Job’s disagreement with his three friends intensifies with indignation an it is born of sound reasoning. He first tells them to keep their tongues and listen to his rebuttal, then urges them to continue to mock him if they must afterward. He flatly disagrees with their assessment of the fortunes of those who are wicked, as well as its affect on their children:
Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
He asks them for more personal knowledge of how often the wicked are repaid in this life for their deeds, or when they have known God to dole out pain in His anger. He disputes their claim that God stores up their iniquity for their children, Job believes in a just God and he makes that clear when he asks who among them will teach God knowledge of justice against the wicked. One, he says dies with his life full, while another dies without tasting prosperity – but they are dust in the end just the same.
He asks them to ferret out testimony from any front – the wicked are indeed spared from calamity often and escape wrath with frequency in this life, and their stance on this matter does not bear up under scrutiny. At last he closes this speech with the condemnation they deserve:
“How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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