What makes the book of Job difficult is not so much the information that is clear, rather it is how we view the dialogues. God rebukes Job, yet says that Job spoke what is right about him and not his 3 friends. God does not rebuke Elihu, yet Elihu seems to say some similar things that the 3 friends say. Also the 3 friends say some things that seem to be correct. This last issue is the most problematic.
It is likely that some of the things the friends claim are correct. Paul quotes Eliphaz approvingly,
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, (1 Corinthians 3:18–21)This is from Eliphaz's first speech,
He frustrates the devices of the crafty,Just before these words Eliphaz says
so that their hands achieve no success.
He catches the wise in their own craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. (Job 5:12–13)
“As for me, I would seek God,which seems true based on reason. It is also consistent with other Scripture. The psalmist acknowledges that God sends rain,
and to God would I commit my cause,
who does great things and unsearchable,
marvelous things without number:
he gives rain on the earth
and sends waters on the fields;
he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety. (Job 5:8–11)
You visit the earth and water it;and many other passages affirm that God raises the lowly, or dwells with them
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth. (Psalm 65:9–10)
he has brought down the mighty from their thronesConsider also Psalm 34:18; Psalm 75:7; Psalm 107:40–41; Psalm 113:7–9; Psalm 138:6; Psalm 147:6; Isaiah 57:15; Ezekiel 21:26; James 4:10.
and exalted those of humble estate; (Luke 1:52)
Not only do other biblical authors quote the friends approvingly, so does Job. Responding to Bildad's words Job says,
Truly I know that it is so:How does one make sense of all this?
But how can a man be in the right before God? (Job 9:2)
My conclusion is that Job's friends say a range of things, many of which are true. This is not too surprising as they are Job's friends and, as Job is righteous, he is likely also wise, and his close friends may also have some wisdom.
It seems that Job's friends are mistaken in attributing proverbial wisdom to an individual case. Much of what they ascribe to God, and what they say about how things pan out for the wicked, has elements of truth. But such truth is difficult to apply to individuals. That a wicked man may lose his life early does not mean every evil man does. Moreover, it is an error deducing underlying motives or actions from consequences. It does not follow that if a sinful man suffers then a suffering man has sinned. The righteous can suffer also. Job's friends made this error, and in charging Job with sin they are calling righteousness unrighteous. This is a very dangerous thing to do. Jesus said that those who do this to the Holy Spirit are committing an unforgivable sin (Matthew 12). God takes very seriously accusations against his people. David knew this principle and would not raise his hand against Saul because Saul had been anointed by God; David refused to even while Saul was mistreating him.
Job's friends were mistaken to assume that just because the wicked may get their comeuppance in this world (they certainly will in the next) then all those who suffer do so because of some sin. Their failure to see rightly meant that not only did they mistakenly condemn Job, in doing so they were unable to offer Job the friendship and comfort he needed at the lowest point of his life.
The suffering of Job was grievous. He lost his wealth. He lost his children. He lost his health. But at such a difficult time he also faced his wife tempting him to sin and his friends accusing him of sin. The loss of everything and no one to comfort him. How great must have been his despair.
There is more to gain from the book than this, but the above is how I currently understand the larger picture.