Job 8:6
If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
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(6) If thou wert pure and upright.—Of course, then, there is but one inference: thou art not pure and upright. These are verily the wounds of a friend which are not faithful. Bildad brings to the maintenance of his point the experience of former generations. He wishes to be very orthodox in his assertions, and to base his statements upon authority, and he appeals to the experience of former ages long gone by, and calls them to attest the truth of what he says. He also, like Eliphaz, uses figures, and has recourse to metaphor, only his figures are highly obscure and admit of various explanations. We give that which seems to commend itself most to us. It appears, then, that Bildad contemplates two representative characters, the two which are so prominent throughout this book—namely, the righteous and the wicked. He depicts the latter first, and describes him under the likeness of the paper-reed, or rush that grows in the mire of Egyptian swamps, which, though surrounded with moisture, yet as a matter of fact is liable soon to wither: so is the wicked man, according to this moralist and philosopher. He is surrounded by mercies and blessings, but they avail him nought; he withereth in the midst of abundance.

Job 8:6. If thou wert pure and upright — That is, of a sincere heart and blameless life toward God and men; surely now he would awake for thee — יעיר, jagnir, excitarit se, he would raise, or stir up himself. Thus David prays, using the same word, Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment. And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous — He would certainly have a regard to thee, and restore the concerns of thy house and family to their former splendour. He says the habitation of thy righteousness, to signify that if it were such, and he would manage his affairs with righteousness and not wrongfully, God would prosper him accordingly; and perhaps also to intimate, that because he had not prospered they had cause to suspect that he had acquired his property by fraud and oppression.

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 wert pure and upright - There is something especially severe and caustic in this whole speech of Bildad. He first assumes that the children of Job were cut off for impiety, and then takes it for granted that Job himself was not a pure and upright man. This inference he seems to have derived partly from the fact that he had been visited with so heavy calamities, and partly from the sentiments which Job had himself expressed. Nothing could be more unjust and severe, however, than to take it for granted that he was a hypocrite, and then proceed to argue as if that were a settled point. He does not make it a supposition that possibly Job might have erred - which would not have been improper; but he proceeds to argue as if it were a point about which there could be no hesitation.

He would awake for thee - He would arouse or excite himself יעיר yā‛ı̂r on thy account. The image is that of arousing oneself from sleep or inactivity to aid another; and the idea is, that God had, as it were, slumbered over the calamities of Job, or had suffered them to come without interposing to prevent them, but that he would arouse himself if Job were pure, and would call upon him for aid.

And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous - That is, if thy habitation should become righteous now, he would make it prosperous. Hitherto, is the idea of Bildad, it has been a habitation of wickedness. Thy children have been wicked, and are now cut off. Thou thyself hast been a wicked man, and in consequence art afflicted. If now thou wouldest become pure and seek unto God, then God would make thy habitation prosperous. What could more try the patience of a sufferer than such cold and unfeeling insinuations? And what could more beautifully illustrate the nature of true courtesy, than to sit unmoved and hear such remarks? It was by forbearance in such circumstances eminently that Job showed his extraordinary patience.

6. He would awake for thee—that is, arise to thy help. God seemed to be asleep toward the sufferer (Ps 35:23; 7:6; Isa 51:9).

make … prosperous—restore to prosperity thy (their) righteous habitation. Bildad assumes it to have been heretofore the habitation of guilt.

If thou wert in truth what thou pretendest, and hast been thought by others, to be,

pure and upright, i.e. of a sincere heart and blameless life towards God and men. But God’s severe dealing with thee is an evident token, that notwithstanding all thy fair shows, thou art but a hypocrite and secret sinner. And this sense may seem to agree both with the same charge brought in against Job by Eliphaz, Job 4:6,7, and with the following discourse, particularly with Job 8:13,20. Or thus, If thou wouldst be pure and upright, i.e. if thou wouldst join reformation to thy supplication. And this sense may seem best to suit with the foregoing verse, according to the common translation.

Awake for thee, i.e. bestir himself to help thee, as being his faithful friend and servant, whom he could not in honour or justice forsake; whereas now he shows a deep sleep, and wholly neglects thee, and turneth a deaf car to all thy prayers; which showeth what opinion he hath of thee.

The habitation, i.e. the concerns of thy house and family; a usual metonymy.

