Miserable but Not Monochrome: The Distinctive Characteristics and Perspectives of Job’s Three Comforters | Susanna Baldwin

Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite are often perceived as delivering an essentially uniform message that (erroneously) upholds the rigid, retributive justice of God as the answer to Job’s devastating plight. This paper presents a more nuanced and individualised examination of Job’s three comforters. Through a textual and thematic exploration of each friend’s corpus of speeches, the case is put that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar embody three subtly differentiated worldviews and epistemic frameworks. Consequently, each is shown to develop his own unique line of argument with regard to the origins and mechanisms of human suffering and the means by which Job may attain deliverance and restoration. [Read More]