Digression 12: An Exposition Of Job
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 Scriptures. 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 Judaizers
It can be shown that James read Job in a bad light insofar
as he saw him as a type of the rich, Judaist-influenced Jews in the
first century ecclesia who proudly despised their brethren. Eliphaz
says that Job's sudden problems amid his prosperity were what would
happen to all the wicked (15:21). This seems to be alluded to in 1 Thess.5:3
concerning the sudden destruction of rich, spiritually self confident
believers. Job's words of 30:1 certainly smack of arrogance: "Whose
fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock".
This would mean that his merciful acts to the poor were done in a 'charitable'
spirit, thinking that such public acts declared him outwardly righteous:
"I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy (by his charity). I (thereby)
put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgement was as a robe
and a diadem" (29:13,14).
This has clear reference to the clothing of the Mosaic High Priest
with his outward show of righteousness. Job was probably the family
priest, seeing that the head of the household appears to have been the
priest in patriarchal times; thus Job could offer a sacrifice for the
sins of his children (1:5). Job's likening of himself to a moth-eaten
garment due to God's changing of his circumstances (13:26-28) must connect
with the disciples of the Law as an old, decaying garment in Heb.8:13.
The priestly clothing "for glory and for beauty" (Ex.28:2) is certainly
alluded to by God when He challenges Job "Deck thyself now
(i.e. like you used to) with majesty and excellency; and array thyself
with glory and beauty...then will I also confess unto thee that thine
own right hand can save thee" (40:10,14)- as if God is saying that Job's
previous life represented the Mosaic priestly system with its external
pomp and implication that ones own righteousness can bring salvation
("that thine own right hand can save thee"). Job's humiliation meant
that, by implication, he no longer felt able to clothe himself with
the priestly garments of glory and beauty; he had learnt the spirit
of the Christian dispensation, to trust on the grace of God rather than
a system of salvation depending on personal righteousness. The descriptions
of Job rending his "mantle" (priestly robes) recalls that of Caiaphas;
his falling on his face perhaps indicates his recognition that reliance
on the outward show of the Law needed to be replaced by humble faith.
Job thus described his experiences as God leading "priests away stripped"
of their robes (Job 12:19 N.I.V.).
Job the priest
The priest's duty was to expound the word of God (Mal.2:7;
Hos.4:6): Job being a prophet also meant that he had a prominent role
to play in the instruction of the people. It appears that as a prophet
he was faithful- he spoke what God said. The friends were also prophets,
seeing that in 15:8,9 they say that they have been given the same "secret"
(i.e. inspiration) and knowledge of God as Job had. However, they did
not accurately speak forth what they were inspired with as Job did (42:7).
But as the priests of Israel misled the people by faulty reasoning ostensibly
based on the word, so Job too was in error as a priest. Eliphaz told
Job "Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips
testify against thee" (15:6). This is picked up by Christ in his words
to the one-talent man in the parable: "Out of thine own mouth will I
judge thee". The man was condemned for keeping his talent (his spiritual
knowledge of the word) to himself rather than sharing it with others.
Eliphaz proceeds to make the same rebuke of Job- although he had "heard
the secret of God", which we have seen implies the gift of prophesying
the word, he "restrained wisdom unto thyself" (v.8). This confirms that
Christ's one-talent man of the parable is based on Job, thus making
him represent the rejected at judgement. No doubt the primary application
of the one-talent man was to the Jewish believers of Christ's day who
did not capitalize on the talent they already had. The taking away of
the talent and its being given to others recalls the Kingdom (i.e. the
Gospel of the Kingdom) being taken from the Jews and being given to
a nation bringing forth the fruits of it (cp. trading the talent).
In Job 9:21 and by implication in other places, Job effectively says
that there is no point in serving God or striving for obedience to God.
This is what the priests of Israel later said: "It is vain to serve
God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance?" (Mal.3:14).
