JOB 4-31
DISCOURSES: AN ARGUMENT TO NOWHERE

    In the main part of the book Job and his three friends engage in an argument about Job's condition.  They are often like little children in the street arguing about who has the toughest father.  These arguments either end in a fight or the persons just giving up and being mad.  The latter scenario is the one that takes place here.  If all the combatants give up then why don't they leave?  Probably because of one of the following reasons: 1) The were too bullheaded to give the impression that they had lost.  2)  Job ended his last discourse by calling down divine wrath upon himself if he was guilty and so they could just be waiting to see what God would do.

CYCLE ONE:
 

 
Chapters
Verses
 
Chapters
Verses
Eliphaz
4-5
48
Job
6-7
52
Bildad
8
22
Job
9-10
57
Zophar
11
20
Job
12-14
75
Click on the name of the person for my analysis of the speech.
1.    THE FRIENDS: (COURTEOUS)
a.    They each give their basic arguments and the foundation of their beliefs
b.    When compared to later speeches they do it with a moderate amount of civility.
c.    Each friend speaks less than the preceding friend and always speaks less than Job.
d.    In many ways the friends are right in their theology that God restores the sinner, but where they err is that they do not show Job where he has sinned.
2.    Job:
a.    Demonstrates that he can talk more than anyone.
b.    Is there any sign of hope in these speeches?
CYCLE TWO:
 
 
Chapters
Verses
 
Chapters
Verses
Eliphaz
15
35
Job
16-17
38
Bildad
18
21
Job
19
29
Zophar
20
20
Job
21
34
Click on the name of the person for my analysis of the speech.
1.    The Friends: (COLD)
a.    The arguments do not really advance intelectually; but turn cold(er) psychologically.
CYCLE THREE:
 
 
Chapters
Verses
 
Chapters
Verses
Eliphaz
22
30
Job
23-24
42
Bildad
25
6
Job
26
14
Zophar
-----
-----
Job-1
Job-2
27-28
29-31
51
96
Click on the name of the person for my analysis of the speech.
1.    The Friends: (CRUEL)
a.    Eliphaz now enumerates  Job's sins against humanity (even though he has evidence of this)
b.    Bildad extols God's virtues, but makes some not so subtle cracks about Job's condition.  Remember Job may have maggots crawling on him and Bildad's characterization of man is that he is a maggot.
c.    Zophar refuses to speak.
2.    Job will now break off into a series of monologues.  Each of these monologues play a part in Job expressing the frustration he has at his problem.

The First:

1.    A strong declaration of innocence is made by this speech.
2.    A very moving speech showing the difficulty of obtaing wisdom.  Wisdom ultimately is not found but is granted to men.
The Second:
1)    He longs for the former days.
2)    He sees the horror of the present
3)    He binds curses upon himself if he is guilty

Read the Discourses

1.    Did Job's friends and Job actually talk with one another or were they talking at one another?  Do Job and his friends even try to answer each other's objections and arguments?   What were their basic arguments?
 

Job
I am innocent (relatively speaking).
I am being treated unjustly.
Wicked men get away with evil and seem to prosper as a result of it.
I wish I could speak with God or have someone do it for me.
Friends
Suffering is a result of sin therefore repent.
The greater the suffering the greater the sin.
You are being self righteous.
 
2.    Upon what concept did each man base his belief system?  Take the following characterizations and give support for them from the text.
 
Friend
Basis of Belief System
(Based on a Lecture by Charles Pfeiffer, Ashland Theological Seminary, 1973)
Eliphaz
Charismatic: In his opening discourse he claims to have spoken with a messenger of the almighty.  The problem with answering him is that to argue with him is seen as arguing with God' messenger.  The man betrays the fact that he did not speak with God because in the first speech he admits to Job's acts of charity and in the third speech he says that Job did the opposite.
Bildad
Historian:  He appeals to two types of history to prove that what he says is true.  1) Natural History:  Certain things want grow without certain conditions being present.  2) Human History: Men from all times and places have seen that if a man suffers greatly then he has sinned greatly.
Zophar
Dogmatist: He said it and that was sufficient.
 
5.    When God speaks at the end of the book, which of the three friends did he choose to speak to and what was his evaluation of all their arguments?  What was God's evaluation of Job's arguments (Job 38:2)?

6.    Where are there examples of the friends being mean to Job?  Are there veiled or not so veiled references to the calamities that have already befallen him?  For example in Eliphaz's first speech at the end he make reference Job having a secure tent and then to his posterity - remember the collapse of his children's dwelling that ended his posterity.