Was Job a Real Person?

Of course he was!

Ezekiel 14:14
Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign LORD.

I realize that Ezekiel is filled with dream-like imagery, but this message from the Lord (and the rest of the section) certainly confirms to me that they were real individuals. Not that I needed any more convincing.

19 Responses to “Was Job a Real Person?”


  1. 1 Bryan

    This is one of the main reasons I believe the book of Job is historical, and not just a parable. He is also mentioned in James 5:11. Another reason is the amount of detail given about Job in the book, which is usually absent from parables and the like.

    The same reasons are why I take Jonah as historical as well.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for the James reference.

    I was also thinking about the details, like the names of Job’s friends etc. after I wrote the post.

    Jeff

  3. 3 Mitchell Powell

    E. W. Bullinger thinks he may have been the son of Issachar of Genesis 46:13. (You’d have to consult a KJV for that one, though–the NIV reads “Jashub”).

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    I’d never heard of anything like that before. That would be interesting if true.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Mitchell Powell

    It would also require that Job not be in Egypt with the rest of his kin. I’m thinking it’s unlikely.

  6. 6 Ashley Phillips

    I dont care if Job was real or not. I think that even if this book of the Bible were based on parody that the message is still effective. Why are we wasting our time trying to figure out if he was real or not? God put the book of Job in the Bible for us to real and learn from, is it any less effective if it isnt real?

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    I believe it’s more legitimate if he’s a real person, especially since others in the Bible talk about him as a real person. Otherwise that may mean they’re wrong.
    Jeff

  8. 8 Mitchell Powell

    @Ashley,

    The book is great, real or not–you’re right there. And then there’s the third possibility that it’s fiction based on the experiences of some actual guy. But there’s this odd level of interestingness to be found in working out, as best we can, the circumstances of how the Bible was written. Even if it does no theological good, I still enjoy spending the time thinking about the Scripture, both for personal listening to God and, less importantly, for the mental exercise of working out what’s going on historically.

  9. 9 Scripture Zealot

    Mitchell, I’m not following you on the possibility “that it’s fiction based on the experiences of some actual guy.” I’m not sure how that would be fiction. Let me know. I’m kinda dull.
    Jeff

  10. 10 Stan McCullars

    Jeff, I’m with you on the significance of Job being a real person. Let’s add Jonah to the list. And you’re right in that if he did not exist the New Testament writers were wrong and the New Testament cannot be trusted.

  11. 11 Mitchell Powell

    Jeff, Wow! Looking over this thread, I can see that I haven’t been all too clear. So for clarity: I think Job was indeed a real person. The assumption that what looks like history in the Bible is indeed history is the only way the whole thing coherently holds together in my mind. But as to my “third possibility,” I was only writing part of my thought. Oops.

    The whole thought ran something like this. Although I look at Job as history, some people (including Bible-believing Christians) see the Bible as containing a great deal of mythology. Some of these folk, including, Peter Enns, see the Genesis accounts as completely ahistorical, while we know that certain parts of the OT are completely historical, such as accounts of how the Babylonian captivity occurred. Now, if one were to take an Enns-like approach, one couldn’t but notice that the allegedly ahistorical parts of the OT are welded without any clear point of demarcation onto the historical parts of the OT. So somewhere in between, if we follow a myth-based perspective, there are areas where fact and fiction are intermingled. I was just suggesting that, if we are to look at the possibility that Job is entirely real versus the idea that Job is entirely parabolic, we also have to consider the possibility that Job is partially real but partially mythological.

    Hope that helps.

  12. 12 Scripture Zealot

    Mitchell thanks for clarifying.

    How about this: Adam and Eve are real individuals (which we do believe) but the serpent was a fictitious (or metaphorical) representation of Satan. Not sure if that’s a good example of third possibility.
    Jeff

  13. 13 Mitchell Powell

    That sounds like a fair example, though since I’m not a “third possibility” type myself, I’m not sure what such a person would think of that particular one.

  14. 14 Scripture Zealot

    I don’t know either.
    Jeff

  15. 15 Cornelius

    Dear posters,

    I know it’s been a while since the last post and I am just looking at how real Job was. I believe there are serious implications for this, the most important of which is the personhood of the devil. Based on what I have read, the devil is not PERSONIFIED anywhere else. The ezekiel reference to satan as lucifer is flawed in my opinion because lucifer is another name for a morning star, to which Jesus was referenced as in revelations. Also, if we were to take the Bible at face value, no where does Genesis state that the snake is the devil. It does, however, state that the snake is a creation of God. The implication is that after the fall, there is this blame game between man and woman, then woman to creation. So to speak, we are blaming creation for it’s misuse. Opinions?

  16. 16 James

    March 26/11 to Cornelius
    GOOD POST of yours above

    I think Job was a real person. At least some of his stories were parables. Job 27:1 Job 29:1.:”moreover Job continued his parable and said.” Nevertheless,they hold some importatant and valid lessons for us today.
    Your point about Lucifer. See Isa 14:12….Him falling from heaven. Look at v 4 Isaiah was refering to the King of Babylon!!!!!!! I don’t know where Lucifer the Devil doctrine came from but I guess from Catholic history

  17. 17 James

    Jeff,
    I agree Adam and Eve were real people. It’s possible that “the serpent” was a real person also, but not a person that God had delt with ie. given the conversion experience or Holy ghost to…..whatever he did to the pair in the Garden to “start this journey of ours off with”

    Peter

  18. 18 Judy

    I have a question about the story of Job being historical, or a parable, because Satan presented himself to God with the sons of God. I thought Satan had been banished from heaven.

    Judy

  19. 19 Scripture Zealot

    I’m not sure how that works, but they can certainly communicate and I’m not sure if there are boundaries to heaven or if God has to stay there. “God lives in a high and holy place but also with those who are humble and contrite in spirit.” (Psalm 66:2b)
    Jeff

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