Institution The Role of Job’s Friends Religion and theology Instructor Date Introduction The story of Job is one of the most famous in the Bible. The story is in The Book of Job which is one of the oldest books in the Bible. Modern scholarship places the authorship of the book between 6th and 4th century BC…
Resultantly, Satan is allowed to destroy Job’s wealth, family and health. Stripped of all his wealth, children and smitten with a malignant boil that covers him head-to-toe, three of Job’s friends Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz come to comfort him. Their company opens a lengthy dialogue that covers four-fifths of the book. The dialogue among these four friends is interrupted by Elihu and ultimately, God. As shall be seen forthwith, it is not in doubt that the friends play critical roles in the Book of Job- that they fail miserably to comfort Job, notwithstanding.1 In the discourse, Job’s friends attributed Job’s great suffering to sin. Among many other instances, this can be seen in Job 4:1 and 7 where Eliphaz tells Job that those who are innocent cannot suffer harm. Again, in Job 5:17-18, Eliphaz exhorts Job to appreciate the chastising discipline of God. The import of Eliphaz’s reasoning is that misfortunes overtake the evildoers while good things happen to the upright in conduct. Therefore, the conclusion that Eliphaz is making is that the misfortunes that have befallen Job are as a result of Job’s sins.2 The flipside of the three friends’ rationale is that so-called bad people cannot get good things. This line of thought is seen in the same book’s references such as 5:5, 15:29 and 18:9. ...
To tell such a child that because of his sins, he will have to face life in his parents’ absence and bear the overwhelming sense of loss would be the height of unfathomable insensitivity and shallowness. This makes Eliphaz’s idea on suffering very hard to provide comfort for the suffering innocent. This mentality is the same reason why Job’s comforters inadvertently became his tormentors. Because of the case above, Job’s friends open up a door for the rethinking of the theology that suffering is solely caused by sin. In Christian theology, although Adam’s sin opened the world to suffering, yet, not all suffering that an individual may experience are necessitated by that individual’s sin. On the contrary, instead of lumping suffering as a result of sin, theologians such as Boadt and Ellis have become poignant that suffering is a mystery. In an attempt to reconstruct the meaning of suffering, Boadt and Ellis give insightful standpoints which separate followers of Christ and those outside Christ. Like Adam who initiated a new system which opened up a Pandora Box of suffering, Christ also initiated a new system through His sacrificial suffering during His Passion. Thus, suffering unites the people of God with Christ.3 Job’s friends also open a door for the discussion on God. Particularly, the false charges that Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad bring to Job’s charge only foster a siege mentality on the side of Job. Because of this, in his attempt to defend himself, Job insinuates that God is unfairly treating him. Given that Job’s three friends have very limited insight on the nature of God and the developments materializing in Job’s life, it behooved God to stand up for Himself (from Job 38-42:6). God’s ...
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