Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,CHAPTER 8 Bildad’s Address
1. How long, Job? (Job 8:1-7)
2. Enquire of the former age (Job 8:8-10)
3. God’s dealing with the wicked and the righteous (Job 8:11-22)
Job 8:1-7. Bildad the Shuhite now speaks to Job. He is less dogmatic than Eliphaz, and less courteous, but more outspoken. He must have lost his patience listening to Job’s reply. Especially does he resent what Job had said about God, the insinuations which had fallen from his lips. But we shall see he too follows the logic of Eliphaz, that God punishes Job for his sins. He starts in at once to rebuke Job for what he had said. “How long, Job, wilt thou speak these things? How long shall the words of thy mouth be like a mighty wind?” By the latter expression he insinuates that Job’s speech was tempestuous like the wind, and as empty as the wind. He declares, what certainly is the truth, that God cannot be unrighteous. In this way Bildad called a decisive halt to the dangerous utterances Job had made, forced to it by Eliphaz’s cold and dogmatic assertions. Job, inasmuch as he repudiated the accusation of being a sinner, and being punished for his sins, was rapidly approaching the verge of charging God with being unjust. Then Bildad deals a cruel blow to the man upon the ash-heap. He tries to illustrate the principle he defends, that God only punishes sinners, by the children of Job, that they sinned and were wicked and therefore God dealt with them in His righteousness. It has been freely rendered in this wise:
It may be thy sons ‘gainst Him have sinned
And He, through their rebellion, cut them off.
How that must have pained Job! Then he exhorts Job to seek God diligently and it would not be in vain. He has his “ifs.” “if thou wouldest seek unto God”--and--”If thou wert pure and upright.”
Job 8:8-10. But he is a traditionalist. He appeals to the past. “For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and apply thyself to that which their fathers have searched out.” We, in our generation, are but of yesterday, and know nothing. Zophar also appealed to the fathers.
Job 8:11-22. And here we have the wisdom of Bildad as he learned it from the past. It is all true and sublimely stated; the wicked cannot prosper; their doom is certain. On the other hand God will not cast off the perfect man. But Job is in the place of one who is cast off, therefore he must belong to the wicked who do not prosper. This is hidden beneath Bildad’s rhetoric. Yet beautiful are the closing sentences of his first address, the truth of which was fully acknowledged by Job in his reply.
But perfect men God never casts away
Nor takes He evil-doers by the hand.
Wait! Then one day He fills thy mouth
With laughter and thy lips with joyous shouts.
And they who hate thee shall be clothed with shame,
And tents of wicked men exist no more.