For inquire, I pray you, of the former age, and prepare yourself to the search of their fathers:
Back to the testimony of the ages (vers. 8-10) Bildad refers his suffering friend, to find there evidences of the security of the perfect man and the worthlessness of the expectation of the hypocrite. With beautiful figurativeness he illustrates these truths, and only errs in the covert implication that in hypocrisy is to be found the cause of Job's present sufferings. The hypocrite's hope vain and deceitful.
I. IT IS TEMPORARY. Passing away as the "rush without mire, or the reed without water." Quickly it grows up, but as quickly withers. The promise of it is vain. "While it is yet in its greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb."
II. IT IS UNSUBSTANTIAL AND UNTRUSTWORTHY. AS "the spider's web." It is weak, unworthy of any confidence. As the gossamer thread is broken by a touch or even a breath of wind, so his expectation is cut off by the most trivial incident. It has no firmness, no endurance, no permanence.
III. IT IS IMMATURE AND NEVER COMES TO PERFECTION. "It is green before the sun" With rapid haste it strides forth, but only with equal haste to fail. In its own judgment it is firm and enduring as a stone structure. With proud self-confidence so he prides himself. But it is that all may fall to ruin. The destroyer is at hand, even he who casts away.
IV. IT IS FORGOTTEN AND DISAPPOINTING, AND PASSES OUT OF MIND. Its very place denies it. "I have not seen thee." No greater joy or reward can the hypocrite's hope afford him. Disappointment is his lot. He sows the seeds of vanity; vanity he reaps. He leans upon a thread which a breath may break. Deceitful himself, his hopes are as the heart which gave them birth. They return to their own. He created them; they are as their maker. From this rude disappointment men may guard
(1) by sincerity of spirit,
(2) by basing their hopes upon a true foundation, for which nothing prepares them but
(3) a thorough honesty and cherished truthfulness. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: