Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 18:2

"How long will you hunt for words? Show understanding and then we can talk.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Self-Righteousness;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Hypocrisy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - End;   Mark;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

How long will it be ere ye make an end - It is difficult to say to whom this address is made: being in the plural number, it can hardly be supposed to mean Job only. It probably means all present; as if he had said, It is vain to talk with this man, and follow him through all his quibbles: take notice of this, and then let us all deliver our sentiments fully to him, without paying any regard to his self-vindications. It must be owned that this is the plan which Bildad followed; and he amply unburdens a mind that was laboring under the spirit of rancour and abuse. Instead of How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? Mr. Good translates: "How long will ye plant thorns (irritating, lacerating, wounding invectives) among words?" translating the unusual term קנצי kintsey, thorns, instead of bounds or limits. The word קנצי kintsey may be the Chaldee form for קצי kitsey, the נ nun being inserted by the Chaldeans for the sake of euphony, as is frequently done; and it may be considered as the contracted plural from קץ kats, a thorn, from קץ kats, to lacerate, rather than קץ kets, an end, from קצה katsah, to cut off. Schultens and others have contended that קנץ kanats, is an Arabic word, used also in Hebrew; that (Arabic) kanasa, signifies to hunt, to lay snares; and hence (Arabic) maknas, a snare: and that the words should be translated, "How long will you put captious snares in words?" But I prefer קנצי kintsey, as being the Chaldee form for קצי kitsey, whether it be considered as expressing limits or thorns; as the whole instance is formed after the Chaldee model, as is evident, not only in the word in question, but also in למלין lemillin, to words, the Chaldee plural instead of למלים lemillim, the Hebrew plural.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? - It has been made a question to whom this is addressed. It is in the plural number, and it is not usual in Hebrew when addressing an individual to make use of the plural form. Some have supposed that it is addressed to Job and to Eliphaz, as being both “long-winded” and tedious in their remarks. Others have supposed that it refers to Job “and the members of his family,” who possibly interposed remarks, and joined Job in his complaints. Others suppose that it refers to Eliphaz and Zophar, as being silent during the speech of Job, and not arresting his remarks as they ought to have done. Rosenmuller supposes that it refers to Job and those similar to him, who were mere feigners of piety, and that Bildad means to ask how long it would be before they would be effectually silenced, and their complaints hushed. I see no great difficulty in supposing that the reference is to Job. The whole strain of the discourse evidently supposes it; and there is no evidence that any of the family of Job had spoken, nor does it seem at all probable that Bildad would reprove his own friends either for the length of their speeches, or for not interrupting an other. The custom in the East is to allow a man to utter all that he has to say without interruption.

Mark - Hebrew understand; or be intelligent - תבינו tābı̂ynû that is, either speak distinctly, clearly, intelligently; or consider and weigh our arguments. The former is the interpretation of Schultens, and seems to me to be the true one. The idea is this: “You, Job, have been altering mere words. They are words of complaint, without argument. Speak now in a different manner; show that you understand the case; advance arguments that are worthy of attention, and then we will reply.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-18.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words?.... Because these words are expressed the plural number, some think more persons than one are addressed, either Eliphaz and Job together, who are complained of as taking up all the time, and having all the talk to themselves, that another could scarce put in a word; Bildad could say this with a better grace, because his discourses were but short; or else all his friends, whom he blames for not stopping Job's mouth at once, and for lengthening out the dispute with him; as if he should say, why are you so complaisant to him, to wait till he has done speaking, before you reply? why do not you, without any ceremony, interrupt him, and not suffer him to go on with his prate, a man that is so insufferably rude as to reckon us all as beasts? and to what purpose is it to talk to such a man, that is so hardened and incorrigible, so proud and conceited? it is all labour in vain, and mere beating the air; it is high time to have done talking, and to put an end to the dispute, when things are such a pass with him as they are: or else the words are directed to Job, and his friends that were with him, who might now and then speak a word in his behalf, though their words are not recorded; or, however, by their looks or gestures might show their approbation of Job's defences: that there were others present besides Job and his three friends, it is probable; yea, it is certain that Elihu was present all the while, but he was not altogether of Job's mind; nor does it appear that he had any to take his part, for his brethren, acquaintance, kinsfolk, and familiar friends, stood at a distance from him, and his maids and menservants used him ill; and even his own wife was not very kind to him, as he declares in the following chapter; wherefore it seems best of all to understand these words as spoken to Job alone, the plural being used for the singular, according to the idiom of the tongue in which they were spoken, and so are a charge of loquacity against him for talking too much, and too long, unless it had been to better purpose; and in like manner Bildad begins his first reply to Job, Job 8:2; a late interpreter renders the words, "how long will you lay snares with words"F5Schultens. ? use cautious words, set snares with words to catch, lie upon the catch, and lay hold upon a word, and improve it to disadvantage, which is imprudently or inadvertently dropped:

