THE PARABLE IN JOB
The Story of Job is thought to be the oldest book in the Old Testament. Whether it was written at the time of Job, or by a later inspired writer, it is very old. The background given, Sabean and Chaldean raids, indicates that Job lived during the time the Children of Israel were in Egypt. If this is correct, the Story of Job precedes the Giving of the Law to Moses.
Job fits the model of the patriarchs. His wealth was measured in terms of livestock 1, he served as priest for his family 2, and he lived for a very long time. According to scripture, Job lived for 140 years after 3 his trials.
There are some unusual theological issues raised by the Story of Job that I do not understand. My only explanation is that God is sovereign, and His will is perfect. The end result of Job’s trials was that Satan was proven wrong and God was glorified.
The Book of Job is unusual, and its placement at the end of eight books (II Samuel through Esther) detailing the Davidic Kingdom of Israel is unusual. I believe its divinely inspired placement is due to the fact that the Story of Job is a parable for the story of Israel. Job was richly blessed and had everything he wanted. Israel was richly blessed and had all that a nation wanted. At the peak of the Kingdom of Israel, during Solomon’s reign, the wealth and influence of Israel was renowned. We may subconsciously discount this era because of familiarity with the Bible, but Israel was rich! The inside of the Temple was covered with gold 4! Even the flooring was covered with gold 5. During Herod’s time, and possibly during that of Solomon, parts of the outside of the Temple were covered with gold 6!
Job had it all, but lost it all. Israel had it all, and lost it all. The cause of the losses was different, but the end result will be the same. In the end, Job had double the blessings 7 he had before his trials. He specifically possessed twice as many livestock 8. In the end, Israel will be richly blessed, also. “The wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come 9.” “... in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold...10 ”
My personal favorite passage from the Book of Job is his statement regarding the Resurrection. Think of it! Before the Giving of the Law to Moses, Job was describing the Resurrection!
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the Earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 11
Job spoke of the Redeemer long before the Plan of God was revealed through the person of Jesus. Job expected a Resurrection body. His story is a parable of Israel. Like Job, I yearn for the day when I will see Jesus standing on the Earth. Praise His name!
1 - Job 1:3
2 - Job 1:5
3 - Job 42:16
4 - I Kings 6:20-22
5 - I Kings 6:30
6 - The Wars of the Jews, Josephus, book 5, chapter 5, section 4.
7 - Job 42:10
8 - Job 42:12
9 - Isaiah 60:5
10 - Isaiah 60:9
11 - Job 19:25-27