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179. Job 18: Bildad II: First, A View of the Whole
Bildad’s twenty-one verse second speech really consists of an opening gambit (vv 2-4) and a very long condemnation of the wicked (vv 5-21). The first part is similar to the introduction of Bildad’s first speech (8:2-4), but adds a few thoughts that pick up on Job’s intervening language. The second part may conveniently be divided into eight ways that the wicked will be clobbered. Others’ outlines will not perfectly overlap with my suggested outline, but the following provides a helpful road map to break up the rather lugubrious story of the multi-pronged pains that await the wicked. Anderson even calls this section a “bunch of incongruous images.” Yet, let's try to remove some of the incongruity by listing the ways that the wicked will be judged, according to Bildad:
1 Their light is extinguished (vv 5-6)
2 Their own schemes bring them down (v 7)
3 A snare lays hold on them (vv 8-10). Taking a lesson from Eliphaz, who used five different words for “lion” to illustrate his point on reaping what you sow (4:11-12), Bildad will here use six different words for snares or traps which will catch the wicked.
4 Terrors frighten and chase them (v 11)
5 They go hungry (v 12)
6 Their skin is consumed by disease (v 13)
7 Nothing remains in their tents (v 15); i.e., they shall become impoverished
8 They will have neither offspring nor descendant but will be utterly cut off (vv 16-20)
Unlike Bildad’s speech in Job 8, there are no words of hope at the end of Job 18. The chapter simply closes with “Surely these are the dwelling places of the wicked; and this is the place of the one who doesn’t know God” (v 21).
We might even look at this eightfold pain as balancing, in some ways, Job’s seven- or eightfold attack on God in Job 16. It is almost as if Bildad is saying, ‘Every way you think God has devastated your life is matched by a horror that awaits the wicked.’ Bildad also is even less subtle than in Chapter 8 in dropping broad hints that Job’s current situation fits into several of the categories listed in verses 5-21.