Enjoy this Job 8 commentary from your friends at ExplainingTheBook.com! You can read our explanation of Job 8 meaning of verses 11 through 22 of chapter 8 as well.
Open your Bible to Job, chapter 8. We’ll be studying the 8th chapter of the Old Testament book of Job.
We’ve been reminded throughout this book that When We Don’t Understand God’s Ways, We Must Trust His Wisdom.
Job 8 Commentary Review
The first and second chapters of this book had Job go from understanding God’s ways of blessing obedience – to all of a sudden putting Job in the position where no longer did God’s ways make sense to him. He was still obedient – but instead of blessings he was given suffering. And this suffering felt like punishment for some supposed sin.
Then chapter 3 had Job open with his lament in which he wished he could die.
Eliphaz – one of Job’s friends – then responded in chapters 4 and 5 insinuating that Job had sinned and that he needs to turn from this hidden sin of his so that God will once again bless him.
Then chapters 6 and 7 last time featured Job defending himself against Eliphaz’s claims and continuing to wonder aloud why God was being so hard on him.
And that’s where we enter Job, chapter 8. Now, the second friend – Bildad – gets his turn to speak and offer his opinion as to why Job is in his predicament and how he can get out of it.
And it’s not just his own opinion that he offers. He also shows an interesting tendency to fall back on what we might call “the wisdom of the ancients.” We’ll see that as we study Job chapter 8.
We start in verse 1.
KJV Job 8:1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
8:2 How long wilt thou speak these things?
and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?
So, this is how Bildad starts. With an insult comparing Job’s words to nothing but win – and a lot of it. He’s insulting a weak and suffering – yet righteous – man.
Job 8 Commentary Impugning God?
Well, why did Bildad feel the need to insult Job? It’s because he thinks that Job is impugning God’s character – verse 3…
8:3 Doth God pervert [judgment/justice]?
or doth the Almighty pervert [justice/what is right]?
So, Bildad interprets Job’s previous defense to Eliphaz as Job’s accusing God of perverting justice. And Bildad wants to set Job straight on that point.
Job 8 Commentary Where’s Yahweh?
But before we get to that, I want to take a moment to note something I haven’t yet. As you read through this book you will see only a few references to the Hebrew covenant name of the Lord – YAHWEH – or in many Bibles it’s “the LORD” in all caps.
So many times in the book of Job you have Job and his friends speaking of God by other names. As “God” or “the Almighty” and so on.
And the reason for that is due to the setting of this book. Remember that this book was set outside of Israel – and before the Mosaic Law was given on Mount Sinai.
So, these men are not using God’s covenant name as much as you might expect. And this is why – these people aren’t Israelites and they’re living before the Old Covenant was ratified.
Job 8 Commentary Strike at Children
Alright, now, Bildad started with an insult to this one that he thinks is speaking incorrectly about God. But it gets worse. Bildad is next going to strike at Job yet again – and this time he’s bringing Job’s kids into the attack – which he hopes will disprove Job’s supposed assertion that God perverts justice. Verse 4.
8:4 If thy children have sinned against him,
[and/then] he have cast them away for their transgression;
I mean, it’s that simple. You sin, and you get immediate punishment. That’s how Bildad thinks. It’s how everyone generally thinks in this book. It doesn’t occur to Bildad that there might be an alternative explanation.
And once again I marvel at the brashness of these friends. This man lost his children. And the only comfort these guys can give is to speculate that Job’s kids sinned and that’s why God dealt with them the way he did.
And let’s take a lesson from this man. Brethren – we can be absolutely sure in matters that God has revealed explicitly. But let’s all please refrain from airing our strong opinions. Hold them to yourself. You might be right. But what we all need to do is – not to guess at explaining God’s mysterious unrevealed ways – but to trust his wisdom and help others do the same.
Job 8 Commentary Pray!
