Job and Friends

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.” (Job 2:11)

When this epic poem begins, Job is wealthy by any standards (Job 1:3). He was likely a tradesman, something of an import-export businessman, with vast livestock and wholesale food supplies, equipping distance caravans for himself and others.

His friends lived at different points across the Arabian Peninsula. Eliphaz was from Teman, a city in the northern part of the land later known as Edom. Bildad was from Shuhu, somewhat south of Haran near the southern borders of what is now Turkey. Zophar was from Naamah, which was likely located to the east in the south of Canaan. Elihu, the young man who speaks later in the book, was from Buz, in northern Arabia.

These men came to comfort Job from some distance, but although they had a strong conviction about a Creator God, they struggled with a “works” salvation, continually accusing Job of having a secret sin of some sort. But God had said, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8).

In his own defense, Job insisted that everyone knew of his godly behavior. “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me. . . . I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind. . . . I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth” (Job 29:11-17). Would to God that each of us could have the same confidence in our behavior. HMM III

Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

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