Job 18:1 ¶ Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
Job 18:2 How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.
Job 18:3 Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight?
Job 18:4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?
Now Bildad takes another shot at Job. He’s basically fed up with Job because he compares them to dumb animals and refuses to credit their wisdom. He wonders how long Job is going to continue to protest his innocence in spite of the evidence against him.
Bildad goes on to detail a list of things that the wicked man will suffer. He is trying to emphasize to Job that the wicked person cannot elude judgment that results in death. He obviously considered Job a wicked man and hoped to scare him into acknowledging and repenting of his sin.
I liked Ellicott’s take on verse 4: “The drift of his question is, ‘Can you expect the course of God’s providence to be altered for you? On the contrary, the retribution that awaits the wicked is sure and swift; for verily the light of the wicked shall be put out.’”
Trapp explained it this way: “Shall God cast off the care of his earthly kingdom to gratify thee, and to make good thine assertion, that good men may suffer, and bad men go unpunished? Never think it; thou mayest sooner expect him to overturn the whole world for thy sake, and put everything out of that order he hath decreed and made it in, than cease to be just in punishing the wicked. The course of justice is as firmly settled as the course of nature is.”
Job 18:5 ¶ Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
Job 18:6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.
Job 18:7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
Job 18:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.
In other words, Job, you are caught in a trap of your own making; you are responsible for all that you have suffered.
Job 18:9 The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.
Job 18:10 The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.
Job 18:11 ¶ Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.
Job 18:12 His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.
Job 18:13 It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.
Job 18:14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.
Most commentators note that verses 13-14 personify death as “the king of terrors.”
Job 18:15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
Job 18:16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
Job 18:17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.
Job 18:18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.
Job 18:19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.
Job 18:20 They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.
Job 18:21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.
Bildad’s main point seems to be that the wicked man that refuses to repent will suffer in this life and die in shame only to be forgotten. These friends of Job continue to bring up the death of his children, implying that he is responsible. Bildad even implies that Job doesn’t even know God. Men can be so very cruel in arrogance and pride!
Bildad’s statements are very broad and are just wrong. There have been many wicked men that have rejected God, yet have left their mark on history and left descendants to carry on their name. There have been many wicked men that have died not seeming to have suffered the consequences of their rejection of God in this life and/or are remembered with honor.
Stedman summarizes the response of Bildad well: “Bildad goes on from Verse 5 to the end of the chapter to set forth again the narrow, rigid dogma of his theology: If you are suffering, you must have sinned. I once heard a man described as "an evangelical crab." That is what I think of when I read these words of Bildad the Shuhite. He gets angry when his words do not get attention.”
I think this comment from Coffman is right on target: “Behind the cruel, vituperative language of this chapter, one should recognize the frustration of Satan at his inability to move Job from his integrity.”