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CHAPTER V. Bildad's First Reply To Job.
Bildad is less argumentative, less polished, less sagacious, but more severe, accusing, vehement, and provoking than Eliphaz. He presumes that all Job's troubles are the result of his sins, and those of his children. He compares Job's speech to a violent tempest of wind, and asks him how long it is to continue. He implies that G-od is just, and asks Job if the Almighty could pervert justice. He seems to take it for granted that his children were cut off for their sins, but that Job might yet be restored, and prospered, if he would turn to G-od, and put away his iniquities. He declares that, in that event, Job might abound in a great increase of blessings, although beginning life anew, and alone. This part of his speech is very cruel, and provoking. To. confirm his argument, he appeals to the ancients, and to those much older, and consequently who had had a larger experience in the providential dealings of God with mankind. He employs striking images, derived from nature, to display the miserable condition of the wicked. He declares that the most thrifty plants soon wither and die, and that the hypocrite's hope would, in like manner, soon, and surely fail. He asserts that God will not cast away a perfect man, and sets forth the happy effects of trusting in Him. Bildad implies more boldly, and impudently, than Eliphaz, that Job is a hypocrite, and the victim of deserved punishment. He is both unkind, and uncharitable, in spirit, and phraseology, towards him. His speech is less prolix, but more caustic than that of Eliphaz. It abounds in beautiful illustrations of his argument, the burden of which is that God punishes the wicked, and prospers the righteous, and that consequently Job must be a wicked man. • He exhorts him to repentance, reformation of life, and encourages him thereto, by assurances of forgiveness, and great prosperity.
When Job, his grief, had thus himself expressed,
How long wilt thou express thy murm'ring mind?
How long thy words he like the boisterous wind?
Doth God unjustly turn the balance scale,
And make the wrong above the right prevail?
Doth he, the godly, ever once desert,
And righteous judgment wickedly pervert?
Or doth thV Almighty, cruel, and severe,
Afflict unjustly, in his dealings here?
Since all thy children sinned against their God,
And for transgressions, perished by His rod;
Yet, if betimes, repentantly, and meek,
To God, alone, thy pensive soul would seek;
And supplication, for his mercy's sake,
To God Almighty, would in earnest, make;
If thou wert pure, and holy, and upright,
Before his gracious, and forgiving sight;
Then surely now he'd rouse himself for thee,
And give thy righteous house prosperity.
Though thy beginning small, at first, should be,
Thy latter end, abounding, thou shouldst see.
Inquire, I pray, of ev'ry former age,
Prepare thyself to search the fathers sage;
Whose observations, still, in poems, found,
Are rich, in proverbs, and, with wisdom, crowned 5
For we're of yesterday, and nothing know,
Because our days, like dancing shadows, go.
Shall they not teach, from observations gained,
Through longer years, and knowledge thence obtained?
And tell, when men, on earth, were older, far,
His branches shoot above his garden high,
His opening buds do into blossoms fly;
His boughs are fresh, and pour their odors round,
He spreads himself above the flinty ground;
His roots are wrapped about the mossy rock,
And round the corners firmly interlock;
For want of earth, they spread themselves away,
And draw support, from tips, in flinty clay;
Devoid of soil, in which their roots to throw,
They split the rock, and in the openings grow;
They look for strength, when wild the tempest sweeps,
And drop their anchors into stony heaps.
But growing large, with roots above the ground,
When stormy winds among its branches sound;
It is destroyed from off its rocky throne,
And tumbled headlong with a dying groan.
The natal place, whereon if grew, shall say:
I never knew thy false, and wretched day.
Ashamed I bore thee, and ashamed of thee,
I now disown thee, as a worthless tree.
Behold the joy, his luckless way doth bring,
And others, better, from the earth shall spring;
Behold, thy God shall never cast away,
The perfect man that doth His law obey.
He sends His mercies unto all the poor,
Nor lends His aid to any evil doer.
And hence, thy mouth, with laughter, he shall fill.
And shouts of vict'ry from thy lips shall thrill.