is not a perfect man. This again is the same argument but it leaves out a link. It has not yet been proved that Job is even cast away, much less proved that it was because of his imperfections.

Job 8:21-22. The argument is that if Job will become perfect by atoning for his sin, it will cause all his enemies to be clothed with shame.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 8". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-8.html.
 
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