Listening and Perceiving: Job’s Friends and Pastoral Care

Kate Bradford
November 20, 2023

Kate Bradford provides insight into supporting those who are suffering.

"In the biblical book of Job, we see the upright and prosperous Job reduced to abject misery as the blessings of his life—his children, his livestock, and his health—are stripped away one by one. Unlike Job and the other people in the story, readers know that God has permitted Satan to test Job, to see if his faithfulness is contingent on the good life God had blessed him with. Will he curse God now that these blessings have been taken away?

Job’s friends arrive on the scene in chapter 2, and we expect them to provide comfort and spiritual sustenance to Job. As we read, though, it becomes clear that Job’s suffering is aggravated not alleviated by their presence.

What is it, exactly, that they get so wrong? Job’s friends provide a powerful negative model of how not to care for someone who is suffering, and this provokes us to ask what good care might have looked like."

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

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