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Job 8 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Ch. 8. The speech of Bildad

Bildad passes over in complete silence both Job’s defence of his despairing cry (ch. Job 6:1-13) and his assault upon the cruel behaviour of his friends (ch. Job 6:14-30), and comes directly to the main issue, viz. Job’s plea against God. The first speaker who thinks it necessary to defend the attitude taken up by the three friends towards Job is Eliphaz, who, in his second discourse (ch. 15), speaks of their advices to Job as “the comforts of God and a word gently spoken” (ch. Job 15:11), to which Job retorts, “miserable comforters are all of you” (ch. Job 16:2).

Bildad attaches his speech to what seemed the general drift of Job’s words, particularly to two points where his drift more plainly shewed itself: first, his assertion that he had right on his side against God (ch. Job 6:29), which implied a denial of the rectitude of God in his own case; and second, his assertion that the race of mankind were bound within the chains of a cruel force which bore upon them universally with an iron pressure (ch. Job 7:1 seq., Job 5:17 seq.). In the last point Job went far beyond his own individual instance. To meet these assertions Bildad affirms the rectitude of God, not merely in general but on both its sides, as a discriminating rectitude, which rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked.

This double-sided action of the divine rectitude, its discrimination as opposed to Job’s cruel force that bore on mankind as a whole, is the chief point in Bildad’s discourse.

The other point of importance is that he supports his doctrine not as Eliphaz did from revelation and religious feeling, but from the moral traditions of the fathers of humanity and the wisdom of the ancients.

The speech has three short sections:

First, Job 8:1-7. Bildad’s affirmation of the discriminating righteousness of God, one side of which was illustrated in the destruction of Job’s children for their sin, and the other (as all good men hope) will be seen illustrated in the restoration of their father (for God is no respecter of persons) for his righteousness’ sake to a prosperity greatly surpassing what he before enjoyed.

Second, Job 8:8-19. This doctrine, especially that side of it which bears on the destruction of the wicked, is supported from the proverbial Wisdom of the Ancients. The moral maxims of the ancient time are thrown into gorgeous similes drawn from the rank and luxuriant vegetation of the swamps and river brakes of the semi-tropical East. The downfall of the wicked when God turns away from him is as rapid and complete as the sinking and withering of the stately reed when water is withdrawn from it.

Third, Job 8:20-22. Bildad finally repeats his principle on both its sides, drawing from the beneficent side of it the assurance of a happy future for Job.

Consult other comments:

Job 8:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Job 8:0 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Job 8:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Job 8:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Job 8:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Job 8:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Job 8:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Job 8:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges