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Job 2:11-13 – Job’s Well-Intentioned Friends

Summary

Job's three friends hear about Job's misfortunes and come to comfort him.

Analysis

This passage introduces Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They will engage in dialogue with him for many chapters. Since their efforts to bring comfort turn out to be unsuccessful, it is important to note that their intentions were good. They really wanted to help. They were so moved by his appearance that their immediate response was to weep with him. Like many would-be comforters in our day, they meant well, but sometimes said things that were less than helpful, and sometimes hurtful.

Several commentators on Job have noted that perhaps their best counseling was in their first week of silence, when they sat and wept with him without offering any interpretations of the cause or meaning of his suffering. After Job broke the silence with his lament in chapter 3, then the counselors went to work with their search for intellectual solutions to why Job should be suffering like this. At the beginning, their response to him was honest and heartfelt and probably helpful. Later, when they began to talk too much, their usefulness to Job was greatly diminished.

Job 2:11-13

Job’s Three Friends

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. 12When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. 13They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

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