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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 8

 

 

Verses 1-22

Job 8:7. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should be great. Many great patriarchs, like Jacob, had once but a small beginning.

Job 8:11. Can the rush grow. The LXX read, “the papyrus,” the leaf of which was used as paper among the Egyptians; and the tallipot leaf is used in a similar manner in India.

Job 8:15. He shall lean upon his house. The LXX, “Though he moat his house; i.e. with a ditch or drain, and parapet; yet it shall not stand.” This reading relieves the text of the idea of leaning on his house. Schultens vaguely quotes here an Arabian proverb, that those who trust to any thing but God, build their house like that of a spider, and the spider’s house is a weak one.

REFLECTIONS.

Bildad having entered into all the views of Eliphaz, in Job’s case, here rises to give the counterpart of his friend’s speech. He seems almost impatient with Job, that in all his bitter complaints, he had made but a slight and common mention of sin. Therefore conceiving the spotless tribunal of divine justice to be tacitly arraigned for so severely afflicting the innocent, he stands forward to advocate the cause of heaven, and to silence the bitter complaints of a man under the righteous strokes of God. Lest Job should reject his pleas on the ground of inexperience, he owns he was of yesterday, that he might appeal to antiquity with irresistible force. Doth God, he asks as Abraham when pleading for Sodom, pervert judgment? Genesis 18:25. Enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and search the records of the fathers.

The advocate for the equity of providence is emboldened to plead against Job, because, if he were pure and upright, God would surely now awake, being roused by piercing complaints, and make his habitation prosperous. He would follow his ancient rule; be his friend, and not his foe. Bildad by saying if thou wert pure, first takes it for granted that Job was impure; and secondly, that if he were pure, God would now arise to deliver him. Here he doubly erred. God will indeed deliver the righteous, but he will do it in his own time. The appeal to antiquity farther emboldened him to plead against Job, because it was clear from all their wise sayings, that the wicked can no more prosper than an aquatic plant can flourish in a dry soil; it droops and withers before any other herb. So are the paths of all that forget God; so the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. He weaves himself a fine cobweb, but it tears with a touch. He builds himself an inviting house, but it falls by a slight pressure; he adorns his gardens, but they wither as the wilderness. Here is the termination of all his joys: and he being rooted out, others shall grow up in his place.

From this highly figurative speech of Bildad, we may farther perceive how grossly, wise men may err in their views of providence and grace. They wade through every branch of literature: they dig in the mines of history, and store their minds with heaps of knowledge: but for want of experience and deep attention, they often wretchedly fail in drawing forth from their mental store, just conclusions concerning providence, and sound maxims for life and conduct. Bildad, in a general view, was perfectly right in his conclusions when he appealed to the fathers. The vast line of worthy patriarchs were certainly flourishing and happy in their lives: and Shaddai was to them an alsufficient defence. But did no temporary clouds obscure the lustre of their meridian sun? What befel Abel; what did Noah suffer at the deluge; and what did Abraham feel when Sarah was detained? Therefore we should be diffident in judging of providence, and sober in all our conclusions. Providence is a grand theatre of knowledge where God presides, and sheds rays of wisdom on a world of pupils, just as fast as they are able to imbibe their lustre.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 8:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/job-8.html. 1835.

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