Of thy righteousness; either,

1. Which thou hast got and managed with righteousness; so he calls it by way of supposition; if it were so, God would prosper thee accordingly. But because thou dost not prosper, it gives us cause to suspect that thou hast got thy estate by fraud and oppression. Or,

2. Which thou shalt now manage with justice, and not wrongfully, as thou hast done.

If thou wert pure and upright,.... By which he tacitly intimates that he was neither; though the character given of him is, that he was perfect and upright, feared God and eschewed evil, and which is confirmed by God himself, and even after he had been tried by sore afflictions. Bildad's meaning is, if he was pure in heart, and upright in his life and conversation, then things would be well with him. Men's hearts are naturally impure; no man is pure of himself, or can make his heart pure; nor is there any good man that is so pure as to be entirely free from sin; but such are pure in heart, who have clean hearts created, and right spirits renewed in them; or have new hearts and new spirits given them; have their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and so keep the faith in a pure conscience; having their hearts purified by faith in the blood of Christ, whose blood cleanses from all sin; and in this sense Job was pure, having an interest in a living Redeemer, and in his blood, and a partaker of his grace; and that he was upright is before testified of him, though now called in question, an if being put upon it, as well as on the former, having in the course of his life walked uprightly, according to the will of God revealed unto him:

surely now; directly at once, without delay, as Sephorno interprets it; it need not be doubted of, verily so it would be:

he would awake for thee; who though he neither slumbers nor sleeps, yet seems to be asleep when he suffers his people to be afflicted, distressed, and oppressed, and therefore they cry unto him to awake to their judgment, and their cause; see Psalm 7:8; the sense is, that he would stir up and exert himself, and show himself strong on his behalf, and appear to be on his side, and work deliverance and salvation for him; or awake his mercy, grace, and goodness, as some Jewish commentators (p) interpret it; that is, bestow his favours upon him:

and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous; which some understand of his body, the earthly house of his tabernacle, which if his soul was pure and upright that dwelt in it, might be called the habitation of righteousness; which, were this the case, would become healthful that was now covered with worms, and clods of dust: others interpret it of the soul, as Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom, the seat of righteousness, and of all the graces of the Spirit; which is in a prosperous condition when these graces are in lively exercise, and the presence of God, and the light of his countenance, and communion with him, are enjoyed; but rather his dwelling house in a literal sense, and all his domestic affairs, are here meant; and it is signified that all would be again in peace and prosperity, and he should enjoy great plenty of good things should he behave well; and here is a tacit intimation as if his habitation had not been an habitation of righteousness, but had been filled with the mammon of unrighteousness, with goods ill gotten, such as were obtained by rapine and oppression, and neither he nor his family righteous; a very unjust and iniquitous insinuation: the Targum paraphrases it, "and, shall make the beauty of thy righteousness perfect" (q); but Job had a more beautiful righteousness than his own; his was but as rags, and neither pure nor perfect; even the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect and beautiful, and makes such so, that are arrayed with it; see Psalm 50:2.

(p) Gersom, Simeon Bar Tzemach, Sephorno. (q) "pulchritudinent justitiae tuae", Bolducius.

If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
6. if thou wert pure] Or, if thou be pure, cf. subjunctive in ch. Job 11:15.

surely now he would awake] Rather, surely now he will awake. The words, if thou wilt seek, Job 8:5, suggest the right point of view from which to look at the words, if thou be pure, &c. The whole passage refers to the conduct which Bildad hopes for from Job. The meaning, therefore, does not seem to be, If thou be pure, as thou sayest, and as we have supposed thee; but rather, If thou become pure, through penitence, and by letting afflictions work the fruits of righteousness, cf. ch. Job 11:13 seq.

make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous] Or, restore thy righteous habitation, that is, restore the lost prosperity (cf. Joel 2:25) of thy habitation, now become the abode of righteousness. Bildad comes out with his suspicions of Job’s guilt much more explicitly than Eliphaz did; and similarly Zophar, ch. Job 11:13.

Verse 6. - If thou wert pure and upright. Job had asserted this, not in so many words, but substantially (Job 6:29, 30). We have God's testimony that it was true (Job 1:8; Job 2:3); not, of course, in the sense that he was absolutely free from sin, but in that qualified sense in which "just," and "righteous," and "pure," and "holy" can be properly used of men. Bildad implies, without boldly asserting it, that he does not believe Job to deserve the epithets, either absolutely or in a qualified sense. If he were so, Surely now he (i.e. God) would awake for thee. This is a common anthropomorphism (see Psalm 7:6; Psalm 35:25; Psalm 44:23; Psalm 59:4, 5; Isaiah 51:9). And make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous; or, make peaceful the habitation wherein thy righteousness dwelleth; i.e. make peaceful the habitation wherein thou, a righteous man ex hypothesi dwellest. Job 8:6 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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