Job 18



Bildad’s second speech is no improvement upon his first (ch. 8.). He has evidently

been exceedingly nettled by Job’s contemptuous words concerning his

comforters (ch.16:2, 11; 17:10); and aims at nothing but venting his anger, and

terrifying Job by a series of denunciations and threats. Job has become to him

 the wicked man” (vs. 5, 21), an embodiment of all that is evil, and one “that

knoweth not God.” No punishment is too severe for him.


1 “Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,  2 How long will it be ere

ye make an end of words?  mark, and afterwards we will speak.”  

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words?  Bildad, a tolerably concise

speaker himself (see ch. 8:2-22; 25:2-6), is impatient at the length of Job’s replies.

He had already, in his former speech (Ibid. ch. 8:2), reproached Job with his

prolixity; now he repeats the charge. The employment of the second person

plural in this and the following verses is not very easily accounted for. Bildad

can scarcely mean to blame his friend Eliphaz. Perhaps he regards Job as

having supporters among the lookers-on, of whom there may have been

several besides Elihu (Ibid. ch.32:2).  Mark; rather, consider; i.e. think a little,

instead of talking. And afterwards we will speak. Then, calmly and

without hurry, we will proceed to reply to what you have said.


3  Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your

sight?” Wherefore are we counted as beasts? The allusion is probably

to ch.16:10, where Job spoke of his “comforters” as “gaping upon him

with their mouths.” And reputed vile in your sight! or, reckoned

unclean. Job had spoken of his “miserable comforters” as “ungodly and

wicked(Ibid. v.11), without wisdom (ch.17:10) and without

understanding (Ibid. v. 4).  But he had not said that they were

unclean.” Bildad, therefore, misrepresents him.


4 “He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for

thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?”

He teareth himself in his anger. The Hebrew idiom, which

allows of rapid transitions from the second to the third person, and vice

versa, cannot be transferred without harshness to our modern speech. Our

Revisers have given the true force of the original by discarding the third

person, and translating, “Thou that tearest thyself in thine anger.” There is

probably an allusion to ch.16:9, where Job had represented God as

tearing him in his wrath.” Bildad says it is not God who tests him — he

tears himself. Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? i.e. “Shall the course

of the world be altered to meet thy wishes, to suit thy case?” Bildad’s

reproach is thus not wholly unjust. But he makes no allowance for the wild

utterances of one who is half distraught. And shall the rock be removed

out of his place? Shall that which is most solid and firm give way, and

alter its nature?


Bildad, from this point, turns wholly to denunciation (vs. 5-21). He

strings together a long series of menaces — probably ancient saws, drawn

from “the wisdom of the Beni Kedem” (I Kings 4:30), and descriptive

of the wretched fate of the wicked man, with whom he identifies Job.


5 “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his

fire shall not shine.” Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out. Whatever

the wicked man may at any time have acquired of splendor, glory, honor,

wealth, or prosperity, shall be taken from him, and as it were extinguished.

And the spark of his fire shall not shine. Not a single trace of his

splendor, not a spark, not a glimmer, shall remain.


6 “The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put

out with him.”  The light shall be dark in his tabernacle. This is not a mere

repetition of the thought contained in the preceding verse with a change of

terms, and a variation of metaphor. It is a denunciation of woe to the whole

house of the ungodly man, not to himself only.  And his candle shall be put

out with him; rather, as in the Revised Version, his lamp above him shall be

put out; i.e. the lamp which swings above him in his tent, or in his chamber,

shall be extinguished. Darkness shall fall upon the whole house of the

wicked man.


7 “The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel

shall cast him down.”  The steps of his strength shall he straitened. In the

time of his prosperity the wicked man had a wide sphere within which to

exercise his activity, and strode hither and thither at his pleasure. When

punishment falls on him, his “steps will be straitened,” i.e. his sphere

narrowed, his activity cramped, his powers “cabined, cribbed, confined.”

And his own counsel shall cast him down (see ch. 5:13; and compare

Psalm 7:14,-16; 9:16; 10:2; Hosea 10:6).


8 “For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a

snare.”  For he is cast into a net by his own feet. He walks of his own

accord into a snare, not necessarily into one that he has himself set for

others, as in Psalm 7:15; 9:15; 35:8; 57:6; and Proverbs 26:27; but

either into one of his own setting, or into one laid for him by others (see

v. 10). And he walketh upon a snare. A mere repetition of the idea

expressed in the preceding hemistich.


9 “The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail

against him.”  The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber (rather,

the man-trap) shall prevail against him.  Man-traps used to be commonly

set at night in gardens and orchards in this country, which held

intending thieves until the proprietor came and took them before a

magistrate in the morning. (On the employment of such traps in antiquity,

see Herodotus., 2:121. § 2.)


