The friends of Job lived in different places, at intervals of three hundred miles one from the other. Nevertheless they all were informed of their friend's misfortune at the same time, in this way: Each one had the pictures of the others set in his crown, and as soon as any one of them met with reverses, it showed itself in his picture. Thus the friends of Job learnt simultaneously of his misfortune, and they hastened to his assistance.
The four friends were related to one another, and each one was related to Job. Eliphaz, king of Teman, was a son of Esau; Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu were cousins, their fathers, Shuah, Naamat, and Barachel, were the sons of Buz, who was a brother of Job and a nephew of Abraham.
When the four friends arrived in the city in which Job lived, the inhabitants took them outside the gates, and pointing to a figure reclining upon an ash-heap at some distance off, they said, "Yonder is Job." At first the friends would not give them credence, and they decided to look more closely at the man, to make sure of his identity. But the foul smell emanating from Job was so strong that they could not come near to him. They ordered their armies to scatter perfumes and aromatic substances all around. Only after this had been done for hours, they could approach the outcast close enough to recognize him.
Eliphaz was the first to address Job, "Art thou indeed Job, a king equal in rank with ourselves?" And when Job said Aye, they broke out into lamentations and bitter tears, and all together they sang an elegy, the armies of the three kings, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, joining in the choir. Again Eliphaz began to speak, and he bemoaned Job's sad fortune, and depicted his friend's former glory, adding the refrain to each sentence, "Whither hath departed the splendor of thy throne?"
After listening long to the wailing and lamenting of Eliphaz and his companions, Job spake, saying: "Silence, and I will show you my throne and the splendor of its glory. Kings will perish, rulers disappear, their pride and lustre will pass like a shadow across a mirror, but my kingdom will persist forever and ever, for glory and magnificence are in the chariot of my Father."
These words aroused the wrath of Eliphaz, and he called upon his associates to abandon Job to his fate and go their way. But Bildad appeased his anger, reminding him that some allowance ought to be made for one so sorely tried as Job. Bildad put a number of questions to the sufferer in order to establish his sanity. He wanted to elicit from Job how it came about that God, upon whom he continued to set his hopes, could inflict such dire suffering. Not even a king of flesh and blood would allow a guardsman of his that had served him loyally to come to grief. Bildad desired to have information from Job also concerning the movements of the heavenly bodies.
Job had but one answer to make to these questions: man cannot comprehend Divine wisdom, whether it reveal itself in inanimate and brute nature or in relation to human beings. "But," continued Job, "to prove to you that I am in my right mind, listen to the question I shall put to you. Solid food and liquids combine inside of man, and they separate again when they leave his body. Who effects the separation?" And when Bildad conceded that he could not answer the question, Job said, "If thou canst not comprehend the changes in thy body, how canst thou hope to comprehend the movements of the planets?"
Zophar, after Job had spoken thus to Bildad, was convinced that his suffering had had no effect upon his mind, and he asked him whether he would permit himself to be treated by the physicians of the three kings, his friends. But Job rejected the offer, saying, "My healing and my restoration come from God, the Creator of all physicians."
While the three kings were conversing thus with Job, his wife Zitidos made her appearance clad in rags, and she threw herself at the feet of her husband's friends, and amid tears she spoke, saying: "O Eliphaz, and ye other friends of Job, remember what I was in other days, and how I am now changed, coming before you in rags and tatters." The sight of the unhappy woman touched them so deeply that they could only weep, and not a word could they force out of their mouths. Eliphaz, however, took his royal mantle of purple, and laid it about the shoulders of the poor woman. Zitidos asked only one favor, that the three kings should order their soldiers to clear away the ruins of the building under which her children lay entombed, that she might give their remains decent burial. The command was issued to the soldiers accordingly, but Job said, "Do not put yourselves to trouble for naught. My children will not be found, for they are safely bestowed with their Lord and Creator." Again his friends were sure that Job was bereft of his senses. He arose, however, prayed to God, and at the end of his devotions, he bade his friends look eastward, and when they did his bidding, they beheld his children next to the Ruler of heaven, with crowns of glory upon their heads. Zitidos prostrated herself, and said, "Now I know that my memorial resides with the Lord." And she returned to the house of her master, whence she had absented herself for some time against his will. He had forbidden her to leave it, because he had feared that the three kings would take her with them.
In the evening she lay down to sleep next to the manger for the cattle, but she never rose again, she died there of exhaustion. The people of the city made a great mourning for her, and the elegy composed in her honor was set down in writing and recorded.