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Bildad Says God Rewards the Good Bildad: Job Should Repent First Discourse of Bildad Bildad The Unswerving Course of God's Justice
8:1 8:1-7

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. This is the first recorded speech of Bildad (which I think is a literary production, as are all the speeches, to make theological points). In Job 6-7, Job's first response to Eliphaz includes the other two comforters by the use of plurals.


B. This chapter continues the emphasis on

1. God's justice – Job 8:3 (I think this is the key issue to the book of Job)

2. the reality of "the two ways" – i.e., Job 8:20


C. Notice the number of "ifs" (BDB 49, cf. Job 8:4,5,6,18) in this chapter. The key thought is "if" you repent of your sin, God will fully restore you.



 1Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
 2"How long will you say these things,
 And the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?
 3Does God pervert justice?
 Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?
 4If your sons sinned against Him,
 Then He delivered them into the power of their transgression.
 5If you would seek God
 And implore the compassion of the Almighty,
 6If you are pure and upright,
 Surely now He would rouse Himself for you
 And restore your righteous estate.
 7Though your beginning was insignificant,
 Yet your end will increase greatly."

8:1 Bildad may be picking up on Job's words in Job 6:26; also note 16:3. It is also possible the "how long" of Bildad reflects the "how long" of Job 7:19.

8:3 For me this is the key question of the book. If Job is innocent and "the two ways" is not changeable, then is God just (cf. Gen. 18:25; Job 34:12)?

▣ "the Almighty" This title for God is very common in Job. See SPECIAL TOPIC: The Almighty.

▣ "pervert" This verb (BDB 736, KB 804, Piel imperfect) is used twice, cf. Job 34:12. Its basic meaning is "to be bent" or "to be crooked." God is viewed as "straight," "right," "just," which all reflect the Hebrew word "righteousness" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS). Most of the Hebrew and Greek words for "sin" are a deviation from the standard, straightedge, which is God.

8:4 "if" See Contextual Insights, C.

▣ "your sons" Basically, Bildad is accusing Job's children of sinning and that is why they were killed (Eliphaz also implies this in Job 5:4)!

Notice the first two prose chapters set the literary stage for this comment, therefore, they cannot be a later addition by a second author.

▣ "into the power (lit. hand) of their transgression" Bildad personifies "sin" as an active agent of judgment. This phrase occurs only here.

Paul personifies sin as a king in Rom. 5:21 and a slave master in Rom. 6:20,23.

8:5 "seek God" This verb (BDB 1007, KB 1465, Piel imperfect) denotes a continual diligent search. Here, it is used of seeking God (cf. Ps. 63:1; 78:34; Pro. 8:17 [lit. wisdom]; Isa. 26:9; Hos. 5:15).

This basic meaning is also seen in

1. Job 7:21 – God will seek Job and not find him (cf. Job 7:8)

2. Pro. 1:28 – there will come a time when covenant people seek God but He refuses to be found


▣ "implore the compassion" This verb (BDB 335, KB 334, Hithpael imperfect) means "to seek the favor of." It is parallel to "seek." It is used three times in Solomon's dedication of the temple prayer (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:33, 47,59). It is a call to repentance. This Job cannot do, for he believes he has not violated faith with God.

8:6 This is the logical result of "the two ways" (i.e., we reap what we sow, see full note online at Gal. 6:7).

▣ "pure" This adjective (BDB 269) is used by Job

1. of his theology in Job 11:4

2. of his thoughts/prayers in Job 16:17

3. of himself in Job 33:9

It must be remembered, Job does not claim sinlessness (cf. Job 7:20), but he does claim that the tragedy he has experienced does not fit his life of faith and obedience to God (cf. Pro. 16:2; 20:11). He has not violated a known command from God (i.e., his cultural knowledge of God's will).

▣ "upright" This is the key word (BDB 449) used to describe Job in Job 1:1,8; 2:3.

8:7 This verse is surprising in light of Job's wealth, described in chapter 1.

 8"Please inquire of past generations,
 And consider the things searched out by their fathers.
 9For we are only of yesterday and know nothing,
 Because our days on earth are as a shadow.
 10Will they not teach you and tell you,
 And bring forth words from their minds?"

8:8-10 This strophe focuses on the traditional wisdom of the elders (cf. Job 15:18; 20:4). The problems are

1. we do not know to whom this refers (i.e., Jewish or Edomite sources)

2. we do not know the date of the writing of Job


8:9 This is another of many verses in Job about the frailty and fleetingness of human life (i.e., Job 14:2; 1 Chr. 29:15; Ps. 102:11; 109:23; 144:4; Eccl. 6:12; 8:13).

This same term "shadow" (BDB 853) can also be used in a positive sense (i.e., God as protector, see SPECIAL TOPIC: SHADOW AS METAPHOR FOR GOD'S PROTECTION AND CARE.

8:10 Bildad is accusing Job of not listening to or receiving traditional wisdom (i.e., the two ways, i.e., Deut. 30:15,19; Psalm 1).

 11"Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?
 Can the rushes grow without water?
 12While it is still green and not cut down,
 Yet it withers before any other plant.
 13So are the paths of all who forget God;
 And the hope of the godless will perish,
 14Whose confidence is fragile,
 And whose trust a spider's web.
 15He trusts in his house, but it does not stand;
 He holds fast to it, but it does not endure.
 16He thrives before the sun,
 And his shoots spread out over his garden.
 17His roots wrap around a rock pile,
 He grasps a house of stones.
 18If he is removed from his place,
 Then it will deny him, saying, ‘I never saw you.'
 19Behold, this is the joy of His way;
 And out of the dust others will spring.
 20Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity,
 Nor will He support the evildoers.
 21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
 And your lips with shouting.
 22Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
 And the tent of the wicked will be no longer."

8:11-22 This strophe is a continuation of the theological focus on "the two ways" of ancient ANE traditional wisdom.

There seems to be a change of subject at Job 8:19. The JPSOA makes Job 8:8-22 one strophe.

8:13a This is an implied accusation of Job. He cannot be innocent. He must be guilty of some sin!

Those who "forget God" (BDB 1013, KB 1489, Qal active participle) will perish (cf. Ps. 9:17; 50:22). Notice they once knew Him but for whatever reason, have forgotten. See SPECIAL TOPIC: APOSTASY (APHISTĒMI).

8:13b "the hope of the godless" Exactly what this "hope" (BDB 876) involves is not stated but it refers to things obtainable in this life, such as fame, wealth, power, position of influence, etc.

8:14 This is imagery of the false confidence (BDB 492) and trust (BDB 105) of the sinner.


NKJV"shall be cut off"
REB"is gossamer"

This verb (BDB 876, KB 1083, Qal imperfect) occurs only here in the OT. The NKJV assumes it is connected to an Arabic root, "to cut off" or "trim." The NRSV (and others) makes it parallel to "spider's web" (i.e., "gossamer," which refers to spider silk). NASB assumes the thread "snaps" (BDB suggestion).

8:15-18 This reflects Job 7:10, "his place," and implies his past life, home, friends, labor, etc. It is uncertain if all the verses are negative. It is possible that Job 8:18 is positive.

8:16-17 These verses describe the wicked as a fast growing plant (i.e., some successes in life) that does not last (cf. Psalm 73).

8:19a The NASB and NKJV translations have this referring to God, while NRSV, TEV, JPSOA, REB, and LXX have it referring to the evil person.

Job 8:20-22 surely refers to God's activity (i.e., the two ways).

The word "joy" (ומ, BDB 965) is supposed by some (NIDOTTE, vol. 2, p. 1115) to be "something rotten" (ומ, KB 1314). It is said to represent the same root but a different meaning (cf. NJB, NAB), possibly from an Arabic root.

8:19b This implies the wicked person is destroyed (cf. Job 20:5) and other people (i.e., plants) take their place in the garden (i.e., life). Whether these new plants (people) are righteous or wicked is not stated because they have not yet lived and made their choices.

8:20 "a man of integrity" This word (BDB 1070) is used of Job in Job 1:1,8; 2:3.

8:21a This may be in contrast to the "joy" of Job 8:19a. The joy of the wicked is brief but the laughter of the righteous is enduring. So Bildad encourages Job to repent and be happy.

8:22b "the tent of the wicked" This is an anachronistic reference (i.e., Jdgs. 7:8; 1 Sam. 13:2; 2 Sam. 20:1) to an abode, which may relate to Job 7:10; 8:15-18 (i.e., "his place").


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. If Eliphaz trusts in the authority of "mystical" revelation (cf. Job 4:12-21), what does Bildad assert as "authority"?

2. Why is Job 8:3 a key theological verse?

3. Does Job 8:6 imply Job is pure and upright or that he will be if he repents and seeks God?

4. Why is Job 8:7 so hard to explain?

5. What does "his place" refer to?


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