10 “The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him

in the way.” - or, the noose is hid for him in the ground (see the Revised

Version). Six different kinds of traps or snares are mentioned, the speaker

heaping together every word that he can find descriptive of the art of

snaring. The art had been well studied by the Egyptians long before the

age of Job, and a great variety of contrivances for capturing both beasts

and birds are represented on the very early monuments.  We may conclude

from this passage that it had also been brought to an advanced stage of

excellence in Syria and Arabia.



The Sinner Entrapped by His Own Feet (vs. 8-10)


According to Bildad’s representation, the wicked man needs no huntsman to run him to

earth. His own fatuous course will lead him to ruin.   His own foolish feet walk into

the snare.


  • THE READY SNARE. “The snare is laid for him in the ground.”


Ø      Its author. It is laid for him. He does not make and set it; he does

not know where it is. If he knew, of course he would avoid it. He does

not even think of its existence. Were he to do so, he would be on his

guard.  Another has laid the snare. Man has a great enemy, watching to

pounce on him — a robber of souls, who sets traps and gins for the

unwary. Let us be on our guard. Like the Pilgrim, we are on the

enchanter’s ground; this earth has become our foe’s territory.


Ø      Its character. A snare is a hidden device. The net is set among the

bushes, the wires are hidden by the grass. Men are deluded into

 ruin. Deceitful appearances lure them to destruction.


Ø      Its condition. The snare is already laid. If we are not ready to meet

our foe, he is ready for us. No one can accuse Satan of dilatoriness.

He is beforehand with his schemes. He was prepared to entrap the first

man. The snare was ready almost as soon as Eden was planted.


Ø      Its position. “In the way.”


o       The bad man’s way. This is its most usual place. The snares

are most numerous on the broad road.  (Matthew 7:13)


o       The common way. The snares are also to be found on the

narrow way that leads to life. The Christian is not out of danger.

Bunyan’s enchanted ground lay right in the road to the Celestial

City. We do not escape the dangers of temptation by becoming



  • THE UNWARY FEET. The wicked man walks straight into the snare.

Here is the difference between this man and the good man. There are

snares about the path of the man of God; but a Divine light reveals them,

and a Divine hand draws him back from his great peril.   It is otherwise

with the godless man. Note the reasons why his feet go straight for the snare.


Ø      Darkness. His light is put out (v. 5). If he started with a lantern, the

foul atmosphere through which he has travelled has extinguished it. Now

that he needs it in the place of peril, it is but a useless impediment.


Ø      Desertion of God. We are too blind to see all the snares that are set for

our feet, but we may have the help of an unerring Guide. The sinner

rejects the heavenly Guide. In proud independence he prefers to go alone.


Ø      Proneness to evil.  The sinner sees a fascination in the region of the

snare. Perhaps it is set in a bed of flowers, or in an orchard of fruit. It may

be that some pleasant shady dell conceals it, or possibly it is hidden by a

mossy couch that invites repose. At all events, it is most deceptive and

powerful where sin most abounds.


Ø      Destiny. A sort of fatality dogs the footsteps of the sinner. Start how he

may, he is sure to direct his feet at last straight for the snare. He is

like one mesmerized. He can but walk into the net. The hideous

explanation of his fascination for ruin is that HE IS NO LONGER

HIS OWN MASTER.   He has made himself THE SLAVE OF

SATAN.   Yet even he may find safety in the mighty deliverance of

THE CHRIST who came to destroy the works of the devil.

                        (I John 3:8)


11 “Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to

his feet.”  Terrors shall make him afraid on every side. Vague fears,

panic terrors, no longer subjective, but to his bewildered brain objective,

shall seem to menace the wicked man on every side, and shall affright him

continually. There is an allusion, doubtless, to what Job has said of the

gloomy and terrifying thoughts which come over him from time to time

(ch. 3:25; 7:14; 9:28; 13:21) and fill him with consternation. And shall

drive him to his feet; rather, shall chase him at his heels (see the Revised

Version). Like a pack of hounds, or wolves, or jackals. Jackals are

common in Palestine and the adjacent countries. They hunt in packs, and

generally run down their prey; but do not, unless hard pressed by hunger,

attack men.


12 “His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at

his side.”  His strength shall be hunger-bitten.  To the other sufferings of

the wicked man shall be added the pangs of hunger. His bodily strength

shall disappear, as destitution and famine come upon him. And destruction

shall be ready at his side. Ready to seize on him at any moment. Some

translate, “ready for his halting” i.e. ready to seize on him in ease of his

tripping or halting (so the Revised Version).


13 “It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death

shall devour his strength.”  It shall devour the strength of his skin; literally,

the bars of his skin’ by which some understand “the muscles,” some “the members,”

of his body. The general meaning is plain, that destruction shall always be

close to him, and shall ultimately make him its own. Even the firstborn of

death shall devour his strength. By “the firstborn of death” is probably

intended, either some wasting disease generally, or perhaps the special

disease from which Job is suffering.


14 “His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall

bring him to the king of terrors.” His confidence shall be rooted out of

his tabernacle; rather, he shall be rooted out of his tabernacle (or, tent),

which is his confidence, or wherein he trusteth; i.e. he shall be torn from the

home, where he thought himself secure as in a stronghold. And it shall bring him;

rather, one shall bring him’ or, he shall be brought. To the king of terrors.

Probably death, rather than Satan, is intended. None of Job’s “comforters”

seems to have had any conception of Satan as a personal being, nor even

Job himself. It is only the author or arranger, of the book who recognizes

the personality and power of the prince of darkness.



The King of Terrors (v. 14)


Men regard death as the king of terrors. Let us consider first the grounds of this notion,

and then how it may be dispelled.



OF TERRORS. Men instinctively think of death as “the grisly terror.”


“I fled, and cried out, ‘Death!’

Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed

From all her caves, and back resounded, ‘Death!’”


Ø      It is opposed to the natural love of life. All that a man hath

will he give for his life”  (ch. 2:4).  Therefore death appears as his

enemy. Every living creature shuns it. The fear of it makes a tragedy

of the chase.


Ø      It is irresistible. A veritable monarch. We may maintain a state of

siege for a time, but we know we must all capitulate at last. When

death storms the citadel in real earnest, no power can keep it out.


Ø      Its territory is unknown. The mystery of death adds to its terrors.

If we saw more we might fear less. We launch our vessel on a dark

sea, not knowing what surges beat on the further shore.


Ø      It comes in pain. We often say that the worst is over with the poor

sufferer before the end has come. The bitterness of death has passed

before death itself has been reached. Still there is suffering at the end

of most lives, and we instinctively shrink from this. We cannot bring

ourselves to face the thought of the death-struggle.


Ø      It takes us from all the light and joy of earth. The natural love of life

is confirmed by experience. To die is “to lie in cold obstruction.” All the

sunshine and flowers of this fair world are gone, all the sweetness of

companionship with the loved on earth. The soul is severed from its

earthly delights.


Ø      It comes to each SINGLY!  Each soul must venture alone into the

dread unknown.


Ø      It ushers us into future judgment. After death the judgment

(Hebrews 9:27).  The sinner who dares not give an account of himself

before God dreads to hear the summons from the messenger of the

unseen. “The sting of death is sin.”  (I Corinthians 15:56)



Christ dethrones the king of terrors, and wrests his dark kingdom away,

flooding it with the light of His grace. The Christian can do more than the

Roman hero and the Stoic philosopher who had learnt to meet death “with

an equal mind.” He can say, as Paul, “To me… to die is gain.”

(Philippians 1:21)


Ø      Christ removes the causes of the fear of death. He does not lull

the fear as with an opiate, He dissipates it by abolishing its source,

as one dissipates a malarious fog by draining the marsh from which it

rises.  He goes to the root by conquering sin, which is the most

fundamental cause of the terror of death. Bringing pardon for past

 sin, Christ dispels the alarm of future judgment; and bringing

 purification of soul, HE REMOVES THE INDWELLING

SIN that always shrinks from death as the foe of man.  Then

Christ helps us to face the pain, the darkness, and the mystery of

death, by assuring us of His own supporting presence: “It is I;

be not afraid.”


Ø      Christ throws light on the region beyond death. He would not

have us fix our attention on death. That is but a transient experience.

At the worst it is a dark door to be passed through. The Christian

will never dwell in the kingdom of death. To him death is


“That golden key

That open the palace of eternity.”


There is a triumph over death for those who, sleeping in Christ,

wake to LIFE ETERNAL!   For them the king of terrors has

ceased to be. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is

DEATH.”   (I Corinthians 15:26).



The Fruits of Impiety (vs. 5-14)


Again Bildad speaks. He is not the sufferer, but the judge. He who came as a comforter

utters but miserable words in the ears of the afflicted one. His words are true in

themselves, but wrongly applied. Justly he describes the fruits of impiety.



FOR THE DARKNESS OF MISFORTUNE. His “lamp is put out.”

Sorrowfulness, sooner or later, overtakes him. For a time he is in great

prosperity; but his sin finds him out (Numbers 32:23).  The ill-gotten

gain of ungodliness has no blessing upon it, but a withering curse.

