“Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.” (Job 11:6).

So says Zophar, one of Job’s friends. He is sure he knows the secret of Job’s suffering: Job is a man so plenteous in sin that even God can’t keep track of it all. He thinks that the mystery of Job’s ill-fortune is no mystery at all; Job is as guilty as can be—even if his wickedness is not clearly visible to observers. Zophar is typical of far too many religious commentators, who think they can explain events in the lives of others. Suffering is a great mystery. Therefore, the first duty of one to another is compassion.

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