Chapters 17 and 18 show the depths to which the divide between Job and his firends is sinking. Job, in the middle of his continued anguish over his condition, identifies his friends as unwise, worthless to him, and his life as meaningless and heading for its end. Bildad replies defensively, asking Job how he can pass judgment on them when he is in the shape he is in. Bildad identifies Job as evil and lays out a diatribe about the plight of the evil and their eventual loss and destruction as punishment. He tells how the wicked lose their family, their goods, and their reputation, all of which has happened to Job. The comfort is done, and the accusations are in full stride.
These chapters further demonstrate the way that this symbiotic relationship is working. It began well, beneficial to Job and–in some ways–to his friends. Then the name-calling and judgement began and the insults and accusations were rampant. When relationships disintegrate and sink to this low, the benefits are in question. The only virtue in this harsh exchange is the result, which the reader will see later in the book of Job. The moral of this story: don’t let you feelings get in the way of a Godly response. Defensiveness will get in the way of an opportunity to minister if you give it room!