Job 18
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,


Job 18:1-21. Reply of Bildad.

How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.
2. ye—the other two friends of Job, whom Bildad charges with having spoken mere "words," that is, empty speeches; opposed to "mark," that is, come to reason, consider the question intelligently; and then let us speak.
Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight?
3. beasts—alluding to what Job said (Job 12:7; so Isa 1:3).

vile—rather from a Hebrew root, "to stop up." "Stubborn," answering to the stupidity implied in the parallel first clause [Umbreit]. Why should we give occasion by your empty speeches for our being mutually reputed, in the sight of Job and one another, as unintelligent? (Job 17:4, 10).

He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?
4. Rather, turning to Job, "thou that tearest thyself in anger" (Job 5:2).

be forsaken?—become desolate. He alludes here to Job's words as to the "rock," crumbling away (Job 14:18, 19); but in a different application. He says bitterly "for thee." Wert thou not punished as thou art, and as thou art unwilling to bear, the eternal order of the universe would be disturbed and the earth become desolate through unavenged wickedness [Umbreit]. Bildad takes it for granted Job is a great sinner (Job 8:3-6; Isa 24:5, 6). "Shall that which stands fast as a rock be removed for your special accommodation?"

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
5. That (Job 18:4) cannot be. The decree of God is unalterable, the light (prosperity) of the wicked shall at length be put out.

his fire—alluding to Arabian hospitality, which prided itself on welcoming the stranger to the fire in the tent, and even lit fires to direct him to it. The ungodly shall be deprived of the means to show hospitality. His dwelling shall be dark and desolate!

The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.
6. candle—the lamp which in the East is usually fastened to the ceiling. Oil abounds in those regions, and the lamp was kept burning all night, as now in Egypt, where the poorest would rather dispense with food than the night lamp (Ps 18:28). To put out the lamp was an image of utter desolation.
The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
7. steps of his strength—Hebrew, for "His strong steps." A firm step marks health. To be straitened in steps is to be no longer able to move about at will (Pr 4:12).

his own counsel—Plans shall be the means of his fall (Job 5:13).

For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.
8. he walketh upon—rather, "he lets himself go into the net" [Umbreit]. If the English Version be retained, then understand "snare" to be the pitfall, covered over with branches and earth, which when walked upon give way (Ps 9:15; 35:8).
The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.
9. robber—rather answering to "gin" in the parallel clause, "the noose shall hold him fast" [Umbreit].
The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.
Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.
11. Terrors—often mentioned in this book (Job 18:14; 24:17; &c.). The terrors excited through an evil conscience are here personified. "Magor-missabib" (Jer 20:3).

drive … to his feet—rather, "shall pursue" (literally, "scatter," Hab 3:14) him close "at his heels" (literally, "immediately after his feet," Hab 3:5; 1Sa 25:42; Hebrew). The image is that of a pursuing conqueror who scatters the enemy [Umbreit].

His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.
12. The Hebrew is brief and bold, "his strength is hungry."

destruction—that is, a great calamity (Pr 1:27).

ready at his side—close at hand to destroy him (Pr 19:29).

It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.
13. Umbreit has "he" for "it," that is, "in the rage of hunger he shall devour his own body"; or, "his own children" (La 4:10). Rather, "destruction" from Job 18:12 is nominative to "devour."

strength—rather, "members" (literally, the "branches" of a tree).

the first-born of death—a personification full of poetical horror. The first-born son held the chief place (Ge 49:3); so here the chiefest (most deadly) disease that death has ever engendered (Isa 14:30; "first-born of the poor"—the poorest). The Arabs call fever, "daughter of death."

His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
14. confidence—all that the father trusted in for domestic happiness, children, fortune, &c., referring to Job's losses.

rooted out—suddenly torn away, it shall bring—that is, he shall be brought; or, as Umbreit better has, "Thou (God) shalt bring him slowly." The Hebrew expresses, "to stride slowly and solemnly." The godless has a fearful death for long before his eyes, and is at last taken by it. Alluding to Job's case. The King of terrors, not like the heathen Pluto, the tabled ruler of the dead, but Death, with all its terrors to the ungodly, personified.

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
15. It—"Terror" shall haunt, &c., and not as Umbreit, "another," which the last clause of the verse disproves.

none of his—It is his no longer.

brimstone—probably comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16) to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24).

His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
16. Roots—himself.

branch—his children (Job 8:12; 15:30; Mal 4:1).

His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.
17. street—Men shall not speak of him in meeting in the highways; rather, "in the field" or "meadow"; the shepherds shall no more mention his name—a picture from nomadic life [Umbreit].
He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
18. light … darkness—existence—nonexistence.
He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.
19. nephew—(so Isa 14:22). But it is translated "grandson" (Ge 21:23); translate "kinsman."
They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.
20. after … before—rather, "those in the West—those in the East"; that is, all people; literally, "those behind—those before"; for Orientals in geography turn with their faces to the east (not to the north as we), and back to the west; so that before—east; behind—north (so Zec 14:8).

day—of ruin (Ob 12).

affrighted—seized with terror (Job 21:6; Isa 13:8).

Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.
21. (Job 8:22, Margin).
A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown [1882]

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