Job and the Ten Commandments

By COGwriter

There is a book in the Bible called Job. It is a book that shows tests and trials that a man named Job went through.

Job is commemorated by the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod in their Calendar of Saints on May 9, by the Roman Catholic Church on May 10, and by the Eastern Orthodox Church on May 6. He is also commemorated by the "Armenian Apostolic Church" on May 6 and December 26, and by the Coptic Orthodox Church on April 27 and August 29.

While the Church of God does not commemorate a specific date, we recognized Job as one God worked with (e.g. Job 38-42) and blessed (Job 42:12) in the Old Testament. Job is also mentioned in the New Testament:

11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11, NKJV throughout unless as otherwise noted).

Many scholars teach that Job was likely to have been alive around the time of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), thus the subjects in the Book of Job were all known prior to Mount Sinai. Biblical evidence includes the facts that both Job and Abraham's wealth are listed in livestock (Job 1:3;42:12; Genesis 12:16;13:2;30:43;32:5), the Chaldeans are portrayed as raiders (Job 1:17; as a people, they were not raiders later), the particular Hebrew word for 'piece of silver' in Job 42:11 is only used otherwise in conjunction with Jacob (Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32), and Job's age (Job 42:16) appears to be consistent with the patriarchs.

Job knew about God before the Book of Genesis was written, as he said, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You" (Job 42:5).

Here are some Jewish views on when Job may have lived:

According to Bar Ḳappara, Job lived in the time of Abraham; according to Abba b. Kahana, in the time of Jacob, he having married Dinah, Jacob's daughter (ib.; B. B. 15b; comp. additions in Targ. Yer. to Job ii. 9). R. Levi said that Job lived in the time of Jacob's sons; and he also said, in the name of Jose b. Ḥalafta, that Job was born when Jacob and his children entered Egypt and that he died when the Israelites left that country. Job consequently lived 210 years (comp. Rashi on Ex. xii. 40). When Satan came to accuse the Israelites of being idolaters, God set him against Job, whence Job's misfortunes (Gen. R. l.c.). This opinion is supported by the statement that Job with Jethro and Balaam was consulted by Pharaoh as to the means of reducing the number of the children of Israel and that Job was stricken with calamity because he had remained silent (Sanh. 106a; Soṭah 11a). It may be mentioned that this legend is narrated differently in the "Sefer ha-Yashar" (section "Shemot," p. 110a, ed. Leghorn, 1870) as follows: At first Job, who was one of Pharaoh's eunuchs and counselors, advised Pharaoh to have every male child murdered (Ex. i. 16). Afterward Pharaoh, having had a dream which prognosticated the birth of a helper, again consulted Job. The latter answered evasively: "Let the king do as he pleases" ("Sefer ha-Yashar," l.c. p. 111a). Levi b. Laḥma also held that Job lived in the time of Moses, by whom the Book of Job was written. Some of the rabbis even declare that the one servant of Pharaoh who feared the word of God (Ex. ix. 20) was Job (Ex. R. xii. 3). Raba, specifying the time more accurately, said Job lived in the time of the spies who were sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (B. B. 15a). According to these rabbis, Job was a Gentile—an opinion which is elsewhere expressed more fully, in that Job is said to have been a pious Gentile or one of the prophets of the Gentiles (ib. 15b; Seder 'Olam R. xxi.). Other tannaim place Job variously in the reign of Saba, in that of the Chaldees, and in that of Ahasuerus. R. Johanan and R. Eleazar both declared that Job was one of those who returned from the Captivity and that his bet ha-midrash was at Tiberias (Yer. Soṭah v. 8; B. B. l.c.; Gen. R. l.c.). It is said in B. B. (ib.) that these tannaim necessarily considered Job an Israelite; but R. Hananeel (ad loc.) has in his text, "All the Tannaim and Amoraim, with the exception of the one who placed Job in the time of Jacob, were of opinion that Job was an Israelite" (comp. also Gen. R. l.c.). (Job. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8692-job accessed 05/06/15)

A few have indicated that Job could have been the first written book of the Bible, though many point to a later time of writing. Even if it were not written down prior to Mount Sinai, the narrative appears to be before the children of Israel entered the land of Egypt during the time of Joseph.

