Job’s Redeemer


One of the most memorable verses in Job is the Easter refrain, “I know that my redeemer lives …”. It seemingly appears as a non-sequitur in the midst of Job’s contemplation of death. However, we should remember that the “Kinsman Redeemer” is an important Old Testament concept.
I have no special qualification to discuss this, other than a little knowledge and a love for God’s Word. So I advise you to test my thoughts.  I have been participating in a small group study based on the Job study in  Concordia Publishing Lifelight series.  However, these thoughts did not derive directly from that study,

Earlier, before the above statement of faith, Job calls on heaven to speak or witness for him,

Even now my witness is in heaven;
    my advocate is on high.   (Job 16:19)

Its not always easy to tell when Job is being sarcastic, he may be here.   Compare v20 with its alternate meaning.

Back further in chapter 14, Job says,

My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
    you will cover over my sin.  (Job 14:17)

Since it is part of a longer exposition, I think this is a genuine request that God fix things for him.

The role of redeemer, or kinsman redeemer, is described in Levitical law.   His responsibilities included repurchasing land that had been sold, and repurchasing family members sold into slavery to repay debt.  An example of the practice is described in the book of Ruth, especially in the 4th chapter.

That Job understood the practice, at least in principle, is demonstrated because he performed some of those duties for those who had no one to help them.  He stood up for, and helped the poor, fatherless, dying, widows, blind, lame, needy, strangers and victims of the wicked.  He did his best to be a redeemer, not just for family, but anyone in need.

As Christians, especially during Lent and Easter, These images help us to understand Christ’s mission.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ a lamb without blemish or defect.  (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Christ redeemed us from slavery with his sacrifice, his blood and his life.   As Paul writes:

God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law.  … So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child.   (Gal 4:4,5,7)

We are redeemed, from the slavery of the Law and Sin, to be adopted into God’s family.  Thanks be to God!

In closing, I’d like to add that I really like Job’s description, “My offenses will be sealed up in a bag.”

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