IT WAS BILDAD THE SHUHITE’S TURN TO SPEAK. Fire and brimstone mark the former habitation of the wicked, he told the suffering Job. To this we may rightly conclude, where there is fire and brimstone, there are no people. Job and his friends held no persuasion to the doctrine of eternal torment—a necessary component of the immortal soul. To even think a person’s soul might reside eternally among the brimming smoke of an unquenchable flame was not a topic for conversation. For Bildad, the roots of the wicked man are dried up. His branch is cut off. The light in his tent is darkened, and his lamp goes out above him. He shall not be mentioned in the street, nor maintain a name to be remembered by. More precisely, the very memory of him will perish from the earth. The language of Bildad is purely Biblical.
15 “There dwells in his tent nothing of his;
Brimstone is scattered on his habitation.
16 “His roots are dried below,
And his branch is cut off above.
17 “Memory of him perishes from the earth,
And he has no name abroad.
18 “He is driven from light into darkness,
And chased from the inhabited world.”
Bildad’s words gaze forward to unwritten dates and alien landscapes. They perfectly frame the total destruction of a wicked people, first at Sodom and Gomorrah, and far more tragically, the expulsion of Israel’s ten tribes. In fact, the whole of Scripture falls into alignment with his worldview. “He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world,” Bildad adds.
It is the first Biblical reference to the outer darkness.
Here we might also incorporate another theme of Biblical importance. The inheritance of the righteous was disclosed. The wicked will receive their inheritance in the darkness, in the unknown regions beyond the earth. The righteous however will inherit the earth. Actually, the Saviors own illustrations fell in perfect symmetry with the worldview of Job. Jesus said: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:6).”
Job was insulted. But it wasn’t for want of better allegory. Bildad’s darkened council relied on his argument that the law of retribution applies to all men, believing Job’s suffering to be a result of personal sin.
He answered his friend, “How long will you vex my soul, and shatter me into pieces with words?”
Continue to part 4: Death, the Afterlife, the Shape of the Earth and Job | A People of Dung… Devoured by the Unfanned Flame