Many who teach that Christians do not need to obey the ten commandments also teach that the ten commandments were not in effect prior to Mount Sinai (Ex 20). The truth is that all of the ten commandments are listed in the Bible prior to Mount Sinai (please see the article Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai?).

Although the Book of Job does not specifically quote any of the ten commandments, it does appear to allude to each one of them. This suggests that the ten commandments were not only known before Mount Sinai, but that they were possibly known outside of the descendants of Israel.

Commandment 1:

2 "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 "You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:2-3)

The Book of Job states:

21 Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).

28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding' (Job 28:28).

28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgement, For I would have denied God who is above (Job 31:28).

1 The Job answered the LORD and said: 2 'I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You' (Job 42:1-2).

What is interesting about Job 28:28 is that Job said that this is what God said to man and there is no record of this being said in Genesis (which is the primary biblical book with information prior to the story of Job), thus this verse proves that God spoke to humankind prior to Moses in at least one way that was not recorded in Genesis. Thus this refutes the argument that none prior to Mount Sinai could have known what the commandments were! If there were no commandments in effect, how could denying God be an iniquity deserving of judgement?

Commandment 2:

4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image -- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

The Book of Job states:

27 If I have observed the sun when it shines, or the moon moving in its brightness, so that my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand; 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgement, For I would have denied God who is above (Job 31:27-28).

The observing of the sun and moon, whereby one is enticed, as well kissing one's own hand, are believed by most commentators to have been practices associated with idolatry.

Commandment 3:

7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

The Book of Job states:

5 It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts (Job 1:5).

21 Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).

9 Curse God and die! (Job 2:9).

10 In all this, Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

The third commandment is clearly shown in Job to have been understood. It is clear that before Mount Sinai one could 'sin with his lips,' and that 'sin' was known to exist then (after Mount Sinai, God did tell the Israelites that the people who used to live in the land sinned by violating this command, Leviticus 18:21,27).

Commandment 4:

8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

The Book of Job states:

13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great (Job 2:13).

1 Is there not a time of hard service for man on the earth (Job 7:1).

5 That the triumping of the wicked is short...20 Because he knows no quietness in his heart (Job 20:5,20).

21 Now aquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace (Job 22:21).

4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? (Job 38:4).

Job 2:13 supports the concept that the week was being observed prior to Mount Sinai. It is consistent with the two accounts in Genesis that a week was used as a period of rejoicing (Gen 29:22,27-28) and grieving (Genesis 50:10).

Job 7:1 supports the concept of "six days shall you labor" (Exodus 20:8) which is part of the fourth commandment. Job 20:20 supports the concept found in Hebrews 4:3-6 that those do who disobey "shall not enter My rest." Whereas Job 22:21 supports the related concept that "we who believed do enter that rest...There remains therefore a rest (Greek sabbitismos, 'a sabbath observance') for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:3,9).

In Job 38:4, God says He 'laid the foundations of the earth' which is similar to the concept in Exodus 20:11 'For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them'. Thus in Job we see the nearly all the concepts of the fourth commandment.

Commandment 5:

12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

The Book of Job states:

21 His sons come to honor (Job 14:21).

5 He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail (Job 17:5).

8 But the mighty man possessed the land, and the honorable man dwelt in it (Job 22:8).

These verses support the concept that one is to be honorable, children are to honor their father, and that the children are to become honorable, whereas the fifth commandment says to give honor (Exodus 20:12) which implies that parents are to be honorable.

Commandment 6:

13 "You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)

The Book of Job states:

14 The murderer rises with the light; He kills the poor and needy; And in the night he's like a thief (Job 24:14).

39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley (Job 31:39-40).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered murder to be wrong. Job 24:14 is similar to a teaching by Jesus tieing in murder and thievery together:

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10).