Sooner or later the heyday of wicked rejoicing is exchanged for THE

BLACKNESS OF A DARK NIGHT.   Universal experience affirms this.

It is a just punishment of wrong, and a warning to the tempted; while it

admonishes the obedient, and declares “there is a God that judgeth in

the earth.”  (Psalm 58:11)



are straitened,” how strong soever they may seem to be. Even his very

counsel itself shall be a stumbling-block to cast the wicked down. The hope

cherished WITHOUT GOD must be disappointed; the selfish design is

itself a trap for the feet of the ungodly.



him in the ground.” The whole kingdom of right and truth is against him.

Judgment waits on his steps. Sooner or later his feet will be in “the trap”

that is laid “for him in the way.” His course is not a plain, direct, clear

course. His motives are confused. He hedges himself with difficulties. One

wrong exposes him to another. At last “the gin takes him by the heel”



afraid on every side.” The awakened conscience makes a coward of him.

He fears the rustling of the leaf (Leviticus 26:36).  Judgment is passed in the

secret chambers of his soul. (“Behold, thou shalt see in that day,

when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.”  (I Kings

22:25).  He cannot escape.



DOWN TO DESTRUCTION. Sin is the transgression of law. Laws of life

cannot be broken without the health failing  (Proverbs 5:9-11; Romans

1:26-27).  An impious spirit, unruled and uncontrolled by righteous principle,

will pursue evil and dangerous courses, will yield to evil habits, and the

strength of the life will be undermined.  Then “the firstborn of death

shall devour his strength” (v. 13).  He becomes the prey of destruction.

He is brought “to the king of terrors  (v. 14).  Thus the course of impiety

 ends in:


Ø      ignominy,

Ø      shame, and



“This is the portion of their cup” (Psalm 11:6).  Darkness, difficulty, fear,

wasted purpose and wasted strength finally issuing in death, are



15 “It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone

shall be scattered upon his habitation.” It shall dwell in his tabernacle,

 because it is none of his; either, it (i.e. terror) shall dwell in his tabernacle,

which is no longer his; or, they shall dwell in his tabernacle that are none

of his; i.e. strangers shall inhabit the place where he dwelt heretofore (compare

the Revised Version). Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

As God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon the cities of the plain

(Genesis 19:24), so shall brimstone be scattered upon his habitation to

ruin and destroy it (compare Deuteronomy 29:23; Psalm 11:6).



The Home of the Wicked Insecure (v. 15)


The blessing of the Lord is upon “the habitation of the just” (Proverbs 3:33).

This is the reward of righteousness. But the Divine judgment against the wicked is

shown in permitting his house to become desolate. One of the oft-repeated

promises to Israel is the blessing of the Lord upon the habitation. But “the

curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked.” The PRACTICE OF

INIQUITY TENDS TO DESTRUCTION!   It has no element of stability

in it. The habitation of the wicked is insecure because:



righteousness which EXALTETH A NATION  establishes a house.

On the health, the pursuits, the habits, the business, the family, right principles

exert a beneficent influence. The absence of them is the precursor of evil

of all kinds. The wall is broken down; protection is wanting. The home is a




BLESSING. It is as a field unwatered. There is no spring of hope within it.

In the blessing of the Lord lies hidden the secret germ of all true

Prosperity, and all safety and PERMANANCE.  Where that blessing

is not, the house is as a tender plant unsheltered beneath a scorching sun.

The Divine providence cannot be expected to work for the promotion of

ends directly contrary to its own. The whole world, with its innumerable

laws and its wise administration, is on THE SIDE OF RIGHT, on

THE SIDE OF VIRTUE and GOODNESS!  The blessing of the Lord,

which makes the field to be fruitful, makes the abode of the righteous to be

an abode of safety, of peace, and of blessing.  The home of wickedness

has none of these things.




companions are not trustworthy. They turn aside as a deceitful bow. They

are as likely to rejoice and make sport out of their companion’s downfall as

to pity him under it; while the ungodly, having separated himself from the

righteous, can find no sympathetic spirit amongst them. That the home of

evil should be broken up is rather a cause of rejoicing, for it is the putting

aside a cause of evil. This is the portion of the man that maketh not God

his trust. He fights against his own best interests. He forsakes the only true

and safe way. He puts himself in opposition to the great forces of

righteousness which ever IN THE END PREVAIL!   He links his

interests with that on which the withering curse of God rests, and “brimstone

shall be scattered upon his habitation.” “His roots shall be dried up

beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.”  (v.16)


16 “His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be

cut off.”  His roots shall be dried up beneath. He shall be like a tree

whose roots no moisture reaches, and which, therefore, withers and dries

up (compare  14:8-9; 29:19). And above shall his branch be cut

off; or, be withered (compare ch.14:2, where the same verb is used).


