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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Job 8

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-7

Job 8:1-7 . Opening of Bildad’ s First Speech.— The two younger friends, says Duhm, make a less favourable impression than Eliphaz. Bildad’ s great point is the discriminating rectitude of God, who unfailingly rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. His whole idea of fortune and misfortune is even more mechanical than that of Eliphaz. The idea that God remains an unchangeable factor, and the relation of man to Him only changes, comes out if possible even more clearly in opposition to Job’ s idea of a God who has changed and may again change his relation to him. The other point of importance in Bildad’ s speech is that he supports his doctrine, not like Eliphaz from revelation, but from the wisdom of the ancients.

Bildad, in beginning his speech, passes over in complete silence all that Job has said as to the lack of sympathy evinced by the friends. He expresses the dislike, natural to the sober man that he is, of Job’ s passionateness, and above all of Job’ s doubts of God’ s righteousness; for such to him was the meaning of Job’ s “ why,” though Job himself was really more concerned about God’ s love. He says in a very few words all that can be said from his “ miserable standpoint” (Duhm). God is righteous ( Job 8:3). Job’ s children have perished; that proves that they were sinners outright. Read ( cf. mg.) , If thy children have sinned against him. He has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. Job, however, has not been wiped out of existence as a hopeless sinner, but God is calling him to repentance. If he repents, God will show His regard for his righteousness in no uncertain manner by a visible restoration to prosperity ( Job 8:5-7). Bildad unhesitatingly interprets the facts by his dogma. His counsel to Job is the same as that of Eliphaz, but it is much more bluntly and curtly stated. Bildad wastes no words.

Verses 8-19

Job 8:8-19 . The Wisdom of the Ancients.— Bildad recalls Job to tradition as enshrined in the proverbs of the fathers ( Job 8:8). Authority belongs to the voice of the past ( Job 8:9). “ The respect which our age has for books, each of which is collected from a hundred older ones, a non-literary civilisation has for tradition and usage. Bildad is conscious of his limitation, but ascribes the same also to all others, whom, as mediocrity is wont to do, he holds without hesitation as his equals: a common combination of modesty and unconscious shamelessness” (Duhm).

With Job 8:11 begin the wise sayings of the ancients. “ These maxims of the ancient world are clothed in rich and gorgeous similes drawn from the luxuriant plant life of the sultry East” (Davidson). It is noteworthy that the imagery of Job 8:11 is Egyptian. The rush is (as mg.) the papyrus. It grows 12 feet high; but to do this requires mire in which to grow. The flag is the Nile grass. An Egyptian word ( ahu) is used, which is found only twice elsewhere in OT ( Genesis 4:12; Genesis 4:18). It is clear that the poet was acquainted with Egypt. He probably means to represent Bildad as viewing Egypt as the source of the oldest Wisdom Job 8:13 is Bildad’ s application; cf. Eliphaz ( Job 5:3), also Psalms 37:36 f. The godless man shall perish. His confidence shall give way like a spider’ s web ( Job 8:14) (lit. “ house” ; cf. the use of the latter word in Job 8:15). In the last the flimsiness of the spider’ s house is proverbial. Davidson quotes Koran (29:40): “ Verily the frailest of houses is the spider’ s house.” With Job 8:16 f, we have a new figure, that of a spreading luxuriant plant, suddenly destroyed, so that not a trace of it is left. The lesson is the same as before.

Job 8:13 . Instead of “ paths” ( orhoth) read aharitb, and translate, “ Such is the end of all that forget God.”

Job 8:17 is difficult. Instead of “ heap” we might translate “ spring.” The meaning of the second line is very uncertain. Duhm, slightly emending the text (after LXX), translates, “ Its roots are twined about the spring, it lives in a house of stones.” The meaning is then that the plant has established itself in the best place in the garden, the stone building over the spring, growing upon its walls, and surpasses in its growth all other plants in the garden rooted in their beds of earth.

Verses 20-22

Job 8:20-22 . Bildad has warned Job of the fate of the impious. Now he returns to the other half of his doctrine also, and sums up his whole position in Job 8:20. God can neither reject the blameless, nor uphold the wicked. If Job is really blameless, i.e. if he humbly accepts the Divine chastisement, God will yet reward him ( Job 8:21 f.).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Job 8". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/job-8.html. 1919.
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