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Job 8:11-14



11 Can the rush [gome'] grow up [ga'ah] without mire [bitstsah]? can [sagah] the flag ['achuw] grow [sagah] without [baliy] water [mayim]?

12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness ['eb], and not cut down [qataph], it withereth [yabesh] before [paniym] any other herb [chatsiyr].

13 So are the paths ['orach] of all that forget [shakach] God ['el]; and the hypocrite's [chaneph] hope [tiqvah] shall perish ['abad]:

14 Whose hope [kecel] shall be cut off [qatat], and whose trust [mibtach] shall be a spider's [`akkabiysh] web [bayith]. KJV-Interlinear



11 'Can the papyrus grow up without marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? 12 'While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant. 13 'So are the paths of all who forget God, And the hope of the godless will perish, 14 Whose confidence is fragile, And whose trust a spider's web. NASB



Papyrus called rush, and rushes called flags, are wetlands plants. When the river floods and then recedes, it leaves ponds, and puddles and marsh areas behind. In those wet areas where the water saturates the ground, these plants grow up quickly. So long as there is an abundance of water, they flourish, growing to approximately eight to twelve feet tall, which is about three to four meters in height.


Papyrus is of course the plant from which the ancient papyrus paper was made. Common in the Middle East, papyrus paper could have been available, but that is not the point that Bildad is making here. It is the sudden flourishing of the plant followed by its sudden demise when the water dries up, that Bildad is emphasizing.


These plants grow up without being planted, without being cultivated, without human intervention whatsoever. Then, just as they grow up to great heights, when the water dries up, while they are still standing tall, and green and healthy, they suddenly wither and die. Their magnificence disappears in short order.


Bildad's point? As goes the marsh plants, so goes the life of the wicked.


Anyone who lives in this world, can, by the productiveness of the world, become successful and stand tall among men. So long as the economics of the region remains prosperous, so the wicked might be able to remain successful.


But just as the waters of the river recede, so too, the prosperity of a region will decline in normal economic cycles. Along with that decline, the wicked can lose their wealth and status, and then be no more.


An over simplification, but Bildad's point has its merit, to some extent.


It is true that God has put into place various systems or laws which aid the survival of humanity. We call these systems, the Laws of Divine Establishment. They include concepts of free enterprise and fundamental economics principles, as well as principles of freedom, liberty, volition, privacy and so forth.


These laws were put into place to offset the Laws of the Jungle, over which Satan rules.


Both sets of laws compete for rule in this world, and apply to every living person, whether young or old, rich or poor, male or female, believer of unbeliever. No one is excluded. We all have to deal with them throughout our life.


Whether you are a good person or bad, makes no difference. A bad person can buy low and sell high and make a profit. A bad person can deceive others and become prosperous. An unbeliever can live a perfectly normal and honest life, utilizing his gift for business, or from some other talent he might have, and be very successful in life.


Anyone who lives in this world, can become successful or poor depending on his or her talent, skill, or even luck.


But as Bildad suggests, one day the waters, which feed success, will run dry, and then the wicked will whither and disappear.


Truthfully, when a person dies, then this principle becomes true. However during ones life, it may or may not apply. Some bad folks can live their entire life and never have a problem, up to the moment of their death. Likewise, anyone can get rich and then lose it all during their life, even several times over. Their spiritual status however, may not have anything to do with their economic status.


Lazarus was spiritually mature but economically poor. He died at the gate of the rich man, who was an unbeliever. Lazarus went to Paradise, while the rich man went to Torments.


Bildad is looking at Job, and in this example, suggests that Job has grown up quickly within the abundant waters of prosperity, but with no real soil to establish good strong roots. Wickedness would be like building in a marsh. Goodness would be like building ones life in good soil, or on a solid foundation.


Bildad uses the spider's web to illustrate the weak and insecure life of the wicked. A spider weaves and places all of his trust in his web. The web may look magnificent, but when put to the test, it proves to be easily destroyed with little effort. So it is with the wicked person. A life without God, a life without spiritual growth, is like building a spider's web within your soul. It has no real strength or durability and is easily fragmented and destroyed.


The life based on good remains, while the life based on bad, sinks away.


That is the general principle. But that principle does not apply in its finality until the person dies. Only after death comes the ultimate evaluation.


Bildad presumes that your economic status and the existence of problems or absence of them in life, determines your spiritual status. Knowing your worldly life, enables other people to evaluate you, or at least know what kind of a person you are.


However, it is not our place to evaluate or judge others. That is Gods business. We do not have the right, nor do we have enough information to enable us to evaluate the spiritual status of others. We cannot say that a rich man is good and a poor man is bad, nor can we say that someone who has been caught up in some horrendous disaster, deserved what they got.


God has a different and unique purpose for each individual. Some He might make wealthy, and some He might make poor. To some, He might add an abundance, and to some He might take it away.


For whatever reason, God determines what is best for each person.


Here, in Job's case, his wealth and decline are provided by God to teach many generations of people throughout history. Job did not know this back then, but I am sure he is aware of it now. His book has been the basis of teaching many billions of people. And if human history continues for another century or two, many tens of billions more will read this book and learn from it.


That alone should be viewed as a tremendous honor and source of blessing to Job.

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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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