17 “His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no

name in the street.”  His remembrance shall perish from the earth (compare

Psalm 34:16; 109:13). This is always spoken of in Scripture as a great

calamity, one of the greatest that can befall a man. It was felt as such, not

only by the Jews, but by the Semitic people generally, whose earnest desire

to perpetuate their memory is shown by the elaborate monuments and

lengthy inscriptions which they set up in so many places. Arabian poetry,

no less than Jewish, is penetrated by the idea. In one point of view it may

seem a vulgar ambition; but, in another, it is a pathetic craving alter that

continuance which the spirit of man naturally desires, but of which it has,

apart from revelation, no assurance. (But thanks be unto God we have that

REVELATION!  -  John 11:25-26 – CY – 2013) And he shall have no

 name in the street; or, in the world without.


18 “He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the

World.”   (compare ch.10:21-22; 17:16). What Job represents as

a welcome retreat, whither he would gladly withdraw himself, Bildad

depicts as a banishment, into which he will be driven on account of his sins.


19 “He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any

remaining in his dwellings.” He shall neither have son nor nephew

among his people; rather, nor grandson; i.e. “his posterity shall be clean

put out.” Nor any remaining in his dwellings; rather, in the places

where he sojourned (compare the Revised Version, which gives “in his

sojournings”). It is implied that the wicked man shall be a vagabond,

without a home, sojourning now here, now there, for a short time. (In this

he is like the righteous man, who also is a stranger and sojourner  in this world,

with the great exception, the righteous is “looking for a city whose Maker

and Builder  is God!  - Hebrews 11:10; Genesis 23:4; Psalm 39:12 – CY –

2013).  Neither among his own people, nor in these places of his temporary

abode, shall he leave any descendant. Bildad probably intends to glance at the

destruction of Job’s children (ch.1:19).  He was wrong! - see ch. 42:13-15)


20 “They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that

went before were affrighted.”  They that come after him shall be astonied

 at his day; i.e. “at the time of his visitation” (compare Psalm 37:13, “The Lord shall

laugh at him, for He seeth that his day is coming;” and (Ibid. ch.137:7,

“Remember the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem,” i.e. the day of

its overthrow). As they that went before were affrighted. His fate shall

alarm equally his contemporaries and his successors, or possibly “the

dwellers in the West and the dwellers in the East”


21 “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of

him that knoweth not God.” Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked.

“Such as I have described is the general condition and manner of life of the man

who is wicked.” and this is the place (or, position) of him that knoweth not

God. The singular number used both in this clause and the preceding indicates

that the whole series of denunciations (vs. 5-21) is leveled against an individual —

viz. Job.



   The Curse upon the \Family of the Wicked (vs. 16-21)


The permanent continuance of the family was one of the most coveted blessings of

Eastern nations. Very deeply was this embedded in the minds of the peoples. It was,

therefore, a signal curse of God to cut off the remembrance of a family from

 the earth. With cruel error Bildad points to the cutting off of Job’s family — at least,

such is the presumption, otherwise his words are inappropriate here — and he seems

to charge upon Job the sin of which the punishment was to be found in the death of his

children. That Bildad states a true principle of Divine retribution all agree; his error

was in its application. The cutting off the family of the ungodly is:



It is frequently announced in Holy Scripture. God, the jealous

God, visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and

fourth generation”  (Exodus 34:7).  It is part of His holy and wise and just

retribution. As He blesses the sons of the faithful for their fathers’ sakes, so He

visits upon the children the offences of their fathers. The evil-doer withers as a

plant without water. “His roots shall be dried up beneath.” Therefore his

branches spread not; but they are “cut off.” The remembrance of him

perishes from the earth, and his name from the street (v. 17). He dies

away without descendant and without remembrance.



WRONG-DOING. For evil is visited in various ways by the avenging

Nemesis that hovers over all life. Evil undermines the health; it tends to

habits and pursuits which are destructive of the peace arid security and

progress of home. It puts man in conflict with his neighbor, and so men

drive the evil-doer “from light into darkness.” He is “chased out of the

world.” Even should his posterity be perpetuated, it is lost to sight. It sinks

down in the world till it sinks out of view.



OF THE RIGHTEOUS the man who knoweth God. Over his house is

THE DIVINE PROTECTION.  When a man’s ways please the Lord,

He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him  (Proverbs 16:7).

The blessing of God rests upon the home and the doings of the righteous.

