Job 8:22
They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.
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Job 8:22. They that hate thee — That rejoice in thy calamities; shall be clothed with shame — That is, shall be wholly covered with it, shall be utterly confounded, when they shall observe thee, whom they have despised and insulted over, to be wonderfully restored to thy former or greater felicity. And the dwelling-place of the wicked — Either, particularly, of thy enemies, who acted so unworthily and wickedly toward thee; or, more generally, of all wicked men; shall come to naught — Having showed what good God would do to the perfect, or good man, he now declares what would be the portion of the wicked. And, as he said, Job 8:20, that God would not help them; so here he adds, that God would bring not only them, but their house, that is, their family and estate, to utter ruin.

8:20-22 Bildad here assures Job, that as he was so he should fare; therefore they concluded, that as he fared so he was. God will not cast away an upright man; he may be cast down for a time, but he shall not be cast away for ever. Sin brings ruin on persons and families. Yet to argue, that Job was an ungodly, wicked man, was unjust and uncharitable. The mistake in these reasonings arose from Job's friends not distinguishing between the present state of trial and discipline, and the future state of final judgment. May we choose the portion, possess the confidence, bear the cross, and die the death of the righteous; and, in the mean time, be careful neither to wound others by rash judgments, nor to distress ourselves needlessly about the opinions of our fellow-creatures.They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame - When they see your returning prosperity, and the evidences of the divine favor. They will then be ashamed that they regarded you as a hypocrite, and that they reproached you in your trials.

And the dwelling-place of the wicked ... - The wicked shall be destroyed, and his family shall pass away. That is, God will favor the righteous, but punish the wicked. This opinion the friends of Job maintain all along, and by this they urge him to forsake his sins, repent, and return to God.

22. The haters of Job are the wicked. They shall be clothed with shame (Jer 3:25; Ps 35:26; 109:29), at the failure of their hope that Job would utterly perish, and because they, instead of him, come to naught. They that hate thee, that rejoice in thy calamities, shall be wholly covered with shame, shall be utterly confounded, when they shall observe thee, whom they have despised and insulted over, to be so wonderfully and surprisingly restored to thy former or a greater felicity.

Of the wicked; either particularly of thy enemies, who dealt so unworthily and wickedly with thee; or more generally of all wicked men. Having showed what good God would do to the perfect man, he now declares the contrary portion of the wicked; and as he said that God would not help them, Job 8:20, so here he adds, that God will bring not only them, but their house, i.e. their family and estate, to nought.

They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame,.... The Chaldeans and Sabeans, who had plundered him of his substance, when they should see him restored to his former prosperity, beyond all hope and expectation, and themselves liable to his resentment, and under the displeasure of Providence: the phrase denotes utter confusion, and such as is visible as the clothes upon a man's back; see Psalm 132:18,

and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to naught; or, "shall not be" (t); shall be no more; be utterly destroyed, and no more built up again; even such dwelling places they fancied would continue for ever, and perpetuate their names to the latest posterity; but the curse of God being in them, and upon them, they come to nothing, and are no more: thus ends Bildad's speech; Job's answer to it follows.

(t) "non erit", Pagninus, Mercerus, Drusius, Michaelis.

They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.
22. In his concluding words Bildad puts himself and his friends right with Job, and desires to put Job right with himself and God. By referring to Job’s haters he intimates that he and his friends are none of them; and by identifying these haters with the wicked (Job 8:22), he lets Job know that he regards him as at heart one who belongs to quite a different class.

The position of Job’s friends cannot be understood at all unless we consider that they assumed Job’s piety at heart, but concluded from his calamities that he had been guilty of some great sins. And as Eliphaz had already brought to bear on Job’s mind the influence of a revelation, the next strongest argument was the consent of mankind. And to some minds, especially in that condition of perplexity and confusion on religious experience in which Job’s was, the general accord of mankind speaks with a more persuasive voice than anything called revelation. Bildad clearly enough perceived the drift of Job’s words in ch. 7; they were to the effect that the government of the world and the supreme Power in it was un-moral. And his reply, that mankind everywhere, and especially in circumstances that gave their judgment weight, had perceived a moral law ruling the universe, was conclusive as a general principle. His error lay in supposing that this was the only principle on which the universe was ruled, and in imagining that this principle operated always in a manner direct and immediate. Hence the principle lost its effectiveness in his hands by being stretched to uses which it did not cover.

