Job 8:8-10

8 “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned,
9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?

Job 8:8-10 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 8

In this chapter Bildad enters the discussion with Job; proceeding upon the same lines as Eliphaz, he reproves him for his long and loud talk, Job 8:1,2; asserts the justice of God in his providence, of which the taking away of Job's children by death for their transgression was an instance and proof, Job 8:3,4; and suggests, that if Job, who had not sinned so heinously as they had, and therefore was spared, would make his submission to God, and ask forgiveness of him, and behave for the future with purity and uprightness, he need not doubt but God would immediately appear and exert himself on his behalf, and bless him and his with prosperity and plenty, Job 8:5-7; for this was his ordinary way of dealing with the children of men, for the truth of which he refers him to the records of former times, and to the sentiments of ancient men, who lived longer, and were more knowing than he and his friends, on whose opinion he does not desire him to rely, Job 8:8-10; and then by various similes used by the ancients, or taken from them by Bildad, or which were of his own inventing and framing, are set forth the short lived enjoyments, and vain hope and confidence, of hypocrites and wicked men; as by the sudden withering of rushes and flags of themselves, that grow in mire and water, even in their greenness, before they are cut down, or cropped by any hand, Job 8:11-13; and by the spider's web, which cannot stand and endure when leaned upon and held, Job 8:14,15; and by a flourishing tree destroyed, and seen no more, Job 8:16-19; and the chapter is concluded with an observation and maxim, that he and the rest of his friends set out upon, and were tenacious of; that God did not afflict good men in any severe manner, but filled them with joy and gladness; and that he would not long help and prosper wicked men, but bring them and their dwelling place to nought; and this being the case of Job, he suggests that he was such an one, Job 8:20-22.

Job 8:8-10 In-Context

6 if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.
8 “Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned,
9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.
10 Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water?
12 While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass.

Cross References 5

  • 1. S Deuteronomy 4:32; Deuteronomy 32:7; Job 15:18; S Psalms 71:18
  • 2. S Genesis 47:9
  • 3. S 1 Chronicles 29:15; S 2 Chronicles 10:6; S Psalms 39:6; Job 7:6
  • 4. Proverbs 1:8
  • 5. Proverbs 2:1-2; Proverbs 4:1