Even though chastisement and calamity may fall upon him, they do not destroy

him; rather, he, as a pruned tree, groweth the more and more fruitful.  God’s

promise is unto the good, and unto their children after them. The family of the

good man has the advantage Of a holy example. They are screened from a

thousand perils, while innumerable blessings descend upon them in response to

the prayer of faith. (Psalm 91).  This will in the end be proved to be true of Job.



They make the duty of parental piety more and more obvious. They

illustrate the solemn responsibility of heads of houses, since their doings

descend in their effects upon their children. They owe it to their offspring

that they so live as rightly and beneficently to affect their lives. The

blessing of God which rests upon the just, and the curse and condemnation

of God upon the evil, ARE WARNINGS TO ALL!  Upon those the eye of

God rests, but upon these the curse of God. The abodes of wickedness, over

which no blessing from on high hovers, are abodes of death and

 destruction.Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is

the place of him that knoweth not God.” (v. 21)



An Arabian Orator’s Discourse (vs. 1-21)


  • THE FAULTY INTRODUCTION. Bildad possessed at least three

qualifications indispensable to successful speakingfervid imagination,

glowing eloquence, and vehement passion. He was characterized also by

three fatal defects want of calmness, or self-containment, want of

prudence, and want of sympathetic tenderness. Being destitute of these, he

blundered like an inexperienced amateur, starting out on his oration in a

hurricane of passion and ill humor, planting daggers in the breast he hoped to win

by his eloquence, and forfeiting, by the very keenness of his invective, all possibility

of effecting good impressions by his words. He impeached Job of:


Ø      Senseless verbosity. Of speaking at an undue length; of talking for

talking’s sake; of hunting after words in order to overwhelm his

opponents; of speaking without consideration, talking when he

ought to have been thinking, making words do duty for ideas;

of speaking instead of listening to his betters (v. 2).


o       The first is the error of the facile-tongued;

o       the second, of the shallow-pated;

o       the third, of the conceited egotist.


If Job sinned in either of these respects, he was not undeserving of

reproof, much more if he erred in all. But Bildad, whose genius was

not original, was probably moved to use the language of censure as

much by a desire to imitate Eliphaz (ch.15:2), or to retort upon Job

(ch.16:3), as by strong repugnance to the patriarch’s offence.


Ø      Unjustifiable contempt. Job had accused the friends of lacking

spiritual discernment. Bildad interpreted the charge to mean that Job

regarded them as brute beasts, devoid of sense and reason (v. 3). If Job

did so, he was guilty of altogether unwarranted depreciation of his fellows.

That nature, which God made only a little short of Divinity (Psalm 8:5;

Hebrews 2:6), must for ever be parted by a wide gulf from the

irrational creation. Only when men voluntarily extinguish all

 spiritual susceptibility by continuance in sin can they be

legitimately compared to THE BEASTS THAT PERISH.

(Psalm 49:12, 20; II Peter 2:12). This the friends had not done;

and it is certain Job had not called them beasts. But, being men of

a high spirit, they were quick to take offence.


Ø      Self-devouring rage. An old insinuation of Eliphaz’s reproduced

(ch.5:2), with a specific allusion to Job’s language charging God with

tearing him in His anger (ch.16:9), in contradistinction to which Bildad

averred that Job tore himself, literally, “his soul,” in his anger (v. 4),

meaning that the patriarch’s misery was the fruit of his own frantic and

excited behavior, which again was the immediate result of his soul’s

fretful and wrathful resentment against God’s providential inflictions. That

Job’s behavior under his unparalleled calamities was not perfect, is

obvious; that his impatience was such as to call for censure from men, may

be doubted (James 5:11). Yet Bildad’s reproach suggests that while all

anger is a short madness,” it is supreme insanity to fume and fret at the

Divine dispensations, and that the most miserable man on earth must

Surely be he whose soul swells with rage against God because of

 his paternal chastisements.


Ø      Egotistical presumption. In the judgment of Bildad, Job appeared to

imagine that the Divine Law, which connected suffering with sin, should in

his case be suspended; but that, Bildad assured the patriarch, would be as

likely to occur as that, in order to oblige him, the earth which God had

appointed for man’s habitation should become tenantless, or the rock

which Heaven’s ordinance has rendered fixed and immovable should be

suddenly transported from its place (v. 4). The reign of law in the

material universe, and the fore-ordination of events in human history, have

been frequently employed exactly as they are here used by Bildad:


