Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Dominion and fear are with him - That is, God has a right to rule, and he ought to be regarded with reverence. The object of Bildad is to show that He is so great and glorious that it is impossible that man should be regarded as pure in his sight. He begins, therefore, by saying, that he is a Sovereign; that he is clothed with majesty, and that he is worthy of profound veneration.
He maketh peace in his high places - "High places," here refer to the heavenly worlds. The idea is, that he preserves peace and concord among the hosts of heaven. Numerous and mighty as are the armies of the skies, yet he keeps them in order and in awe. The object is to present an image of the majesty and power of that Being who thus controls a vast number of minds. The phrase does not necessarily imply that there had been variance or strife, and that then God had made peace, but that he preserved or kept them in peace.
Is there any number of his armies? - The armies of heaven; or the hosts of angelic beings, which are often represented as arranged or marshalled into armies; see the notes at Isa 1:9. The word which is used here is not the common one which is rendered "hosts," (צבא tsâbâ'), but is גדוּד gedûd which means properly a troop, band, or army. It may here mean either the constellations often represented as the army which God marshals and commands, or it may mean the angels.
And upon whom doth not his light arise? - This is designed evidently to show the majesty and glory of God. It refers probably to the light of the sun, as the light which he creates and commands. The idea is, that it pervades all things; that, as controlled by him, it penetrates all places, and flows over all worlds. The image is a striking and sublime one, and nothing is better fitted to show the majesty and glory of God.
How then can man be justified with God? - see Job 4:17-18; Job 15:15-16. Instead of meeting the facts to which Job had appealed, all that Bildad could now do was to repeat what had been said before. It shows that he felt himself unable to dispose of the argument, and yet that he was not willing to confess that he was vanquished.
Or how can he be clean? - This sentiment had been expressed by Job himself, Job 14:4. Perhaps Bildad meant now to adopt it as undoubted truth, and to throw it back upon Job as worthy of his special attention. It has no bearing on the arguments which Job had advanced, and is utterly irrelevant except as Bildad supposed that the course of argument maintained by Job implied that he supposed himself to be pure.
Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not - Or, behold even the moon shineth not. That is, in comparison with God it is dark and obscure. The idea is, that the most beautiful and glorious objects become dim and fade away when compared with him. So Jerome renders it, Ecce luna etiam non splendet. The word here rendered "shineth" (יאהיל ya'âhalı̂yl) frequently means to pitch or remove a tent, and is a form of the word אהל 'ôhel uniformly rendered tent or tabernacle. Some have supposed that the meaning here is, that even the moon and the stars of heaven - the bright canopy above - were not fit to furnish a tent or dwelling for God. But the parallelism seems to demand the usual interpretation, as meaning that the moon and stars faded away before God. The word אהל 'ôhel derives this meaning, according to Gesenius, from its relation to the word הלל hâlal, to be clear or brilliant, from the mutual relation of the פא and עע verbs. The Arabic has the same meaning.
Yea, the stars are not pure in his sight - That is, they are not bright in comparison with him. The design is to show the glory of the Most High and that nothing could be compared with him; see the notes at Job 4:18.
How much less man - See Job 4:19. Man is mentioned here as a worm; in Job 4:19 he is said to dwell in a house of clay and to be crushed before the moth. In both cases the design is to represent him as insignificant in comparison with God.
A worm - רמה rı̂mmâh; see Job 7:5. The word is commonly applied to such worms as are bred in putridity, and hence, the comparison is the more forcible.
And the son of man - Another mode of speaking of man. Any one of the children of man is the same. No one of them can be compared with God; compare the notes at Mat 1:1.
Which is a worm - תולעה tôlê‛âh; compare the notes at Isa 1:18. This word frequently denotes the worm from which the scarlet or crimson color was obtained. It is, however, used to denote the worm that is bred on putrid substances, and is so used here; compare Exo 16:20; Isa 14:11; Isa 66:24. It is also applied to a worm that destroys plants. Jon 4:7; Deu 28:39. Here it means, that man is poor, feeble, powerless. In comparison with God he is a crawling worm. All that is said in this chapter is true and beautiful, but it has nothing to do with the subject in debate. Job had appealed to the course of events in proof of the truth of his position. The true way to meet that was either to deny that the facts existed as he alleged, or to show that they did not prove what be had adduced them to establish. But Bildad did neither; nor did he ingenuously confess that the argument was against him and his friends. At this stage of the controversy, since they had nothing to reply to what Job had alleged, it would have been honorable in them to have acknowledged that they were in error, and to have yielded the palm of victory to him. But it requires extraordinary candor and humility to do that; and rather than do it, most people would prefer to say something - though it has nothing to do with the case in hand.