The Book of Job Study Club | Passage 3 |

Sometimes it's easy to forget the importance of friendship, particularly in the difficult, barren times of our lives. It's easy to forget that our friends need us in the midst of their struggles, it's just just family that has a responsibility for caring for them, we, as friends also have a responsibility to care for our hurting friends.

In today's passage of Job, we are looking at his friends and their response to his hurt.

Before we get into it, what is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear "Job's friends?"

If you're like me, the first things that comes to my mind is, arrogant, accusing, and insensitive. So, let's look in and see what the Bible says...

Who were Job's friends?

-Eliphas the Temanite
Eliphaz, from the Hebrew name pronounced ale-ee-fawz, meaning The Almighty is pure gold, was a Temanite. Teman, from the Hebrew word pronounced tay-mawn, was an Edomite (descended from Esau; see The Birth of Jacob and EsauJacob's Peace With Esau and The Nations Of Esau) clan who lived in an area of the land of Edom (named after Esau), that part of which was known as Teman. -source

-Bildad the Shuite
Bildad, from the Hebrew name pronounced beel-dawd, was a Shuhite i.e. a descendant of Shuah, a son of Abraham with Keturah. Abraham sent all of his sons, except Isaac (see Isaac: Rising From The Ashes), "eastward, unto the east country." It was not a matter of Abraham sending his sons into an unknown and unprosperous wilderness - it was the very area in which Abraham himself was born. Notice also that the brother of Shuah was Midian - the father of the people that took in Moses when he fled Egypt (see The Sign Of The Flaming Bush and Jethro's Advice. Moses married a Midianite (see Moses And Zipporah). -source

-Zophar the Naamathite
Zophar, from the Hebrew word pronounced ts-oh-fawr, meaning departing, was a Naamathite. Naamathites generally inhabited the "east country" area toward Syria where forms of the name were common e.g. the healing of Naaman in the time of Elisha (see The Healing Of Naaman). -source

What kind of friends were they?

From what I could understand of the small section that we read, they came to Job as sympathetic and concerned friends. They were there to comfort him, to mourn with him, and they were so dedicated to being there for their friend that they spent 7 days in silent patience with him. I'd say they were the best kind of friends at this point!

What was their response/were their responses helpful? Why/why not?

At this point in the story, their responses were exactly what Job needed. They were helpful, loving, they allowed him space to grieve and mourn. I believe that as friends, this is the very best kind of comfort we can give one another. 

What was Job's response to them?

Job accepted their comfort. He accepted their company. I think he would have been thankful to have his friends sit with him in ashes and ragged clothes and allow him space to think, while feeling their presence. I know that's how I would have felt.

Since our stories are all so different and our circumstances so varied, we can never completely grasp what our friends are feeling through their situation, besides a clear understanding of WHAT happened if we faced something similar. Many times, the best response that you can give to a hurting friend is just to LISTEN. Don't belittle their story by sharing yours with them, that's not what they need to hear. They need someone to just hear THEM, to know that no matter what they are feeling, they are FREE to express that without judgement or minimizing coming back from you, their friend.

Are you a good friend in your friends's time of need? What could you do better for them?

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