Elihu claimed that Job "hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he
should delight himself in God" (34:9)- i.e. keep the commands of God,
seeing that the Hebrew for "delight" often occurs in the context of
obedience to the word. The Malachi passage is more specifically alluding
to Job 21:7,15: "What is the Almighty that we should serve Him? and
what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?". These are the words
of Job, complaining about the prosperity of the wicked who had such
an attitude, and the carefree happiness of their lives: "Their children
dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the
organ" (21:11,12). It is in this that the Malachi context is so significant,
for Mal.3:15 continues :"We (the Israelites) call the proud happy; yea,
they that work wickedness are set up". This was also Job's view. Notice
that Job is probably implying that his prosperous three friends were
among the wicked whom he is describing, thus associating them with the
corrupt Jewish priesthood.
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 equationJob=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 for sin.
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 Israel.
There are also links between Job and Deuteronomy 28, again connecting
Job with a faithless Israel:
:29 "Thou shalt grope at noonday,
gropeth in darkness"
"They (the wicked; although the
friends as the blind 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 thee" (v.49)
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 Jewish
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 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
: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
: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
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
:16,17 use the figure of roots
and branches to describe the Jews.
Bildad speaks of the wicked (i.e.
Job- 18:4,7 cp.14:18 clearly refer to him)
Broken branches refer to the apostate
"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 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.
Job as Adam
Job 13:20-22 subtly alludes to the fall:
"Then will I not hide myself from
Adam hiding in Eden from God.
"Withdraw Thine hand far from me:
and let not Thy dread make me afraid"
Adam's fear and dread as he heard
the Lord's voice walking in the garden.
"Then call Thou, and I will answer"
God calling Adam and his answering
God with his confession of sin.
It would appear that Job was recognizing that he had sinned, that he
knew that the sense of spiritual limbo he was in parallelled Adam's
hiding from God in Eden, but that he would only respond to God's call
and come out of hiding to confess his sin as he knew God wanted him
to, if God withdrew His hand- i.e. relieved him of the immediate trials
he was then experiencing. Thus Job was trying to barter with God- wanting
Him to withdraw the trials in return for Job making the confession which
he knew God wanted.
Another connection with Adam is in Job's words of 10:9: "Remember,
I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring
me into dust again?". This is Gen.3:19- the curse upon sinful Adam that
he would return to the dust. Job seems to be admitting that he is like
Adam in that it appeared God was going to end his life as a result of
his sin- return him to the dust. But he reasons that this is unfair,
seeing he has not sinned (10:7,14,15). Thus he oscillates between saying
he has sinned and is like Adam, and then claiming that although he is
being treated like Adam this is unfair. Similarly Job complains "He
breaketh me...without cause" (9:17); "breaketh" is the same word translated
"bruise" in Gen.3:15, thus implying that he is receiving the result
of the covenant in Eden for no reason. Jesus must have been sorely tempted
to adopt the same false reasoning of his great type. The references
earlier in Job 9 to God spreading out the Heavens and creating the stars
show Job's mind at this time was set early in Genesis (v.8-10). Job
27:2-4 again associates Job's likening of himself to Adam with his false
blaming of God for wrongly dealing with him: "God...who hath taken away
my judgement; and the Almighty, who hath made my soul bitter (AVmg.);
all the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils".
This is obviously referring to the record of God's creation of Adam
in Gen.2:7. In 31:33 Job denies that he is like Adam in that unlike
him, he has no sin to hide: "If I covered my transgressions as Adam,
by hiding mine iniquity...". And yet like Adam he was humiliated by
God's questioning at the end of the book.
However, in his humbler moments Job recognized that he was a sinner
and deserved Adam's punishment: "Thou changest his (man's) countenance,
and sendeth him away" (14:20)- referring to Adam being sent out of Eden,
or also to Cain's countenance falling and then being sent away from
God. Job recognized that there would come a time when "My change come
(when) Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: (I know) Thou wilt have
a desire to the work of Thine hands" (when I respond to Your call to
confess my sin)- 14:14,15. It would appear from this that Job feels
that there will be a call to resurrection corresponding to God's call
of Adam out of hiding (v.13 "Oh that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave"),
after which he would confess his sins- i.e. at the judgement. God's
calling to Job out of the whirlwind and Job's subsequent confession
at the end of the book again encourages us to see "the end of the Lord"
with Job as pointing forward to our justification at the day of judgement
and the Kingdom. James 5:8 cp. v.11 seems to connect "the coming of
the Lord" and "the end of the Lord" with Job in Job 42. The fact that
the Lord was "very pitiful, and of tender mercy" with Job thus reminds
us of how He will be in our day of judgement. The friends ridiculed
Job's evident comparison of himself with Adam: "Art thou (the
emphasis is on that phrase) the first man (Adam; 1 Cor.15:45 alludes
here) that was born?" (15:7).
