Eliphaz’s and Bildad’s second speeches: Job 15–18
Eliphaz was not the best of friends to have around in a time of extraordinary suffering:
15:2 A wise man wouldn’t answer with such empty talk! You are nothing but a windbag.
Eliphaz also revealed the source of his wisdom:
15:17-18 … I will answer you from my own experience.And it is confirmed by the reports of wise men who have heard the same thing from their fathers—
There is also the possibility that Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad are self-appointed wise elders of the community who possibly never saw their friend Job as an equal:
15: 9-10 What do you know that we don’t? What do you understand that we do not? On our side are aged, gray-haired men much older than your father!
Job reacted strongly to Eliphaz’s speech, almost certainly because he needed encouragement at a time like this, not explanations full of judgement and condemnation:
16:2-6 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! … But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief. Instead, I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak.
Still, Job knew he was blameless, and realising he had no advocate on earth (and that a human advocate couldn’t stand up to God anyway), he asked God again for an advocate in heaven:
16:19-21 Even now my witness is in heaven. My advocate is there on high. My friends scorn me, but I pour out my tears to God. I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return.
17: 3 “You must defend my innocence, O God,
since no one else will stand up for me.
After all this, Bildad was no better than Eliphaz:
18:2 How long before you stop talking? Speak sense if you want us to answer!