So we were in Sunday School class, discussing the first "friend's" response to Job. Everyone is dogging him and saying what a terrible thing it was to do and say. Huh?
Job in Chapter 3 had basically just said he wished he had never been born. I might be thinking suicidal here. They had just spent a week with him mourning and saying nothing. A lot of what his friend says actually seems like it is decent advice, although some things it would depend on how they were said or how they are interpreted.
So what if the problem isn't WHAT was said as much as it was HOW it was said.
This is Job, the Bill Gates of the time. Surely he hung with men of means. And all they have to do for him is talk. How about a helping hand. Payback for some of the things Job had done for them or for others like them. And all he gets is talk.
Look at Job's response to Eliphaz. "He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the almighty." (6:14) "For you have now become nothing; you see my calamity and are afraid." (6:21) Perhaps they were afraid that if they helped Job, whom they thought God was judging, they would themselves become the victim of such judgment. And then there is "Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray. How forceful are upright words! But what does reproof from you reprove?" (6:24-25)
So maybe the problem Job has is that these guys are just blow-hards. Offering meaningless advice because they do not practice what they preach. Now that is a powerful lesson for us, isn't it?
Anyway, I could be way off base, but I would love to know what others think.