Job 8


‘Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: “How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.’ Job 8:1-7

Bildad’s Response

It appears that Job is stopped dead by Bildad. Bildad prides himself on being a philosopher who has inherited the wisdom of the fathers of antiquity.

Like the proverbial ‘bull in a China shop’, he rushes straight in and attacks Job. The overall thrust of his speech is this, ‘Job you are a hypocrite and I’ve never met somebody as vain and proud or stubborn as you’.

Bildad more or less calls Job a hot air balloon, ‘keep up pretence’. He says he accused God and everybody but himself. His theories are the same as Eliphaz’s, God is just and righteous in all his dealings with men even if he should afflict pain in some way. He rebuked Job for what he said in the last speech since Job had assumed that he was right, Job 6:29-30.

He states the theory of retribution and states that Eliphaz is right. With Bildad, it is a foregone conclusion that whoever God afflicts is a sinful man.

Since Job had argued that man is shaped in life by unbearable trials that are brought on him by God, Job 7:1-7 / Job 7:17-18, Bildad says that God was just in whatever He did in the life of man.

He leads down a bad path and he points to Job’s children and says that they died because they were sinners too. Those words must have hurt Job deeply. Bildad says he should turn to God and or the same fate will happen to him.

He uses the same faulty argument that prosperity means righteousness. As far as he is concerned, Job was a big sinner, because he can see how bad Job is struck by bankruptcy. All wisdom from the past may well be wrong. If this man thought Eliphaz was too easy on Job, he wasn’t going to be.

He uses the argument to demonstrate Job’s unrighteousness. Since God is the Almighty, then everything that comes from Him is just. Bildad concluded that if Job will repent, then God would restore Job’s blessings beyond what he had.

Following the principle of cause and effect, every effect is there by cause. This is true but in Job’s case, it doesn’t apply, Job 42:10-17.

‘Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?’ Job 8:8-10

Bildad now challenges Job to consider the past experiences of man that would confirm the exhortations that he was giving to Job. He says that he was right, simply because the advice he was giving was found in the traditional teachings of the society in which they all lived. However, his assumption was wrong because the antiquity of teaching does not prove that a particular teaching is right.

‘Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden; it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones. But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’ Surely its life withers away, and from the soil other plants grow. “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthen the hands of evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Your enemies will be clothed in shame, and the tents of the wicked will be no more.” Job 8:11-22

The papyrus plant grows while in the presence of water but when the water is removed, it withers. Man’s life is like the reeds, while alive the plant spreads its roots among the rocks in order to survive, but when dead, it is no longer remembered and another plant takes its place, Job 7:13.

The hope of an ungodly man is as flimsy as a spider’s web, that is, there is no support. Green plants prosper in the sun but if uprooted they die. The point is that Job was once prosperous but because of that, he was uprooted.

Bildad contends that God will not cast away a perfect man, Matthew 27:43. Looking at him, he says he was cast away from God so therefore he is unrighteous.

Notice Bildad says, your enemies will be clothed in shame. By the time we get to the end of the book of Job, he himself would be one of those who is clothed in shame. All these accusations are in conflict with what God has said about Job, Job 1:8 / Job 2:3.

Go To Job 9