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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Job 18

 

 

Verse 1

Job 18:1. Then answered Bildad the Shuhite — Bildad, irritated to the last degree that Job should treat their advice with so much contempt, is no longer able to keep his passions within the bounds of decency, He proceeds to downright abuse; and, finding little attention given by Job to his arguments, he tries to terrify him into a compliance. To that end he draws a yet more terrible picture of the final end of a wicked man than any preceding; throwing in all the circumstances of Job’s calamities, that he might plainly perceive the resemblance; and, at the same time, insinuating that he had much worse still to expect, unless he prevented it by a speedy change of behaviour. That it was the highest arrogance in him to suppose that he was of consequence enough to be the cause of altering the general rules of providence, And that it was much more expedient for the good of the whole, that he, by his example, should deter others from treading in the same path of wickedness and folly. — Heath.


Verse 2

Job 18:2. How long will it be ere you wake an end — How long shall we continue this dispute? Why do not you, my brethren, give over discoursing with Job, who is so transported by his passions, as not to be fit to be discoursed with? At least, forbear to proceed till both you and he shall better understand the subject? For, if Bildad be considered as addressing himself to his two companions, he must have meant to reprove them for making use of too long discourses, and to advise them first to consider the subject well, and then to speak directly to the purpose. But many commentators understand him as addressing Job; using here, as also Job 18:3, the plural number, according to the common idiom of the eastern language: which was to speak thus to, or of one person, especially if he were of great eminence. In this case he must have intended to censure Job for puzzling the cause with cavils and exceptions, and to call upon him to produce a plain instance, in which a righteous man was known to have had punishment inflicted on him, or else to own the truth of the established maxim, that punishment was a sure mark of wickedness. Mark, and afterward we will speak — Consider the matter better, and then we shall speak concerning it to more advantage. Or, inform us: Hebrew תבינו, tabinu, make us to understand. Seeing thou lookest upon us as ignorant and brutish men, as it follows, Job 18:3, do thou instruct and inform us. Cease cavilling, and produce thy strong reasons, that we may consider and yield to their weight, or answer them.


Verse 3-4

Job 18:3-4. Wherefore are we counted as beasts? — That is, ignorant and stupid men, Job 17:4; Job 17:10; and reputed vile in your sight — Hebrew, נשׂמנו, nitmeinu, polluted or unclean; that is, not fit to be conversed with, or contemptible, as such things are. He teareth himself in his anger —

That is, Job does, as if he had said, O thou that tearest thyself, thou complainest of us for vexing thee with our speeches, when, in truth, thou art thy own greatest tormentor. Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? — Shall God, for thy sake, or to prevent thy complaints and clamours, give over the government of the earth and men and things in it, and suffer all things to fall out by chance and promiscuously, to good and bad men, without any regard to his truth, wisdom, or justice? And shall the rock be removed out of its place? — Shall the counsels of God, which are more firm and immoveable than rocks, and the whole course of his providence, be altered to comply with thy fancies or humours?


Verses 5-7

Job 18:5-7. Yea — Depend upon it, the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition to it; the light of the wicked shall be put out — All their glory and felicity shall perish: and the spark of his fire shall not shine — His light is but a spark, which shines briskly for a moment, and is soon extinguished. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle — That is, in his family. Instead of his former splendour, both he and his children shall fall into extreme contempt and misery. And his candle shall be put out with him — His glory shall not descend to his posterity, as he designed and hoped it should, but die with him. The steps of his strength — His strong steps, by a vulgar Hebraism: his attempts and actions; such of them as seem to be contrived with the greatest strength of understanding, and carried on with the greatest resolution; shall be straitened — Shall be hindered and entangled. He shall be cast into difficulties and perplexities, so that he shall not be able to proceed, and to accomplish his enterprises. And his own counsel shall cast him down — He shall be undone by his own contrivances; either because God will give him up to dangerous and destructive mistakes, or because he will oppose him and turn his own devices against him.


Verse 8

Job 18:8. He is cast into a net by his own feet — By his own choice, design, and actions. And he walketh upon a snare — Or, as the words may be rendered, runneth to and fro on the toils, and therefore must needs be entangled and destroyed. “The metaphor” says Heath, “is taken from a beast, which the hunters have driven into the toils. He runs hither and thither, striving to find a way out, but the net entangles him more and more, till at length it fastens upon him.”


Verse 9-10

Job 18:9-10. The gin shall take him by the heel — That is, take fast hold on him, so as to keep him in those distresses. And the robber shall prevail against him — Hebrew, צמים, tsammim, the horrible or terrible man, the huntsman that laid the snare for him shall come upon him, when he is insnared, take and spoil or kill him. The snare is laid for him in the ground Where he did not discern nor expect it. The former snare he laid for himself, but this was laid for him by another.


