In this chapter Bildad waxes pseudo-intellectual in his verbal wanderings. In most of the chapter he speaks of wickedness as if it were a person, and foretells how it/he will end. There’s also some strange grammar early on. I’ll have something to say about this as we reach each instance.
וַיַּעַן בִּלְדַּד הַשֻּׁחִי וַיֹּאמַר׃ 18:1
Job 18:1 Then Bildad, the Shuhite, responded and he said,
עַד־אָנָה תְּשִׂימוּן קִנְצֵי לְמִלִּין תָּבִינוּ וְאַחַר נְדַבֵּר׃ 18:2
Job 18:2 When will you put an end to speeches?
You should consider, and afterwards we can talk.
In this verse Bildad uses plurals for the two instances of the pronoun you. This must mean that he is speaking to the entire group, not just to Job. If so, he would have been wiser to include himself and say we, not you. They were all guilty of making lengthy speeches. If he means what he says in the second line, he should have stopped right here and said nothing more. But that must be too much to ask of any of them.
מַדּוּעַ נֶחְשַׁבְנוּ כַבְּהֵמָה נִטְמִינוּ בְּעֵינֵיכֶם׃ 18:3
Job 18:3 Why are we esteemed as beast,
as foul-mouthed in your eyes?
Here he uses the plural also for the pronoun your. So he is continuing to talk to everyone, and seems to be saying that they each considered themselves (humanity?) as beasts and foul-mouthed. Again, if he were wiser, he should have said our instead of your. According to my interpretation of this verse, Bildad seems to be saying, “Let’s not talk until we alter our view of humanity as beast and foul-mouthed.”
טֹרֵף נַפְשׁוֹ בְּאַפּוֹ הַלְמַעַנְךָ תֵּעָזַב אָרֶץ וְיֶעְתַּק־צוּר מִמְּקֹמוֹ׃ 18:4
Job 18:4 He is one tearing himself in his anger.
For your sake, should the earth be abandoned,
or a rock removed from its place?
In the first line of this verse, Bildad must be talking to the two other friends about Job. Then in the next two lines, he must be talking directly to Job (the pronoun your in the second line is singular). I’m guessing from his words that he believes that Job is utterly pessimistic about the world and the value of righteousness. Thus the rest of this chapter might be Bildad’s attempt to rescue Job’s view of the world: Wickedness will indeed perish (and righteousness will triumph?). However, it is possibly more likely that he is telling Job what is happening and what will happen to him, as he must be wicked.
גַּם אוֹר רְשָׁעִים יִדְעָךְ וְלֹא־יִגַּהּ שְׁבִיב אִשּׁוֹ׃ 18:5
Job 18:5 The light of wickedness shall yet be extinguished,
and the spark of his flame shall not shine.
אֹור חָשַׁךְ בְּאָהֳלֹו וְנֵרֹו עָלָיו יִדְעָךְ׃ 18:6
Job 18:6 A dark light shall be in his tent,
that its lamp over him shall be out.
יֵצְרוּ צַעֲדֵי אוֹנוֹ וְתַשְׁלִיכֵהוּ עֲצָתוֹ׃ 18:7
Job 18:7 The steps of his vigor shall become cramped,
and his own counsel shall cast him down.
כִּי־שֻׁלַּח בְּרֶשֶׁת בְּרַגְלָיו וְעַל־שְׂבָכָה יִתְהַלָּךְ׃ 18:8
Job 18:8 For he is sent into a net by his own feet,
that over lattice work he must traverse.
יֹאחֵז בְּעָקֵב פָּח יַחֲזֵק עָלָיו צַמִּים׃ 18:9
Job 18:9 A trap shall grasp onto the heel,
the snare shall hold fast to him.
טָמוּן בָּאָרֶץ חַבְלוֹ וּמַלְכֻּדְתּוֹ עֲלֵי נָתִיב׃ 18:10
Job 18:10 His noose is hidden in the ground,
and his snare is along the path.
סָבִיב בִּעֲתֻהוּ בַלָּהוֹת וֶהֱפִיצֻהוּ לְרַגְלָיו׃ 18:11
Job 18:11 Terrors all around startle him,
and scatter him to his feet.
יְהִי־רָעֵב אֹנוֹ וְאֵיד נָכוֹן לְצַלְעוֹ׃ 18:12
Job 18:12 His strength shall fail
and calamity shall be ready for his misstep.
יֹאכַל בַּדֵּי עוֹרוֹ יֹאכַל בַּדָּיו בְּכוֹר מָוֶת׃ 18:13
Job 18:13 It shall consume parts of his skin;
the oldest death shall devour parts of him.
יִנָּתֵק מֵאָהֳלוֹ מִבְטַחוֹ וְתַצְעִדֵהוּ לְמֶלֶךְ בַּלָּהוֹת׃ 18:14
Job 18:14 His confidence shall be rooted out from his tent,
and it will make him march to the king of terrors.
תִּשְׁכּוֹן בְּאָהֳלוֹ מִבְּלִי־לוֹ יְזֹרֶה עַל־נָוֵהוּ גָפְרִית׃ 18:15
Job 18:15 Nothing of his shall settle in his tent;
brimstone shall be scattered over his dwelling.
מִתַּחַת שָׁרָשָׁיו יִבָשׁוּ וּמִמַּעַל יִמַּל קְצִירוֹ׃ 18:16
Job 18:16 His roots shall wither from beneath,
and from above his branch shall be cut off,
זִכְרוֹ־אָבַד מִנִּי־אָרֶץ וְלֹא־שֵׁם לוֹ עַל־פְּנֵי־חוּץ׃ 18:17
Job 18:17 his memory perishing from the land,
with no name for him over the face of the outside world.
יֶהְדְּפֻהוּ מֵאוֹר אֶל־חֹשֶׁךְ וּמִתֵּבֵל יְנִדֻּהוּ׃ 18:18
Job 18:18 These shall drive him from light to darkness
and chase him from the world.
לֹא נִין לוֹ וְלֹא־נֶכֶד בְּעַמּוֹ וְאֵין שָׂרִיד בִּמְגוּרָיו׃ 18:19
Job 18:19 He shall have no offspring or progeny among his people,
and not a survivor in his dwellings.
עַל־יֹומֹו נָשַׁמּוּ אַחֲרֹנִים וְקַדְמֹנִים אָחֲזוּ שָׂעַר׃ 18:20
Job 18:20 Those coming after are appalled by his day,
and those before took hold of terror.
אַךְ־אֵלֶּה מִשְׁכְּנוֹת עַוָּל וְזֶה מְקוֹם לֹא־יָדַע־אֵל׃ 18:21
Job 18:21 Surely these are the dwelling places of the unrighteous one,
and this is the place of one not knowing God.
This last verse may lend credence to my observation that Bildad is referring to Job as the personification of wickedness with his saying, “... this is the place of one not knowing God.”
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