After Job speaks several times to his "friends," Bildad takes the opportunity to speak condescendingly to him (cf. Gal. 6:1) - "How long till you put an end to words? Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak. Why are we counted as beasts, and regarded as stupid in your sight? You who tear yourself in anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed from its place?" (Job 18:2-4). Bildad's point is that Job was tearing himself to pieces with his sins and that God was not going to change the order of things just for him!
Bildad then, for the remainder of the chapter, launches into a sermon we might call: "The Wicked Always Suffer." He still maintains, incorrectly, that Job is suffering for personal wickedness. Job has not denied that the wicked suffer, but Job does deny that the wicked always suffer immediately. It appears that Bildad has made no real effort to understand Job's arguments. Instead, he would rather presumptuously make many not-so-veiled references to Job's condition (which he believes is a result of sin):
- The wicked lose their strength. "The steps of his strength are shortened...His strength is starved, and destruction is ready at his side" (Job 18:7,12; cf. 16:8). Job is very weak physically.
- The wicked are easily frightened. "Terrors frighten him on every side" (18:11; cf. 13:21). Job is certainly scared.
- The wicked are full of bodily disease. "It devours patches of his skin; the firstborn of death devours his limbs" (18:13; cf. 17:7). Job's physical body has been decimated.
- The wicked are torn from their tent. "He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent [i.e., life - SRB]" (18:14; cf. 2:8). Job has been torn from his "normal life."
- The wicked have no hope. "His roots are dried out below, and his branch withers above" (18:16; cf. 17:15,16). A tree in this condition has little hope of surviving much longer, and Job, seemingly, has no hope either.
- The wicked have no family. "He has neither son nor posterity among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings" (18:19; cf. 1:18,19). Job has lost his children to death and his wife to unbelief.
- The wicked astonish and frighten others."Those in the west are astonished at his day, as those in the east are frightened" (18:20; cf. 17:6). Everyone is shocked at Job's plight, but they mock him instead of extending mercy.
- The wicked do not know God. "Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him who does not know God" (18:21; cf. 16:7ff). Job does know God, but he doesn't know why he is suffering this way.
Although Bildad (and others) are convinced of Job's wickedness, they are mistaken. Although this lecture of his describes Job's physical condition, the cause of his suffering is not personal wickedness.