Job 8

Job 8

Bildad Speaks: Job Should Repent

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

  “How long will you say these things,
    and the words of your mouth be a great wind?
  Does God pervert justice?
    Or does the Almighty pervert the right?
  If your children have sinned against him,
    he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.
  If you will seek God
    and plead with the Almighty for mercy,
  if you are pure and upright,
    surely then he will rouse himself for you
    and restore your rightful habitation.
  And though your beginning was small,
    your latter days will be very great.
  “For inquire, please, of bygone ages,
    and consider what the fathers have searched out.
  For we are but of yesterday and know nothing,
    for our days on earth are a shadow.
  Will they not teach you and tell you
    and utter words out of their understanding?
  “Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh?
    Can reeds flourish where there is no water?
  While yet in flower and not cut down,
    they wither before any other plant.
  Such are the paths of all who forget God;
    the hope of the godless shall perish.
  His confidence is severed,
    and his trust is a spider’s web.
  He leans against his house, but it does not stand;
    he lays hold of it, but it does not endure.
  He is a lush plant before the sun,
    and his shoots spread over his garden.
  His roots entwine the stone heap;
    he looks upon a house of stones.
  If he is destroyed from his place,
    then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’
  Behold, this is the joy of his way,
    and out of the soil others will spring.
  “Behold, God will not reject a blameless man,
    nor take the hand of evildoers.
  He will yet fill your mouth with laughter,
    and your lips with shouting.
  Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
    and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”


Job 8 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

As the New International Commentary states, “Bildad is a champion of ‘old-time’ religion.” God’s ways are right. The wicked are punished. Justice will prevail quickly. Affirming thoughts that were already shared, he states that the wicked are always punished and the righteous are always blessed. Today we call this “retribution theology.” It basically means, “You get what you deserve.”

While this certainly has some truth to it, we know it’s incomplete. In fact, this is not the story we read in the Bible. We read of people (and nations) living in continual rebellion against God until He steps in with grace to make a way. We are Gomer, the permiscuous woman chained to a life of harlotry. God sent Jesus (our Hosea) to be our Savior, Redeemer, and Lord. Bildad’s theology fails because it is not the same story that God weaves throughout history.

This is the most frustrating aspect of Bildad’s approach. He refuses to look beyond his theology to the real needs of Job. It’s like putting a round peg into a square hole. His dogmatic approach to the situation only causes Job more suffering. Even if he does not plan on changing his mind about the problem, he’s still not bringing much to the table that meets Job’s needs as a friend and companion.

There are people like this today who pound away with their close-minded theology, even when a friend is caught in a maelstrom of emotions. Blow by blow, they stand on their high horse of truth adding insult to injury. The book of Job reveals much more than a redemptive story of a man who is pushed beyond his limits in every possible way. It also instructs us in how not to respond to those who are hurting in life.

But it is not all negative.

The one positive takeaway from Bildad’s speech is the small piece of hope that he offers Job. If Job truly is faultless, he will be justified in the end. I don’t think Bildad has made up his mind about whether Job is guilty or innocent, but he knows that time will tell. The most disappointing part of the entire scene is that Job needs a friend right now! He doesn’t need educated on theology.

Even if Bildad is 100% correct in everything he is communicating, he fails to show grace to Job (his so-called friend) during his darkest hour. Jesus always communicated to those in need with grace and truth. We will do nothing but turn people away if we fail to care for others the way Jesus has cared for us.

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