They Did Jehovah’s Will
Job’s Integrity Is Rewarded
JOB was a compassionate man, a champion of widows, orphans, and the afflicted. (Job 29:12-17; 31:16-21) Then, quite suddenly, he fell into dire straits, losing his wealth, his children, and his health. Sadly, this noble man who had been a pillar of support to the oppressed received little help in his hour of need. Even his own wife told him to “curse God and die!” And his “friends” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar provided no comfort. Instead, they insinuated that Job had sinned and hence deserved his pain.—Job 2:9; 4:7, 8; 8:5, 6; 11:13-15.
Despite much suffering, Job stayed faithful. Because of this, Jehovah eventually extended mercy to Job and blessed him. The account of how he did so provides assurance to all integrity-keeping servants of God that in time they too will be rewarded.
Exoneration and Restoration
First, Jehovah reproved Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Addressing Eliphaz, evidently the eldest, he said: “My anger has grown hot against you and your two companions, for you men have not spoken concerning me what is truthful as has my servant Job. And now take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job, and you men must offer up a burnt sacrifice in your own behalf; and Job my servant will himself pray for you.” (Job 42:7, 8) Think of what this implied!
Jehovah required a considerable sacrifice from Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, perhaps to impress upon them the gravity of their sin. Indeed, either wittingly or unwittingly, they had blasphemed God by saying that he ‘has no faith in his servants’ and that it did not really matter to him whether Job was faithful or not. Eliphaz even said that in God’s eyes Job was of no more value than a moth! (Job 4:18, 19; 22:2, 3) No wonder Jehovah said: “You men have not spoken concerning me what is truthful”!
But that is not all. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar also sinned against Job personally by telling him that his problems were of his own making. Their baseless accusations and utter lack of empathy left Job embittered and depressed, causing him to cry out: “How long will you men keep irritating my soul and keep crushing me with words?” (Job 10:1; 19:2) Imagine the expressions of shame on the faces of these three men as they now had to present Job with an offering for their sins!
But Job was not to gloat over their humiliation. Indeed, Jehovah required that he pray in behalf of his accusers. Job did just as he was instructed, and for this he was blessed. First, Jehovah cured his dreaded disease. Then, Job’s brothers, sisters, and former associates came to comfort him, “and they proceeded each one to give him a piece of money and each one a gold ring.”* Moreover, Job “came to have fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand spans of cattle and a thousand she-asses.”* And Job’s wife was evidently reconciled with him. In time, Job was blessed with seven sons and three daughters, and he lived to see four generations of his offspring.—Job 42:10-17.
Lessons for Us
Job set an outstanding example for modern-day servants of God. He was “blameless and upright,” a man that Jehovah was proud to call “my servant.” (Job 1:8; 42:7, 8) This does not mean, however, that Job was perfect. At one point during his trials, he wrongly assumed that God was the cause of his calamity. He even criticized God’s way of dealing with man. (Job 27:2; 30:20, 21) And he declared his own righteousness rather than God’s. (Job 32:2) But Job refused to turn his back on the Creator, and he humbly accepted correction from God. “I talked, but I was not understanding,” he admitted. “I make a retraction, and I do repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:3, 6.
When under trial we too may think, speak, or act in a way that is not fitting. (Compare Ecclesiastes 7:7.) Nevertheless, if our love for God is deep, we will not rebel against him or grow bitter because he permits us to experience hardships. Instead, we will maintain our integrity and thus eventually reap a great blessing. The psalmist said of Jehovah: “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.”—Psalm 18:25.
Before Job was restored to a healthy state, Jehovah required that he pray in behalf of those who transgressed against him. What a fine example for us! Jehovah requires that we forgive those who sin against us before our own sins can be forgiven. (Matthew 6:12; Ephesians 4:32) If we are not willing to forgive others when there is sound basis for doing so, can we rightly expect Jehovah to be merciful to us?—Matthew 18:21-35.
All of us face trials at one time or another. (2 Timothy 3:12) Yet, like Job we can keep integrity. By doing so, we will reap a large reward. James wrote: “Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.”—James 5:11.
The value of “a piece of money” (Hebrew, qesi·tahʹ) cannot be determined. But “a hundred pieces of money” bought a sizable tract of land in Jacob’s day. (Joshua 24:32) Therefore, “a piece of money” from each visitor was likely more than a token gift.
Likely, the gender of the asses is mentioned because of their value as breeders.