Bildad’s anger at Job for his rebuke of the three friends comes out in this chapter, and he comes out swinging, saying “Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?” He at first basically says that Job should shut his mouth and listen to them as they in their wisdom explain how his troubles can only be a result of Job’s own wickedness.
His rhetoric is beyond compassion-less – it is cruel and vindictive, using words that condemned Job as one that could not get punishment sufficient for his evil ways. All of this comes without a single accusation. Instead, he continues the diatribe that he and the others started concerning their great knowledge of the fate of the wicked.
But his description of all of the bad things that happen to the wicked are completely wrong, as Job has already pointed out. Some of the imagery of this darkly poetic rhetoric may be appropriate to the fate of the wicked after death, and in the judgment. But it is even more obvious to us today that the wicked do not always suffer such fates during their lifetimes. Bildad’s assessment is an unfortunate reflection of the attitudes many people of that time had toward others who were less fortunate – but is it so different today?
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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