As we continue to read into Job we have the problem of what to make of the words of Job’s three friends. It seems at times that their words are true and their conclusions right. They talk of the punishment that comes upon the wicked, but they then relate this to Job’s situation, and there it falls apart. The picture we are shown is one in which Job is innocent and that the distress that has come upon him is not a direct punishment for something he has done. So are his friends right or wrong?
It is a little more complex and a word that has helped me in reading it is “appropriate.” Whether one of the friends speaks something that is true, is it also an appropriate statement to make? Is it fitting to the situation and applicable for Job? I felt torn wanting to quote some of these friends when I came across some powerful verses knowing that they’re not quite in the right in their speech. Would I be quoting them out of context?
Again it is good to remember just because someone says something in the Bible doesn’t mean it is “biblical.” Characters from the Bible are not always the examples we remember them to be and the wisdom of Job’s wise friends is not always good. But there are instances where even the naive speak great truth without even knowing it. So ultimately, these three may say some insightful things, but use discernment in judging their words. The only one who is without fault in speech is God, who we’ll get to at the end.