My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
Job 19:14 (NIV)
Job’s frustration with his three ash heap companions is growing. I had to laugh when I came across Job’s statement “my closest friends have forgotten me.” What about the three friends who have sitting there with him and having this conversation? So, what was Job’s intention with this comment?
He could be implying that after hearing their words and arguments the three compatriots are no longer considered close friends. After spewing their self-centered diatribes of judgement, Job finally sees their hearts and motives with clarity. He recognizes that they are really not his friends. Their status has been lowered.
Job might also be making the point that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have never been considered close friends. If true, then it tells me something about the three of them. The three amigos feel some self-righteous compulsion to visit a suffering man they hardly even know and convict him of his sin. As the old saying goes, “with friends like that, you’ll never need enemies.”
Either way, we continue to see that Job feels increasingly distant from his companions. He claims that even if they were correct that he harbored some secret sin, it was none of their business:
If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
I see a foreshadowing of the showdown to come between Job and God.