"Miserable Comforters Are Ye All"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 182

Context: Job, of the land of Uz, a righteous man who is blessed in the eyes of the Lord, is a wealthy patriarch with seven sons and three daughters. Satan challenges God to let Job be tested to discover whether the good man will curse God. Job's possessions and his children are taken away from him, and he himself is tortured by boils covering his body, but he still refuses to forsake the Almighty. Lamenting the day of his birth and his life of travail, Job listens to his friends Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad and Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, who argue that God does not punish the innocent and that His ways are inscrutable. When they strongly suggest that their friend is suffering for his sins, Job insists that he is innocent and reproves them by saying (thus giving rise to the expression "Job's comforters"):

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I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
. . . if your soul were in my soul's stead. . . .
. . . I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage your grief.

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