Three friends, and then a fourth, come to comfort and counsel Job through his grief. But, they are quickly offended by Job’s crude honesty and his rejection of 'common sense' theology. Job aggressively attacks everything that is sacred and ignores any social standards that seem to
stand in the way of his answer. Job is in pursuit of the truth and he will not compromise by slowing down to accommodate friendship, religion, reputation or his own theology or personal feelings. Everything is going to be examined and challenged in order to find the truth. This is not a discussion that the typical Christian, churchmen or clergy can stomach.
The first friend, Eliphaz, who is from Teman, a major city in Edom, begins by picking up on Job’s harsh tone by basically asking:
“Will you get mad at me, too, if I say something? Even so, who can sit here and listen to you go on and on without saying something!”
Eliphaz’s basic argument throughout the Book of Job is that no human is righteous before God,
so consider yourself lucky God hasn’t crushed you already!
Eliphaz opens by pointing out to Job that when things were going good Job always had a word or a way to help people who were struggling, but now that Job has a problem Job gets discouraged and dismayed. Why is that? Eliphaz asks Job,
“Should not you be confident in your own useful words and your own ability to help since you were so wise and helpful before?”
Below are the basic theological positions of the three friends (All are true statements, but dangerously misleading if not balance with the whole nature of reality and the full character of God):
- Eliphaz - no human being is righteous before God
- Bildad – God never perverts justice
- Zophar – God punishes every evildoer.