No one knows the exact time in which Job lived, however, many theologians surmise that the incidents of his life may have occurred alongside some of events documented in the book of Genesis. Job’s lengthy life (Job 42:16), his regular intercession before God as priest of his family (1:5), his wealth calculated in the number of flocks and herds (1:3, 42:12), and the presence of nomadic Chaldean and Sabean raiding parties (1:15-17) suggest he most likely was alive before the time of Moses and may have been a contemporary of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. Considering he may have lived so early in biblical history, that there were yet no written commands of God and that he resided in the land of Uz (well outside of the lands of the patriarchs), it is quite significant to note that Job had a firm grasp of key tenets of the faith. His regular practice of presenting burnt offerings on behalf of his children demonstrated his understanding that sin was an affront to the Lord that required a blood sacrifice, (1: 4-6) and his recognition of the need for an intermediary to approach God revealed at least a basic understanding of God’s holiness. (9:32-34)
Because of his intense suffering, Job understandably assumed he was nearing the end of his life, and longed for the day that his pain would be over. Weary from the physical and emotional pain and unrelenting accusations from his companions, Job continued in his faith, confidently proclaiming ‘I know my Redeemer lives.’ (19:25)
The word for redeemer used in this verse (“go’el” in the Hebrew) is the same used in the book of Ruth to describe Boaz who stepped in to fulfill the role of kinsman redeemer. (Ruth 2, 4) According to various provisions in the Law of Moses, (Lev. 25, Num. 35:19-21; Deut. 25:5-10) this redeemer was the nearest male who had the right and responsibility of acting on behalf of a relative who was in danger, need, or physical distress. Job pointed to his “go’el” as alive and active and who would rescue him even if his flesh succumbed to his diseases, and he didn’t survive to see it.
Job could only see his redeemer by faith, but through the clarity of the New Testament, the living redeemer is clearly revealed in Jesus Christ. Though trust in the death and resurrection of Christ, God has “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” (Col 1:13) Even when our situations bring about deep pain, suffering and hardship, this secure position Christ invites believers to echo the words of Job and proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”