And no doubt – Bildad thinks that he’s helping Job. He’s helping Job understand God’s mysterious unrevealed ways! And so, Bildad is going to share with Job something that surely Job is missing in this whole situation. Verse 5.
8:5 [But…] If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes,
and make thy supplication [a plea for compassion…] to the Almighty;
See? It’s that easy! Job just wasn’t praying.
Oh wait… no, that’s not true. He did pray. Often. He prayed even for his children and any potential hidden sin on their part. We saw that in chapter 1 of this book.
Job 8 Commentary Do Right!
So, Bildad is wrong on this point of his remedy. Let’s see what else he suggests. Verse 6.
8:6 If thou [wert/are/become] pure and upright;
surely now he would [awake/rouse himself] for thee,
and make [the habitation of thy righteousness/your righteous habitation] prosperous. [by restoring it…]
Brilliant! Just stop sinning, Job! That would make God stop punishing you.
Oh wait, it’s not Job’s sin that’s moving God to bring suffering into Job’s life. There’s that whole matter of Satan’s questioning both Job’s self-disinterested righteousness and God’s integrity. And no one in this story knows about that part.
So, again, Bildad’s remedy is not going to help Job. In fact, Bildad plays right into the hands of Satan.
Do you know how that works?
Well, if Job takes Bildad’s advice, he would claim to have some sort of imagined sin in his life in order for God to bring back the blessings. And in that way, Job would cease doing what Satan said that he would stop doing – worshipping God “for nothing.”
Job 8 Commentary Wonderful Results
But this won’t stop Bildad. He continues by showcasing the wonderful results of what would happen if Job just simply starts praying and stops sinning! Verse 7.
8:7 Though thy beginning was [small/insignificant], [or it will seem like it at the end…]
[yet/since] thy [latter end/future] should [greatly increase/flourish].
I mean, Job’s life will resemble the US Stock Market after Donald Trump’s election – up and up and up!!!
And you know what? That does happen to Job. His end will be pleasant. But not because he confessed some imaginary unconfessed sin or started praying where he supposedly had not. Job’s life returns to blessing once he simply trusts God’s wisdom after his great and prolonged trial.
But he’s not there yet.
And so, now Job needs to endure both the suffering and these unbearable friends of his – all with no idea of why this is happening to him.
Job 8 Commentary Ancient Wisdom
Well, back to Bildad though. He’s going to bring out the big guns now. He’s going to appeal to….ready? The wisdom of the ancients! This will certainly bolster the points that he’s made thus far. Verse 8.
8:8 For enquire, I pray thee, of the [former/past] [age/generation],
and [prepare thyself/consider/pay attention] to the [search/the things searched out/findings] of their [fathers/anscestors]:
So, if Eliphaz loved to appeal to his own personal experiences to help explain for Job why he’s suffering, Bildad loves to go back to ancient wisdom.
Job 8 Commentary Commendable
And in some ways, there’s something commendable about this. Because what Bildad says in verse 9 is true…
8:9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,
because our days upon earth are a shadow:)
And that’s certainly the right way to think of ourselves. We are so momentary. Our knowledge is so limited. Our life, so short.
But the way to turn from that thought is not to go to the writings and thoughts of men who are just like us, only dead!
Ancient philosophers and other writers that are unhinged from God’s revealed truth serve very little purpose for us – even when we’re suffering.
Do you know why that is?
Job 8 Commentary Their Own Heart
It’s because of what Bildad points out in verse 10.
8:10 Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee,
and utter words out of their [heart/mind/understanding]?
And that’s all they can do. Give good advice from their heart.
But unless that heart has been affected by God’s revelation, they can speak from it all they want – but it’s not going to be very helpful for God’s people – especially when we suffer.
Who among us reaches for a Greek philosopher when we’re floundering? Who turns to the sayings of Confucius when we’re confused with life?
No, we need to trust God’s wisdom. And we find it – if it’s to be found anywhere – in God’s word.