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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: 

Isaiah 40


:14  21:22
:17  6:18
:22  9:8
:23 12:21
:24 14:8
:26  25:3
:27  3:23
:31 29:20

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 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: 

Deut. 28


: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" (21:5;17:8).
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 satan. 

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: 

Romans 9


: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: 

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 Jews.  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 Angel.." The satan/Angel of Job?
:11 " A king...Abaddon..Apollyon"  ('Destroyer').  " 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.