Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fourth Friend of Job

The ‘Book of Job’ is a wisdom literature in the Old Testament and contains unparalled wisdom hidden in this writing. Job was a God fearing and very rich man and becomes the victim of a wager between God and the Devil. From the height of prosperity, he is taken to extreme poverty and ill health. The book consists mainly of the dialogue between Job and his rebuking and comforting friends.

“In the Talmud we find a classic description of the powers of the ‘inner voice’ in the story of Job.Job had three friends who came to console him for his terrible suffering. As it turned out, they did not succeed in consoling him at all, instead they rebuked him, which appealed neither to Job nor to God. A fourth young acquaintance sat and listened in respectful silence until the elder three finished what they had to say. His name was Elihu ben Berachel of the family of Ram and our sages explain that he was from the family of Abraham, so he was certainly a Jew. The numerical value of his name equals mashiach, “messiah,” and we are taught that he himself is the soul of the Messiah and that he speaks in good taste and with wisdom. According to Ramban in his commentary on the Book of Job, Elihu reveals to Job the secret of reincarnation and he thus succeeds in appeasing Job, at which point the verse immediately says, “and God heeded Job.” The word vayisha, “and he heeded,” used in this verse, also implies a connection with the rectification of Cain, to whose offering God did not heed.” (

It is also written that the three friends felt Job’s affliction from a distance of 300 parsaot (approximately 1200 kilometres.)

The deeper meaning of this episode is that Job symbolizes the tormented self when it realizes the separation from the Godhead and the four distant friends are the inner voices of conscience which can be classified into two categories. The first category is a subset of our rational, judgemental mind that exhibits itself in the vocalized and explicit domain of our waking consciousness. The second category is the deeper, silent perceiver who has a greater grasp of reality and the larger picture in which we manifest. It is only through this deeper dimension of our understanding we can appreciate all the events of our life. The first group of three friends represents the multiplicity and fragmentation of our rational mind and the second category is represented by a single, silent observer Elihu, who was the descendent of Abraham. Abraham here represents the entity that communes with the Godhead and is characterized by an understanding that surpasses the rational mind.

There are a number of possible ways to explain silence as an act. The first is that silence is an act of thought. The Hebrew word for ‘thinking’ is ‘chashov’, which even begins with the word ‘chash’, meaning ‘silence’ and can also be seen as an acronym for ‘lachush be’... that means ‘to sense something through silence’. The sense of thought is an inner phenomenon in which one considers something in silence. It is only when we move from the zone of sound and distraction into the zone of silence that we are able to truly understand life’s purpose. The interface between these two is the Divine sound which is inner logos present in every human being. May this deeper understanding empower us to take recourse in the inner silence in which the Divine operates.

Love to you all


  1. The story ofJob and the 4th silent visitor reminds of the story of Arunagirinatherwho lived in the 15th century He lived a very licentious life; he developed a dreadful disease and he didn’t want to live anymore. He climbed up the temple tower and then jumped off. Then the story goes that Muruga, son of Shiva, took a form of the old man and then held him while he was falling down from the tower.
    He put him down and then said to him: “Be still without words.” And his mind stopped, there were no words, there was no mind. As soon as the mind stopped, what happened was he was in a quantum reality of nothingness. And in that nothingness, he experienced a feeling of “fullness”.

  2. Thank you for the beautiful sharing.
    I love the way you have ended your comment
    "And his mind stopped, there were no words, there was no mind. As soon as the mind stopped, what happened was he was in a quantum reality of nothingness. And in that nothingness, he experienced a feeling of “fullness”."

    If we realize this you are truly EMPTY.

  3. You symbolize this part of the book of Job but can you truly do that with the beginning where an entity named satan does appear before God and they speak about Job? And what about his wife, seeing his misery and unfortunately, like many, taunted Job and his integrity before the living God. Satan is a celestial being who does exist and did fall because of pride, along with a host of other celestial beings. You cannot genuinely symbolize him without challenging the words of scripture..."for this reason the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." Jesus came to save us from the bondage of sin - works of the devil. His death was real and not in vain.