Job replies to Eliphaz. He complains that if his calamities were weighed on a scale, they would be heavier than the sand of the sea. God’s poisoned arrows have struck him. He longs for God to grant him his desire—to let him die. Only this could comfort him. What is the point in his continuing to live?
Eliphaz has just told Job that if a person suffers, it’s because they’ve done something to deserve it. Job responds by rehashing the severity of his sufferings at God’s hand. They’re so bad that he would rather be dead. There’s even a slight self-pitying note here. Overall, though, Job suggests that his suffering is so great that Eliphaz’s explanations are worthless, not even deserving of a direct reply.
Job continues that those who withhold kindness from a friend do not respect God. He says that his friends are “treacherous,” like a raging stream. They disappear when things become difficult. They fear Job’s calamity, though it’s not as if Job has asked them for help. Job tells his friends to help him understand what he’s done wrong. Why are they scolding him? He has not lied to them.
Job shifts from his first-person complaint to directly addressing his friends, attacking them for the poor consolation they’ve offered him. Even if they think they’re helping him, their so-called wisdom is effectively canceled out by their failure to show kindness to Job. When he calls his friends “treacherous,” Job compares them to desert wadis (streambeds) that flood during the rainy season while remaining parched and dry during the hot summers—implying that his friends aren’t capable of giving him suitable refreshment when he needs it most.