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Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar
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Biblical Characters
    Job's three 'friends'
    Appear in The Book of Job, in The Old Testament
    Eliphaz the Temanite, name means 'El is pure gold' (most likely from Teman, a city in the Kingdom of Edom)
    Known in the Greek Septuagint as 'Eliphaz, of the children of Esau, king of the Thaemanites'
    Bildad the Shuhite, name means 'Bel is loved' (the tribe of Shuah, likely near the Euphrates river in modern-day Syria)
    Known in the Greek Septuagint as 'Baldad sovereign the Sauchaeans'
    Zophar the Naamathite, name means 'chirping' or 'rising early' (from the city of Naamah, in Canaan)
    Known in the Greek Septuagint as 'Sophar king of the Minaeans'
    Visit the suffering Job, in the Land of Uz, during his poverty-stricken illness
    Dialogues between the three friends and Job comprise three cycles within the ancient text (Job 4-27)
    Famously attempted to rationalize the reasons for Job's inexplicable misfortune and seemingly random loss, for the most part concluding that he, himself, was to blame
    Job called them 'miserable comforters.'
    They take up a majority of the Book arguing with the protagonist.
    They are the Three Magi of human grief and misery.
    They show up to console a sore-covered Job and end up rubbing his problems in.
    Biblical art usually depicts all three of them cruelly pointing their fingers at a sore-covered Job and - sometimes - his wife, in a scornful manner (e.g. William Blake's famous engravings).
    Theologians generally agree that they put Job through a harsher trial than his sickness, poverty, and loss of his children.
    Eliphaz does most of the talking and basically accuses Job of whining; arguing that God is just, his power absolute, and the righteous are rewarded/the wicked punished.
    Bildad echoes the same sentiment that Job must have done something to offend God, but goes one step further to suggest that maybe it was just Job's kids who sinned; thereby justifying their deaths and their parents' harsh punishment.
    Zophar pretty much nods in agreement and tries to goad Job into sucking it up and repenting. He also has a hang-up on snake imagery ('[the wicked] will suck the poison of asps; the tongue of a viper will kill them').
    If they lived in 1980s America, they probably would have jumped on the 'AIDS as God's punishment for gays' bandwagon.
    They humiliatingly ate crow (and probably wet themselves) after God made his famous visit to Job in the form of a whirlwind.
    They were rebuked by God for their judgmental dispensations towards Job, whom God praised for his patient resilience. They would probably have been punished had Job not offered a sacrifice to God on their behalf.
    They were still more supportive and comforting than Job's Wife.
    Bildad is the namesake for a 'Moby Dick' character.
    Their dialogues with Job contain some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful writing in The Bible.
    When they first came to see Job they could hardly recognize him.
    In reaction to the sight of suffering Job, they openly wept, tore their clothes, and sprinkled dust on their heads.
    According to the Book, they then 'sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was' (Job 2:13).
    Bildad at least tries to argue that God might be testing him to possibly give him a greater reward (which turns out to be the closest answer to the truth).
    They may have been prompted by 'The Satan' to accuse Job of committing evil acts warranting punishment.
    They make Job more relatable (who the hell doesn't have friends like these?)
    Moses Maimonides argued that they each represent 'a different position on divine providence.'
    According to Maimonides: Eliphaz represents rabbinic traditionalists, Bildad represents the view of the Mutazillites, and Zophar represents the view of the Asharites about God's arbitrary will.
    They were neither the first nor the last to wrestle with the age-old question of senseless evil and suffering.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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