mark, and afterwards we will speak; or "let us speak"F6ואהר נדבר "et postea loquamur", Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius. ; after we have well considered things, got a right understanding of them, and thoroughly digested them, and have well concerted things, and have thought very closely what reply to make to them; and so the words are a tacit reflection of Bildad's on his other two friends, that they spoke before they thought, and therefore some things impertinently, which Job took the advantage of against them; wherefore it would be right, for the future, to mark and consider things well beforehand, and then speak, as they then would with greater propriety, and more to the purpose: public speakers especially, or such who are engaged in public service, or in a public dispute, should meditate beforehand what to say, lest they deliver what is crude and undigested, and may be turned against them. Our Lord indeed directed his disciples, when called before kings and, governors for his sake, not to premeditate what they should answer; but that was an extraordinary case, and they were promised to have extraordinary assistance, whereby some great ends were to be answered, the confusion of their enemies, and the confirmation of the Christian religion. But the words seem rather directed to Job, and to carry in them a charge of inattention to what was said to him by his friends; and therefore Bildad exhorts him to mark and observe what they said to him, to listen attentively to that, and well consider it, and then it would be an encouragement to them to proceed in discoursing with him. Job is represented like some hearers, that stop their ears to the voice of the charmer charming ever so wisely; or that are careless and inattentive to what they hear, and let it pass, and never think of it more; whereas hearers of the word should be swift to hear, and listen with attention, and take care that they let not slip what they have heard, and that they meditate upon it in order to get instruction by it, and when they hear in such a manner it is? a encouragement to speak; or else the sense is, "act wisely"F7תבינו "diserte agatis", Schultens. , like an honest man, and show yourself to be a wise man, a man of understanding, that well weighs and considers things, and rightly takes them in, and receives instruction by them, and talks like a sensible man: "then afterwards we will speak"; or otherwise, if you go on to talk in the foolish manner you do, it is to no purpose to carry on the dispute; the best way is to put an end to it at once.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

How long [will it be ere] a ye make an end of words? b mark, and afterwards we will speak.

(a) Who count yourselves just as (Job 12:4).

(b) Whom you take to be only beasts, as in (Job 12:7).

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-18.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

ye — the other two friends of Job, whom Bildad charges with having spoken mere “words,” that is, empty speeches; opposed to “mark,” that is, come to reason, consider the question intelligently; and then let us speak.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-18.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.

Ye — Thou, O Job; of whom he speaks here, as also verse3, in the plural number, as was a common idiotism of the Eastern language, to speak thus of one person, especially where he was one of eminency.

Mark — Consider the matter better.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-18.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 18:2 How long [will it be ere] ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.

