Yahweh blames the three wise men (Job 42:7-42:9)

“After Yahweh had spoken these words to Job, Yahweh said to Eliphaz the Temanite.

‘My wrath is kindled against you!

My wrath is kindle against your two friends!

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has.

Now therefore take seven bulls!

Take seven rams!

Go to my servant Job!

Offer up for yourselves a burnt offering!

My servant Job shall pray for you.

I will accept his prayer.

That is to not deal with you according to your folly.

You have not spoken of me what is right.

But my servant Job has done so.’

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what Yahweh had told them. Yahweh accepted Job’s prayer.”

Yahweh was not mad at Job, but rather his 3 friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He spoke directly to Eliphaz but he told him that he and his 2 friends were wrong when they spoke about Yahweh to Job. Job was right. As a punishment, the 3 of them were to take 7 bulls and 7 rams to make a burnt offering. Job would pray for them. Thus the prayer of Job was answered in the positive by Yahweh, the God of Israel. Obviously, since they were not Jewish they were not going to go to Jerusalem. However, it was a common ancient practice to offer sacrifices for absolving sins. So now we know the rest of the story as far as the 3 amigos of Job were concerned.

Elihu points out the failure of the three wise comforters (Job 32:11-32:14)

“See!

I waited for your words.

I listened for your wise sayings.

While you searched out what to say.

I gave you my attention.

However, there was in fact no one that confuted Job.

No one among you answered his words.

Yet you do not say.

‘We have found wisdom.

God may vanquish him,

Not a human.’

He has not directed his words against me.

I will not answer him with your speeches.”

Elihu turned first to the 3 comforters, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. He said that he had listened to their wise sayings. He paid close attention, but they did not refute Job. No one was able to respond to him. They did not even say that they had human or divine wisdom. Although Job had not directed his words against Elihu, he was still going to answer Job.

The hymn to the all powerful God (Job 26:5-26:14)

“The shades below tremble.

The waters and their inhabitants tremble.

Sheol is naked before God.

Abaddon has no covering.

He stretches out Zaphon over the void.

He hangs the earth upon nothing.

He binds up the waters in his thick clouds.

The cloud is not torn open by them.

He covers the face of the full moon.

He spreads over it his cloud.

He has described a circle on the face of the waters.

He has described a circle at the boundary between light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble.

They are astounded at his rebuke.

By his power he stilled the sea.

By his understanding he struck down Rahab.

By his wind the heavens were made fair.

His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways.

How small a whisper do we hear of him!

But the thunder of his power,

Who can understand?”

Then Job broke into a hymn about the all powerful God. Could this be from Bildad?   In very explicit colorful language, he describes the power of God over all things. This is the vision of earth, Sheol, and heaven. Sheol and Abaddon are similar, like a bottomless pit. Abaddon will become a person in the Christian book of Revelation. Here it is like another name for Sheol, so that even those below must recognize the power of God since they have no place to hide or cover up. Zaphon is the northern mountain area of the Canaanite gods, something like the Greek Mount Olympus. The earth was suspended over an abyss. The water in the clouds was still accepted today as the cause of rain. Only God could make it rain and break the clouds. He also had control of the moon creating eclipses. God was of course responsible for the boundary between water and earth as well as light and darkness. There were even pillars in heaven that were afraid of him. Perhaps these pillars are the mountains that seem to reach up into the heavens. Obviously he controlled the sea and the mythical sea monster Rahab. Rahab was also the name of the prostitute, who helped the troops of Joshua, chapter 2. God then pierced the fleeing serpent, perhaps a reference to Genesis, chapter 3. We mortals only catch a glimpse of his power like a whisper when he thunders. The idea that God spoke through thunder was prevalent. However, we cannot understand all this.

The ironic response of Job (Job 26:1-26:4)

“Then Job answered.

How you have helped one who has no power!

How you have saved the arm that has no strength!

How you have counseled one who has no wisdom!

How you have given much good advice!

With whose help have you uttered words?

Whose spirit has come forth from you?’”

Job was upset again. He asked Bildad where he got his power and strength. How could he counsel someone who has no wisdom? How can you save a useless arm? How could he have good advice? Who helped him come up with his words? Where did his spirit come from? Job is now sarcastic with him.

Bildad praises God (Job 25:1-25:6)

“Then Bildad the Shuhite answered.

‘Dominion and fear are with God.

He makes peace in his high heaven.

Is there any number to his armies?

Upon whom does his light not arise?

How then can a mortal be righteous before God?

How can one born of woman be pure?

If even the moon is not bright,

If the stars are not pure in his sight,

How much less a mortal,

A maggot,

A human being,

A worm?”

This is a very short chapter with only 6 verses. This is clearly the response of Bildad. He said that dominion and fear come with God since he had made peace in the high heavens. No one could number or count God’s armies or his angels because they were so numerous. His light shines on all. How could a mortal man be righteous before God? No one born of a woman can be pure or clean. Event the moon and the stars are not totally bright. Mortals are like maggots, worms or just plain humans.

Job maintains that the wicked do not get punished (Job 21:7-21:13)

“Why do the wicked live on?

Why do they reach old age?

Why do they grow mighty in power?

Their children are established in their presence.

Their offspring are established before their eyes.

Their houses are safe from fear.

No rod of God is upon them.

Their bull breeds without fail.

Their cow calves.

Their cows never miscarry.

They send out their little ones like a flock.

Their children dance around.

They sing to the tambourine and the lyre.

They rejoice to the sound of the pipe.

They spend their days in prosperity.

In peace they go down to Sheol.”

Job was very clear. The wicked live to reach old age. They actually grow stronger. They have many children. Their houses are safe. He did not see any punishment from God coming to them. In fact, their livestock are able to multiply without problems. The little children grew, danced, and sang to musical instruments. They seemed like very happy people. They spent their days in prosperity before they had a peaceful death and entered Sheol. Thus he was refuting the claim of Bildad that the wicked would not have children and not prosper. He maintained the opposite since the wicked seem to do quite well.

Bildad responded to Job (Job 18:1-18:4)

“Then Bildad the Shuhite answered.

‘How long will you hunt for words?

Consider!

Then we shall speak.

Why are we counted as cattle?

Why are we stupid in your sight?

You who tear yourself in your anger,

Shall the earth be forsaken because of you?

Shall the rock be removed out of its place?’”

Bildad responded with his second speech that Job is acting like he was the center of the world. Why was Job trying to hunt for words? Bildad and his friends wanted to speak. Why were they called cattle or stupid? Job was angry at himself. Then he was mad at everyone else. He was making too much of himself. Was the world going to stop? Would rocks jump up to move on? No, Job was being too ego-centric.