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Job 8:20-22


8:20 “Surely, God does not reject a blameless man, 1 

nor does he grasp the hand 2 

of the evildoers.

8:21 He will yet 3  fill your mouth with laughter, 4 

and your lips with gladness.

8:22 Those who hate you 5  will be clothed with shame, 6 

and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”

1 sn This is the description that the book gave to Job at the outset, a description that he deserved according to God’s revelation. The theme “God will not reject the blameless man” becomes Job’s main point (see 9:20,21; 10:3).

2 sn The idiom “to grasp the hand” of someone means to support or help the person.

3 tn The word עַד (’ad, “until”) would give the reading “until he fills your mouth with laughter,” subordinating the verse to the preceding with some difficulty in interpretation. It would be saying that God will not reject the blameless man until he filled Job with joy. Almost all commentators and modern versions change the pointing to עוֹד (’od, “yet”), forming a hope for the future blessing of joy for Job.

4 sn “Laughter” (and likewise “gladness”) will here be metonymies of effect or adjunct, being put in place of the reason for the joy – restoration.

5 sn These verses show several points of similarity with the style of the Book of Psalms. “Those who hate you” and the “evil-doers” are fairly common words to describe the ungodly in the Psalms. “Those who hate you” are enemies of the righteous man because of the parallelism in the verse. By this line Bildad is showing Job that he and his friends are not among those who are his enemies, and that Job himself is really among the righteous. It is an appealing way to end the discourse. See further G. W. Anderson, “Enemies and Evil-doers in the Book of Psalms,” BJRL 48 (1965/66): 18-29.

6 tn “Shame” is compared to a garment that can be worn. The “shame” envisioned here is much more than embarrassment or disgrace – it is utter destruction. For parallels in the Psalms, see Pss 35:26; 132:18; 109:29.

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