Notice that Job knew of this connection thousands of years before Jesus stated it as recorded by John.

Commandment 7:

14 "You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

The Book of Job states:

15 The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, 'No eye will see me'; and he disguises his face (Job 24:15).

1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? (Job 31:1).

9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, 10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. 11 For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase. (Job 31:9-12).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions knew adultery was prohibited and an 'iniquity deserving of judgement.'

Commandment 8:

15 "You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

The Book of Job states:

5 Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end? 6 For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, and stripped the naked of their clothing (Job 22:5-6).

14 And in the night he's like a thief (Job 24:14).

39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley (Job 31:39-40).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered stealing to be wrong.

Commandment 9:

16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

The Book of Job states:

28 I would never lie to your face (Job 6:28).

35 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility; Their womb prepares deceit (Job 15:35).

25 Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar and make my speech worth nothing? (Job 24:25).

4 My lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit (Job 27:4).

6 Should I lie concerning my right? (Job 34:6).

4 For truly my words are not false (Job 36:4).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered 'bearing false witness' to be wrong.

Commandment 10:

17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20:17)

The Book of Job states:

2 And envy slays a simple one (Job 5:2).

12 Why does your heart carry you away, and what do your eyes wink at, that you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth? (Job 15:12-13).

1 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility (Job 15:35).

1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? (Job 31:1).

9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, 10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. 11 For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase. (Job 31:9-12).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered covetousness (or evil desire) to be wrong. Since Paul wrote, "I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet.' " (Rom 7:7), it is clear that the law against covetousness must have been in effect prior to Mount Sinai.

Job Was Blameless

Although Job had issues, according to God, Job was blameless:

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" (Job 1:8)

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." (Job 2:3)

Job treasured God's words and commands:

12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food. (Job 23:12)

And that was BEFORE God spoke to him personally, later on in the Book of Job.

Job was blameless because he kept the Ten Commandments.

How can Christians know that?

Well, notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

5 ... concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:5-6)

The law included the Ten Commandments.

Job's friend, Eliphaz the Temanite, called Job "righteous" (Job 22:3).

The Bible teaches: "all Your commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172).

Job kept the Ten Commandments.

There Was Law Before Mt. Sinai

"Sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4) or as it says in the AV "sin is the trangression of the law." The terms sin (9), sinned (6), and sins (1) are used 16 times in the the Book of Job (NKJV).

How could there be sin if there was no law, since according to an interesting scripture by the Apostle Paul, "sin is not imputed when there is no law?" (Romans 5:13).

In the Book of Job, Elihu said:

5 Behold God is mighty...10 He also opens their ear to instruction, and commands that they turn from iniquity. 11 If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. 12 But of they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword and they shall die [as one] without knowledge (Job 36:5,10-12).

If people in Job's day were not supposed to know about God's law, how could they obey Him? If those who disobey will perish like those that have no knowledge of God and His ways, then they must have had knowledge of God and His laws.

There is another interesting passage from the Apostle Paul to consider:

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7)

What is so interesting about that?

Well, Paul said it was only because there was an existing law against coveting that he understood that he was not to covet.

But, Job knew, prior to Mount Sinai that he was not to covet. Job specifically knew it was wrong to covet his neighbor's wife.

The Book of Job demonstrates that God has revealed information that is not specifically listed in the Book of Genesis (Job 28:28;36:12;42:5). This is also consistent with the following concerning what God said to Isaac related to his father Abraham:

4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. (Genesis 26:4-5)

The Book of Job demonstrates that sin and God's Ten Commandment law were known prior to Mount Sinai.

P.S. Some have claimed that the ten commandments are not for Christians, for more information please check out Jesus Taught Each of the Ten Commandments and Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross?

While some may try to reason around what the Book of Job teaches, it is a fact that early Christians did believe that they needed to keep the Ten Commandments (for detailed proof, see The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). And real Christians believe that today.

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