Ver. 2. How long will it be ere you make an end of words?] First he taxeth Job with being talkative, when he himself talked much, but said little, save only what he had spoken before, Job 8:1-22, though Job had sufficiently refuted him. But as nothing in the world is more unreasonable than an ignorant person, who thinketh nothing well done but that which he doth himself; so those that bear themselves overly bold upon their own knowledge, and overween their own abilities, account it a great injury if any dissent from them in opinion and judgment, Lαλειν αριστος λεγειν δε αδυνατωτατος (De Alcibiade, Plutarch). And such a one here Bildad showeth himself to be by his exordium ex abrupto, as Junius phraseth it, his abrupt beginning, as if he could bear no longer with Job’s prittle prattle; who, if he were more prolix than his friends, he had greater reason, as being heavily afflicted and falsely accused, Quando tandem finem loquendi seu nugandi potius facies? (Lay.) Among the Romans the plaintiff was allowed only three hours, the defendant six. But why doth Bildad speak of Job here in the plural number? Was it for honour’s sake (as Cajetan holdeth)? I scarcely can agree. Was it because he thought Job to be possessed by an evil spirit (as Philip after Bede)? No. But this he seemeth to do, either by bending his speech to the bystanders, who seemed to favour Job, and sometimes to put in a word for him; whom therefore Bildad looked upon as his fellow hypocrites; or else, by an irony, he speaks unto Job as unto many (Vos, o Calliope, precor. Virg.), because he seemed to set up his opinion above all others, and would needs have his counter to stand for a thousand pounds.

Mark, and afterwards we will speak] Let thy words be henceforth dipped and dyed in thy heart before they be uttered; let our words also be duly weighed, that some end may be put to these altercations and disputes.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 18:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-18.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 18:2. How long, &c.— How long will you hunt after cavils against established maxims? speak your meaning plainly, and we will reply. The sense is, that it was in vain to puzzle the cause with cavils and exceptions; that he should give a plain instance where a righteous man was ever known to have had punishment inflicted on him; or else own the truth of the established maxim, that punishment was a sure mark of wickedness. Heath.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 18:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-18.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ere ye; either,

1. You my brethren. Why do you not give over discoursing with Job, who is wholly transported with rage, and not fit to be discoursed with, at least until both you and he have better considered what to say? Or rather,

2. Thou, O Job, of whom he speaks here, as also Job 18:3, in the plural number; either because there were some other person or persons present at this debate, who by their words or gestures showed themselves favourers of Job’s cause; or because it was a common idiom of the Eastern language to speak thus of one person, especially where he was one of eminency or authority. Job’s speeches were generally longer than his friends’, and they seemed very tedious to them.

Mark; consider the matter and our words better. Or, inform us, Heb. make us to understand. Seeing thou lookest upon us as ignorant and brutish men, as it follows, do thou instruct and inform us. Cease cavilling and railing, and produce thy strong reasons, that we may consider and answer them, or yield to them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 18:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-18.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Introduction. Bildad retorts Job’s charges of folly by comparing him to a self-devouring brute, who in his madness would unsettle the eternal principles of God’s moral government, Job 18:2-4.

2.An end of words How long will ye set snares for words? We have a like phrase, “hunt for words.” His former speech commenced (Job 8:2) with a similar outburst of impatience, and in the same words, “how long.”

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-18.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

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.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 18:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-18.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Understand ye. Teach this man to comprehend what we say. He deigns not to address Job in person: but repeats most of his former remarks respecting the wicked, as if they were unquestionably applicable to Job, chap. viii. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "mark ye." Septuagint, "do thou attend." (Haydock) --- Baldad speaks to many who might be of Job's opinion, as he was a figure of the Church, defending the common cause; while his friends, like heretics, speak both true and false things. (St. Gregory xiv. 1.) (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-18.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"How long will you hunt for words?": "He likened Job"s talk to unintelligent ramblings in which he was unsuccessfully trying to find the right words" (p. 82). "Show understanding and then we can talk": That is, "start making sense", agree with Bildad and his friends, then they can have an intelligent conversation. Bildad is wearied by what he sees in Job"s constant search for arguments in which to entrap them.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-18.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

How long . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6. an end: or, a perversion.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.

Ye - the other two friends of Job, whom Bildad charges with having spoken mere "words" - i:e., empty speeches: or else, 'thou, Job, and those who think with thee;' opposed to "mark" - i:e., come to reason, consider the question intelligently; and then let us speak.

Make an end of - [ qintseey (Hebrew #7078)]. Maurer translates 'Set nooses for words' - i:e., hunt after words. I prefer the English version.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-18.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.
How long
8:2; 11:2; 13:5,6; 16:2,3
mark
3:5,6,17; 21:2; 33:1; Proverbs 18:13; James 1:19
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 2:26 - how long;  Job 19:2 - How long;  Job 33:31 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 18:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-18.html.