I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva


with 9 comments

Thinking a little more about Girard, and about Wilson’s provocative Girardian reading of Job, this makes me wonder if Job is a type of Jesus. A quick search reveals that this is not a new idea, but it is definitely new to me — especially as I am often tempted to side with Job’s accusers against Job. Here are a few ways the type seems to fit:

  • Job is a righteous king brought low
  • Job learned obedience through suffering
  • Job is falsely accused
  • Job did not revile or threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly
  • Job is ultimately vindicated
  • Job is clearly a type of the suffering servant

As to the suffering servant, there may even be ways that Job’s suffering is a type of substitutionary suffering. Job ultimately mediates for his own accusers. And while we are not left thinking that he is an explicit substitute for his people, there is always a sense in which a people are “in” their ruler. Finally, if Job is the Jobab of Genesis 10, then he is part of the Shemite / Eberite seed people before the line is narrowed to Abraham — so his preservation through suffering is representative of the preservation of the substitutionary seed.

Continuing the idea of substitution or identification, it is interesting that Job’s vindication in the face of his accusers and God’s vindication in the face of Satan are linked together. God has entrusted his name and reputation to a mere man. Amazingly, we who are declared righteous in Jesus are in the same position as we bear his name before the world.

Finally, it is instructive to see the way that God’s declaration of Job’s uprightness is worked out in time. We are left wondering until the very end of the book whether God’s preliminary verdict over Job will prove to be justified. There is no resting on past experience for Job; he must labor to persevere even through intense suffering.

Picture source: Job.

Written by Scott Moonen

April 30, 2011 at 11:53 am

9 Responses

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  1. One of the things that’s always perturbed my interest about Job is that the exhortations for Job to “curse” God use the underlying Hebrew word “bārak” meaning “bless”. This is radically different from “qālal” which is generally translated as condemn/curse/blaspheme; or “ārar” which translates to “put a curse on”.

    The closest I’ve read to a reasonable explanation suggests that “cursing God” would be so verboten that it was written euphemistically as “bless God”. However Ex 22:28 doesn’t shy away from explicitly writing about “ārar”ing God.

    In light of that, as a Christian, should I sing along with songs that mention blessing God? Is it presumptuous or blasphemous for unholy-made-holy-only-by-the-grace-of-God humans to try and bless God? And if one sees Job as a type of Christ, one starts to see the parallels in temptation for Job to curse God, and the temptation of Jesus in Mt 4:1-11.

    Anyways, thanks for the post.


    Tim Chase

    April 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  2. Hi Tim! I hope all is well with y’all. Thanks for writing.

    Your reference to Matthew 4 suggests another typological parallel — the Father’s declaration over Jesus in Matthew 3 (immediately prior to Jesus’s wilderness experience) is parallel to God’s rejoicing over Job just prior to Job’s sufferings. Interestingly, both Job and Jesus have a second heavenly affirmation (Job 2 vs. transfiguration) just before an intensification of their suffering.

    I had no idea about the euphemistic use of bless; that is fascinating! As to our singing, a cursory search brings up enough uses of “barak” in the Psalms that we can have reasonable confidence there. I suppose the contrast is exactly why the euphemism is fascinating.

    Scott Moonen

    May 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

  3. It seems to be a popular route to blessed demise, to have the Lord speak well of you. Job gets praised and then loses everything; Jesus gets praised and then tempted en-route to his crucifixion. I find Lk 12:48b one of the more terrifying verses in the Bible, acknowledging that God has richly blessed me. Am I a worthy steward of that blessing?

    As for the uses of “bārak”, while it’s used a lot in the Psalms, as far as I can tell, only the *name* of the Lord is blessed. The only place where I see God Himself being blessed is in Gen 9:26. Is there a difference between blessing God and blessing his Name? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I even know what is meant by “bless the name of the Lord”. Revere? Honor? Praise? Make His name feel better? This is one of those church-isms that seems to be (over)used without detailing its meaning.

    Tim Chase

    May 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

  4. Thanks, Tim. I like the expression “blessed demise.”

    I’m not sure I follow you on the Psalms. A few counterexamples would seem to be Ps. 18, 26, 28, 34, 68.

    It would be fair to say that the Psalms are a tutorial on what it is to bless God: a learning by doing. I want to learn the Psalms bit by bit. So far we’ve learned six for family singing.

    Scott Moonen

    May 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

  5. Ah, good catches on a couple of those. My NIV (for which I happen to have a concordance for this level of study) translates 26:12, 28:6 & 68:26 as “praise”; and 34:1 as “extol” instead of “bless”. I must have missed finding your reference in ch18 which only seems to have “bārak to my Rock” (now I’m hearing 1950’s riffs of Bill Haley and his Comets singing “bārak around the clock”…) Okay, so that gives pretty solid evidence in multiple places that it was permissible and good to “bārak” the Lord. However, that still leaves me scratching my head at the usage in Job 1:11, 2:5 and 2:9. And the NIV’s translations using “praise” and “extol” shed light on what may be meant by “bless the Lord”.

    Tim Chase

    May 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

  6. Yeah, the usage in Job is definitely interesting.

    I’ve heard it suggested that “rock” in the singular always refers to God in the Psalms, as in Ps. 18. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it allows for an interesting reading of Ps. 137.

    Scott Moonen

    May 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

  7. I had the wrong Jobab, by the way; it is the Jobab of Genesis 36 that is sometimes thought to be Job.

    Scott Moonen

    September 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm

  8. […] See also: Common disgrace, Prophet, Job. […]

  9. […] Speaking of Toby, I reread Lewis’s space trilogy earlier this year. It occurs suddenly to me that the vision of dominion–maturity set for Tor and Tinidril and their generations is the exact picture of what Sumpter sees laid out for us in God’s wrestling with Job. I commend this reading of Job to you, as well as the Girardian reading. […]

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