Verse 11-12

Job 18:11-12. Terrors shall make him afraid — Both from men and from God, and also from his own unquiet mind and guilty conscience. And drive him to his feet — Shall force him to flee different ways, being safe nowhere, but pursued by terrors from place to place, which, as Houbigant renders it, shall be spread around his feet. His strength — Either his children, who are, and are called a man’s strength, Genesis 49:3; Psalms 127:4, or rather, his wealth, power, and prosperity; shall be hunger-bitten — Or famished, that is, utterly consumed. The Vulgate renders it, His strength shall be eaten by famine. And destruction shall be ready at his side — Shall attend him as a constant companion, or follow him at the heels as a diligent servant. Or, he may allude to an arrow fitted to a string, and ready to be discharged at him.


Verse 13

Job 18:13. It shall devour, &c. — “Filthy ulcers shall consume his skin; an untimely death shall destroy his children. — Heath and Houbigant. This sarcasm was peculiarly adapted to the case of Job, whose skin was thus consumed, and whose children had been destroyed in this manner. The reader must have had occasion frequently to remark, in this book, how often, amidst the sublimity of the eastern metaphors, the author drops the metaphor and treats of his subject simply; as in the present case, having spoken of the wicked man under the metaphor of a wild beast caught in a snare, in this verse he considers him no longer in that view, but speaks of him immediately in his own character.” — Dodd.


Verse 14

Job 18:14. His confidence — That is, all the matter of his confidence, his riches, children, &c.; shall be rooted out of his tabernacle — That is, out of his habitation. And it — Namely, the loss of his confidence; shall bring him to the king of terrors — Either, 1st, Into extreme fears and horrors of mind; or, 2d, To death, which even Aristotle called the most terrible of all terribles. And this it will do, either because it will expose him to his enemies, who will kill him; or, because the sense of his disappointments, and losses, and dangers, will break his heart.


Verse 15

Job 18:15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle — Destruction, expressed Job 18:12, shall fix its abode with him. Because it is none of his — Because it is none of his own, being got from others by deceit or violence. Brimstone shall be scattered on his habitation — It shall be utterly destroyed, as it were, by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, which happened not long before these times, and to the judgment which befell Job, chap. Job 1:16. When the stranger hath taken and rifled his dwelling, he shall forsake it as an accursed place, and shall burn it with fire and brimstone, that there may be no monument of so vile a person left upon the earth. Heath’s interpretation of this verse is, “They shall take up their habitation in his tent, because he hath no surviver: brimstone shall be sprinkled upon his habitation. As much as to say, ‘Since he hath no one to survive him, his posterity is utterly exterminated: horror takes possession of his habitation, and it is sprinkled with brimstone, that no person may ever after inhabit it; but that it may remain an object of terror to future ages.’ The image is grand, and worthy of the tragic style.”


Verses 16-19

Job 18:16-19. His roots shall be dried up, &c. — That is, he shall be destroyed, both root and branch; both himself and his posterity. His remembrance shall perish — Instead of that honour and renown which he designed and expected to have, both while he lived, and after his death, he shall not be so much as remembered, unless it be with contempt and reproach. He shall be driven from light into darkness, &c. — From a prosperous state to disgrace and misery, and to the grave, the land of darkness. He shall neither have son nor nephew, &c. — But if any such survive, they shall be in the hands and power of strangers, or rather of their enemies, and not among his own people.


Verse 20-21

Job 18:20-21. They that come after him — And hear the report of it, shall be astonied at his day — The day of his destruction. They shall be amazed at the suddenness and dreadfulness of it. As they that went before were affrighted — As his elders (so Heath renders it) were seized with horror; namely, those who lived in the time and place where this judgment was inflicted. Hebrew, אחזו שׂער, achazu sagnar, apprehenderunt horrorem, they took hold on horror, a beautiful metonymy, as if they took hold on their hair, which, by reason of the terror they were in, stood upright. Or, They were filled with horror, partly through humanity and compassion, and partly for fear lest the judgment should overtake them also. “The plain meaning of the verse seems to be, His elders, who saw so signal an instance of divine vengeance, were seized with horror; and whoever, in after times, should hear his story related, would be in amazement at it.” — Heath. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked — This is a just description of their miserable condition at last, and thus shall those who dishonour God be abased. Such, according to Eliphaz, was the unanimous sense of the patriarchal age, grounded on their knowledge of God and the many observations which they had made on the dispensations of his providence. And this is the place of him that knoweth not God — Who is not truly acquainted with him, and reconciled to him; who does not know him experimentally and practically, so as truly to fear, love, and serve him, or who, professing to know him, by works denies him. Here then we see what is the beginning and what is the end of the wickedness of mankind. The beginning of it is ignorance of God, which ignorance is wilful, for God has made to all men those discoveries of himself which are sufficient to render those of them for ever inexcusable who live and die ignorant of him and disobedient to him. The end of it is utter destruction. Such, so miserable, are the dwellings of the wicked. Vengeance will be taken on them that know not God, and obey not his revealed will, 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Let us therefore stand in awe, and not sin, for it will certainly be bitterness in the latter end: nay, let us acquaint ourselves with him and be at peace; for thereby good will come unto us, in time and in eternity.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 18:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-18.html. 1857.

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