International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
bil'-dad (bildadh, "Bel has loved"): The second of the three friends of Job who, coming from distant regions, make an appointment together to condole with and comfort him in his affliction (Job 2:11). He is from Shuah, an unknown place somewhere in the countries East and Southeast of Palestine (or the designation Shuhite may be intended to refer to his ancestor Shuah, one of Abraham's sons by Keturah, Genesis 25:2), and from his name (compounded with Bel, the name of a Babylonian deity) would seem to represent the wisdom of the distant East. His three speeches are contained in Job 8; Job 18; For substance they are largely an echo of what Eliphaz has maintained, but charged with somewhat increased vehemence (compare Job 8:2; Job 18:3, 4) because he deems Job's words so impious and wrathful. He is the first to attribute Job's calamity to actual wickedness; but he gets at it indirectly by accusing his children (who were destroyed, Job 1:19) of sin to warrant their punishment (Job 8:4). For his contribution to the discussion he appeals to tradition (Job 8:8-10), and taking Eliphaz' cue of cause and effect (Job 8:11) he gives, evidently from the literary stores of wisdom, a description of the precarious state of the wicked, to which he contrasts, with whatever implication it involves, the felicitous state of the righteous (Job 8:11-22). His second speech is an intensified description of the wicked man's woes, made as if to match Job's description of his own desperate case (compare Job 18:5-21 with Job 16:6-22), thus tacitly identifying Job with the reprobate wicked. His third speech (Job 25), which is the last utterance of the friends, is brief, subdued in tone, and for substance is a kind of Parthian shot, reiterating Eliphaz' depravity idea, the doctrine that dies hardest. This speech marks the final silencing of the friends.