Job 8:4
If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
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(4) And he have cast them away.—Literally, then he sent them away. By means of their transgression; it became their destruction.

Job 8:4. If thy children have sinned against him — If thou wast innocent, thy children, upon whom a great part of these calamities fell, might be guilty; and therefore God is not unrighteous in these proceedings. And he have cast them away — Hebrew, hath expelled, or cast them out; (namely, out of the world, or out of his favour; as a man gives his wife a bill of divorce, of which the same word is used;) for their transgression — Hebrew, by the hand, that is, by means of, their wickedness. Bildad argued in this way according to the maxim which he had entertained: but it does not appear that he had any foundation for judging thus of them.

8:1-7 Job spake much to the purpose; but Bildad, like an eager, angry disputant, turns it all off with this, How long wilt thou speak these things? Men's meaning is not taken aright, and then they are rebuked, as if they were evil-doers. Even in disputes on religion, it is too common to treat others with sharpness, and their arguments with contempt. Bildad's discourse shows that he had not a favourable opinion of Job's character. Job owned that God did not pervert judgment; yet it did not therefore follow that his children were cast-aways, or that they did for some great transgression. Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, sometimes they are the trials of extraordinary graces: in judging of another's case, we ought to take the favorable side. Bildad puts Job in hope, that if he were indeed upright, he should yet see a good end of his present troubles. This is God's way of enriching the souls of his people with graces and comforts. The beginning is small, but the progress is to perfection. Dawning light grows to noon-day.If thy children have sinned against him - Bildad here assumes that the children of Job had been wicked, and had been cut off in their sins. This must have cut him to the quick, for there was nothing which a bereaved father would feel more acutely than this. The meaning here is somewhat weakened by the word "if." The Hebrew אם 'ı̂m is rather to be taken in the sense of "since" - assuming it as an indisputable point, or taking it for granted. It was not a supposition that if they should now do it, certain other consequences would follow; but the idea is, that since they had been cut off in their sins, if Job would even now seek God with a proper spirit, he might be restored to prosperity, though his beginning should be small; Job 8:7.

And he have cast them away - Bildad supposes that they had been disowned by God, and had been put to death.

For their transgression - Margin, in the hand of their. The Hebrew is, by the hand of their transgression; i. e, their sin has been the cause of it, or it has been by the instrumentality of their sin. What foundation Bildad had for this opinion, derived from the life and character of the sons of Job, we have no means of ascertaining. The probability is, however, that he had learned in general that they had been cut off; and that, on the general principle which he maintained, that God deals with men in this life according to their character, he inferred that they must have been distinguished for wickedness. Men not unfrequently argue in this way when sudden calamity comes upon others.

4. If—Rather, "Since thy children have sinned against Him, and (since) He has cast them away (Hebrew, by the hand of) for their transgressions, (yet) if thou wouldst seek unto God, &c., if thou wert pure, &c., surely [even] now He would awake for thee." Umbreit makes the apodosis to, "since thy children," &c., begin at "He has cast them away." Also, instead of "for," "He gave them up to (literally, into the hand of) their own guilt." Bildad expresses the justice of God, which Job had arraigned. Thy children have sinned; God leaves them to the consequence of their sin; most cutting to the heart of the bereaved father. What though thou wast in a great measure innocent, thy children, upon whom a great part of these calamities fell, might be guilty of great sins; and therefore God is not unrighteous in these proceedings.

He hath cast them away, expelled, or cast them out, (to wit, out of the world, or out of his favour; as a man gives his wife a bill of divorce, of which this word is used,) by means (Heb. by the hand, which is oft so used) of their wickedness. Or, hath left them in the hand of their sin, to wit, to be punished by it and for it. Compare Numbers 32:23, Your sin shall find you out.

If thy children have sinned against him,.... As no doubt they had, and, as Bildad thought, in a very notorious manner, and therefore were righteously punished for them; this instance is produced as a proof of God's not perverting, but doing justice, and the rather, because it was on account of this that it was supposed that Job charged, or was ready to charge, God with injustice; this was so far from it, that it was a righteous thing to do it, "if" or "seeing" his children had sinned; or "because" they have sinned, or "though" they have sinned, as the words (h) are by some differently rendered; and either way shows that God did not pervert justice, but acted agreeably to it. Mr. Broughton renders them, "as thy children have sinned against him, so hath he sent them into the hand of their trespass"; as a righteous retaliation for it: that Job's children had sinned, there is no question to be made of it; they were born in sin, though born of godly parents; and though they had a religious education, yet no doubt were guilty of sin in their younger years, as well as when grown up; and even though good men, as there may be reason to conclude they were, yet daily sinning, for there are none without sin; and also it is true, that all sin is against God, contrary to his nature and will, a breach and transgression of his law, and an act of hostility against himself, and a trampling under foot, or at least a neglect, of his legislative power and authority, which is an aggravation of it; yet it does not appear that Job's children were guilty of any notorious sins or atrocious crimes, or lived a sinful course of life, for which the judgments of God came upon them; nor is it a clear case that they were taken away by death in the manner they were on account of their sins, but rather purely for the trial of Job's integrity, faith, and patience:

and he have cast them away for their transgression; or "by the hand of it" (i); by means of it, because of it, being provoked with it. Bildad represents them as abandoned sinners, as castaways and reprobates, rejected of God with abhorrence, and utterly ruined. Some render it, "hath sent them into the hand of their transgression" (k), or trespass; that is, delivered them up to the power and dominion of sin, gave them up to their hearts' lusts, and to vile affections, to do things not convenient, and which they pursued to their ruin; the Targum is,"he sent them into the place of their transgression (l);''into hell, which their transgressions deserved, and for which they were fitted by them. Some a little more mildly render the words, "he sent them away" (m); that is, dismissed them out of the world, took them out of it by death; which dismission is sometimes in peace, as good old Simeon prayed for, and sometimes in wrath, as Saul was taken away, see Luke 2:29; the latter is the meaning here.

(h) "quandoquidem", Michaelis; "quia", Vatablus; "etiamsi", V. L. (i) "in manu iniquitatis suae", V. L. so Montanus, Cocceius. (k) "In manum transgressionis ipsorum", Piscator, Beza, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens; "in potestatem defectionis ipsorum", Junius & Tremellius. (l) So Munster (m) "et dimisit eos", Drusius; "e mundo", Pagninus, Vatablus; so Gersom.

If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their {b} transgression;

(b) That is, has rewarded them according to their iniquity, meaning that Job should be warned by the example of his children, that he not offend God.

4. The construction of the English version is possible, which makes the whole of Job 8:4 the supposition or protasis and begins the second member of the sentence with Job 8:5. But more probably Job 8:4 is complete in itself: if thy children have sinned so (or, then) he hath, &c.

cast them away for] Rather lit., he hath sent them away, or, let them go, into the hand of their transgression. The idea is that evil carries its own retribution with it, and that a sinner is destroyed by the very sin which he commits, a common idea in the Book, cf. ch. Job 4:8, Job 15:31; Job 15:35, Job 18:7-8, Job 20:12 seq. Though Bildad puts his reference to the children of Job hypothetically there is great harshness in the allusion, and we may understand how the father would smart under it from his own reference later in the Book to the time when his children were yet alive: “When my boys were about me,” ch. Job 29:5. A wiser and more human-hearted Teacher than Bildad has instructed us from the instances of the affliction of blindness (John 9:2-3) and the accident in the tower of Siloam (Luke 13:4) that calamity is no proof of guilt in those on whom it falls, and that evil may serve in the hand of God wider uses than the chastisement of individuals. This is the very lesson of the Book of Job, though it seems that men in the days of our Lord had not yet learned it. The verse refers back to ch. Job 1:19, and is evidence that the Prologue forms an integral part of the Book.

4–7. In opposition to Job’s impious principle Bildad brings forward his doctrine of the Divine rectitude on both its sides, the one illustrated in the fate of Job’s children (Job 8:4), the other, as he hopes, to be illustrated in the history of Job himself (Job 8:5-7).

Verse 4. - If thy children have sinned against him. Bildad assumes this absolutely; Eliphaz had only hinted at it (Job 10:4). Both presume to know what could be known only to the Searcher of hearts. And he have cast them away for their transgression; literally, and he have delivered them into the hand of their transgressions - abandoned them, that is, to the consequences of their wrong-doing. The allusion is, of course, to the fact recorded in Job 1:19. Job 8:4 1 Then began Bildad the Shuhite, and said:

2 How long wilt thou utter such things,

And the words of thy mouth are a boisterous wind?

3 Will God reverse what is right,

Or the Almighty reverse what is just?

4 When thy children sinned against Him,

He gave them over to the hand of their wickedness.


(Note: Nothing can be said respecting the signification of the name בּלדּד even as a probable meaning, unless perhaps equals בל־דד, sine mammis, i.e., brought up without his mother's milk.)

begins harshly and self-confidently with quousque tandem, עד־אן instead of the usual עד־אנה. אלּה, not: this, but: of this kind, of such kind, as Job 12:3; Job 16:2. כּבּיר רוּח is poetical, equivalent to גּדולה רוּח, Job 1:19; רוּח is gen. comm. in the signification wind as well as spirit, although more frequently fem. than masc. He means that Job's speeches are like the wind in their nothingness, and like a boisterous wind in their vehemence. Bildad sees the justice of God, the Absolute One, which ought to be universally acknowledged, impugned in them. In order not to say directly that Job's children had died such a sudden death on account of their sin, he speaks conditionally. If they have sinned, death is just the punishment of their sin. God has not arbitrarily swept them away, but has justly given them over to the destroying hand of their wickedness, - a reference to the prologue which belongs inseparably to the whole.

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