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Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide

Job

Job 8 Meaning

Enjoy exploring Job 8 meaning here at ExplainingTheBook.com! You can also read our Job 8 commentary on the first ten verses of Job chapter 8.

Well, Bildad goes on and apparently starts referencing some of these pieces of ancient wisdom in verse 11.

8:11 Can the [rush/papyrus] grow up without [mire/a marsh]?
can the [flag/rushes/reeds] grow without water?

Well, no. These marsh plants need … marshes in order to grow.

OK, so far so good. These plants are in an ideal situation. Surrounded by water. What else could a plant need to survive and thrive?

Job 8 Meaning Wither

And yet, even they can wither – verse 12.

8:12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness [beginning to flower…], and not cut down [for human use…],
[yet…] it withereth [before/faster than] any other [herb/plant/grass].

So, Bildad says – even though these water plants have all the water they could need – they still can be the fastest to wither.

That doesn’t seem logical. Water should stop plants from withering. And yet, sometimes it just doesn’t.

Job 8 Meaning The Wicked

And Bildad wants to apply this very tangible picture to the lives of wicked men in verses 13 through 19.

8:13 So are the [paths/destiny] of all that forget God;
and the [hypocrite’s/godless’] hope shall perish:

So, the godless hypocrite – whom again Bildad is considering Job to be – might seem like he has everything – just like Job did. Just like the plants do that are surrounded by water.

And yet, Job is now withering. And that’s because he has forgotten God.

And I just feel like this is getting out of hand. These men came with a sincere desire to comfort and mourn with Job. And now it’s devolved into insults and charges of wickedness.

But do we think that this can’t happen to us as we counsel others? Then maybe we haven’t counseled many sufferers. We do need to watch ourselves as we seek to help others – that we don’t get dragged into this kind of name-calling when our efforts to comfort don’t seem to work.

Job 8 Meaning No Security

Well, Bildad continues speaking of the wicked who forget God in verse 14.

8:14 Whose [hope/confidence/trust] [shall be cut off/is fragile/is in something futile],
and whose [trust/security] shall be a spider’s web.

So, what the godless trust in is as strong as a spider’s web. That is, it will fail.

Job 8 Meaning House Falling

And then Bildad continues to picture the precarious position that the godless find themselves in as they try to rely on things that seem stable in this life.

8:15 He [shall lean upon/trusts in] his house,
but it [shall not stand/does not hold up]:

he shall hold it fast,
but it shall not endure.

And I just have to wonder if Bildad is speaking of Job’s children again. Because – after all – isn’t this what happened to them? They were sitting in their house and it did not stand.

Job 8 Meaning Roots

And so, Bildad continues to speak of the wicked in verse 16 where he pictures them as doing well – for a time…

8:16 He [is green/thrives] before the sun,
and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.

As if the wicked is a plant. And this plant is doing really well.

But then – he gets what he deserves! Verse 17.

8:17 His roots are wrapped about [the heap/a rock pile],
and [seeth/looks for] [the/a] place [of/among] stones.

Now, roots don’t derive nourishment from rocks. So, this is a picture of this plant going from thriving to starving.

And that’s Bildad’s contention concerning the wicked – like, he thinks, Job is. They can flourish for a time. But then – WHAMMO! God deals decisively in this life.

The ancients say this is so. And therefore, this must apply to Job. This must be the explanation for why he’s suffering. Bildad perfectly understands God’s ways! Or, so he thinks…

Job 8 Meaning Plant Motif

And Bildad continues his plant motif in verse 18 and 19.

8:18 If [he/God?] destroy him from his place,
then it [his place…] shall deny him, saying,

I have [not/never] seen thee.

So, no one will remember the plant that withers away. In fact – not even its place remembers. That’s how Bildad poetically pictures this reality.

Job 8 Meaning Replaced

And eventually this plant – that is, the wicked – will be replaced by others. Verse 19.

8:19 Behold, this is the joy of his way,
and out of the earth shall others grow.

But see – that’s how God always deals with wicked men. Destruction for their rebellion.

Job 8 Meaning The Righteous

On the other hand, God works differently with the righteous. Verse 20.

8:20 Behold, God will not cast away a [perfect/blameless] man,
neither will he help the evil doers:

8:21 [Till he/He will yet] fill thy mouth with laughing,
and thy lips with rejoicing.

So, Bildad says – Job, once you turn from your secret sins God will fill you with total joy!

Job 8 Meaning Enemies Dealt With

And he’ll deal with your enemies, even! Verse 22.

8:22 They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame;
and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

And it’s kind of ironic that eventually it’s Bildad and his two friends that are ashamed. In a sense, by offering Job these pat answers that might call upon the wisdom of the ancients but don’t deal with the realities of Job’s life – Bildad finds himself in the position of one who “hate[s]” Job. And so, he will get the shame that comes along with that.

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