Day 15. Bildad is berating his blameless bestie, Job.
8 (Bildad) “For ask now of the previous generation,
and take heed of the search of the fathers.
9 For we are of yesterday, and do not know,
For [like] a shadow [are] our days on the earth.
10 Is it not they [who] will instruct you, [who] will speak to you?
11 Can the papyrus plant rise up with no marsh?
Will reeds flourish without water?
12 When it is still blossoming, and will not be plucked,
Before any [other] plant they will wither.
13 Thus the paths of any who forget God,
the hope of the godless shall perish,
14 who loathes his trust,
And his confidence is a spider’s web.
15 He leans (impf.) against his house, but it does not stand,
He takes hold (lit: causes to be strong) of it, but does not endure (lit: arise).
16 He is a moist plant before the sun,
and over the garden its shoots spread.
17 Upon a heap its roots entwine,
it looks for a house of stones.
18 If it is uprooted (lit: devoured) from its place,
it disowns him: “I have never seen you!”
19 Thus, this is the joy of his way,
And out of the soil others sprout up.
20 Look, God does not reject the blameless,
And he does not take hold of the hand of evildoers.
21 Still he will fill your mouth [with] laughter,
and your lips [with] shouting.
22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
and the tent of the wicked will not exist.”
- Bildad who has pointed out in vv1-7 that Job’s suffering must be due to his or his children’s sin, closes his “wisdom” speech by invoking the wisdom of the generation above him (v8-10).
- He uses vivid metaphors to illustrate that when people oppose God, they end up perishing more swiftly than the water reed, or putting their weight on something as flimsy as a spider’s web. The wicked may seem to be fastened securely and flourishing, yet they (like roots on stones) can be quickly uprooted.
- When Bildad declares that “God does not reject the blameless”, remember that Job has already been declared “blameless” (tam; whole) in chapter 1 – so these sentiments are aimed at the wrong person!
- There’s much that’s true about God and his world in Bildad’s speech. Our days are like a shadow on earth. There is no hope when we forget God. And yes, in general, sin brings sorrow.
- Yet true words aimed wrongly can do damage – Job doesn’t take too well to Bildad’s bluster in the next chapter. His suffering is not because of any sin he’s done. It’s not what he needed to hear.
- I remember one time someone told me they were really struggling financially, and I replied that perhaps money was too much of an idol for them. Whether it was true or not, but they needed sympathy not a pat-answer proverb. I had to ask forgiveness for my mistimed words.