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Zophar was one of Job’s friends that visited him during his days of trial.
“You say to God, ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you.” JOB 11:4–5
In reality, Zophar just wanted the same thing that his tortured friend Job longed for. They both wanted God to speak. However, they had very different ideas of what God would say if and when He did speak.
Zophar was one of three friends to visit Job after every imaginable disaster had struck. In response to Job’s complaints, Zophar spoke twice; he was always the third of Job’s friends to speak. Unfortunately, the extra time did not make his words any wiser than those of his two friends, Eliphaz and Bildad. In many ways, Zophar was the most insistent of the three. He was convinced that Job had done something wrong to merit God’s punishment for surely all of Job’s misery could only be the result of divine punishment.
Job, however, would have none of it. In the third and final round of debate, Zophar apparently exasperated by his friend’s dogged proclamations of innocence did not even bother to speak. It was just as well, too. When God finally spoke, He didn’t exactly bring words of comfort to Job, but His response was nonetheless a vindication of Job’s integrity. Job’s friends, on the other hand, found themselves on the receiving end of God’s anger. However, Zophar and the others did as they were instructed, offering expensive sacrifices as burnt offerings to God, who heard Job’s prayers on their behalf. Zophar who once insisted that his friend repent of some unknown (and nonexistent) sin discovered that he was the one who needed to repent.
Zophar and his friends did one thing right in their interaction with Job. Upon arriving only to discover their friend in such a miserable state they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads as a sign of mourning and solidarity. Then they sat and said nothing for a full week, giving Job the chance to speak first and only when he was ready. In a world obsessed with easy answers and quick solutions, sometimes the best thing we can do for hurting friends is simply to sit with them.