The Word Made Fresh
1Then Bildad the Shuhite spoke up. 2He said, “How long are you going to say such things? You sound like a windbag. 3Does God subvert what is right? Does the Almighty twist the truth? 4When your children sinned God simply let them suffer the consequences. 5But now, if you search diligently for God and raise your prayers to the Almighty, 6and if you are without blame and live right, God will certainly be on your side and will restore you to the life you deserve. 7You had little to begin with, but you can still prosper in the future.
8“Think of your ancestors and what they learned about life. 9We haven’t been around long enough to really know anything, and the time we have on earth is just a shadow. 10Won’t your ancestors teach you? Can’t you imagine what they would say to you out of their experiences?
11“Doesn’t papyrus have to have marshland in order to grow? Do reeds flourish without water? 12Even though they may be in flower they will wither before everything else does. 13That’s what happens to those who forget about God – the hope of the godless dies. 14Their confidence is as flimsy as if they are living in a house made of spider webs. 15Their house will fall down if you lean on it, and you can tear it apart with your bare hands. 16The wicked are like well-watered plants growing in the sunshine, spreading their roots through the soil, 17wrapping around the rocks, searching for a place to grow. 18But when they are uprooted, the place where they grew will disown them and say, ‘I’ve never heard of you!’ That is their fate, and out of the earth in which they grew others will sprout.
20“Look, God will not turn away from a good man, and God will not encourage an evil man. 21God will restore your laughter and you will once again shout with joy. 22Your enemies will be covered with shame, and the places of the wicked will disappear.”
1-7: Bildad speaks next, and his logic is cold and cruel. Job’s children got what they deserved, he reasons, and so will Job because God’s justice is not to be questioned.
8-10: History (bygone generations) provides ample evidence, he says.
11-19: Those who forget God wither like reeds without water, and wicked people will take advantage of them and prosper from their defeat.
20-22: If you are blameless, he says, God will not reject you, but your fortunes will be restored.
Bildad seems to rest his case on the idea that everybody gets what they deserve. That is not true, of course – Jesus hardly deserved the cross.