The First Controversy: Bildad Continues With the Argument

Job 8-10

Highlights from This Passage

  • Bildad shows that Job is a sinner because God punishes the wicked and preserves the good.
  • Job declares the mighty power of God and that humankind’s righteousness is nothing.
  • Job is weary of his life and sets out his fragility before God.


Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,

“How long will you speak these things?
    Shall the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?
Does God pervert justice?
    Or does the Almighty pervert righteousness?
If your children have sinned against him,
    he has delivered them into the hand of their disobedience.
If you want to seek God diligently,
    make your supplication to the Almighty.
If you were pure and upright,
    surely now he would awaken for you,
and make the habitation of your righteousness prosperous.
    Though your beginning was small,
yet your latter end would greatly increase.

“Please inquire of past generations.
    Find out about the learning of their fathers.
(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,
    because our days on earth are a shadow.)
Shall they not teach you, tell you,
    and utter words out of their heart?

“Can the papyrus grow up without mire?
    Can the rushes grow without water?
While it is yet in its greenness, not cut down,
    it withers before any other reed.
So are the paths of all who forget God.
    The hope of the godless man will perish,
Whose confidence will break apart,
    Whose trust is a spider’s web.
He will lean on his house, but it will not stand.
    He will cling to it, but it will not endure.
He is green before the sun.
    His shoots go out along his garden.
His roots are wrapped around the rock pile.
    He sees the place of stones.
If he is destroyed from his place,
    then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have not seen you.’
Behold, this is the joy of his way:
    out of the earth, others will spring.

“Behold, God will not cast away a blameless man,
    neither will he uphold the evildoers.
He will still fill your mouth with laughter,
    your lips with shouting.
Those who hate you will be clothed with shame.
    The tent of the wicked will be no more.”

Then Job answered,

“Truly I know that it is so,
    but how can man be just with God?
If he is pleased to contend with him,
    he can’t answer him one time in a thousand.
God is wise in heart, and mighty in strength.
    Who has hardened himself against him and prospered?
He removes the mountains, and they don’t know it,
    when he overturns them in his anger.
He shakes the earth out of its place.
    Its pillars tremble.
He commands the sun and it doesn’t rise,
    and seals up the stars.
He alone stretches out the heavens,
    and treads on the waves of the sea.
He makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
    and the rooms of the south.
He does great things past finding out;
    yes, marvelous things without number.
Behold, he goes by me, and I don’t see him.
    He passes on also, but I don’t perceive him.
Behold, he snatches away.
    Who can hinder him?
    Who will ask him, ‘What are you doing?’

“God will not withdraw his anger.
    The helpers of Rahab stoop under him.
How much less will I answer him,
    And choose my words to argue with him?
Though I were righteous, yet I wouldn’t answer him.
    I would make supplication to my judge.
If I had called, and he had answered me,
    yet I wouldn’t believe that he listened to my voice.
For he breaks me with a storm,
    and multiplies my wounds without cause.
He will not allow me to catch my breath,
    but fills me with bitterness.
If it is a matter of strength, behold, he is mighty!
    If of justice, ‘Who,’ says he, ‘will summon me?’
Though I am righteous, my own mouth will condemn me.
    Though I am blameless, it will prove me perverse.
I am blameless.
    I don’t respect myself.
    I despise my life.

“It is all the same.
    Therefore I say he destroys the blameless and the wicked.
If the scourge kills suddenly,
    he will mock at the trial of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.
    He covers the faces of its judges.
    If not he, then who is it?

“Now my days are swifter than a runner.
    They flee away. They see no good.
They have passed away as the swift ships,
    as the eagle that swoops on the prey.
If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
    I will put off my sad face, and cheer up;’
I am afraid of all my sorrows,
    I know that you will not hold me innocent.
I will be condemned.
    Why then do I labor in vain?
If I wash myself with snow,
    and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet you will plunge me in the ditch.
    My own clothes will abhor me.
For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him,
    that we should come together in judgment.
There is no umpire between us,
    that might lay his hand on us both.
Let him take his rod away from me.
    Let his terror not make me afraid;
then I would speak, and not fear him,
    for I am not so in myself.

“My soul is weary of my life.
    I will give free course to my complaint.
    I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will tell God, ‘Do not condemn me.
    Show me why you contend with me.
Is it good to you that you should oppress,
    that you should despise the work of your hands,
    and smile on the counsel of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
    Or do you see as man sees?
Are your days as the days of mortals,
    or your years as man’s years,
that you inquire after my iniquity,
    and search after my sin?
Although you know that I am not wicked,
    there is no one who can deliver out of your hand.

“‘Your hands have framed me and fashioned me altogether,
    yet you destroy me.
Remember, I beg you, that you have fashioned me as clay.
    Will you bring me into dust again?
Haven’t you poured me out like milk,
    and curdled me like cheese?
You have clothed me with skin and flesh,
    and knit me together with bones and sinews.
You have granted me life and loving kindness.
    Your visitation has preserved my spirit.
Yet you hid these things in your heart.
    I know that this is with you:
if I sin, then you mark me.
    You will not acquit me from my iniquity.
If I am wicked, woe to me.
    If I am righteous, I still will not lift up my head,
    being filled with disgrace,
    and conscious of my affliction.
If my head is held high, you hunt me like a lion.
    Again you show yourself powerful to me.
You renew your witnesses against me,
    and increase your indignation on me.
    Changes and warfare are with me.

“‘Why, then, have you brought me out of the womb?
    I wish I had given up the spirit, and no eye had seen me.
I should have been as though I had not been.
    I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Aren’t my days few?
Leave me alone, that I may find a little comfort,
    before I go where I will not return from,
    to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death;
the land dark as midnight,
    of the shadow of death,
    without any order,
    where the light is as midnight.’”

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