Bildad’s First Speech. 1Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
2How long will you utter such things?
The words from your mouth are a mighty wind!
3Does God pervert judgment,a
does the Almighty pervert justice?
4If your children have sinned against him
and he has left them in the grip of their guilt,
5Still, if you yourself have recourse to God
and make supplication to the Almighty,
6Should you be blameless and upright,
surely now he will rouse himself for you
and restore your rightful home.
7Though your beginning was small,
your future will flourish indeed.
8Inquire of the former generations,
pay attention to the experience of their ancestors—b
9As we are but of yesterday and have no knowledge,
because our days on earth are but a shadow—c
10Will they not teach you and tell you
and utter their words of understanding?
11* Can the papyrus grow up without mire?
Can the reed grass flourish without water?
12While it is yet green and uncut,
it withers quicker than any grass.
13So is the end of everyone who forgets God,
and so shall the hope of the godless perish.
14His confidence is but a gossamer thread,
his trust is a spider’s house.
15He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand;
he shall cling to it, but it shall not endure.
16He thrives in full sun,
and over his garden his shoots go forth;
17About a heap of stones his roots are entwined;
among the rocks he takes hold.
18Yet if one tears him from his place,
it will disown him: “I have never seen you!”
19There he lies rotting beside the road,
and out of the soil another sprouts.
20Behold, God will not cast away the upright;
neither will he take the hand of the wicked.
21Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with rejoicing.
22Those who hate you shall be clothed with shame,
and the tent of the wicked shall be no more.
* [8:11–13] As marsh plants need water, so human beings need God. These verses may be a quotation from the teaching of the ancestors; cf. v. 10.