Job as Cain
As with the similarities with Adam, Job complains that although
he is associated with Cain, this is not really fair. "Thou settest a
print upon the heels of my feet" because of observing his ways with
unnecessary detail, Job complained. The mark on him that was a witness
wherever he went echoes that which God put on Cain. God's preservation
of Cain from death also finds a parallel in Job's feeling that God is
preserving him unnaturally (3:21-23; 10:9-15). Zophar possibly recognized
that Job was like Cain in that his countenance had fallen and he was
so angry, although also fearful of God (Gen.4:5); he said that if Job
repented he would "lift up thy face (countenance) without spot; yea,
thou shalt...not fear" (11:15). Job 31:39 is another example of Job
saying that he was being unfairly treated like Cain: "If I have eaten
the strength (of my land) without money...let thistles grow instead
of wheat" (31:39,40 AVmg.). This is referring back to the curse on Cain,
that "when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto
thee her strength" (Gen.4:12). Job is saying that his land has
yielded its strength to him, and that only if he sinned should the Adamic
curse of thistles come upon him. We too can resent the limitations of
our own nature, not least in the proneness to sin which it gives us,
and become bitter against God because of it as Job did.
Thus in 16:17,18 Job instead associates himself with unfairly persecuted
Abel: "Not for any injustice in my hands...O earth, cover not thou my
blood, and let my cry (of my blood) have no place" (16:17,18 cp. the
crying of Abel's blood from the ground in Gen.4:10). Job complains in
31:3 that "the punishment of his (the wicked man's) iniquity" is deferred
to his children; he uses the same Hebrew phrase used regarding the punishment
of Cain's iniquity in Gen.4:13, thus saying that it was the wicked of
the world, not him, who were the real counterparts of Cain.
The Jewish system
We now consider how the characteristics of the Jewish system
of reliance on human wisdom, self righteousness and works are all seen
in Job. 1 Cor.1 and 2 are in the context of Paul warning the believers
against the temptation to let the human philosophy of the Roman and
Greek worlds infiltrate the ecclesia, especially through the inroads
of the Judaizers. In his argument, Paul makes one of the few direct
quotes from Job in the New Testament: "For it is written, I will destroy
the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the
prudent" (1 Cor.1:19). This is quoting Job 5:12,13, where Eliphaz is
explaining why he thinks Job and his view of life have been brought
to nothing. Thus Paul read Job as a type of those who were influenced
by the pseudo-wisdom of the Judaizers. Paul continues: "Where is the
wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?" (1
Cor.1:20). Job's constant desire to dispute with God and the friends,
and the claims both he and they made to possessing wisdom, show Job
was clearly in Paul's mind. "Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of
the world?" he concludes, maybe thinking of the humbled Job.
Job was the greatest of the men of the east (1:3), people who were
renowned in the ancient world for their wisdom (cp. Matt.2:1; 1 Kings
4:30). Thus Job would have been full of worldly wisdom, and this is
maybe behind Paul's words of 1 Cor.3:18,19: "If any man among you seemeth
to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written
(quoting Job 5:13, which is Eliphaz speaking about Job), He taketh the
wise in their own craftiness". Thus again Job is equated with the false
wisdom of the Judaizers, who were using "excellency of speech..wisdom...enticing
words of man's wisdom "( 1 Cor.2:1,4), to corrupt the believers from
the "simplicity that is in Christ", "as the serpent beguiled Eve through
his subtilty" (2 Cor.11:3).
Paul's rebuke of the Jews in Rom.2 for their reliance on a mixture
of worldly wisdom and that of the Mosaic law has many similarities with
"Thou art called a Jew...and makest
thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and triest the things
that differ (AVmg.), being instructed out of the law; and
art confident that thou thyself
A fair description of Job before
his trials. Cp. Job's constant reasoning with God about things
which differed from his previous concept of God; "Doth not
the ear try words?" (12:11)
art a guide of the blind, a light
of them which are in darkness, an
"I was eyes to the blind" (29:15)
instructor of the foolish, a teacher
of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth
in the law Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest
thou not thyself?