Verse 22. - They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame (comp. Psalm 35:26); and the dwelling-place (literally, tent, or tabernacle) of the wicked shall come to nought (literally, shall not be). The words are involved and obscure, because Bildad does not wish to make his meaning plain. He has to invent phrases which may cut both ways, and, while they seem directed against Job's enemies, may pain and wound Job himself.

Job 8:2220 Behold! God despiseth not the perfect man,

And taketh not evil-doers by the hand.

21 While He shall fill thy mouth with laughing,

And thy lips with rejoicing,

22 They who hate thee shall be clothed with shame,

And the tent of the ungodly is no more.

"To take by the hand," i.e., ready to help as His own, as Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 42:6. Instead of עד (Job 8:21), there is no great difficulty in reading עוד: again (as e.g., Psalm 42:6) He will fill; but even עד is supportable; it signifies, like Job 1:18; Psalm 141:10, while. On the form ימלּה, vid., Ges. 75, 21, b. This close of Bildad's speech sounds quite like the Psalms (comp. Psalm 126:2 with Job 8:21; Psalm 35:26; Psalm 109:29; Psalm 132:18, with Job 8:22). Bildad does all he can to win Job over. He calls the ungodly שׂנאיך, to show that he tries to think and expect the best of Job.

We have seen that Job in his second speech charges God with the appearance of injustice and want of compassion. The friends act as friends, by not allowing this to pass without admonition. After Job has exhausted himself with his plaints, Bildad enters into the discussion in the above speech. He defends the justice of God against Job's unbecoming words. His assertion that God does not swerve from the right, is so true that it would be blasphemy to maintain against him that God sometimes perverts the right. And Bildad seems also to make the right use of this truth when he promises a glorious issue to his suffering, as a substantial proof that God does not deal unjustly towards him; for Job's suffering does actually come to such an issue, and this issue in its accomplishment destroys the false appearance that God had been unjust or unmerciful towards him. Bildad expresses his main point still more prudently, and more in accordance with the case before him, when he says, "Behold! God does not act hostilely towards the godly, neither does He make common cause with the evil-doer" (Job 8:20), - a confession which he must allow is on both sides the most absolute truth. By the most telling figures he portrays the perishableness of the prosperity of those who forget God, and paints in glowing colours on this dark background the future which awaits Job. What is there in this speech of Bildad to censure, and how is it that it does not produce the desired cheering effect on Job?

It is true that nothing that God sends to man proceeds from injustice, but it is not true that everything that He sends to him comes from His justice. As God does not ordain suffering for the hardened sinner in order to improve him, because He is merciful, so He does not ordain suffering for the truly godly in order to punish him, because He is just. What we call God's attributes are only separate phases of His indivisible holy being, - ad extra, separate modes of His operation in which they all share, - of which, when in operation, one does not act in opposition to another; they are not, however, all engaged upon the same object at one time. One cannot say that God's love manifests itself in action in hell, nor His anger in heaven; nor His justice in the afflictions of the godly, and His mercy in the sufferings of the godless.

Herein is Bildad's mistake, that he thinks his commonplace utterance is sufficient to explain all the mysteries of human life. We see from his judgment of Job's children how unjust he becomes, since he regards the matter as the working out of divine justice. He certainly speaks hypothetically, but in such a way that he might as well have said directly, that their sudden death was the punishment of their sin. If he had found Job dead, he would have considered him as a sinner, whom God had carried off in His anger. Even now he has no pleasure in promising Job help and blessing; accordingly from his point of view he expresses himself very conditionally: If thou art pure and upright. We see from this that his belief in Job's uprightness is shaken, for how could the All-just One visit Job with such severe suffering, if he had not deserved it! Nevertheless אתה וישׁר זך אם (Job 8:6) shows that Bildad thinks it possible that Job's heart may be pure and upright, and consequently his present affliction may not be peremptory punishment, but only disciplinary chastisement. Job just - such is Bildad's counsel - give God glory, and acknowledge that he deserves nothing better; and thus humbling himself beneath the just hand of God, he will be again made righteous, and exalted.

