Disclaimer: For Job 8 I had to parse Chou’s personal notes since the recording online is only 30 seconds long, but I fleshed them out and added some info to make it more readable—so it should be a non-issue.
Bildad responds to Eliphaz and Job, trash talking both of them. Eliphaz said that history as a pattern shows you need to repent and it will all work out in the end, but Job replies: history doesn't show that, besides you can't really understand history; where have I gone wrong?
He says Job is arrogant—already we have a problem. He again twists Job's words.
Bildad first has to establish the nature of cause, specifically of God’s justice and rightness. Notice that is where things go back again. Job can't be right and God also be right (DR principle implied).
The cause-and-effect thesis: since Job’s sons died, then they must have sinned (and sure, they were sinners, but we already know that’s covered because of the testimony of their goodness and Job’s sacrifices on their behalf—which were said to be extra, and which Job did continually [Job 1:5]).
This is the reverse cause-and-effect. If you “seek” (the word denotes diligence and looking out for someone) and “implore” (denotes prayer), then God would be on your side.
Verse 5 continues here. “Pure” we have not exactly seen up to this point but “upright” we have. That is significant because all of this argument presumes that Job doesn't actually have integrity (or that he holds onto false integrity), that, due to the DR Principle, he can’t possibly be in the right since he is suffering God’s wrath.
Notice what it states as the apodosis (the “then” phrase): God will rouse Himself (proactively intervene) and restore your righteous estate (even here he seems to equate material property as proof of righteousness). Notice Bildad does not answer Job's question either. They are still shaken up by worldview issues.
Thus ends Bildad’s thesis.
He says it will all work out in the end (really). And that’s a fine thing to say, but of course we still have the epistemology question here (how can he be so sure?).
“Inquire of past generations” time to do research. This is Eliphaz’s shtick. He looks to history for answers.
Bildad establishes the limitation of history (unlike Eliphaz). So he begins to move us toward deductive reasoning: only establishing what we can view with our eyes and test with “science”.
Job 8:10-11 (Metaphor 1: Cause and Effect)
He pits universal testimony of humanity against his own personal deductive reasoning. We are dealing with inductive history versus deductive laws of science (repeatability, testability, no exceptions etc.).
He uses nature to prove the cause-and-effect of the universe. The papyrus and rushes can’t grow up without water. Water must be the cause for the effect of their life.
He shows that the inverse cause-and-effect happens too. Even the best of plants dies without water (presumably). Notice the comparison and insinuation of Job who, like the green plant, was cut down because of the same cause-and-effect system.
The connection to Job and humanity is made clear here. God is like the water, and if you cut yourself off from Him, you will die.
Job 8:14 (Metaphor 2: Weakness of Nature)
Again nature metaphors are here. The word “confidence” can also be translated “stupidity” because confidence can connote an uninformed ignorance. That is probably what Bildad insinuates here—that Job’s confidence is stupid. He is saying that those who forget God have stupid confidence and are attached to God by a mere thread. Everything is weakened because it is not connected with God. Ironic isn't it?
Now the extrapolation begins (the unpacking of the previous few verses) and is pretty punchy. “House” = family, property, etc. was that Job's main deal? Was he trusting in his estate too much?
Now things begin to personal with Job.
Job 8:16 (Metaphor 3: Full Synthesis)
Another nature metaphor to tighten everything down (the entire process) This is a very healthy plant.
It overcomes every obstacle. This is a very robust plant.
But a place doesn't remember the plan, nor will it remember the godless person.
The “joy” of his way is ironic for both plant and bad man. This is the maximum amount of the godless man's joy (sarcastic): that others will replace him and he will be forgotten.
His point: nature teaches that things that look strong can be replaced…just like the godless man.
Goes back to the foundational principle of who God is. Note the use of “integrity,” implying Job doesn’t have it, even though we know he does from Job 2:3.
“Support the evildoers” could be translated “strengthen the hand.” Think about the insinuation about Job’s hands. They were busy with the house/estate (which implies Bildad’s opinion, that Job is guilty of serving the estate more than God).
Bildad says, But hey, there is hope.
Very ironic statement about the wicked. Bildad ironically doesn’t realize he is included in that group he just passed judgment on.