Job's friends and their veracity

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JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
Job 42 v 7:
...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

How does this affect the way we should read the preceding chapters, when the friends are speaking? Would it be safe to assume that the problem is just in what they missed out... or do we have to conclude that everything they say is suspect?
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
Many of the things they said were true, but their application of them to Job's particular circumstance were amiss.
so do you think everything they say can be safely trusted, except about Job? Even though God says that they spoke wrongly not about Job, but about God himself. It's something I've often wondered about
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
I believe their speaking to God's intentions toward Job as having been wrong (which Henry touches on his little piece there). I think that what they do say, so long as it is line with the rest of Scripture, is trustworthy. I mean, that is the number one hermeneutical principle when it comes to interpretation. We must interpret Scripture with Scripture. Ergo, insofar as their words reflect the truth that is found throughout Scripture we can trust in it. Insofar as they don't, we mustn't.
Thank you, Josh :)
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
Job 42 v 7:
...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

How does this affect the way we should read the preceding chapters, when the friends are speaking? Would it be safe to assume that the problem is just in what they missed out... or do we have to conclude that everything they say is suspect?


You weren't sure what to think about Elihu's commentary?
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
I believe their speaking to God's intentions toward Job as having been wrong (which Henry touches on his little piece there). I think that what they do say, so long as it is line with the rest of Scripture, is trustworthy. I mean, that is the number one hermeneutical principle when it comes to interpretation. We must interpret Scripture with Scripture. Ergo, insofar as their words reflect the truth that is found throughout Scripture we can trust in it. Insofar as they don't, we mustn't.
Thank you, Josh :)
You're most welcome. I hope it was clearer than mud! :)
much!

---------- Post added at 09:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 PM ----------

Job 42 v 7:
...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

How does this affect the way we should read the preceding chapters, when the friends are speaking? Would it be safe to assume that the problem is just in what they missed out... or do we have to conclude that everything they say is suspect?


You weren't sure what to think about Elihu's commentary?
how do you mean?
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe their speaking to God's intentions toward Job as having been wrong (which Henry touches on his little piece there). I think that what they do say, so long as it is line with the rest of Scripture, is trustworthy. I mean, that is the number one hermeneutical principle when it comes to interpretation. We must interpret Scripture with Scripture. Ergo, insofar as their words reflect the truth that is found throughout Scripture we can trust in it. Insofar as they don't, we mustn't.
Thank you, Josh :)
You're most welcome. I hope it was clearer than mud! :)
much!

---------- Post added at 09:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 PM ----------

Job 42 v 7:
...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

How does this affect the way we should read the preceding chapters, when the friends are speaking? Would it be safe to assume that the problem is just in what they missed out... or do we have to conclude that everything they say is suspect?


You weren't sure what to think about Elihu's commentary?
how do you mean?


The value of his comments is self-evident long before he ends his preamble.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The problem with Job's friends is that, because they knew something of what God had revealed of Himself (regarding His righteousness and judgment of Sin) that they assumed they knew the things that were inscrutable. In other words, they did not stick with the things revealed but tried to delve into the things concealed.

1. God punishes unrighteousness.
2. Job is suffering.
Therefore, Job is unrighteous. Repent Job!

How this also could be applied is this:
1. God punishes unrighteousness.
2. I am not suffering.
Therefore, I am righteous.

Job is a great book, in many ways, to cause one to reflect on how God's ways are not our own. Job is never given the reason why God allows him to suffer. It deals with the problem of evil in a way that man will always be dis-satisified with philosophically because we assume that we use our unaided reason to interpret events apart from the way God sees them.

It also demonstrates an ability of a man in Covenant to wrestle with God. There's a sense in which the presence of God in the midst of our human suffering is not altogether comforting if He remains hidden in His ways. Job, at one point, asks for a Mediator. There's a longing for God to provide an answer to the condition of our suffering that man cannot figure out. Job's friends, in one sense, represent the bankruptcy of any human answers to the problem of suffering. God has an answer to the cry of our hearts and that is the Person and work of Christ.
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
15: 14 "What is man, that he could be pure,
or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?

That's a poser, Eliphaz...

The concept of the suffering righteous one, before the chiding crowd may come up again in Scripture...
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
Calvin's "Key" to understanding Job

Job 42 v 7:
...ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

How does this affect the way we should read the preceding chapters, when the friends are speaking? Would it be safe to assume that the problem is just in what they missed out... or do we have to conclude that everything they say is suspect?

What Job's "friends" often said was true, but applied wrongly to Job's circumstances. From our point of view, one needs to distinguish a general truth from an universal truth. General truths are truths that hold true generally, but not always. A general truth is that the righteous prosper and the wicked do not. However, much of the wisdom literature in the Bible shows us exceptions to this general rule, namely the book of Job and Psalm 73 for example.

A universal truth is a truth that holds true in every given situation. Job's friends were applying general truths to Job as if they were universal truths. Their worldview did not permit the suffering of the godly. For them, all such suffering had to be precipitated immediately by some great sin and/or sins.

Now then, here was Calvin's "key" to understanding the book of Job, and which I think is an excellent insight on his part...

Consequently it is suggested that the reader give especially careful attention to what Calvin says in sermon 1, on pages 5 and 6, which begins: “We have also to note that in the whole dispute Job maintains a good case, and his adversary maintains a poor one. Now there is more, that Job maintaining a good case pleads it poorly, and the others bringing a poor case plead it well. When we shall have understood this, it will be to us as it were a key to open to us the whole book.” Job’s good case is that affliction is not always divine punishment, and that therefore it is not necessarily a measure of sin. . . .This key thought about a good case poorly presented and a poor case well presented recurs several times in these twenty sermons. John Calvin, Sermons from Job, trans. Leroy Nixon, intro. Harold Dekker (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1952), p. xxxvi.

It should be noted that the translator of Calvin’s sermons in this volume selected only 20 sermons of the 159 sermons that Calvin preached on Job.

Picture a courtroom, and the counsels for both the defense and the prosecution...Job presents a good case but pleads it poorly; while his three friends present a bad case but plead it well.
 

torstar

Puritan Board Sophomore
And Elihu's comments are the only ones not criticized by God.

Scripture's perfectly ironic twist.

Job's friends remind me of the disciples asking in front of the blind man of John 9 whose sin is to blame for this handicap.

(I'm sure he was thinking, "I'm blind, I'm not deaf...")

May we all be spared the company of the self-righteous religious in our times of dire need.
 
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