Job 21:34 (ESV)

34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Throughout the second speech cycle, Job’s friends have argued that the wicked are always punished with suffering in this life. Job concludes that such arguing is nonsense, since it contradicts the facts of life. It is simply not true that the wicked always get what they deserve. Thus, it cannot be true that suffering is always punishment for wickedness.

In his counterattack, Job has failed to admit that there is some truth in his friends’ words. He has seemingly forgotten about those cases in which wicked people are punished by God. His overreaction is perhaps understandable, in the light of his deep suffering and his friends’ false accusations.