JOB CHAPTER 18
Bildad Undertakes to Reprove Job.
BILDAD ATTACKS JOB. — V. 1. Then answered Bildad, the Shuhite, in a reprimand which was more severe even than his first, chap. 8, and said, v. 2. How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? He accuses Job of hunting for words, of offering longwinded, endless discourses, useless arguments. Mark, and afterwards we will speak. Job should first make use of sense, get the proper understanding, then there would be some chance to reach an agreement. V. 3. Wherefore are we counted as beasts, as the brute, a harsh allusion to chap. 17, 4. 10, and reputed vile in your sight, regarded as stubborn blockheads by Job? V. 4. He teareth himself in his anger, an exclamation referring to Job and accusing him of a furious temper, which causes him to tear around in his rage. Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? Did Job think that on his account the earth would be depopulated? And shall the rock be removed out of his place? Just as little as Job could change the fact that men lived on the earth and that rocks were given their place for resting, so little could he change the fact that suffering was sent as a punishment for crimes of every kind. Just as little as he could expect everything to be plunged into desolation and chaos, so little could he expect the divine order to be overthrown for his sake. Bildad was firmly convinced that his opinion concerning the guilt of Job was right.
BILDAD RECKONS JOB WITH THE HARDENED SINNERS. — V. 5. Yea, that is, in spite of all Job’s ranting, the light of the wicked shall be put out, his prosperity utterly destroyed, and the spark of his fire shall not shine, the flames of his snug and safe hearth-fire would be extinguished. V. 6. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle, the lamp suspended from the crosspiece above his head, shall be put out with him, this being a picture of utter desolation to the Oriental mind. V. 7. The steps of his strength, the firm and mighty steps which he took in his self-conscious pride, shall be straitened, his movements hampered, his power shut in, and his own counsel shall cast him down, he is felled by his own wicked designs. V. 8. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, driven by his own foolishness, he rushes to his ruin, and he walketh upon a snare, over pitfalls. He foolishly thinks that he is walking upon solid ground, whereas it is a network through which he is destined to plunge into a bottomless pit, to his everlasting destruction. V. 9. The gin shall take him by the heel, literally, “shall take hold of his heel the trapnet,” and the robber shall prevail against him, the snare shall fasten upon him, the noose holding him a prisoner. V. 10. The snare is laid for him in the ground, the cord of the fowler, and a trap for him in the way, into which he steps unawares. Note the heaping of the expressions emphasizing the fate of the godless person. V. 11. Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, fearful thoughts, as sent upon the wicked by God, to disturb him, and shall drive him to his feet, pursuing and searing him with every step that he takes, like specters of horror. V. 12. His strength shall be hunger-bitten, or, “his calamity presents itself hungry,” it seems hungry, greedy to devour him, and destruction shall be ready at his side, waiting for his fall, ready to pounce upon him. V. 13. It shall devour the strength of his skin, literally, “the branches of his skin,” the members of his body; even the first-born of death shall devour his strength, a picture emphasizing its destructive power and pointing out the terrible doom of death. V. 14. His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, he is torn from his tent, his dwelling, in which he trusted, away from everything that made him happy, so that he is deprived of all hopes of the future, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors, making him march down to his execution at the hand of death. V. 15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his, literally, “There lives in his tent what is none of his,” strange beings making their dwelling there, wild beasts or specters of horror; brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation, being thrown down from heaven like the fire of God, chap. 1, 16, in order to make his dwelling a solitude, the monument of all everlasting curse. V. 16. His roots shall be dried up beneath, as in a tree which is dead, and above shall his branch be cut off, withering and decaying with the trunk, both the wicked person and his children being struck by God’s punishment. V. 17. His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street, both in the inhabited part of the land and out on the plains, on the open steppes, the memory of his name would be forgotten. V. 18. He shall be driven from light into darkness, out of the happiness of life into the misery of death, and chased out of the world, excluded forever from the habitations of men. V. 19. He shall neither have son nor nephew, literally, “no sprout, no shoot,” neither descendants nor progeny, among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings, not a single one of his relationship escaping the terrible doom of extermination. V. 20. They that come after him, the people of the West, shall be astonied at his day, horrified at the doom of destruction which came upon him, as they that went before, the people of the East, were affrighted, seized with terror, the neighbors on both sides feeling the horror which takes hold on men beholding such a judgment of extermination. V. 21. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, thus it happens to the habitations of the unrighteous, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God, does not recognize and honor Him in the proper manner. The point of Bildad’s speech and comparison is, of course, this, that the misfortunes which had befallen Job showed that he belonged to this class of enemies of God.