Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, July 14, 2013

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Bildad wishes to tell Job that the wicked are dealt with not only in the future but in the present of which Job is one. Bildad is upset with Job because of his rejection of legitimate science and philosophy which he considers unwise and not worth listening to. “Why are we considered stupid in your sight?” Bildad says (v. 3). “Why are you angry with your friends. Should we leave the earth for your sake? (v. 4).


Then Bildad continues and asks: “Should we focus only on pie in the sky at the end of time and forget the reality that we are living here now? The light of the wicked shall go out.  It shall become dark in his tent and the steps of his strength shall be shortened (vv. 5-7). Various traps await the wicked (vv. 8-10). His environment will be hostile, terrors will frighten him, he will suffer physically and calamity is prepared for him (vv. 11, 12).   


What Job’s friend Bildad has in mind is the Egyptian theology of death.  This is the process that all have to go through after they have left the earth on a boat with the sungod Ra to make the journey on the heavenly Nile. They go through 12 gates with monsters terrorizing them on the way. At midnight, directly over the earthly Nile, they appear in the judgment hall of the god Osiris for the investigative judgment and to await the judgment of fire. Bildad continues: When a wicked person dies, “he is torn from his tent and shall be sent to the king of terrors” (v. 14).  His remembrance on earth shall be lost; he has no name on the streets; he shall be driven from light to darkness, and shall have no more children (vv. 17-19).


Bildad is trying to frighten Job with his knowledge of the heathen theology of the dead. The scene is one of horror. “These are the dwellings of the wicked and this is the place of him that does not know God” (v. 21). This horror picture of the afterlife of the Egyptian ka or soul in the mouth of Bildad is totally contrary to the understanding of Job.


Dear God,

Falsehoods all around us are invented by those who do not read Your Word properly. Bildad’s view of the horror of afterlife sounds similar to modern beliefs.  But we wish to be remembered by You when You return at the Second Coming which Job believed. We will either go to our rest before then or live to join others on resurrection morning. We also want to abide in Christ our Righteousness with a pledge of future salvation. This is our humble plea.  Amen.


Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea