Job 18:1
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XVIII.

(1) How long?—Bildad begins very much as Job himself had done (Job 16).

Job 18:1. Then answered Bildad the Shuhite — Bildad, irritated to the last degree that Job should treat their advice with so much contempt, is no longer able to keep his passions within the bounds of decency, He proceeds to downright abuse; and, finding little attention given by Job to his arguments, he tries to terrify him into a compliance. To that end he draws a yet more terrible picture of the final end of a wicked man than any preceding; throwing in all the circumstances of Job’s calamities, that he might plainly perceive the resemblance; and, at the same time, insinuating that he had much worse still to expect, unless he prevented it by a speedy change of behaviour. That it was the highest arrogance in him to suppose that he was of consequence enough to be the cause of altering the general rules of providence, And that it was much more expedient for the good of the whole, that he, by his example, should deter others from treading in the same path of wickedness and folly. — Heath.18:1-4 Bildad had before given Job good advice and encouragement; here he used nothing but rebukes, and declared his ruin. And he concluded that Job shut out the providence of God from the management of human affairs, because he would not admit himself to be wicked.They shall go down - That is, my hopes shall go down. All the expectations that I have cherished of life and happiness, will descend there with me. We have a similar expression when we say, that a man "has buried his hopes in the grave," when he loses an only son.

To the bars of the pit - "Bars of Sheol" - שׁאול בד bad she'ôl. Vulgate, "Profoundest deep." Septuagint, εἰς ᾅδην eis hadēn - to Hades. Sheol, or Hades, was supposed to be under the earth. Its entrance was by the grave as a gate that led to it. It was protected by bars - as prisons are - so that those who entered there could not escape; see the notes at Isaiah 14:9. It was a dark, gloomy dwelling, far away from light, and from the comforts which people enjoy in this life; see Job 10:21-22. To that dark world Job expected soon to descend; and though he did not regard that as properly a place of punishment, yet it was not a place of positive joy. It was a gloomy and wretched world - the land of darkness and of the shadow of death; and he looked to the certainty of going there not with joy, but with anguish and distress of heart. Had Job been favored with the clear and elevated views of heaven which we have in the Christian revelation, death to him would have lost its gloom.

We wonder, often, that so good a man expressed such a dread of death, and that he did not look more calmly into the future world. But to do him justice, we should place ourselves in his situation. We should lay aside all that is cheerful and glad in the views of heaven which Christianity has given us. We should look upon the future world as the shadow of death; a land of gloom and spectres; a place beneath the ground - dark, chilly, repulsive; and we shall cease to wonder at the expressions of even so good a man at the prospect of death. When we look at him, we should remember with thankfulness the different views which we have of the future world, and the source to which we owe them. To us, if we are pious in any measure as Job was, death is the avenue, not to a world of gloom, but to a world of light and glory. It opens into heaven. There is no gloom, no darkness, no sorrow. There all are happy; and there all that is mysterious in this life is made plain - all that is sad is succeeded by eternal joy. These views we owe to that gospel which has brought life and immortality to light; and when we think of death and the future world, when from the midst of woes and sorrows we are compelled to look out on eternity, let us rejoice that we are not constrained to look forward with the sad forebodings of the Sage of Uz, but that we may think of the grave cheered by the strong consolations of Christian hope of the glorious resurrection.

When our rest together is in the dust - The rest of me and my hopes. My hopes and myself will expire together.

CHAPTER 18

SECOND SERIES.

Job 18:1-21. Reply of Bildad.Bildad’ s reproof: Job’s words many: he despised his friends; he vexed himself; but in vain, Job 18:1-4. The calamity of the wicked, Job 18:5-21.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said. Who, next to Eliphaz, spoke before, and now in his turn attacks Job a second time, and more roughly and severely than before; now he gives him no advice or counsel, nor any instructions and exhortations for his good, nor suggests that it might be better times with him again, as he had done before; but only heaps up charges against him, and describes the miserable circumstances of a wicked man, as near to Job's as he could; thereby endeavouring to confirm his former position, that wicked men are punished of God, and to have this conclusion drawn from it, that Job must needs be a wicked man, since he was so greatly afflicted. Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Job had used very hard words regarding his friends; he had called them annoying comforters (ch. Job 16:2) and scorners (ch. Job 16:20), and complained of being beset by their illusory mockeries (ch. Job 17:2); and said that God had sent blindness and want of understanding upon them, and that there was not one wise man among them (ch. Job 17:4-10).

