3.3 Job In Other Scripture
3-3-1 Job In Other Scripture
Job must be one of the most enigmatic books for Bible students; what
we seem to lack is a framework around which to develop our interpretation
of it. Such a framework should be provided by following up the connections
between Job and other Scripture. It is the purpose of this study to trace
some of these connections: by doing so we will come to see that Job and
his friends represent the Jewish system and the mentality behind it, although
in the same way as the Lord Jesus was associated with Israel (for example
in the suffering servant prophecies of Isaiah, which apply to both Christ
and Israel), so Job is also a type of Christ. We are going to suggest
that Job represents both apostate Jewry and our Lord Jesus, which is typical
of the way all God's people exhibit the reasoning and weakness of the
flesh whilst simultaneously striving for the imitation of Christ (cp.
Rom.7:13-24). Compare too how Saul, Jonah and Adam represent Christ although
they also sinned.
Although Job did not speak wrongly about God (42:7;2:10) and kept
patiently speaking the word of God despite the mockery it brought
from the friends (James 5:10,11), this does not mean that Job or
all that he said was blameless. The friends are not reprimanded
for speaking wrongly about Job, but about God. Thus there was probably
a fair degree of truth in their accusations concerning Job. Elihu
also severely rebukes him, and unlike the three friends he is not
rebuked for anything in the final analysis by God in Job 42 (1);
not to mention the accusation of 'darkening counsel without knowledge'
(38:2) by the Lord Himself, backed up by four chapters of heavy
reprimand of Job's reliance on human strength and wisdom. This led
to Job retracting much of what he had said: " I am vile; what
shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth...I will
not answer...I will proceed no further...I uttered that I understood
not...wherefore I abhor myself and repent" (40:4,5; 42:3-6).
This clearly establishes that much of Job's reasoning was faulty,
although what he spoke before God was correct (2).
Job was a prophet (Job 29:4 cp. 15:8;23:12; Prov.3:32; Amos 3:7;
the secret of God being with him made Job a prophet) and it is in
his role as such that he is commended in James 5:10,11- i.e. for
the words concerning God which he spoke. The words for which God
and Elihu rebuked him were therefore about other things. Elihu accused
him of speaking " without knowledge" (34:35), which Job
admitted he had (42:3).
Job And The Restoration
We'll demonstrate below how Job is set up in later Scripture as a symbol of the priesthood, Judah and the Jews. We'll suggest that the book of Job was compiled or re-written at the time of Hezekiah; and yet I suggest that the number of connections between Job and the restoration prophets suggest it may have been further re-written under Divine inspiration [along with much of the extant Old Testament] whilst Judah were in captivity in Babylon. Job thus becomes a symbol of Judah in captivity; as they sat by the rivers of Babylon, mocked by their neighbours, so Job sat in captivity and was mocked. He was released from his captivity (Job 42:10) as a symbol of how Judah could be released from hers (Ps. 126:1). As the fire of God fell upon him and consumed his sons and daughters (Job 1:16), so the same Hebrew words are used to describe how God's fire of fury fell upon Zion and consumed it, along with her sons and daughters (Neh. 2:3,13; Ps. 78:63; Jer. 17:27; Lam. 2:3; 4:11; Ez. 23:25). Indeed the idea of Divine fire consuming sinners appears three times in Job (Job 15:34; 20:26; 22:20). As Job was 'broken down' by God (Job 16:14), so the same Hebrew word is used to describe how God brought about the 'breaking down' of Jerusalem's walls (Neh. 1:3; 2:13). As Job was "touched" by God's hand (Job 1:11,19; 2:5; 4:5; 19:21), so Judah in captivity were "touched" by the Gentile world (Zech. 2:8 s.w.).
(1) Notice how God confirms what
Elihu says: 34:35 cp. 38:2;42:3; 33:13 cp.40:2; 33:2 cp. 40:8;
33:9 cp. 35:2. Elihu's description of God's inspiration of him,
resulting in it being painful not to speak forth the words given,
recalls Jeremiah's experience as the result of his inspiration:
" I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding
in: I will pour it out..His word was...shut up in my bones, and
I was weary with forbearing" (Jer. 6:11; 20:9). Elihu's words
are so similar that there must be a connection: " I am full
of words (Hebrew), the Spirit (of inspiration) within me constraineth
me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready
to burst like new bottles" (Job 32:18,19). This similarity
between these two young prophets (n.b. Job 32:6) may be because
Jeremiah was reprimanding Israel, whilst Elihu was doing so to Job
and the friends who represented Israel.
The problem of reconciling the rebuke of Job's words with the statement
that he has spoken what is right about God as opposed to the friends
(42:7) is the same as the frequent pronouncement that some kings
of Judah walked blamelessly before God exactly as David did, when
there is clear evidence in the record that this was not so. This
may be because God imputes righteousness to a believer's whole life
if his final acts are acceptable (cp. Ez.18:27,28). " Ye have
not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath"
may refer to the response of the friends and Job to the rebukes
of Elihu and the manifestation of God's power in the thunderstorm
which must have been witnessed by the friends as well as by Job.
Maybe they made some unrecorded response about God which was not
right, whereas Job's supreme recognition of God's righteousness
and humbling of himself was speaking that which was right about
God. It has to be admitted that it is hard to understand all that
Job says in the book about God as being " right" , and
he is specifically rebuked by God for his words.