Job’s Reply to Bildad

One evening several college students spread Limburger cheese on the mustache of a sleeping fraternity brother. Upon awakening the young man sniffed, looked around, and said, “This room stinks!” He then walked into the hall and said, “This hall stinks!” L … More

Blame

This chapter records one of Job’s lowest and highest points, emotionally and spiritually.

  1. He bemoans the animosity of his accusers (vv. 1-6).
  2. He complains about God’s judgment on him (vv. 7-12).
  3. He thinks his relatives and friends are against him (vv. 13-22).
  4. He rises to a new level of spiritual confidence (vv. 23-29).

Job maintains that if he had sinned, it was his problem and not theirs (vv. 1-6). He says that God is treating him very harshly and that there must be an explanation for it (vv. 7-8). The purpose of God must be different from the explanation that his friends give to him, but Job confesses he doesn’t know what that purpose is. However, he again openly lays the responsibility for his condition at God’s feet. He is frustrated by God’s silence and seeming indifference to justice (vv. 9-12). Job fails to even consider that Satan may have a part in all of this. He does not mention Satan once, either directly or indirectly.

He talks about the negative effect his situation has had on his personal relationship with his friends, relatives, wife, and even his servants and neighbors (vv.13-18). He states that “God has turned relatives and friends against me, and I am forgotten. My guests and my servants consider me a stranger, and when I call my servants, they pay no attention. My breath disgusts my wife; everyone in my family turns away. Young children can’t stand me, and when I come near, they make fun.”

Application

Bildad thought he knew how the universe should be run and he saw Job as an illustration of the consequences of sin. He refused to accept Job’s side of the story because it did not fit in with his outlook on life. It is easy to condemn Bildad because his errors are obvious; unfortunately, however, I often act the same way when my ideas are threatened. I simply need to accept the responsibility for my own sin and be careful about accusing others.

Job 19:1-18 (English Standard Version)

Then Job answered and said: "How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me? And even if it be true that I have erred, my error remains with myself. If indeed you magnify yourselves against me and make my disgrace an argument against me, know then that God has put me in the wrong and closed his net about me. Behold, I cry out, 'Violence!' but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths. He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree. He has kindled his wrath against me and counts me as his adversary. His troops come on together; they have cast up their siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent. "He has put my brothers far from me, and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me. My relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me. The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger; I have become a foreigner in their eyes. I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy. My breath is strange to my wife, and I am a stench to the children of my own mother. Even young children despise me; when I rise they talk against me."

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