"Thou hast instructed many...thy
words have upholden him that was falling...but now it is come
upon thee, and thou faintest" (4:3-5).
Thou that preachest a man should
not steal...commit adultery... (worship) idols...dost thou?
These were the 3 main things of
which the friends accused Job.
Thou that makest thy boast of the
Law, through breaking the Law dishonourest thou God?"
Elihu, on God's behalf, says that
Job's boasting of his righteousness implied God was doing
wickedly in punishing Job (34:10)
Their belief that they possessed such great wisdom led the Jews to
be self-righteous, in that they reasoned that if they were wicked, then
their wisdom would reveal this to them. Job was exactly the same- "Is
there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste ('palate'- i.e. spiritual
sensitivity, Song 5:6; Ps.119:103) discern perverse (evil) things?"(6:30).
Galatians 6 warns those who think themselves to be something spiritually
that they are nothing, deceiving themselves (v.13), and that by having
such an attitude they are sowing to the flesh, and will reap corruption
(v.8). Eliphaz interprets Job's downfall as an example of "they that
plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same" (4:8). The conscious
connection between these passages again shows that Job was seen as a
type of the self-righteous, often Judaist-influenced, members of the
Elihu rebukes Job for his self-righteousness: "Let us choose to us
judgement: let us know among ourselves what is good. For Job hath said,
I am righteous" (34:4,5). This seems to be behind Paul's words in 1
Thess. 5:21 "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good", which
is in the context of using "prophesyings" (v.20)- i.e. the true word
of God- to analyse and reject false Judaist teaching that was claimed
to be inspired. Thus again Elihu is interpreted as the true prophet
of God and Job as a false reasoner, doing so under the guise of speaking
the Truth, seeing he was a prophet. Job's reliance on works to bring
justification with God is clearly seen in 9:29: "If I be wicked, why
then labour I in vain?"- i.e. 'If I've been condemned, all these good
works I've done are vain- they won't give me the salvation I thought'.
The three friends also have similarities with the Jewish
system. When Job speaks of "the wicked" he is digging at the friends,
as they do at him when they speak of the wicked. Thus he implies in
21:22 that they were trying to "teach God knowledge"- alluded to in
Rom.11:34 and 1 Cor.2:16, where the Jews are mocked for thinking they
can instruct God and be "His counsellor", thus linking the friends with
the Jews. We have seen that Gal.6:7,8 concerning sowing to the flesh
is alluding to Eliphaz's description of Job in 4:8. However, the same
passage also has connections with Job 13:9, where Job accuses the friends
of mocking God. Gal.6 is saying that those who show themselves to be
outwardly wise (v.3), "making a fair show in the flesh (constraining)
you to be circumcised" (v.12), are mocking God. Thus the sweet-talking
Judaizers infiltrating the believers in Galatia correspond to both Job
and the friends. Paul refers at least twice in Galatians to the effect
this "thorn in the flesh" had had on his eyesight (4:14,15; 6:11). It
may be that Paul's association of the friends with the Judaizers subtly
drew the parallel between their smearing of Paul's name because of his
physical disabilities which they implied were sent by God to punish
him, and the Judaizers despising Paul spiritually because of his disability,
which was perhaps a result of the Jewish satan in his life. The descriptions
of the elders of Zion sitting on the ground in mourning for Jerusalem
in Lam.2:10 recalls the friends mourning for Job- thus associating both
them and Job with a condemned Israel (Job 2:12).
