Day 11

Bildad’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply

from the Job reading plan


Job 18:1-21, Job 19:1-29, Isaiah 50:7-10, John 3:17-18

BY Guest Writer

In the wake of Bildad’s second speech (Job 18)—a terrifying description of the darkness, entrapment, and utter destruction awaiting the wicked—Job lamented. He returned his focus once again to how God had destroyed him in every way. He mourned his lost hope and the feeling of being trapped in his circumstances (Job 19:10,12). He lamented that he was a physical wreck and that all of his household—relatives, guests, servants, and even his own wife—now despised him (vv.13–19,20).

In other words, Job’s extreme suffering continued. But now it was interlaced with crushing social abandonment. Nevertheless, what Job said next stands as a radical alternative to despair:

“But I know that my Redeemer lives” (v.25).

A “redeemer” was a family member who bought back persons or property that had been lost to the family due to poverty. We know the practice well from the selfless action of Boaz, when he redeemed the property of Naomi’s family and married the widowed Ruth. We know of the redemption and deliverance of God’s people Israel from their enslavement in Egypt. And we remember how Isaiah repeatedly called the Lord “God of Israel,” “the Redeemer,” and “the Holy One of Israel.”

Job’s own declaration about God is woven within this same rich tapestry of faith. Having just said that his own relatives, or “kin,” had completely deserted him, Job fully affirmed that his “kinsman-redeemer,” his God, would not fail to rise up to vindicate and buy him back. “But I know” tells us something about Job’s confidence in God—so much so, that he asked that his words be inscribed as a witness for the future (vv.23–24)—and so they were!

Job’s profound vow of hope continues on as he proclaims that he will see his Redeemer:

“Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me (vv.26–27).”

Perhaps he was echoing the symbolism of dust from Genesis 3, or maybe he anticipated restoration from his present illness (2:8;7:5). Regardless, his words are telling: he knew God would remain faithful. The bottom line is this: Job affirmed that he would see God. He was clinging to the truth that he knew. Seeing his Redeemer was what Job wanted more than anything else, and indeed he did, as we will read later in the book (ch. 38–41).

The beauty of this beloved passage lies in a paradox. On one hand, we see the ambiguity of never really knowing how or when our pain, suffering, and weariness will end. But on the other, we see Job’s fierce, unwavering hope. Hope compelled him forward, re-anchoring and recentering him to his faith. May we learn to do the same. Let us trust in the name of the Lord, relying on Him alone (Isaiah 50:10).

Elaine A. Phillips received a BA in social psychology from Cornell University, an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary, and an MA in Hebrew from the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, where she and her husband, Perry, studied and taught from 1976–79. She holds a PhD in rabbinic literature, and teaches Biblical Studies at Gordon College. She also serves as a historical geography field instructor for Jerusalem University College. She has published a commentary on Esther in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary; a devotional book, With God, Nothing Is Impossible; and, most recently, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts.

Post Comments (34)

34 thoughts on "Bildad’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply"

  1. Monica Davis says:

    Trusting in the Lord to do his work requires faith and grace! Thank god for giving both.

  2. Amanda MarieO'Malley says:

    My redeemer lives!!! No matter what I face I have the victory from the one who rescued me, from the one who validates me

  3. Roxane Richardson says:

    After reading this devotion and scripture of Bildad and Job`s response. I am comforted by Job`s response, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. ” I am dealing with loosing my job and and rebellious teenager. He was once into going to church and worshipping God. But now he is being influenced by things of world. I am praying for God to touch his heart and bring him back to God.

    1. Erin Mckool says:

      I am praying for your son and your job situation. Re your son, hang onto the promise from Proverbs: Proverbs 22:6
      Train up a child in the way he should go,
      And when he is old he will not depart from it.

  4. Roxane Richardson says:

    Been a few days behind. But after reading Bilada`s second speech an

  5. Kim Hull says:

    I am so sorry. . . that question mark was not supposed to be there. I need to just go to my computer and not try to do this on my phone :(

  6. Stephanie says:

    Elaine, thank you for your easays this week. They have all been so well written and helpful.

  7. Steph C says:

    In the darkest hour Job had yet faced he remembered God and confidently stated that His Redeemer lived. He served a living God who had not abandoned him. His friends and family may reject him. But God remained faithful. He would be rescued and he would see God. What a convicting statement!

  8. Susan Crosby says:

    Have any of y’all noticed on the comments that some of them say 10 months ago? I also noticed it on some of the other days. So far the message from Job is one of hope in suffering. That Job could say I Know My Redeemer Lives says a lot considering his situation.

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