Job 8

Bildad’s First Speech[a]

Chapter 8

Does God Pervert Justice?[b] 1 Then Bildad the Shuhite spoke up and said:

2 “How long will you say such things?
The words of your mouth are like a turbulent wind.
3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty distort the truth?
4 If your children sinned against him,
he has delivered them into the power of their transgressions.
5 “If you yourself will now seek God
as one who is pure and upright
and make supplication to the Almighty,
6 then he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore the prosperity of your house.
7 Your former state will seem inconsequential
in the light of your future prosperity.

Inquire Now of Former Generations

8 “Inquire now of former generations
and reflect on what their ancestors came to realize.
9 For we are only born yesterday and know nothing,
since our days on earth are but a shadow.[c]
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you,
and utter words out of their understanding?
11 “Can a papyrus flourish where there is no marsh?
Can reeds grow without water?
12 While yet green and not cut down,
they wither more quickly than any plant.
13 Such is the fate of all those who forget God;
thus the hope of the godless man will perish.
14 His confidence is only a thread,
his trust a spider’s web.
15 If he leans against his house, it will begin to totter;
if he clings to it, it will not endure.
16 “At dawn he seems quite strong and virile,
like a plant whose young roots spread out over the garden.
17 His roots are entwined around a pile of stones;
he draws his strength from among the rocks.
18 But if someone uproots him from his place,
it will disown him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’
19 There he lies, rotting along the roadside,[d]
and others will sprout forth from the soil.
20 “Be assured, God will not reject a blameless person,
nor will he grasp the hand of the wrongdoer.
21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with joyful cries.
22 Those who hate you will be covered with shame,
and the tent of the wicked will cease to exist.”


  1. Job 8:1 In defense of the views commonly accepted by wise men, Eliphaz had appealed to a personal revelation. Bildad will rely mainly on the tradition of the ancients.
  2. Job 8:1 God is just. Bildad recalls this truth and draws from it an unexpected explanation of his friend’s misfortunes: could they be a punishment for the evil conduct of his children?
  3. Job 8:9 Our days . . . are but a shadow: this is a frequent theme in the Wisdom Books (see Job 14:2; 1 Chr 29:15; Pss 102:12; 144:4; Eccl 6:12; 8:13).
  4. Job 8:19 There he lies, rotting along the roadside: the meaning of the Hebrew is unclear. The Vulgate reading is: “This is the joy of his way.”

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