What were the positive and negative acts that Job’s friends did?

The positive act that Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did was that they went to him to comfort him in his afflictions. In that they obeyed the Bible instruction that says, “Mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). They expressed deep sympathy to Job (Job 2:11–13). And “they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.” Because of their grief, they spent seven days with him without saying a word.

Job’s three friends failed to comfort him

Then, they broke their silence and they pressed on Job their wrong theology which had a negative effect on him. They gave long speeches (Job 4-25) telling Job that bad things happen to bad people and that he’d better repent of whatever wrong he did so that God would accept him again. This was the folly of Job’s friends which God spoke against. Job’s friends were not helpful to him in his misery. So much so that he told them, “You are miserable comforters, all of you!” (Job 16:2).

The Bible teaches that bad things don’t just happen to sinful people, they happen to good people, too. Just like good things happen to good and bad people. “For He (God) makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Therefore, we are admonished to not judge those who are suffering because misfortune doesn’t always mean that it is punishment from God for sin. In John 9:1-3, Jesus explained that clearly in the story of the blind man that was born that way even though neither he or his parents had sinned. Satan afflicts people but the good news is that God overrules evil for the good of His children (Romans 8:28).

Job in comparison to his friends

Job was the target of a sad situation that he could not understand. Because of it, he was greatly discouraged and said words of hopelessness (Job 32:15). However, he kept his trust in God (Job 13:5). By contrast, Job’s friends were not suffering as he was. Their incorrect words were the expression of a wrong philosophy. They allowed tradition to overrule mercy. They felt that they were right in being stern in their judgement because their idea of God demanded such an attitude. It is true, Job was disheartened but when compared with his friends, he did not err.

God asked Job to pray for his friends

At the end, the Lord said to Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7). And He asked Job to offer sacrifices on their behalf and pray for them that He may forgive them and not reward them according to their sin. Then, God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). And Job lived a hundred and forty years after his affliction; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation and he died an old man full of years (v. 16,17).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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