Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "OLD TESTAMENT POETIC BOOKS"
The Book of Job
JOB'S THREE "FRIENDS" AND THE CENTRAL THEME THEY PRESENT

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970


JOBS THREE "FRIENDS" AND THE CENTRAL THEME THEY PRESENT

  1. The Central Theme (or General Theory), in which all three friends agreed is:
    "Whoever perished being innocent?" (4:7)

    They argued:

    1. that Job had sinned and was hiding the fact

    2. that God was punishing him for his sin

    3. that only the wicked suffer

    4. that they (the wicked) always suffer and

    5. that they suffer in this life

    6. that his sin must have been great for his suffering was great
       

  2. The Specific Emphasis with which each of the three approached the subject was:
    Eliphaz, as the man of experience, had seen the evidence of life itself. (4:8) He had also seen a vision. (4:12)

    Bildad, the man of tradition, harked back to what "the fathers" had found.  (8:8)

    Zophar, the legalist, pierces Job with steel gray eyes and says in essence: "You aren't getting half you deserve, Job!" (11:6)
     

  3. This Central Theme (or General Theory), advanced by the three "friends", was however unsound:

    1. because Job was not a secret sinner

      1. God declared him (to Satan) to be a righteous man (1:8, 2:3)

      2. God did not require Job to bring a sacrifice, and vindicated him before the eyes of his "friends" (42:7-9)
         

    2. Because it is not true that only the wicked suffer (14:1).  The righteous also suffer in a world which is under the curse of sin.  However, the suffering of the righteous is not for punishment but rather for corrective instruction.
       

    3. because, finally, the wicked are not always immediately punished (21:7-9).  They often prosper--for a time--and some even "get off" in this life, though none ever "get off" in the life to come.


 

"Mason's Notes"


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