Job cannot, however, comprehend his suffering as an act of divine justice. His own fidelity is a fact, his consciousness of which cannot be shaken: it is therefore impossible for him to deny it, for the sake of affirming the justice of God; for truth is not to be supported by falsehood. Hence Bildad's glorious promises afford Job no comfort. Apart from their being awkwardly introduced, they depend upon an assumption, the truth of which Job cannot admit without being untrue to himself. Consequently Bildad, though with the best intention, only urges Job still further forward and deeper into the conflict.

But does, then, the confession of sin on the part of constantly sinful man admit of his regarding the suffering thus appointed to him not merely not as punishment, but also not as chastisement? If a sufferer acknowledges the excessive hideousness of sin, how can he, when a friend bids him regard his affliction as a wholesome chastisement designed to mortify sin more and more, - how can he receive the counsel with such impatience as we see in the case of Job? The utterances of Job are, in fact, so wild, inconsiderate, and unworthy of God, and the first speeches of Eliphaz and Bildad on the contrary so winning and appropriate, that if Job's affliction ought really to be regarded from the standpoint of chastisement, their tone could not be more to the purpose, nor exhortation and comfort more beautifully blended. Even when one knows the point of the book, one will still be constantly liable to be misled by the speeches of the friends; it requires the closest attention to detect what is false in them. The poet's mastery of his subject, and the skill with which he exercises it, manifests itself in his allowing the opposition of the friends to Job, though existing in the germ from the very beginning, to become first of all in the course of the controversy so harsh that they look upon Job as a sinner undergoing punishment from God, while in opposition to them he affirms his innocence, and challenges a decision from God.

The poet, however, allows Bildad to make one declaration, from which we clearly see that his address, beautiful as it is, rests on a false basis, and loses its effect. Bildad explains the sudden death of Job's children as a divine judgment. He could not have sent a more wounding dart into Job's already broken heart; for is it possible to tell a man anything more heart-rending that that his father, his mother, or his children have died as the direct punishment of their sins? One would not say so, even if it should seem to be an obvious fact, and least of all to a father already sorely tried and brought almost to the grave with sorrow. Bildad, however, does not rely upon facts, he reasons only priori. He does not know that Job's children were godless; the only ground of his judgment is the syllogism: Whoever dies a fearful, sudden death must be a great sinner; God has brought Job's children to such a death; ergo, etc. Bildad is zealously affected for God, but without understanding. He is blind to the truth of experience, in order not to be drawn away from the truth of his premiss. He does not like to acknowledge anything that furnishes a contradiction to it. It is this same rationalism of superstition or credulity which has originated the false doctrine of the decretum absolutum. With the same icy and unfeeling rigorism with which Calvinism refers the divine rule, and all that happens upon earth, to the one principle of absolute divine will and pleasure, in spite of all the contradictions of Scripture and experience, Bildad refers everything to the principle of the divine justice, and indeed, divine justice in a judicial sense.

There is also another idea of justice beside this judicial one. Justice, צדקה or צדק, is in general God's dealings as ruled by His holiness. Now there is not only a holy will of God concerning man, which says, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but also a purpose for the redemption of unholy man springing from the holy love of God to man. Accordingly justice is either the agreement of God's dealings with the will of His holiness manifest in the demands of the law, apart from redemption, or the agreement of His dealings with the will of His love as graciously manifested in the gospel; in short, either retributive or redemptive. If one, as Bildad, in the first sense says, God never acts unjustly, and glaringly maintains it as universally applicable, the mystery of the divine dispensations is not made clear thereby, but destroyed. Thus also Job's suffering is no longer a mystery: Job suffers what he deserves; and if it cannot be demonstrated, it is to be assumed in contradiction to all experience. This view of his affliction does not suffice to pacify Job, in spite of the glorious promises by which it is set off. His conscience bears him witness that he has not merited such incomparably heavy affliction; and if we indeed suppose, what we must suppose, that Job was in favour with God when this suffering came upon him, then the thought that God deals with him according to his works, perhaps according to his unacknowledged sins, must be altogether rejected.


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