o       To demonstrate the non-credibility of miracles,

o       the inefficacy of prayer,

o       the impossibility of such a thing as a special providence, and

o       the intolerable arrogance of a being so mean and insignificant

as man imagining that in any of the ways implied in these doctrines

God would, in his behalf, interfere with the established order of



But it is no presumption to believe in what Scripture teaches:


o       the possibility of miracles (Matthew 19:26),

o       the efficacy of prayer (Psalm 65:2; Matthew 7:7; James 1:5),

o       the reality of a special providence (Psalm 40:17; Matthew 10:30);


since the first can be proved by adequate testimony, while the second and

third are supported and confirmed by the inner witness of conscience. Even

the case pronounced by Bildad to be impossible, viz. the suspension of the

moral law of retribution, has come to pass. The salvation of man through

the cross of Jesus Christ attests the fallacy of Bildad’s fundamental

assumption. And now Bildad, having proceeded thus far with his oration,

for any good he was likely to do to Job, might and should have prudently

relapsed into silence. Nevertheless, he preached an eloquent discourse.


  • THE LOFTY THEME. The subject descanted on by Bildad was the

inevitable retribution which sooner or later overtook the wicked. Set

forth under an emblem familiar to Oriental poetry, viz. the extinction of the fire

in a dwelling, and of the lamp depending from the roof of a tent (vs. 5-6), it was

depicted as:


Ø      Delayed. The evil-doer was not arrested by the hand of Providence the

moment he set forth on his career, but was allowed for a season to thrive

by his ungodliness, to amass wealth, acquire power, and secure friends, to

become the head of a family or the chief of a clan, and to possess a tent, or

rather a circle of tents, with his own commodious, well-furnished, richly

ornamented, brilliantly lighted tabernacle in the midst. So Eliphaz saw the

foolish taking root (ch. 5:3), and David beheld the wicked spreading

like a green bay tree (Psalm 37:35), and Asaph witnessed the ungodly

prospering until at last they were suddenly overwhelmed (Psalm 73:18).


Ø      Certain. Nevertheless, i.e. notwithstanding all contrary appearances, the

sinner’s own security, his determination to resist or evade the pursuing

Nemesis, his fierce resentment when the hand of the destroyer should

apprehend him, “the light of the wicked should be put out.” Not

absolutely and universally true of their terrestrial career, it is yet positively

sure that the prosperity of the ungodly shall decline, if not on earth, at

least in the future world.


Ø      Complete. The glow upon the sinner’s hearth and the lamp from his roof

should be equally extinguished. The light in which he sunned himself, i.e.

his personal comfort and happiness, and the light in which he shone to

others, i.e. his greatness and glory, should alike fade and become dark.

Sometimes such experience is the lot of God’s people, as the case of Job

testifies. Happy they to whom JEHOVAH IS AN EVERLASTING

LIGHT (Isaiah 60:19), and who, when they sit in temporal darkness,

can rejoice in his cheering beams (Micah 7:8).


  • THE BRILLIANT ILLUSTRATION. The wicked man’s career, from

the moment of his apprehension by misfortune till the hour of his complete

destruction, was next represented in a series of graphic pictures. In these

he appears as:


Ø      Snared by calamity. (vs. 7-10.)


o       Unexpectedly; when, at the height of prosperity, in the fullness

of pride, and conscious of strength, he stalks forth with giant

strides to execute the wicked counsels he has formed (ch.5:3;

Ecclesiastes 9:12; Luke 21:34-35; I Thessalonians 5:3).


o       Willingly; as if disdainfully defiant of every attempt to arrest

his career, marching deliberately into the toils, so that practically

his own counsel casts him down,” and “his own feet thrust

him into a net” A melancholy example of:


§         that “vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself and falls

on the other side;”

§         that self- avenging Nemesis which slumbers in the

bosom of every sin, but especially of a great sin;

§         that terrible infatuation which sometimes seizes on

the souls of wicked men, and impels them, with

stupid blindness to, or reckless disregard of,

consequences, forward to their OWN



o       Effectually; the gin taking him by the heel, and the noose

holding him fast, so that first his proud steps become straitened,

and finally himself is cast down.


o       Inevitably; the snare that is to arrest him lying already in the

ground and only waiting his arrival, the import of which seems

to be that the moment a transgressor enters on his evil path he

starts upon a road that must sooner or later conduct him to



Ø      Haunted by terrors. (vs. 11-12.) The evil conscience that he carries in

his bosom, though long slumbering, at last awakes and:


o       inspires him with fearful forebodings of impending disaster,

o       peoples all the atmosphere around him with ghostly apparitions

which dog his footsteps,

o       summons up before his startled vision, well-nigh every moment

of his wretched existence, spectral shadows of coming woe,


which paralyze his strength and utterly unman HIS WICKED

SOUL!   (compare Eliphaz’s picture of a guilty conscience (ch.15:21),

of which Bildad’s appears to be an echo and imitation.)


