Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Bildad, the Shuhite, in an irregular speech, shows that God's dominion is supreme, his armies innumerable, and his providence extended over all, Job 25:1-3; that man cannot be justified before God; that even the heavenly bodies cannot be reputed pure in his sight; much less man, who is naturally weak and sinful, Job 25:4-6.
Bildad the Shuhite - This is the last attack on Job; the others felt themselves foiled, though they had not humility enough to acknowledge it, but would not again return to the attack. Bildad has little to say, and that little is very little to the point. He makes a few assertions, particularly in reference to what Job had said in the commencement of the preceding chapter, of his desire to appear before God, and have his case tried by him, as he had the utmost confidence that his innocence should be fully proved. For this Bildad reprehends Job with arguments which had been brought forth often in this controversy, and as repeatedly confuted, Job 4:18; Job 15:14-16.
Dominion and fear are with him - God is an absolute sovereign; his fear is on all the hosts of heaven; and by his sovereignty he establishes and preserves order in the heavens, and among all the inhabitants of the eternal world: how canst thou, therefore, dare to appeal to him, or desire to appear before him?
Is there any number of his armies? - He has troops innumerable; he can serve himself of all his creatures; every thing may be a means of help or destruction, according to his Divine will. When he purposes to save, none can destroy; and when he is determined to destroy, none can save. It is vain to trust in his creatures against himself.
Upon whom doth not his light arise? - That is, his providence rules over all; he is universal Lord; he causes his sun to arise on the evil and the good, and sends his rain on the just and unjust.
How then can man be justified? - Or, ונה umah, With what, shall a man be justified with God? Though this is no conclusion from Bildad's premises, yet the question is of the highest importance to man. Neither Bildad nor any of his fellows could answer it; the doctrine of redemption through the blood of the cross was then known only through types and shadows. We who live in the Gospel dispensation, can readily answer the question, With what shall miserable man (אנוש enosh) be justified with God? - Ans. By bringing forward, by faith, to the throne of the Divine justice, the sacrificial offering of the Lord Jesus Christ; and confiding absolutely in it, as being a full, sufficient, and complete atonement and sacrifice for his sins, and for the salvation of a lost world. How, or with what (ומה umah) shall he be clean that is born of a woman? - Ans. By receiving that grace or heavenly influence communicated by the power and energy of the eternal Spirit applying to the heart the efficacy of that blood which cleanses from all unrighteousness. This, and this only, is the way in which a sinner, when truly penitent, can be justified before God: and in which a believer, convinced of indwelling sin, can be sanctified and cleansed from all unrighteousness. This is the only means of justification and sanctification, without which there can be no glorification. And these two great works, which constitute the whole of salvation, have been procured for a lost world by the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our offenses, and rose again for our justification; to whom be glory and dominion now and for evermore, Amen!
Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not - It is continually changing its appearance. It never appears twice in its whole revolution with the same face: it is ever waxing or waning; and its face is variegated with opaque spots. Its changeableness can never be compared with the unchangeable nature of God.
Yea, the stars are not pure in his sight - Whatever their excellence may be as stars, it is nothing in comparison with him from whom they have derived their being and splendor. See the notes on Job 4:18; Job 15:14-16. The Targum reads: "Behold, the moon is as yet spotted in her eastern part; the sun shines not; and the stars are not pure in his sight." Some think that by stars are meant those angels who kept not their first estate: this may be so, but I cannot see it in the text. It may, however, mean the heavenly host, as it is supposed to do, Job 28:7; but I still must hesitate on the propriety of such applications. It is probable this speech of Bildad was delivered in the night-season, when clouds interrupted the bright shining of the moon. The third verse seems to refer immediately to the stars, which to the naked eye are innumerable. The sun is not mentioned, because of his absence. This speech of Bildad is both confused and inconclusive. His reasoning is absurd, and he draws false conclusions from his premises. In the third verse, he says, "Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom does not his light arise?" But how absurd is the conclusion which he draws from his questions: - "How then can a man be justified with God, or he be clean who is born of a woman?" This has no relation to the premises; still to us the question is not difficult, and has already been answered in the notes: "A man can be justified with God," through the blood of Christ; and "he can be clean who is born of a woman." through the sanctification of the Spirit.
How much less man, that is a worm? - Or as the Targum - "How much more man, who in his life is a reptile; and the son of man, who in his death is a worm." Almost all the versions read, "Truly man is corruption, and the son of man a worm." The original is degradingly expressive: "Even because אנוש enosh, miserable man, is רמה rimmah, a crawling worm; and the son of Adam, who is תולעה toleah, a worm, or rather maggot, from its eating into and dividing certain substances." - Parkhurst. Thus endeth Bildad the Shuhite, who endeavored to speak on a subject which he did not understand; and, having got on bad ground, was soon confounded in his own mind, spoke incoherently, argued inconclusively, and came abruptly and suddenly to an end. Thus, his three friends being confounded, Job was left to pursue his own way; they trouble him no more; and he proceeds in triumph to the end of the thirty-first chapter.