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We have here a new speaker, but to the same old account. Bildad the Shuhite, seconds what Eliphaz had advanced; and in his condemnation of Job, seems to rest the conclusion of the argument upon this issue, that God would shortly interpose, and prove Job's hypocrisy.
(1) ¶ Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, (2) How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? (3) Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? (4) If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression; (5) If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; (6) If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. (7) Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase. (8) ¶ For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (9) (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
The very ground which Bildad sets out upon was ill founded. Job had never said that GOD did pervert judgment. He had indeed complained in the bitterness of his soul; but not a word to accuse GOD of perverting judgment. He seems to take a new argument to irritate poor Job's mind, by insinuating that the death of Job's children was a judgment from GOD upon them for their iniquity; which, admitting it had been true, was an act of great unkindness to the poor father, in thus reminding him of the source of his affliction. Reader! I pray you, pause and remark. with me, how sharp the exercises of Job were. The messengers which came to him at the first were all treading upon the heels of each other, and all fraught with evil tidings, worse and worse. So here again, his friends, which came under a supposed offer to comfort him, only succeeded one another in sharper reproof. Precious JESUS! how sweet is it in our sorrows, to have thee as a Comforter to fly to.
(10) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? (11) Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water? (12) Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb. (13) So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: (14) Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web. (15) He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. (16) He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden. (17) His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones. (18) If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee. (19) Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow. (20) ¶ Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers: (21) Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing. (22) They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.
Observe in all these verses, how the whole scope of Bildad's discourse is levelled against hypocrisy; and how indirectly he points to poor Job under all. I stay not to particularize: but what I would desire the Reader more immediately to regard, is the false conclusion the Shuhite draws of the providence of GOD. Though it be certainly true, that GOD never did, nor ever will, cast away a perfect man, neither help evildoers; yet this conclusion is not to be made by a view of outward things. The prophet was so struck, in his days, with what he saw of the prosperity of the wicked, and the sorrows of the righteous, that he stands up to talk with GOD on the subject. Wherefore (saith he) doth the way of the wicked prosper. Jeremiah 12:1 . And Asaph was so overwhelmed with what he saw of the proud man's oppression and success, that he declared it staggered him. Psalms 73:3-4 . We must look therefore to another state to have these things fully and finally cleared up. There, the LORD will judge the world in righteousness, and minister true judgment unto the people.
WHILE we look on and behold the exercises of Job still heightening, and distresses, in the unkindness of his friends, coming from a quarter from whence he was looking for relief and consolation, I would beg the Reader, as I desire to observe the same conduct myself, to be regarding no less how gracious the LORD supported his mind while Satan thus assaulted him, and even his supposed friends joined in the temptation to cast him down. Surely Job might well have said, as another sufferer did in an after age of the church, If the Lord himself had not helped me, it had not failed but my soul had been put to silence.
Reader! it is very precious to look back and see how the LORD hath been helping us in past exercises, when we at the time were perfectly unconscious of his presence and his favor. Like some besieged city, against whose walls the battering cannons of mighty foes threatened every moment to take the place by storm, and put every soul to the sword; but by the LORD'S throwing in succours unperceived, and garrisoning it by his divine presence, the city is saved, and the foe put to flight: so GOD'S people are kept in a thousand instances where they have been many times ready to surrender, and to give up all as lost. Reader! depend upon it, thus it is with the people of JESUS. And according to the degree and strength of that sweet assistance JESUS gives the soul, so their faith is made to hold out and to be maintained. If JESUS communicates of his fulness and all-sufficiency, let the affliction be ever so great, the temptation ever so powerful, and the continuance of it ever so lasting, the succour from within bears up the soul, and makes the poor believer more than conqueror. JESUS is present, and that is enough. If the LORD be for us, what need we fear who is against us? If GOD justifieth, what care we who condemneth? Oh! for grace to be always upon the lookout for the justifying love and mercy of GOD our FATHER, the atoning blood and righteousness of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and the sealing, heart-satisfying, and soul-rejoicing testimony of GOD the HOLY GHOST.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Job 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent