Job 18:5
Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
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Job 18:5-7. Yea — Depend upon it, the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition to it; the light of the wicked shall be put out — All their glory and felicity shall perish: and the spark of his fire shall not shine — His light is but a spark, which shines briskly for a moment, and is soon extinguished. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle — That is, in his family. Instead of his former splendour, both he and his children shall fall into extreme contempt and misery. And his candle shall be put out with him — His glory shall not descend to his posterity, as he designed and hoped it should, but die with him. The steps of his strength — His strong steps, by a vulgar Hebraism: his attempts and actions; such of them as seem to be contrived with the greatest strength of understanding, and carried on with the greatest resolution; shall be straitened — Shall be hindered and entangled. He shall be cast into difficulties and perplexities, so that he shall not be able to proceed, and to accomplish his enterprises. And his own counsel shall cast him down — He shall be undone by his own contrivances; either because God will give him up to dangerous and destructive mistakes, or because he will oppose him and turn his own devices against him.

18:5-10 Bildad describes the miserable condition of a wicked man; in which there is much certain truth, if we consider that a sinful condition is a sad condition, and that sin will be men's ruin, if they do not repent. Though Bildad thought the application of it to Job was easy, yet it was not safe nor just. It is common for angry disputants to rank their opponents among God's enemies, and to draw wrong conclusions from important truths. The destruction of the wicked is foretold. That destruction is represented under the similitude of a beast or bird caught in a snare, or a malefactor taken into custody. Satan, as he was a murderer, so he was a robber, from the beginning. He, the tempter, lays snares for sinners wherever they go. If he makes them sinful like himself, he will make them miserable like himself. Satan hunts for the precious life. In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare for himself, and God is preparing for his destruction. See here how the sinner runs himself into the snare.Yea - Truly; or, behold. Bildad here commences his remarks on the certain destiny of the wicked, and strings together a number of apparently proverbial sayings, showing that calamity in various forms would certainly overtake the wicked. There is nothing particularly new in his argument, though the use of the various images which he employs shows how deep was the conviction of this doctrine at that time, and how extensively it prevailed.

The light of the wicked shall be put out - Light here is an emblem of prosperity.

The spark of his fire - Hebrew the flame of his fire. There may be an allusion here to the customs of Arabian hospitality. This was, and is, their national glory, and it is their boast that no one is ever refused it. The emblem of fire or flame here may refer to the custom of kindling a fire on an eminence, near a dwelling, to attract the stranger to share the hospitality of the owner of it; or it may refer to the fire in his tent, which the stranger was always at liberty to share. In the collection of the Arabian poems, called the Hamasa, this idea occurs almost in the words of Bildad. The extract was furnished me by the Rev. Eli Smith. It is a boast of Salamiel, a prince of Tema. In extolling the virtues of his tribe, he says, "No fire of ours was ever extinguished at night without a guest; and of our guests never did one disparage us." The idea here is, that the wicked would attempt to show hospitality, but the means would be taken away. He would not be permitted to enjoy the coveted reputation of showing it to the stranger, and the fire which might invite the traveler, or which might confer comfort on him, would be put out in his dwelling. The inability to extend the offer of a liberal hospitality would be equivalent to the deepest poverty or the most trying affliction.

5. That (Job 18:4) cannot be. The decree of God is unalterable, the light (prosperity) of the wicked shall at length be put out.

his fire—alluding to Arabian hospitality, which prided itself on welcoming the stranger to the fire in the tent, and even lit fires to direct him to it. The ungodly shall be deprived of the means to show hospitality. His dwelling shall be dark and desolate!

Yea; the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition against it.

The light of the wicked shall be put out; all their glory and felicity shall perish.

The spark of his fire, i.e. their highest and brightest glory, which he calleth the spark, &c., because, like a spark, it shines briskly for a moment, but is quickly extinct.

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out,.... Or "nevertheless" (m); notwithstanding all this disregard and inattention to us, and contempt of us, and all the rage, and wrath, and pride, and haughtiness discovered, as if the laws of nature, and stated methods of Providence, must all give way to justify a man in such circumstances as show him to be wicked; this will certainly be his case, his "light shall be put out"; meaning not the light of his eyes, or his corporeal light, which sometimes has been the case of wicked men, as was of the Sodomites, since this, through accident, or old age, is common to good and bad then; but rather moral light, the light of nature, with which every man is enlightened that comes into the world; by which he can discern things natural and civil, and in some degree things moral and religious, though in a very dim manner; and which, when it is abused, may be taken away, and men be given up to judicial blindness, and to a reprobate mind, a mind void of sense and judgment. Cocceius thinks light of doctrine may be intended, speculative and notional light and knowledge of divine things, as of God, and his perfections, which may be more clearly discerned by revelation than by the light of nature; and of Christ, his person, offices, and grace; and of the Gospel, and each of the doctrines of it, which men may be enlightened into, and yet be wicked men, as Balsam, and others; which knowledge may be lost, and light put out, as in the man that had but one talent, and neglected it, and in the idle shepherd, Matthew 25:29; to which may be added the light of joy, or a flash of natural affections that sometimes is to be observed in hypocritical persons, or notional professors, which in time is lost, and comes to nothing, as in Herod and the stony ground hearers, Mark 6:20; but as for the true spiritual light, and experimental knowledge, that can never be lost or put out, but shines more and more unto the perfect day: but it seems best by "light" here to understand outward prosperity, for as darkness is often put for adversity, so light for prosperity in civil things, see Esther 8:16; but then, though this in wicked men is often put out, and they are reduced to distressed circumstances, yet not always; and it sometimes is the case of good men, and was the case of Job, which Bildad had his eye upon, see Job 29:2;

and the spark of his fire shall not shine; all his carnal reasonings, the effects of the light of nature, and all his schemes, especially religious ones built upon them, shall all come to nothing, and be of no effect or use unto him, see Isaiah 50:11; or the sense is, that he shall be reduced to so low a condition in things civil, that he shall have no light nor heat, nor joy and comfort, in this sense; no, not so much as a spark of outward happiness shall be left him.

(m) "attamen, nihilominus", Cocceius, Schultens; so the Targum.

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be {e} put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

(e) When the wicked is in his prosperity, then God changes his state: and this is his ordinary working for their sins.

5–21. The disastrous end of the wicked, in the moral order of the world, is certain

The last verse naturally led over to this idea, which is the theme of the speech. The idea is set out in a great variety of graphic figures, and the speech is studded with sententious and proverbial sayings in the manner of the speaker’s first discourse (ch. 8). The history of the wicked man’s downfall is followed through all its stages:—

Job 18:5-7.

  The principle—the sinner’s light goes out.

Job 18:8-11.

  The progress of his downfall.

Job 18:12-14.

  The final scenes.

Job 18:15-17.

  The extinction of his race and name.

Job 18:18-21.

  Men’s horror of his fate and memory.

5–7. The principle—the sinner’s light goes out. The word yea means “notwithstanding”—in spite of Job’s struggling against the law, the law remains and verifies itself universally. The bright beacon light on the sinner’s tent goes out, and the cheerful flame on his hearth shines no more. His home is desolate. The word “light” lends itself in all languages for such general use, as the Arab proverb says, Fate has put out my light—extinguished my prosperity. The picture here however is scarcely to be so generalized.

Verses 5-21. - Bildad, from this point, turns wholly to denunciation. He strings together a long series of menaces - probably ancient saws, drawn from "the wisdom of the Beni Kedem" (1 Kings 4:30), and descriptive of the wretched fate of the wicked man, with whom he identifies Job. Verse 5. - Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out. Whatever the wicked man may at any time have acquired of splendour, glory, honour, wealth, or prosperity, shall be taken from him, and as it were extinguished. And the spark of his fire shall not shine. Not a single trace of his splendour, not a spark, not a glimmer, shall remain. Job 18:5גּם is here equivalent to nevertheless, or prop. even, ὅμως, as e.g., Psalm 129:2 (Ew. 354, a). The light of the evil-doer goes out, and the comfortable brightness and warmth which the blaze (שׁביב, only here as a Hebr. word; according to Raschi and others, tincelle, a spark; but according to lxx, Theod., Syr., Jer., a flame; Targ. the brightness of light) of his fire in his dwelling throws out, comes to an end. In one word, as the praet. חשׁך implies, the light in his tent is changed into darkness; and his lamp above him, i.e., the lamp hanging from the covering of his tent (Job 29:3, comp. Job 21:17), goes out. When misfortune breaks in upon him, the Arab says: ed-dahru attfaa es-sirâgi, fate has put out my lamp; this figure of the decline of prosperity receives here a fourfold application. The figure of straitening one's steps is just as Arabic as it is biblical; צעדי אונו, the steps of his strength (און synon. of כּח, Job 40:16) become narrow (comp. Proverbs 4:12, Arab. takâssarat), by the wide space which he could pass over with a self-confident feeling of power becoming more and more contracted; and the purpose formed selfishly and without any recognition of God, the success of which he considered infallible, becomes his overthrow.
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