Hello, Scroll Eaters! Today we want to take a quick look at a different way to read Job. Now, we’re reading straight through, and I’m not attempting usurp that, but I do want to offer a different way to read to read Job for your future study. To be precise, it’s a different way to read the Cycles of Dialog. One way to understand what Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Job are saying is to read all their respective speeches together, without reading the others in between. So, read all of Eliphaz’s speeches together, and you’ll get a very pure image of what his argument is, without the “confusion” of three other men’s ideas. Let me break it down the respective chapters, just for the sake of ease.
Eliphaz: 4-5, 15, 22
Bildad: 8, 18, 25
Zophar: 11, 20
Job 6-7, 9-10, 12-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 23-24, 26-27
There’s one more thing to say about the doctrine of divine retribution. The doctrine is obviously far more important (in this book) to the friends than to Job or to God (not that it’s unimportant to God!). In other words, the friends’ image of God is more important than God in actuality.
Here’s an interesting bit of statistical analysis, if you’re into that sort of thing. Let’s compare the number of verses that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar spend on the three topics associated with divine retribution in this book: God, Job, and “the wicked.”
Eliphaz on God: 33
Eliphaz on Job: 50
Eliphaz on Wicked: 45
Bildad on God: 12
Bildad on Job: 12
Bildad on Wicked: 25.5
Zophar on God: 12
Zophar on Job: 15
Zophar on Wicked: 27
As you can see, for the three friends, the topic of God is less important to them than Job and the Wicked. As the book of Job makes clear, the problem is not the doctrine of divine retribution. It is not impuned in the book. It is a real doctrine. The problem in Job is the application.
The Friends support the doctrine of divine retribution with their pro: Fate of the wicked – they perish.
Job opposes the the doctrine, saying it’s not right, with his con: Fate of the wicked – they prosper.
The Friends claim Job is unrighteous. Job claims God is unjust.
Job’s claim is “I am righteous.” The friends counter with “You’re doctrine is wrong.”
Job’s claim is “God is unjust.” As we’ll see, God’s response: “You are unjust.”
Tomorrow, read Job 22-24.
The Lord bless you and keep you.