Bildad continues his description of the fate which, in his opinion, afflicts the villain whose description clearly points to Job. The villain is surrounded by horror, which constantly frightens him (verse 1111“All around terrors frighten him,
And harry him at every step.
). He is skittish and lets himself be chased away by it. This consumes his strength, without having food to strengthen him (verse 1212“His strength is famished,
And calamity is ready at his side.
). Hunger torments him. Right next to him, “at his side”, “the calamity” is ready to charge him. The calamity is described as a person, as if it were a companion, someone who accompanies Job, but then as a kind of vulture, waiting for him to succumb in order to enjoy the meal.
“The firstborn of death” means the most powerful of death (verse 1313“His skin is devoured by disease,
The firstborn of death devours his limbs.
; cf. Psa 78:5151And smote all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first [issue] of their virility in the tents of Ham.
; Gen 49:33“Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
). With this, Bildad says that Job has been beaten with the most terrible and devastating diseases that death has ever used to make a man his prey. These diseases tear the skin of Job to pieces and consume his limbs. In his painting of the fate of the wicked, we see a word artist in Bildad. However, his choice of words also shows a cruelty that is hard to surpass, to say all this as a satirical weapon against the intensely and innocently suffering Job.
And he hasn’t finished speaking yet. The sins he assumes with Job are the cause that his confidence in a happy home life has been torn away (verse 1414“He is torn from the security of his tent,
And they march him before the king of terrors.
). It was a false trust, for there were hidden sins. That is why he is now on his way to death, by Bildad, again with great rhetoric, called “the king of terrors”. That may be so for Bildad, but for Job death does not mean terror, as we have seen before. For us, too, the fear of death has been taken away, because the Lord Jesus has rendered “powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb 2:1414Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,).
Where Job lived, now dwells something else (verse 1515“There dwells in his tent nothing of his;
Brimstone is scattered on his habitation.). We can think of hunger, poverty and other things that did not belong to him when he lived there in prosperity and well-being. His dwelling will remain an uninhabitable place for people. Brimstone is scattered on his habitation. It is an eternal condemnation, just as it came upon Sodom and Gomorrah (Deu 29:2323‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’; Gen 19:2424Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,).