Job had not understood why he had suffered so greatly. By assuming that it was caused by the Lord’s attempt to maintain justice in the earth Job had argued that his suffering was far from fair and claimed that God was not responding to his created world appropriately.
God had responded to Job in two speeches. In his first response (Job 38-39) the Lord had told Job that he has formed opinions and spoken words without full knowledge of the cosmos, the universe and the world. Job agreed that he had spoken about things he could not understand and in 40:3 he covered his mouth. Yet, Job still held to his accusation that he had suffered unjustly since he was innocent of sins that would demand such torment. This position indicated that Job believed he had a better handle on justice than the Lord had since the Lord had failed to administer justice in spite possessing tremendous knowledge. So, in 40:6-41:34 God speaks a second time asking Job to dress himself up in God’s “majesty and dignity” and God’s “glory and splendor” (40:10) in preparation to do the things that God does such as:
- Punish the proud and wicked men
- Subdue Behemoth and Leviathan the monsters of chaos from the primordial world
But, if Job cannot do these things then besides lacking the knowledge and information required to administer justice, Job is also lacking the means and the methods required to enforce his views of justice. Simply put, the Lords two speeches overwhelmingly convince Job that he:
- Lacks knowledge and understanding required to form any accurate opinion
- Lacks power and jurisdiction to enforce his views
So, in Job 42 Job replies by admitting he spoke beyond his understanding:
In 42:4-6 Job renounces any ability to be equal with God returning to the position of “dust and ashes”
The Lord then addresses Job’s three friends by speaking to Eliphaz. The three friends are told they have spoken incorrectly concerning the Lord. While Job had been searching for truth and wrestling to find answers, his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar) had been confidently spewing out their religious clichés and erroneous sermons in an attempt to defend their theological view of God. They, not Job, are rebuked by the Lord for promoting erroneous conclusions about God. If Job had listened to these the friends he would have turned away from the truth.
They consistently called Job the sinner, even though the Lord never accused Job of sin. Job had become aggressive in his pursuit of truth as he tried to defend himself against the attacks of the false theology of his friends and the Lord did expose Job’s lack of understanding and his inability. But, Job had not sinned.
The Lord had referred to Job as “my servant” at the beginning of the book when talking to Satan (1:8; 2:3). Here at the end of the book the Lord again refers to Job as “my servant” and maintains that Job had spoken correctly and was not overcome by false concepts and simple religious clichés invoked by his friends.
The three friends are each told to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams which is a very expensive sacrifice. It is a request that the average man would be unequipped to provide, which seems to indicate that these were very wealthy men or men of nobility. It is also interesting to note that Job is asked to serve as their priest before the Lord, which would be in agreement with the time period recorded in the book of Genesis, most likely during the days of Abraham and Melchizedek.