3-3-3 Job and Israel
There are a number of passages which associate Job with Israel
in general terms. We will first consider these and then proceed
to analyse how the reasoning of Job showed the same characteristics
as the Jewish system in the first century. It has been suggested
by J.W.Thirtle in " Old Testament Problems" (worth
a read by every serious student) that the book of Job was re-written
and compiled by Hezekiah's men who at the same time produced the
Psalter (all under inspiration, of course). The copious connections
between the suffering servant prophecies of Isaiah and the book
of Job (take a glance down the A.V. margins of Job) are therefore
more easily understandable- the account of Job's sufferings and
vindication amidst opposition was framed in language that pointed
forward to the similar suffering (through the same disease?) and
vindication of Hezekiah. The suffering servant of Isaiah refers
to both Israel and the Lord Jesus, exactly as the parable of Job
also does. The connections between Isaiah 40 and the book of Job
are especially marked. The more obvious are tabulated here:
The link between Is.40:27 and Job 3:23 is most significant: "
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid
from the Lord, and my judgement is passed over from my God?"
. These are the words of Job in 3:23: " Why is light given
to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?" .
Thus Job represents Israel; and because " Israel" in Isaiah
also refers to our Lord, we can make the equation Job=Israel=Jesus.
The distancing between himself and God which Christ felt on the
cross (Mt.27:46) is thus foreshadowed by Job feeling the same- and
like Christ, it was a trial from God, not a specific punishment
Another telling point of contact with Isaiah is found in 4:3-5.
Job had " strengthened the weak hands..and..the feeble knees.
But now it (the weakness and feeble knees) is come upon thee, and
thou faintest" . This is picked up in Is.35:3,4: " Strengthen
ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that
are of a fearful (Heb.'hasty'- both are relevant to Job) heart,
Be strong...behold, your God will come" . Thus Job is a type
of the weak-hearted Jews, and his final deliverance thus points
forward to the coming of the Lord. The return of the prodigal son
foreshadowed the final repentance of the Jews (note how that parable
is based on Gen.43:16;45:14,15). But Job's decision to say "
I have sinned...and it profited me not" (33:27) also connects
with the prodigal son (Lk.15:21), thus again associating him with
the Jews in their suffering and repentance. Isaiah's earlier
description of Israel as " from the sole of the foot even unto
the head there is no soundness...but wounds, and bruises and putrifying
sores" (1:6) is couched in the picture of Job " with sore
boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown" (Job 2:7).
Note too that the description of Miriam in Num.12:12 LXX is quoting
from Job 3:16 LXX; as if both Job and Miriam represented apostate
There are also links between Job and Deuteronomy 28, again connecting
Job with a faithless Israel:
|:29 " Thou shalt grope at noonday,
as the blind gropeth in darkness
||" They (the wicked; although the
friends are getting at Job when they speak of them) meet
with darkness in the daytime and grope in the noonday as in
the night" (5:14).
|:29 " The blind"
||Job had fits of blindness (22:10,11)
|:35 " The Lord shall smite thee in the
knees and in the legs with a sore botch from the sole of thy foot
unto the top of thy head"
||" Boils from the sole of his foot
unto his crown" (2:7) were inflicted by satan. " The
Lord" in Dt.28 was the wilderness Angel; which is
one of several indications that Job's satan was an Angel...
|:37 " An astonishment...
||" Mark me (Job) and be astonished"
|and a byword, among all nations"
|| " A byword of the people" (17:6;30:9).
" Now am I their song" (30:9).
|:67 " In the morning thou shalt say,
Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would
God it were morning"
|| " When I lie down, I say, When
shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am
full of tossings to and fro until the dawning" (7:4).
|All the Jews' blessings from God were
to be taken away and their children cursed:" Thou
shalt beget sons and daughters but thou shalt not enjoy them"
(v.41). " Cattle.. flocks of thy sheep" (v.51).
|| Ditto for Job
|" The Lord shall bring a nation against
||The Sabeans/ Chaldeans- forerunners of
the Babylonians and Assyrians who punished Israel.
Again, these are only the more evident connections. In similar
vein God (in the Angel of the presence) " was turned to be
(Israel's) enemy" because of their sin. Job complains that
his satan-Angel has " turned to be cruel to me" (30:21
AVmg.). Job comments that if the children of the wicked "
be multiplied, it is for the sword" (27:14). Seeing his own
children had been destroyed, Job presumably was accepting that he
was among the " wicked" , as he does elsewhere (e.g. 9:2).