But he had gone further. He had appeared to regard himself and them in their treatment of him as types of two classes—himself as the type of the “upright” and “innocent” and “clean of hands” (ch. Job 17:8-9), exposed to the contumely and spitting of the “peoples,” the “godless” (ch. Job 17:6-8) and the ruthless (ch. Job 17:5).Verses 1-21. - Bildad's second speech is no improvement upon his first (ch. 8.). He has evidently been exceedingly nettled by Job's contemptuous words concerning his "comforters" (Job 16:2, 11; Job 17:10); and aims at nothing but venting his anger, and terrifying Job by a series of denunciations and threats. Job has become to him "the wicked man" (vers. 5, 21), an embodiment of all that is evil, and one "that knoweth not God." No punishment is too severe for him. Verses 1, 2. - Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? (So Rosenmuller, Gesenius, Welte, Merx, Lee, and Canon Cook.) Others render, "How long will ye lay snares for words?" which is a possible translation, but does not give a very good sense. Bildad, a tolerably concise speaker himself (see Job 8:2-22; Job 25:2-6), is impatient at the length of Job's replies. He had already, in his former speech (Job 8:2), reproached Job with his prolixity; now he repeats the charge. The employment of the second person plural in this and the following verses is not very easily accounted for. Bildad can scarcely mean to blame his friend Eliphaz. Perhaps he regards Job as having supporters among the lookers-on, of whom there may have been several besides Elihu (Job 32:2). Mark; rather, consider; i.e. think a little, instead of talking. And afterwards we will speak. Then, calmly and without hurry, we will proceed to reply to what you have said. 10 But only come again all of you!

I shall not find a wise man among you. -

11 My days are past, My purposes cut off,

The cherished thoughts of my heart, -

12 Ye explain night as day,

Light is near when darkness sets in.

The truly righteous man, even if in the midst of his affliction he should see destruction before him, does not however forsake God. But (nevertheless) ye - he exclaims to the friends, who promise him a long and prosperous life if he will only humble himself as a sinner who is receiving punishment - repeat again and again your hortatory words on penitence! a wise man who might be able to see into my real condition, I shall not find among you. He means that they deceive themselves concerning the actual state of the case before them; for in reality he is meeting death without being deceived, or allowing himself to be deceived, about the matter. His appeal is similar to Job 6:29. Carey translates correctly: Attack me again with another round of arguments, etc. Instead of ואוּלם, as it is written everywhere else (generally when the speech is drawing to a close), we find ואלּם (as the form of writing אלם, אלּם occurs also in the subst. אוּלם), perh. in order to harmonize with כּלּם, which is here according to rule instead of כּלּכם, which corresponds more to our form of a vocative clause, just as in 1 Kings 22:28; Micah 1:2 (Ewald, 327, a).

(Note: Comp. my Anekdota zur Gesch. der mittelalterlichen Scholastik unter Juden und Moslemen (1841), S. 380.)

In וּבאוּ תּשׁוּבוּ the jussive and imper. (for the Chethib יבאי, which occurs in some Codd. and editions, is meaningless) are united, the former being occasioned by the arrangement of the words, which is unfavourable to the imper. (comp. Ew. 229); moreover, the first verb gives the adverbial notion iterum, denuo to the second, according to Ges. 142, 3, a.

What follows, Job 17:11, is the confirmation of the fact that there is no wise man among them who might be able to give him efficient solace by a right estimate of the magnitude and undeservedness of his suffering. His life is indeed run out; and the most cherished plans and hopes which he had hedged in and fostered for the future in his heart, he has utterly and long since given up. The plur. (occurring only here) of זמּה, which occurs also sensu malo, signifies projects, as מזמות, Job 21:27; Job 42:2, from זמם, to tie; Aben-Ezra refers to the Arab. zamâm (a thread, band, esp. a rein). These plans which are now become useless, these cherished thoughts, he calls מורשׁי, peculia (from ירשׁ, to take possession of) of his heart. Thus, after Obad. Oba 1:17, Gecatilia (in Aben-Ezra) also explains, while, according to Ewald, Beitrge, S. 98, he understands the heart-strings, i.e., the trunks of the arteries (for thus is Arab. n't to be explained), and consequently, as Ewald himself, and even Farisol, most improbably combines מורשׁ with מותר (יתר). Similarly the lxx τὰ ἄρθρα τῆς καρδίας, as though the joints (instead of the valves) of the heart were intended; probably with Middeldorpf, after the Syriac Hexapla, ἄκρα is to be read instead of ἄρθρα; this, however, rests upon a mistaking of מורשׁי for ראשׁי. While he is now almost dead, and his life-plans of the future are torn away (נתּקוּ), the friends turn night into day (שׂים, as Isaiah 5:20); light is (i.e., according to their opinion) nearer than the face of darkness, i.e., than the darkness which is in reality turned to him, and which is as though it stared at him from the immediate future. Thus Nolde explains it as comparative, but connecting Job 17:12 with ישׂימו, and considering פני (which is impossible by this compar. rendering) as meaningless: lucem magis propinquam quam tenebras. It is however possible that מפני is used the same as in Job 23:17 : light is, as they think near before darkness, i.e., while darkness sets in (ingruentibus tenebris), according to which we have translated. If we understand Job 23:12 from Job's standpoint, and not from that of the friends, מן קרוב is to be explained according to the Arab. qrı̂b mn, prope abest ab, as the lxx even translatesφῶς ἐγγὺς ἀπὸ προσώπου σκότους, which Olympiodorus interprets by ου ̓ μακρὰν σκότους. But by this rendering פני makes the expression, which really needs investigation, only still lamer. Renderings, however, like Renan's Ah! votre lumire resemble aux tenbres, are removed from all criticism. The subjective rendering, by which Job 17:12 is under the government of ישׂימו, is after all the most natural. That he has darkness before him, while the friends present to him the approach of light on condition of penitence, is the thought that is developed in the next strophe.

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