Job’s friends were downers. I guess they probably had good intentions when they first came, but Job’s condition was so mind-reelingly bad that they sat there speechless for three days trying to figure it all out and came to the conclusion that Job must have sinned because there’s no way a just God could let an innocent man suffer this much.
Job’s all, “No I’m a good guy, this isn’t fair, something’s wrong,” but his friends are like, “That’s not possible, Job, it’s a more or less just world and we more or less know the rules to it and the rules say you must be in the wrong somewhere. In fact, your attitude is downright disrespectful and basically proves you’re in the wrong.”
It’s been going on more or less like this since chapter three. Whatever the conclusion ends up being, the striking thing about the conversation is that everyone knows the answer to Job’s problem, even though they haven’t heard anything he’s said. By chapter 21, Job’s caught on.
“Suffer me that I may speak,” he says. “And after that I have spoken, mock on.”