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Job 25

Bildad’s Third Speech 1 

25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered:

25:2 “Dominion 2  and awesome might 3  belong to 4  God;

he establishes peace in his heights. 5 

25:3 Can his armies be numbered? 6 

On whom does his light 7  not rise?

25:4 How then can a human being be righteous before God?

How can one born of a woman be pure? 8 

25:5 If even the moon is not bright,

and the stars are not pure as far as he is concerned, 9 

25:6 how much less a mortal man, who is but a maggot 10 

a son of man, who is only a worm!”

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1 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.

2 tn The word הַמְשֵׁל (hamshel) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute used as a noun. It describes the rulership or dominion that God has, that which gives power and authority.

3 tn The word פָּחַד (pakhad) literally means “fear; dread,” but in the sense of what causes the fear or the dread.

4 tn Heb “[are] with him.”

5 sn The line says that God “makes peace in his heights.” The “heights” are usually interpreted to mean the highest heaven. There may be a reference here to combat in the spiritual world between angels and Satan. The context will show that God has a heavenly host at his disposal, and nothing in heaven or on earth can shatter his peace. “Peace” here could also signify the whole order he establishes.

6 tn Heb “Is there a number to his troops?” The question is rhetorical: there is no number to them!

7 tc In place of “light” here the LXX has “his ambush,” perhaps reading אֹרְבוֹ (’orÿvo) instead of אוֹרֵהוּ (’orehu, “his light”). But while that captures the idea of troops and warfare, the change should be rejected because the armies are linked with stars and light. The expression is poetic; the LXX interpretation tried to make it concrete.

8 sn Bildad here does not come up with new expressions; rather, he simply uses what Eliphaz had said (see Job 4:17-19 and 15:14-16).

9 tn Heb “not pure in his eyes.”

10 tn The text just has “maggot” and in the second half “worm.” Something has to be added to make it a bit clearer. The terms “maggot” and “worm” describe man in his lowest and most ignominious shape.

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