Ø      Arrested by disease. (vs. 13-14.) (On the expression, “the firstborn of

death,” see Exposition.) The obvious allusion is to such a malady as Job’s

leprosy, which, when it apprehends a sinner:


o       devours the strength (or bars) of his skin, i.e. consumes either

the members of the body, or the muscles which are to the skin

what bars are to a gate, or those passages and orifices, those

inlets and outlets of the body, at which many forms of disease

first display their presence and power;


o       ejects him from his house, causing him who formerly sat in

confident security within his tent to remove, as under the ban

of Divine displeasure, from the presence and habitations of

his fellow-men; and


o       conducts him to the king of terrors, which death must ever


them who believe in Christ, who hath conquered death, its

character and aspect are completely changed (I  Corinthians

15:55; Hebrews 2:14-15).


Ø      Overwhelmed with destruction. (vs. 15-17.) And this in three



o       the desolation of his homestead, which, being doomed,

like Jericho, to remain uninhabited, is henceforth tenanted

by  creatures and things strange to the deceased rich man,

such as jackals and nettles (Isaiah 34:11-15), or haunted

ever afterwards by ghostly terrors — a thought which

Bildad again copies from the preceeding speech of Eliphaz.


o       the extirpation of his family, even to its utter destruction,

root and branch, so that neither he, the root, shall remain,

nor any of the branches, his offspring, shall survive (vs. 16, 19) —

the most terrible calamity that can happen to a Semite.


o       the extinction of his memory, the complete perishing of all

remembrance of him, so that his name is never mentioned in

the land or on the street (Proverbs 2:22; 10:7; Psalm 34:16) —

A PITIABLE DOOM  for those to contemplate who have

no hope  of any immortality beyond the posthumous

renown which their great power, extensive fame, or

notorious wickedness may enable them to secure,

though a comparatively small deprivation for them whose

names are REGISTERED IN HEAVEN  and will be

held in everlasting remembrance by GOD even if they

should be forgotten on earth!


o       Thrust into darkness. (v. 18.) Chased from the world as

unfit to live longer on the earth (Proverbs 14:32), driven away:


§         from the light of day into the darkness of DEATH,

§         from the light of prosperity into the darkness of


§         from the light of happiness into the darkness of



a terribly true picture of THE FATE OF THE



o       Loaded with infamy. (v. 20.) Transformed into an object of

horror and amazement to:


§         the people of all lands —those who dwell in the

East and those who dwell in the West – an omen

of the worst which is YET TO COME!

“And I say unto you, That many shall come

from the east and west, and shall sit down

with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the

kingdom of heaven.  But the children of

the kingdom shall be cast out into

OUTER DARKNES:  there shall be

weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

(Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 13:28-29) and


§         the people of all times“them that come after,”

i.e. posterity, and “them that went before,” i.e.

 the wicked man’s contemporaries. In this

sense “the evil that men do lives after them,”

and “some men’s sins are open beforehand,

 going before to judgment, and some men

they follow after” (I Timothy 5:24). The language

of Bildad is true of the Sodomites (II Peter 2:6),

Balaam (Ibid. vs.15-16), Judas (Acts 1:18), and

all transgressors of a like order.


  • THE MISTAKEN APPLICATION. That Job was the subject of

Bildad’s somber sketch is apparent from the portrait of Job’s character

prefixed by the speaker to his dismal harangue, the resemblance in many

points of Bildad’s imaginary picture to the actual history of the patriarch,

and the sharp incisive manner in which the moral of his tale is pointed out

(v. 21). Yet the Bildad completely misdirected his discourse. For:


Ø      The character he portrayed did not belong to Job. Job was not

a wicked man, and a man that knew not God, as Bildad was perfectly

aware; but, as Job contended, and God Himself allowed, “a perfect

man and an upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil.”

(ch. 1:1,8; 2:3)


Ø      The sermon he preached did not apply to Job. Even of wicked men

it was not always and universally true that retribution overtook them on

account of their misdeeds. But of Job it was wholly incorrect that he was

suffering for his sins.


Ø      The future he predicted was not experienced by Job. In part it

seemed to be, but in its principal ingredients it was not. He was cast

down from his prosperity, but he was not chased out of the world.

The light was for a season extinguished in his dwelling, but it was

afterward rekindled with greater brilliancy than before. His

homestead was ruined, but not cursed, being once again erected

and blessed. His first family was taken from him, but a second

was bestowed. His name was not consigned to infamy,

but has been crowned with everlasting renown.




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