Job 8:5
If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 8:5. If thou wouldest seek unto God, &c. — God hath spared thee, whom he might justly have destroyed with thy children, and thou art yet capable of obtaining his favour if thou wilt seek it. And, therefore, cease from thy causeless and unthankful complaints. Seek unto God betimes — Hebrew, אם תשׁחר, im teshacher, if thou wouldst rise early to seek him; if thou wouldst seek him speedily, early, and diligently, Job 5:8; and Job 7:18-21. And make thy supplication to the Almighty — Instead of complaining, implore his grace and favour with humble supplication.

8:1-7 Job spake much to the purpose; but Bildad, like an eager, angry disputant, turns it all off with this, How long wilt thou speak these things? Men's meaning is not taken aright, and then they are rebuked, as if they were evil-doers. Even in disputes on religion, it is too common to treat others with sharpness, and their arguments with contempt. Bildad's discourse shows that he had not a favourable opinion of Job's character. Job owned that God did not pervert judgment; yet it did not therefore follow that his children were cast-aways, or that they did for some great transgression. Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, sometimes they are the trials of extraordinary graces: in judging of another's case, we ought to take the favorable side. Bildad puts Job in hope, that if he were indeed upright, he should yet see a good end of his present troubles. This is God's way of enriching the souls of his people with graces and comforts. The beginning is small, but the progress is to perfection. Dawning light grows to noon-day.If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes - If thou wouldest do it now. If even on the supposition that your sons have thus perished, and that God has come out in judgment against your family, you would look to God, you might be restored to favor. The word rendered "seek betimes" (שׁחר shâchar) means literally to seek in the morning, to seek early; and then, to make it the first business. It is derived from the word meaning aurora (שׁחר shachar) and has reference to the early light of the morning, and hence, to an early seeking. It may be applied to seeking him in early life, or as the first thing - looking to him immediately when help is needed, or before we apply to anyone else; compare Proverbs 7:15; Proverbs 8:17; Proverbs 13:24; Job 24:5; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 78:34; Isaiah 26:9; Hosea 5:15; compare the advice of Eliphaz, Job 5:8. 5. seek unto God betimes—early. Make it the first and chief anxiety (Ps 78:34; Ho 5:15; Isa 26:9; Pr 8:17; 13:24). But, God hath spared thee, whom he might justly have destroyed with thy children, and thou art yet capable of his favour, if thou seek for it; and therefore cease from these causeless and unthankful complaints.

Seek unto God betimes, Heb. rise early to seek him, i.e. if thou wouldst seek him speedily, early, and diligently. See Job 5:8 7:18,21. But this may be understood of the time past; and this verse being connected with the next, may be thus rendered and understood, If thou hadst sought (for the future tense in the Hebrew is oft put for the past) unto God betimes, (as thou didst seem to do, Job 1:5) and made supplication to the Almighty; if withal thou hadst been pure and upright, i.e. if thy prayers had been accompanied with purity and uprightness of heart and life, they should have been heard and answered. But because thou didst regard iniquity in thy heart, therefore God would not hear and did not answer thy prayers, but answered thee with a curse instead of a blessing, as he useth to deal with hypocrites.

If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes,.... Here Bildad seems to think more mildly, and speak more kindly to Job, that though he had sinned, yet not in so gross a manner as his children, since he was spared, and they were not; and therefore if he would apply himself to God, and supplicate his grace and mercy, and live a godly life, it might yet be well with him, and he be restored to his former or to better circumstances; his sense is, that he would advise him, as Eliphaz had done before, Job 5:8; to seek unto God "by prayer", as the Targum adds, and of which it is explained in the next clause, and that he would do this "betimes", or "in the morning" (n); which is a proper time for prayer, and was one of the seasons good men in former times made use of for that purpose; see Psalm 5:3; or that he would seek him in the first place, and above all things, take the first opportunity to do it, without any procrastination of it, and that with eagerness and earnestness, with his whole heart and soul; for God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and those that seek him early shall find him:

and make thy supplication to the Almighty: not pleading any merit of his own, as deserving of any blessing on account of what he had done; but ask what he should as a favour, as a free gift, in a way of grace and mercy, as the word (o) signifies; call for the pity of the Almighty, as Broughton renders it.

(n) "mane quaesieris", Pagninus, Piscator, Mercerus. (o) So Schmidt in loc.

If thou {c} wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

(c) That is, if you turn while God calls you to repentance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Bildad saw in the fate of Job’s children not only proof that they had sinned but that their sin was deadly. He saw in Job’s afflictions proof equally decisive that he had sinned, but the fact that he was still spared, however severe his afflictions, gave a different complexion to his sin, and also suggested a different meaning for his afflictions. They were chastisements meant for his good, and Bildad is enabled to hope the best for Job, if he will rightly lay his trials to heart.

wouldest seek unto God betimes] Rather, if thou wilt seek earnestly unto God. Thou is emphatic in antithesis to “thy children,” Job 8:4.

Verse 5. - If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes. Here we have again an echo of the words of Eliphaz (Job 5:8). There is a tacit assumption that Job has not had recourse to God, has not pleaded his cause with him or taken him into counsel; whereas all the evidence was the other way. Both when the first batch of calamities was reported to him (Job 1:14-19), and when the stroke of disease came (Job 2:10), Job cast his care on God, fell back on him, submitted himself to him unreservedly. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord," he said in the one case; in the other, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" And make thy supplication to the Almighty; literally, make the Almighty gracious to thee." Job 8:5 5 If thou seekest unto God,

And makest supplication to the Almighty,

6 If thou art pure and upright; Surely!

He will care for thee,

And restore the habitation of thy righteousness;

7 And if thy beginning was small,

Thy end shall be exceeding great.

There is still hope for Job (אתּה, in opposition to his children), if, turning humbly to God, he shows that, although not suffering undeservedly, he is nevertheless pure and upright in his inmost mind. Job 8:6 is so intended; not as Mercier and others explain: si in posterum puritati et justitiae studueris. אל־אל שׁחר, to turn one's self to God earnestly seeking, constr. praegnans, like אל־אל דּרשׁ, Job 5:8. Then begins the conclusion with כּי־עתּה, like Job 13:18. "The habitation of thy righteousness" is Job's household cleansed and justified from sin. God will restore that; שׁלּם might also signify, give peace to, but restore is far more appropriate. Completely falling back on שׁלם, the Piel signifies to recompense, off like being returned for like, and to restore, of a complete covering of the loss sustained. God will not only restore, but increase beyond measure, what Job was and had. The verb. masc. after אחרית here is remarkable. But we need not, with Olsh., read ישׂגּה: we may suppose, with Ewald, according to 174, e, that אהרית is purposely treated as masc. It would be a mistake to refer to Proverbs 23:32; Proverbs 29:21, in support of it.

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