The Book of Job and How We Justify Suffering Today – Part 2

To Recap, in this conversation between legal professionals concerning why Job is suffering we have had one friend blame Job directly for his fate and another friend blame his kids. Neither have given Job the comfort he needs during this time of tragedy. It’s about to get worse. Keep in mind that Job and his friends are magistrates of law and are very used to telling people what to do and judging them for their actions.

Another important note before we move on is the definitions of iniquity, righteousness, and justice:

  • Iniquity is the lack of righteousness or justice.
  • Righteousness is doing what is right or morally right. This is an action noun.
  • Justice is fairness or the quality of being right or correct or having sound reasoning. This is a being noun.

The third friend comes right out with a haughty attitude and accuses Job of lying and being two-faced. He then tells Job he got exactly what he deserved. He suggests to Job that he needs to purge himself of his sin so that he is pure once again.

Should thy lies make men hold their peace? And when thou muckiest, shall no man make thee ashamed? For thou hast said, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.’ But, oh, that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; And that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know, therefore, that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. (11:3-6)

If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tents. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shall not fear, because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away. (11:14-16).  

Job apparently already knew all this and told his friend such reminding him that they studied the same thing together. Again Job explains that his friend does not know the intention of God. However, you really start to see his anger here as he tells his friend that his degree is worthless and to shut up. Job has a way of delivering contempt with such poetic phrasing. It reminds me of a Shakespearean play.

No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you; yea, who knoweth not such things as these? (12:2-3).

What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God, but ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. Oh, that ye would altogether hold your peace, and it should be your wisdom. (13:2-5)

Job spends all of chapter 14 taking his own wisdom up in an attempt to raise his own value in his friends eyes. It doesn’t work. The first friend jumps back into the conversation and tells Job he is full of hot air. Yep, the first accusation made by Job is used over and over again in this conversation by his friends against him. This time his friend accuses Job of being manipulative and twisting his words.

Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? (15:1)

For thy mouth utterth thine iniquity, and thou chooses the tongue of the crafty. Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I, yea, thine own lips testify against thee. (15:5-6)

The first friend now claims that man’s sins keep him from righteousness and that God doesn’t trust the Heavens or the holy ones. This is a polar opposite position from the argument he took earlier. Though if you pointed it out to him that he flipped flopped his position, he would probably accuse you of being manipulative too.

What is man, that he should be clean? And he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, he putteth no trust in his holy ones; yea the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh inquiry like water!

The first friend then attempts to mansplain to Job how to fix his problem. Job is not impressed. Though in his arrogance he misses the fact that he doesn’t like what his friends are saying to him and so he probably should not say it to them if the roles were reversed. Instead he assumes that he would do it better and that he would bring his friends comfort where they fail to give him any.

I have heard many such things. Miserable comforters are ye all. I could also speak as you do. If your soul were in my soul’s stead, I should heap words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage your grief. Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged; and though I forbear, in what way am I eased? (16:2-5)

Job pleads out once again for a mediator between God and man. The very same description Timothy uses to describe Christ many years later (1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.)



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