Job wraps us his first speech in 3:20-26:
"Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave? Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings pour out like water. For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes."
There are some incredible similarities between Job's desire and that of Jeremiah that are worth considering (cf. Jer. 20:14-18). Although it would not seem that Jeremiah suffered to the same extent that Job did (in my opinion), both men curse their birthdays and desperately desire to escape their sufferings.
Job longs for death as much as a treasure seeker desires gold. He has an intense lust for it. His thoughts are focused upon it every moment of the day. Ironically, Job now feels that God has hedged him in. This was Satan's claim back in 1:10, but in a much different sense. Job believes that God won't let him die (and, in truth, Job is correct on this point; cf. 2:6). It would seem that Job has one basic fear--that he will continue to live and suffer excruciating pain. He knows that the power of death is in God's hand. Job is in complete turmoil.
When Job completes his speech, his friends can no longer maintain their silence. They feel compelled to respond. The debate is set to begin! Each friend will take his turn speaking to Job, and the great patriarch will reply to them. Although we will not consider each speech in detail, we will give attention to the basic thrust of each argument in future lessons.
Before concluding this chapter, however, it is necessary for us to make an important observation. While it is the case that the book of Job is an inspired work of the Holy Spirit, not everything said within this book is accurate. Everything recorded is certainly an accurate portrayal of the dialogue between Job and his friends, but the fact remains that these men spoke about some things that they were ignorant of or did not entirely understand. Thus, what is recorded in the following chapters may or may not be consistent with the truth. As we study the book of Job, we must continually ask ourselves these questions: "Who is speaking here?" and "Is this divine truth or merely a divine record of some human utterances?" There is a big difference, obviously, between the two. A cognizance of this will help in the interpretation of this great book as its themes are compared to other Scriptures.