Job and Jesus
We have suggested that the sufferings of Job are framed in
language which connects with the sufferings of Hezekiah and also Israel,
whom he epitomized, at the time of the Assyrian invasion. Hezekiah and
Israel are both types of Christ (note how so many of the curses on Israel
for their disobedience came upon Christ on the cross). The suffering
servant of Isaiah often concerns all three of them. Thus Job's sufferings
point forward, via Hezekiah and Israel, to Christ. His final vindication
when he prays for his friends, lives many years, and sees his sons (42:8,16)
thus connects with the prophecy of Christ making "intercession for the
transgressors" who persecuted him- i.e. the Jews- and seeing his seed,
prolonging his days, after his crucifixion and resurrection (Is.53:10,12-
note how Is.53 is a chronological account of the events of Christ's
death, resurrection and ascension). The description of Job as the son
of man and a worm uses identical language as that used about Christ
on the cross in Ps.22:6. Thus the friends for whom Job prayed are equated
with the Jews who persecuted Christ, for whom Christ made intercession
both on the cross and after his ascension. Job being fatherless (6:27)
and being able to echo our Lord's "Which of you convinceth me of sin?"
with "Is there iniquity in my tongue?" (6:30) are just some of many
shadows of Christ to be found throughout the record of Job. Most comfortingly,
these shadows suggest that our Lord suffered the almost manic levels
of depression experienced by Job, especially in His final passion.
The whole of James 5:10-16 appears to be based on the example of Job:
v.12= Job 3:1; v.13,14 cp. Job's afflictions; v.11= Job 42:10; God's
mercy to Job is used by James as an encouragement to the sinners in
the ecclesia to repent; v.16= Job 42:8. Job is held up in v.11-13 as
an example of a prophet being afflicted, but then James goes on to speak
of praying for the sick who had sinned- i.e. those who had been struck
with physical illness as a result of their wickedness. The sick were
to "pray for one another, that ye may be healed", knowing that "the
effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much". This may
be alluding to Job's prayer for the friends in 42:8 while still sick
himself . The word for "fervent" is the same translated "earnest" in
the record of Christ's fervent prayer in the garden in Lk.22:44-46.
Job's prayer for the spiritual welfare of the friends points forward
to Christ's prayer in the garden. His prayer was for his salvation from
death- which was tantamount to praying for our salvation, and that was
certainly the motive behind it rather than of selfish self-preservation.
Only through His resurrection could we be saved. Thus the motivation
for Christ's earnest prayers for salvation was His desire to gain us
salvation. This is all confirmed by Job's prayer of 42:8 being connected
with Christ's prayers in Is.53. Another connection with Is.53 is in
2:12,13. The friends "knew him not" as the Jews also did not recognize
Christ because of the great physical torment (Is.52:14; 53:3). Like
those who crucified Christ "they sat down" watching him; cp. "and sitting
down they watched him there". The astonishment of the Jews at the ghastly
physical appearance of Christ on the cross (Is.52:14) is matched by
Job 17:7,8: "All my members are as a shadow..men shall be astonied at
this" (i.e. the state of his body). Job 5:11 is quoted in Prov.3:11,
which is a prophecy of Christ . Prov.3:13-15 describes our Lord's successful
finding of wisdom in the language of Job's unsuccessful search for it
in Job 28:16-19, implying He found what Job did not (cp. Rom.9:31,32).
Job, Jesus, Israel
We have noticed that Job represents both Christ and Israel.
This is nicely shown in 19:12-14: "His troops come together, and raise
up their way against me, and encamp around about my tabernacle". This
is reminiscent of the descriptions of the Roman armies (Christ's armies-
Matt.22:7) surrounding Jerusalem in AD70. There then follows a description
of Job's sufferings which has clear links with that of Christ's crucifixion
in Ps.69. "He hath put my brethren far from me (cp. Ps.69:8), and mine
acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed,
and my familiar friends have forgotten me". Note how the last phrase
links with Christ's description of Judas as "my own familiar friend",
implying there may be a connection between the one-time friends of Job,
and Judas. Both epitomized the Jewish system, and both were at one stage
trusted by Job/Jesus. Other descriptions of Job's sufferings in the
language of Ps.69 include Job 30:9 "Now am I their song, yea, I am their
byword" (cp. Ps.69:12); 22:11 "abundance of waters cover thee" (cp.
Ps.69:1,2); 2:11 the friends came "to mourn with him and to comfort
him", although Job said he turned to them for comfort in vain (16:2).
The Hebrew in 2:11 is identical to that in Ps.69:20, describing Christ
looking in vain for comforters.
