Job 25:1-6

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2015-02-23 20:23.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

Bildad the Shuhite (Sauchite [LXX]) responded to Job. The designation “Shuhite” may have identified Bildad as a descendant of Shuah, a son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah. (25:1; Genesis 25:1, 2)

With reference to God, Bildad said that “dominion and fear” are “with him,” indicating that he is the Sovereign for whom all should have fear or reverential awe. “In his heights” or the high heaven, “he makes peace,” exercising full control and ensuring that everything is harmonious. (25:2; see the Notes section.)

The rhetorical question of Bildad appears to highlight God’s greatness. “Is there [any] number to his armies, and upon whom does his light not rise?” The “armies” could designate either the stars or the angels. Based on what Bildad would have been able to observe, the more probable reference is to stars, and God’s light may be understood as applying to the sun. (25:3; see the Notes section.)

With a rhetorical question, Bildad repeated the view that Eliphaz had expressed earlier and which he had based on a vision (4:12-17; 15:14), “How can a man [a mortal (LXX)] be righteous before God [the Lord (LXX)], and how can one born of a woman be clean [cleanse or purify himself (LXX)]?” Thus Bildad insinuated that God could not possibly trust Job and consider him to be in the right, for no human was righteous or clean before God. (25:4)

Continuing to imply that God would not look upon Job as acceptable to him, Bildad claimed that “even the moon” was “not bright” to him, and the “stars” were “not clean in his eyes” (“before him” [LXX]). In the Septuagint, the initial phrase indicates that, “if” God “commands the moon, then it does not shine.” (25:5)

Based on the contention that no human could be righteous or pure before God, that even the moon was not bright to him, and that the stars were unclean in his sight, Bildad concluded with the words, “How much less a man, a maggot; and a son of man, a worm.” With these words, Bildad implied that Job could not possibly be in the right and acceptable to God, for he was nothing more than a maggot or a worm. (25:6; see the Notes section.)


In verse 2, the first word of the Hebrew text is the infinitive absolute hamshél (a form of the verb mashál). It is commonly rendered “dominion.” The initial phrase in the Septuagint is tí gár prooímion (for what parable [introduction, introductory statement, or preamble]). This rendering may have arisen when the translator read the Hebrew text as the interrogative particle ha (“what”) and the noun mashál (“saying,” “wise saying,” or “proverb”). The implication of the Septuagint rendering (“for what introduction or fear is there with him …?”) could be that God’s manner of dealing does not require an introduction or an explanation and that no fear exists with him. In the Septuagint, the question is completed with the phrase, “the one making everything in the highest.”

Instead of a corresponding noun for the Hebrew word shalóhm (“peace”), a form of the adjective sýmpas (“whole” or “aggregate” and here translated “everything”) is found in verse 2 of the Septuagint. This may be because the Septuagint translator read shalém (“whole” or “complete”) instead of shalóhm (“peace”).

In verse 3, the interpretive renderings of translation vary, with some mirroring parts of the Septuagint. “His squadrons are without number; at whom will they not spring from ambush?” (REB) “Who can count his armies? Against whom does his lightning not surge forth?” (NJB) “Who can count his army of stars? Isn’t God the source of light?” (CEV) The Septuagint translator appears to have read the consonantal Hebrew text differently than the vowel pointing of the Masoretic Text indicates, and the rendering itself departs significantly from the extant Hebrew text. “For would anyone assume that there is deferment for marauders, and upon whom will there not come an ambush from him?”

In verse 6, the Septuagint rendering begins with the words, “But alas, man [is] decay” or “decayed matter.” In Rahlfs’ printed text, the concluding phrase reads like the extant Hebrew text. There is manuscript evidence indicating that this phrase may have been added from the version of Theodotion.