Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Job 18: Bildad's Second Speech

Bildad's second speech is pure hell, fire, and brimstone.

This post is part of an ongoing series on the book of Job. Click here to start at the beginning. At the end of each post you will find a link to the next.


Bildad's second speech was short and contained no new ideas. It did ratchet up the angry tone. The words of Job's friends have had little kindness in them from the beginning, but Bildad sought to assault Job with the full fury of God's wrath:

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered: “How long until you make an end of words? You must consider, and then we can talk. Why should we be regarded as beasts, and considered stupid in your sight? You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger, will the earth be abandoned for your sake? Or will a rock be moved from its place? 

Yes, the lamp of the wicked is extinguished; his flame of fire does not shine. The light in his tent grows dark; his lamp above him is extinguished. His vigorous steps are restricted, and his own counsel throws him down. For he has been thrown into a net by his feet and he wanders into a mesh. A snare seizes him by the heel; a trap grips him. A rope is hidden for him on the ground and a trap for him lies on the path. 

Terrors frighten him on all sides and dog his every step. Calamity is hungry for him, and misfortune is ready at his side. 

It eats away parts of his skin; the most terrible death devours his limbs. 

He is dragged from the security of his tent, and marched off to the king of terrors. 

Fire resides in his tent; over his residence burning sulfur is scattered. 

Below his roots dry up, and his branches wither above. His memory perishes from the earth, he has no name in the land. 

He is driven from light into darkness and is banished from the world. 

He has no children or descendants among his people, no survivor in those places he once stayed. 

People of the west are appalled at his fate; people of the east are seized with horror, saying, ‘Surely such is the residence of an evil man; and this is the place of one who has not known God.’” (Job 18:1-21)

Nice! Bildad made references to Job's nightmares, the disease of his skin, the fire from heaven that consumed his flocks, his apparent approaching death, and the death of his children. All this was laid out as coming from God's wrath against "one who has not known God." Many commentators write that the "king of terrors" is a reference to a god or demon. To Bildad, Job suffered from all sides and deserved it.

Bildad had no compassion. He looked upon Job's suffering and gained satisfaction from it. So sure was he of his position that the earth would be more likely abandoned than he would be wrong.

With this speech, the book of Job has has exhausted Bildad's content. In the third round, he will attempt to speak once more, realize that he has no more to say, and shut up. The silence will be welcome.

Thursday: Job responds to Bildad.

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>


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