Job 8

* Bildad reproves Job. (1-7) Hypocrites will be destroyed.

(8-19) Bildad applies God's just dealing to Job. (20-22)

1-7 Job spake much to the purpose; but Bildad, like an eager,

angry disputant, turns it all off with this, How long wilt thou

speak these things? Men's meaning is not taken aright, and then

they are rebuked, as if they were evil-doers. Even in disputes

on religion, it is too common to treat others with sharpness,

and their arguments with contempt. Bildad's discourse shows that

he had not a favourable opinion of Job's character. Job owned

that God did not pervert judgment; yet it did not therefore

follow that his children were cast-aways, or that they did for

some great transgression. Extraordinary afflictions are not

always the punishment of extraordinary sins, sometimes they are

the trials of extraordinary graces: in judging of another's

case, we ought to take the favorable side. Bildad puts Job in

hope, that if he were indeed upright, he should yet see a good

end of his present troubles. This is God's way of enriching the

souls of his people with graces and comforts. The beginning is

small, but the progress is to perfection. Dawning light grows to

8-19 Bildad discourses well of hypocrites and evil-doers, and

the fatal end of all their hopes and joys. He proves this truth

of the destruction of the hopes and joys of hypocrites, by an

appeal to former times. Bildad refers to the testimony of the

ancients. Those teach best that utter words out of their heart,

that speak from an experience of spiritual and divine things. A

rush growing in fenny ground, looking very green, but withering

in dry weather, represents the hypocrite's profession, which is

maintained only in times of prosperity. The spider's web, spun

with great skill, but easily swept away, represents a man's

pretensions to religion when without the grace of God in his

heart. A formal professor flatters himself in his own eyes,

doubts not of his salvation, is secure, and cheats the world

with his vain confidences. The flourishing of the tree, planted

in the garden, striking root to the rock, yet after a time cut

down and thrown aside, represents wicked men, when most firmly

established, suddenly thrown down and forgotten. This doctrine

of the vanity of a hypocrite's confidence, or the prosperity of

a wicked man, is sound; but it was not applicable to the case of

Job, if confined to the present world.
20-22 Bildad here assures Job, that as he was so he should

fare; therefore they concluded, that as he fared so he was. God

will not cast away an upright man; he may be cast down for a

time, but he shall not be cast away for ever. Sin brings ruin on

persons and families. Yet to argue, that Job was an ungodly,

wicked man, was unjust and uncharitable. The mistake in these

reasonings arose from Job's friends not distinguishing between

the present state of trial and discipline, and the future state

of final judgment. May we choose the portion, possess the

confidence, bear the cross, and die the death of the righteous;

and, in the mean time, be careful neither to wound others by

rash judgments, nor to distress ourselves needlessly about the

opinions of our fellow-creatures.

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