|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:11-21 Bildad describes the destruction wicked people are kept for, in the other world, and which in some degree, often seizes them in this world. The way of sin is the way of fear, and leads to everlasting confusion, of which the present terrors of an impure conscience are earnests, as in Cain and Judas. Miserable indeed is a wicked man's death, how secure soever his life was. See him dying; all that he trusts to for his support shall be taken from him. How happy are the saints, and how indebted to the lord Jesus, by whom death is so far done away and changed, that this king of terrors is become a friend and a servant! See the wicked man's family sunk and cut off. His children shall perish, either with him or after him. Those who consult the true honour of their family, and its welfare, will be afraid of withering all by sin. The judgments of God follow the wicked man after death in this world, as a proof of the misery his soul is in after death, and as an earnest of that everlasting shame and contempt to which he shall rise in the great day. The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot, Pr 10:7. It would be well if this report of wicked men would cause any to flee from the wrath to come, from which their power, policy, and riches cannot deliver them. But Jesus ever liveth to deliver all who trust in him. Bear up then, suffering believers. Ye shall for a little time have sorrow, but your Beloved, your Saviour, will see you again; your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh away.
Verse 16. - His roots shall be dried up beneath. He shall be like a tree whose roots no moisture reaches, and which, therefore, withers and dries up (comp. Job 14:8, 9; Job 29:19). And above shall his branch be cut off; or, be withered (comp. Job 14:2, where the same verb is used).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
His roots shall be dried up beneath,.... Wicked men are sometimes compared to trees; to trees of the wood, barren, and unfruitful; to trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; and sometimes to green bay trees, very flourishing for a while, and which on a sudden perish, and come to nothing, see Sol 2:3, Jde 1:12; and such a simile is here used; and by his roots may be meant his family, from whence he sprung, which now should be extinct with him, see Isaiah 11:1; or his substance, which being greatly increased, he seemed to take root in the earth, and not only to be in a prosperous, but in a stable settled condition; but now, like Ephraim, he should be smitten, and his root dried up; all his wealth, and all the resources of it, should be exhausted, be no more, see Jeremiah 12:2;
and above shall his branch be cut off; his children that sprung from him, as branches from a tree, and were his glory and beauty, these should be cut off; referring no doubt in both clauses to Job's present circumstances, whose root in the time of his prosperity was spread out by the waters, but now dried up, and on whose branches the dew lay all night, but now cut off, Job 29:19; so the Targum,
"his children shall be cut off out of the earth, and from heaven his destruction shall be decreed;''
both clauses signify the utter destruction of the family of the wicked man, root and branch, see Malachi 4:1. It is a beautiful description of a tree struck with thunder and lightning, and burnt and shattered to pieces, and agrees with Job 18:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
branch—his children (Job 8:12; 15:30; Mal 4:1).
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