Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 8:20. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man — God, who will not help the evil doer, will not cast away a good man, though he may be cast down: yet it may be he will not be lifted up in this world; and therefore Bildad could not infer, that if Job was not restored to temporal prosperity he was not a good man. Let us judge nothing before the time, but wait till the secrets of all hearts are revealed, and the present difficulties of providence solved, to universal and everlasting satisfaction.Job 1:1. The sentiment of Bildad, or the inference which he draws from the whole argument is, that God will be the friend of the pious, but that he will not aid the wicked. This accords with the general sentiment maintained in the argument of the friends of Job.
Neither will he help the evil doers - Margin, "Take the ungodly by the hand." This is in accordance with the Hebrew. The figure is that of taking one by the hand in order to assist him; see Isaiah 42:6.
God will not cast away a perfect man—(or godly man, such as Job was), if he will only repent. Those alone who persevere in sin God will not help (Hebrew, "take by the hand," Ps 73:23; Isa 41:13; 42:6) when fallen.God will not despise or reject, i.e. he will not deny them his help, as appears by the opposite and following branch of the verse; he will not suffer them to be utterly lost. Help, i.e. deliver them out of their troubles. Hence it may seem that thou, O Job, art not a perfect or upright man, but an evil-doer. But this is certain, if for the future thy heart and way be not perfect, and thou dost not cease to do evil, thou wilt be utterly and irrecoverably lost; as, on the contrary, if thou dost repent and reform, he will help and deliver thee, and restore thee to thy former glory and happiness; which promise, though it be not here expressed, is sufficiently implied in the contrary threatening, as is evident from the following words, which plainly suppose it, and have a reference to it; such ellipses of contraries being not unusual in Scripture, as we shall see hereafter, especially in the Book of the Proverbs.
neither will he help the evil doers; meaning, not everyone that does evil, or sins, but such who live in sin, make a trade of sinning, are frequent and constant in the commission of it; such God will not help, or "take by the hand" (s), in order to deliver from evil, as Gersom observes; to help them out of mischief and trouble their sins have brought upon them; or to strengthen them, support and uphold them, in their present circumstances, and much less so as to admit them to fellowship and communion with him: these words, with what follow, are Bildad's conclusion upon the sayings and sentiments of the ancients, which may be supposed, and are thought by some, to end at the preceding Job 8:19.Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20–22. Finally Bildad repeats his general principle and augurs from the one side of it a happy and brilliant future for Job.
cast away a perfect man] This word “perfect” is the title given to Job by the Author, and acknowledged due to him by God, see on ch. Job 1:1. The phrase, God will not cast off a “perfect” man, becomes almost the text of Job’s reply, cf. ch. Job 9:20-21; Job 10:3.
help the evil doers] lit. hold by the hand of evil-doers, cf. Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 42:6.Verse 20. - Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man. Bildad winds up with words of apparent trust in, and good will towards, Job. God is absolutely just, and will neither forsake the righteous man nor uphold the wicked one. If Job is, as he says, true to God, upright, and (humanly speaking) "perfect," then he has only to go on trusting God; God will not leave him "till he fill his mouth with laughing, and his lips with rejoicing" (ver 21); then "they that irate him shall be clothed with shame, and their dwelling-place shall come to nought' (ver. 22); but if, as we feel instinctively that Bildad believes, Job is not "perfect," but "an evil-doer," then he must expect no relief, no lull in his sufferings; he is obnoxious to all the threatenings which have formed the bulk of Bildad's discourse (vers. 8-20) - be may look to being cut off, like the rush and the flag (vers. 11, 12), crushed like the spider's web (ver. 14), destroyed, and forgotten, like the rapidly growing gourd (Vers. 16-19); he must look for no help from God (ver. 20); but must be contented to pass away and make room for men of a better stamp (ver. 19). Neither will he help the evil-doers; literally, neither will he grasp the hand of evil-doers; i.e. though he may support them for a while, he will not maintain them firmly and constantly.
Doth the reed shoot up without water?
12 It is still in luxuriant verdure, when it is not cut off,
Then before all other grass it with
13 So is the way of all forgetters of God,
And the hope of the ungodly perisheth,
14 Because his hope is cut off,
And his trust is a spider's house:
15 He leaneth upon his house and it standeth not,
He holdeth fast to it and it endureth not.
Bildad likens the deceitful ground on which the prosperity of the godless stands to the dry ground on which, only for a time, the papyrus or reed finds water, and grows up rapidly: shooting up quickly, it withers as quickly; as the papyrus plant,
(Note: Vid., Champollion-Figeac, Aegypten, German translation, pp. 47f.)
if it has no perpetual water, though the finest of grasses, withers off when most luxuriantly green, before it attains maturity. גּמא, which, excepting here, is found only in connection with Egypt (Exodus 2:3; Isaiah 18:2; and Isaiah 35:7, with the general קנה as specific name for reed), is the proper papyrus plant (Cypeerus papyyrus, L.): this name for it is suitably derived in the Hebrew from גּמא, to suck up (comp. Lucan, iv. 136: conseritur bibul Memphytis cymba papyro); but is at the same time Egyptian, since Coptic kam, cham, signifies the reed, and 'gôm, 'gōme, a book (like liber, from the bark of a tree).
(Note: Comp. the Book of the Dead (Todtenbuch), ch. 162: "Chapter on the creation of warmth at the back of the head of the deceased. Words over a young cow finished in pure gold. Put them on the neck of the dead, and paint them also on a new papyrus," etc. Papyrus is here cama: the word is determined by papyrus-roll, fastening and writing, and its first consonant corresponds to the Coptic aspirated g. Moreover, we cannot omit to mention that this cama equals gôme also signifies a garment, as in a prayer: "O my mother Isis, come and veil me in thy cama." Perhaps both ideas are represented in volumen, involucrum; it is, however, also possible that goome is to be etymologically separated from kam, cham equals גמא.)
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