Section: Tanach   Category: Iyov
Part 6: Iyov's Response To Eliphaz - With Friends Like You...

Iyov now answers Eliphaz, and refutes his points. Iyov was not convinced at all by Eliphaz's argument that he deserved his suffering because of sin. He continues to believe that man's fate is controlled by the cosmic system, and man is afflicted with suffering without rhyme or reason. He argues with Eliphaz's claim that his suffering was for his ultimate benefit because it would purify him from sin and save him from worse punishment. Iyov could not believe this was true since he saw no hope of recovering from his severe illness, and his only hope was for an early death. In addition, if he did deserve his suffering, what was his sin? If his sin was complaining to Hashem when he was afflicted, Iyov asserts that his suffering is much more severe than his complaint.

Iyov also argued with Eliphaz's point that a tzaddik is afflicted with suffering to atone for slight sins which prevent him from perfecting his avodah to Hashem. He questions this line of reasoning because now that he is severely ill and on the verge of death, he is unable to fulfill his avodah to Hashem. If so, how could his suffering bring him to shleimus; instead it is causing him a further weakening of his avodah. Eliphaz also claimed that Iyov's suffering will save from dying before his time and being destroyed forever. Iyov answer that in his present situation, he prefers an early death since his suffering is preventing him from avodas Hashem. His life of sickness and suffering is not a real existence; it as if he not living, and this is also everlasting destruction.

In addition, Iyov is still unable to come to terms with the concept of Hashgacha. He finds it impossible to reconcile Hashem's loftiness with His personal hashgacha of lowly man. He finds it hard to believe that each person's suffering is controlled by Hashem. He wonders what loss Hashem could suffer in a man's sins, and what necessity He has in the existence of man.

Iyov complains bitterly that his friends have wronged him. First they sat with him for seven days and remained silent, without offering him any comfort. When Eliphaz finally did speak, he rebuked him instead of comforting him. Furthermore, Eliphaz told him that he deserved his suffering, but failed to specify what Iyov's sin was. Iyov did not believe Eliphaz's claim of receiving a nevuah, and accused of rebuking him with empty unproven words. Iyov reasoned that if Hashem wanted to convey a message to him, He would have appeared to him personally.