Hos.9:13,16 repeats such language regarding the punishment of sinful
Israel: " Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer"
. Dt.28:41 has the same idea. Eliphaz reminds Job that the wicked
of Noah's time were destroyed by a flood, implying that the sudden
calamities of Job's life were like the flood, thus equating him
with the world at Noah's time. Jude, Daniel, Peter and the Lord
Jesus all interpret that world as representing apostate Jewry in
the first century, destroyed by the " flood" of AD70.
It is also interesting that 1 Pet.5:8,9, concerning the Jewish devil
walking around seeking to draw away Christians, is quoting the Septuagint
of Job 1:7, suggesting Job's satan is also to be linked with the
There are several allusions to Job in Romans, all of which confirm
what we have so far suggested. A simple example is Elihu's description
of Job as a hypocrite heaping up wrath, which connects with Paul's
description of the Jews as treasuring up unto themselves "
wrath against the day of wrath" (Rom.2:5).
There are several illuminating links between Romans 9 (about
Israel) and Job:
| :19 " Thou (the Jews) wilt say then
unto me, Why doth He yet find fault (with Pharaoh and the Jews)?
For who hath resisted His will? The Jews were saying that it
was God's pre-ordained purpose that they should be His people,
therefore their behaviour was excusable.
||" He is..mighty in strength: who
hath hardened himself (NIV " resisted" ) against
Him, and hath prospered?" . Job's reasoning is similar
to that of the Jews- effectively he too is asking
why God is finding fault with him (9:4).
| :20 " O man, who art thou that disputest
(AVmg.) with God?"
|| This is what Job desired to do: "
I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments...there
the righteous might dispute with Him" (23:4-7 cp. 9:3).
| :14 "Is there unrighteousness with
God? God forbid" . The context is that the Jews were saying
that their Calvinistic view of predestination allowed them to
sin yet still remain God's people.
|| By Job saying " It profiteth a man
nothing that he should delight himself in God" because
he is either predestined to salvation or not, Job provoked
the comment from Elihu " Far be it from God,
that He should do wickedness; and from the Almighty,
that He should commit iniquity" (34:10). The link between
this and Rom.9:14 shows that Job had the same mentality as the
Judaizers, and was thus also shown the blasphemous conclusion
to which his reasoning led.
Paul extends his association of Job and Israel in Romans 11:
|:35 " Who hath first given to Him, and
it shall be recompensed unto Him again?" . This is
countering the Jewish reasoning that they were self-righteous
and were giving their righteousness as a gift to God,
for which they were blessed.
|| Elihu similarly rebukes the self-righteous
Job: " If thou be righteous, what givest thou him?
Or what receiveth He of thine hand?" (35:7). Without
this key from Job it would be hard to understand what
'gift' Rom.11:35 was speaking about.
|:16,17 use the figure of roots and branches
to describe the Broken branches refer to the apostate
|| Bildad speaks of the wicked (i.e.
Job- 18:4,7 cp.14:18 clearly Jews. refer to him)
" his roots shall be dried up beneath, and above
shall his branch be cut off" (18:16)
Most fascinating are the clear connections between Rev.9 and Job:
|:5" To them it was given that they
should not kill them, but that they should be tormented"
||Satan could not kill Job, but was
given power to torment him.
|:6 " Men (shall) seek death, and
shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee
from them" .
||Job said he was one of them " which
long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it
more than for hid treasures" (3:21,22)
|The marauding Saracen bands
||The Sabean bands
|:11 " A king over them, which is the
|| The satan/Angel of Job?
|:11 " A king...Abaddon..Apollyon"
|| " The king of terrors" attacking
Job's tents (18:14)
|:11 " The bottomless pit"
||" Hell is naked before Him, and
destruction (cp.'Abaddon') hath no covering" (26:6).
Thus Job is being shown to represent " those men which have
not the seal of God in their foreheads" (Rev.9:4). The idea
of sealing is associated with being justified by faith rather than
by the Law in Rom.4:11. If " the earth" in Rev.9 is read
as " the land" and the chapter given a Jewish interpretation,
the allusions to Job as representative of unsealed Jewry still depending
on the Law become even more relevant. There are many allusions to
Job in the early chapters of Genesis- understandably, bearing in
mind the early date of the book of Job. Cain is used by Jesus as
a prototype of the apostate Jewish system- he was the first murderer
and the first human liar, and thus symbolized the Jewish devil in
Christ's time (Jn.8:44). Adam being a sinner is also a type of the
Jews, inadequately covered by the fig leaves which represented the
Jewish way of covering sin. Their glossy appearance which soon faded
well represented the inadequacy of this method. Hos.6:7 confirms
the equation of Adam with Israel: " They (Israel) like Adam
have transgressed the covenant" (AVmg.). Note how like Job,
Adam represents both the Jewish system and Christ (1 Cor.15:45).
Bearing these things in mind, it is significant that Adam and Cain
are both connected with Job.