There are at least two instances in the Gospels where the Lord Jesus
is quarrying his language from the book of Job, and shows a certain
identification of himself with Job. In Matt.19:23-26 the Lord explains
the irrelevance of riches to the spiritual good of entering the Kingdom,
saying that "with God all things are possible"- without money. This
is almost quoting Job 42:2, where Job comes to the conclusion that all
human strength is meaningless: "I know that Thou canst do everything".
It may be that Jesus is even implying that through the tribulation of
his life he had come to the same conclusion as Job.
Matt.5:27-30 is another example. The Lord says that looking on a woman
lustfully was the same as actually performing the sin, albeit within
the man's heart. This is the language of Job 31:1: "I made a covenant
with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?". Job recognized
that if he did so, this would be the same as actually committing the
deed. He says he will not look lustfully on a maid because "Is not destruction
to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?"
(31:3). Thus Job's understanding that a lustful look in the heart was
working iniquity was at the basis of Christ's teaching.
Paul and Job
Paul in Philippians appears to have read Job in a very positive
light (under inspiration), holding up his constant recognition that
God would be glorified through his sufferings as an example to himself
during a similar time of great physical trial. Whilst he wrote the letter
he was so ill that he had a choice of being able to "depart, and to
be with Christ" (Phil.1:23) or remain. One way of understanding this
is to read it as meaning that Paul was so ill that he could give up
his will to live if he chose, but struggled for their sake to keep alive.
No wonder his mind went to the afflicted Job, under inspiration. The
following are the connections apparent to me- doubtless there are many
1) Phil.1:19 is made a mess of in the A.V. Moffat does better with
"The outcome of all this, I know, will be my release". The Greek here
is almost identical to Job 13:16 LXX: "Though he slay me...even that
is to me an omen of salvation". The context is of Job speaking of
the good conscience he had maintained with God; similarly Paul's good
conscience made him fearless of approaching death, as he also made
clear when on trial for his life (Acts 23:1; 24:16).
2) "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life,
or by death" (Phil.1:20) seems to echo Job 13:13-15 (especially in
RVmg.), where Job says he is willing to face every trial, but knows
that death will be his lot; yet he is certain that God will still
be glorified through this. All of this is very apposite to Paul's
3) "To die is gain" (Phil.1:21) was Job's attitude too, particularly
in Job 10:20-22, where whilst recognizing the unpleasantness of death
he is speaking, in the context, as if he were willing to suffer it
to maintain his integrity with God. Paul is reasoning along similar
4) The previous three allusions to Job in Phil.1 make a fourth one
not unlikely. "In nothing terrified by your adversaries"
(Phil.1:28) employs a word classically used (although unique in the
N.T.) to describe the startled shying of horses, perhaps suggesting
Job 39:22, where the horse is said to mock at fear, "and is not affrighted;
neither turneth he back from the sword". This would be as if Paul
is saying 'Don't be terrified horses but like that one spoken of in
Job, which represented what, in the Lord's opinion, Job was potentially
By now it should be possible to read Job in a similar light to Adam-
striving for acceptance with God, and yet clearly a sinner. Like so
many of us, Job found it hard to accept the enormity of the guilt we
each personally have in the sight of God due to our sinfulness. It needed
severe mental and physical trials to make Job come to terms with his
true relationship to God, and yet those trials in themselves made him
a clear type of Christ. The Lord Jesus learnt the lesson from Job, to
accept the consequences of being a member of a fallen race regardless
of one's personal spiritual status. By contrast Israel, whom Job also
represented, trusted in their own righteousness and through their mental
stubbornness to have their concept of God changed, suffered and still
suffer the prolonged mental and physical torture of God's displeasure
with them, as Job did in his suffering. May we in these last days avoid
the fatal mixture of legalism, human philosophy and spiritual pride
which Job and his friends gave way to, so that we may develop our comprehension
of God's ways to the point where we too can say "I have heard of Thee
by the hearing of the ear (cp. our theoretical grasp of 'first principles'):
but now mine eye seeth Thee" (42:5).
(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.
(2) 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.
Other comments on Job have been made at the relevant
points during the exposition of James, when there appears to be allusion
back to the book.