There is a Jewish custom called “Sitting Shiva” where close friends and family go to the person who has had a great loss and sit silently with him, empathizing. They do not speak, but listen.
Joe Bayly, who lost three children, wrote:
I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealing, of why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. I wished he’d go away, and he finally did.
Another came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He didn’t ask leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour — or more. He listened when I said something. He listened. He answered briefly. He prayed briefly and then he went away. I hated to see him go.
1. Read Job 2:11-13. Describe what the friends did.
2.Read Job 3
A. Up until now, Job has been amazingly positive and trusting. Now, “after this,” we see him truly lamenting. Why this release, do you think?
B. What phrases of lament stand out to you?
3. Read Job 4:1-8
A. What do you think Eliphaz was doing during those seven days of silence, based on this speech? Preparing his arguments — or did he really empathize?
B. What is the error in this speech?
C. How would this increase Job’s pain?
4. What did friends do for you that was particularly comforting?
5. What have you learned, after you pain, about what not to do with others?
6. Anyone who wants to research “sitting shiva” would be encouraged to do so and share their best gleanings!