1 sn This speech of Bildad ignores Job’s attack on his friends and focuses rather on Job’s comments about God’s justice. Bildad cannot even imagine saying that God is unjust. The only conclusion open to him is that Job’s family brought this on themselves, and so the only recourse is for Job to humble himself and make supplication to God. To make his point, Bildad will appeal to the wisdom of the ancients, for his theology is traditional. The speech has three parts: vv. 2-7 form his affirmation of the justice of God; vv. 8-19 are his appeal to the wisdom of the ancients, and vv. 20-22 are his summation. See N. C. Habel, “Appeal to Ancient Tradition as a Literary Form,” ZAW 88 (1976): 253-72; W. A. Irwin, “The First Speech of Bildad,” ZAW 51 (1953): 205-16.
2 sn Bildad attacks Job with less subtlety than Eliphaz. He describes the miserable existence of the wicked, indicating that it is the proof of sin. His speech falls into two main parts: why is Job so contemptuous toward his friends (Job 18:2-4), and the fate of the wicked (18:5-21). On this chapter see N. M. Sarna, “The Mythological Background of Job 18,” JBL 82 (1963): 315-18; and W. A. Irwin, “Job’s Redeemer,” JBL 81 (1962): 217-29.
3 sn The third speech of Bildad takes up Job 25, a short section of six verses. It is followed by two speeches from Job; and Zophar does not return with his third. Does this mean that the friends have run out of arguments, and that Job is just getting going? Many scholars note that in chs. 26 and 27 there is material that does not fit Job’s argument. Many have rearranged the material to show that there was a complete cycle of three speeches. In that light, 26:5-14 is viewed as part of Bildad’s speech. Some, however, take Bildad’s speech to be only ch. 25, and make 26:5-14 an interpolated hymn. For all the arguments and suggestions, one should see the introductions and the commentaries.