1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said,
2 "How long will you speak these things? And how long shall the words of your mouth be like a strong wind?
3 Does God pervert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice?
4 If your children have sinned against him, he has cast them away for their transgression.
5 If you would seek God diligently and make your supplication to the Almighty,
6 If you were pure and upright, surely now he would awake for you and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous.
7 Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would greatly increase.
8 For inquire, I pray you, of the former age, and apply yourself to that which their fathers have searched out.
9 (For we are but of yesterday and know nothing because our days upon earth are a shadow.)
10 Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their heart?
11 Can the rush grow without mire? Can the reed grow without water?
12 While it is yet in its greenness and not cut down, it withers before any other herb.
13 Thus are the paths of all who forget God. And the hypocrite's hope shall perish,
14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.
15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand. He shall firmly hold it, but it shall not endure.
16 He is green before the sun, and his branch shoots forth in his garden.
17 His roots are wrapped about the heap. He sees the place of stones.
18 If he destroys him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, 'I have not seen you.'
19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth others shall grow.
20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evildoers,
21 Until he fills your mouth with laughing and your lips with rejoicing.
22 Those who hate you shall be clothed with shame. And the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nothing."
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
In this chapter Bildad enters the discussion with Job; proceeding upon the same lines as Eliphaz, he reproves him for his long and loud talk (verses 1-2); asserts the justice of God in his providence, of which the taking away of Job's children by death for their transgression was an instance and proof (verses 3-4); and suggests, that if Job, who had not sinned so heinously as they had, and therefore was spared, would make his submission to God, and ask forgiveness of him, and behave for the future with purity and uprightness, he need not doubt but God would immediately appear and exert himself on his behalf, and bless him and his [family] with prosperity and plenty (verses 5-7); for this was his ordinary way of dealing with the children of men, for the truth of which he refers him to the records of former times, and to the sentiments of ancient men, who lived longer, and were more knowing than he and his friends, on whose opinion he does not desire him to rely (verses 8-10); and then by various similes used by the ancients, or taken from them by Bildad, or which were of his own inventing and framing, are set forth the short lived enjoyments, and vain hope and confidence, of hypocrites and wicked men; as by the sudden withering of rushes and reeds of themselves, that grow in mire and water, even in their greenness, before they are cut down, or cropped by any hand (verses 11-13); and by the spider's web, which cannot stand and endure when leaned upon and held (verses 14-15); and by a flourishing tree destroyed, and seen no more, (verses 16-19); and the chapter is concluded with an observation and maxim, that he and the rest of his friends set out upon, and were tenacious of; that God did not afflict good men in any severe manner, but filled them with joy and gladness; and that he would not long help and prosper wicked men, but bring them and their dwelling place to nothing; and this being the case of Job, he suggests that he was such a one (verses 20-22).
[v.4] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "It is true that we and our children have sinned against God, and we ought to justify him in all he brings upon us and ours; but extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces; and, in our judgment of another's case (unless the contrary appears), we ought to take the more favorable side, as our Savior directs (Luke 13:2-4)."
[v.5-6] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Herein Bildad was not in the right; for a good man may be afflicted for his trial, not only very sorely, but very long, and yet, if for life, it is in comparison with eternity but for a moment."
[v.7a] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "This is God's way of enriching the souls of his people with graces and comforts, not per saltum—as by a bound, but per gradum—step by step. The beginning is small, but the progress is to perfection. Dawning light grows to noonday, a grain of mustard seed to a great tree. Let us not therefore despise the day of small things, but hope for the day of great things."
[v.7b] - Reference, Job 42:12.
[v.8-10] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "Blessed be God, now that we have the word of God in writing, and are directed to search that, we need not inquire of the former age, nor prepare ourselves to the search of their fathers; for, though we ourselves are but of yesterday, the word of God in the scripture is as near to us as it was to them (Romans 10:8), and it is the more sure word of prophecy, to which we must take heed. If we study and keep God's precepts, we may by them understand more than the ancients (Psalm 119:99-100)."
[v.11-13] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "The best state of hypocrites and evil-doers borders upon withering; even when it is green it is going. The grass is cut down and withers (Psalm 90:6); but the rush is not cut down and yet withers, withers before it grows up (Psalm 129:6): as it has no use, so it has no continuance. So are the paths of all who forget God (verse 13); they take the same way that the rush does, for the hypocrite's hope shall perish."
[v.14a] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "[The hypocrite's hope] will easily and certainly be swept away, as the cobweb with the broom, when God comes to purge his house. The prosperity of worldly people will fail them when they expect to find safety and happiness in it... The ground of his hopes will prove false; he will be disappointed of the thing he hoped for, and his foolish hope with which he buoyed himself up will be turned into endless despair; and thus his hope will be cut off, his web, that refuge of lies, swept away, and he crushed in it."
[v.14b] - "spider's web" - Literally, "spider's house."
[v.16-19] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "The hypocrite is here compared to a flourishing and well-rooted tree, which, though it do not wither of itself, yet will easily be cut down and its place know it no more... See it fixed, and taking deep root, never likely to be overthrown by stormy winds, for his roots are interwoven with the stones (verse 17); it grows in firm ground, not, as the rush, of mire and water. Thus does a wicked man, when he prospers in the world, think himself secure; his wealth is a high wall in his own conceit. See this tree felled and forgotten notwithstanding, destroyed from his place (verse 18), and so entirely extirpated that there shall remain no sign or token where it grew. The very place says, 'I have not seen you,' and the standers by shall say the same. 'I sought him, but he could not be found' (Song of Solomon 3:1-2). He made a great show and a great noise for a time, but he is gone of a sudden, and neither root nor branch is left him (Malachi 4:1). This is the joy (that is, this is the end and conclusion) of the wicked man's way (verse 19); this is that which all his joy comes to."
[v.20] - "It is true that God will not cast away an upright man; he may be cast down for a time, but he shall not be cast away forever." —Matthew Henry
[v.22] - "Those only who make God their dwelling-place are safe forever (Psalm 90:1, 91:1.)" —Matthew Henry