As Job argues back, it’s almost as if he hasn’t heard a word Elipaz said. He is so filled with his own pain; he says that same things over and over, shooting questions like a machine gun.
Which, by the way, is not an unusual response when dealing with pain. If you are a friend trying to comfort someone, don’t be surprised if your good intentions are rebuffed. It’s as if the pain is so loud, it’s hard to hear.
Job goes back to his old arguments – that he has been blameless and yet God is not blessing. He can’t understand it. As he sums it up,
Is there any injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?
In suffering, there are more questions than answers. It’s beyond us to understand the “why?” which leaves us physically and mentally exhausted, which leaves us open to despair, even pushing away those who love us, and the God who loves us.
I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath..
So Bildad picks up where his friend Elipaz was rebuffed, taking a slightly less humble approach:
How long will you say these things,
and the words of your mouth be a great wind?
And Bildad starts with the “ifs” of life:
If your children…If you will seek…If you are pure and upright…
Job replies, as if he hears better now the truth that is in the midst of the questions.
Truly I know that it is so…I must appeal for mercy…
He is not a man, as I am…
You have granted me life and steadfast love,
And your care has preserved my spirit.
So, in light of a softening of Job’s heart, Zophar joins in the conversation – and the tag team has officially begun!