Zophar – The Sarcastic
Can you imagine someone at a funeral who would say to a father, “you deserve much worse,” just days after the loss of his children and belongings?
The third friend of Job to make a speech is Zophar. Continuing to escalate the drama, this friend continues to reinforce and enhance the doctrine of divine retribution and depravity justice to an absurd level. Previously, Eliphaz was cautious and he did not necessarily equate Job with the unrighteous, but simply made the case for what he believed about the rules of suffering. Bildad was uncertain about Job’s righteousness, but made some round-about accusations that inferred Job’s guilt. Zophar, however, is more than certain that Job’s condition is due to God’s intervention and that the only way for Job to recover is to repent of his sins. He is the most dogmatic of the three (Job 11:2-3) and he is quite sarcastic in his approach to Job. He even states that the punishment Job received for his supposed sins were not harsh enough (Job 11:6).
He is the first to accuse Job directly of wickedness, as if he has some inside information. He often refers to the ‘secrets of God’ and things that are ‘unsearchable’. Eliphaz and Bildad held out some form of hope for Job, but Zophar can only offer a formula for recovery which may not be enough now.
Unlike the other two, Zophar confronts Job and is greatly offended by his insistence that he is innocent. Many readers get the sense that it is not just Job’s arguments that offend Zophar, but it is Job himself who offends Zophar. In his second speech (Job 20) he describes the punishment for the wicked man and asserts that there is no other way to understand suffering.
Zophar is the ultimate prosperity theology preacher. He stresses the importance of material possessions as a reward for living a righteous life. The opposite is true as well, that a wicked life produces pain, sorrow and poverty. He has faith in a moral universe where the world is governed by justice.
As you read the speeches of Job and his friends, pay attention to the character of these men and evaluate how you interact with others. Do you or anyone you know make assumptions about the plight of others?
Want to get in touch?
Subscribe here to join our mailing list