Who is being spoken of in Job 19:25?                                                   by Jack Kettler


“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26)


If the reader has ever spent time in a graveyard reading what is on the tombstones, they have almost certainly seen these passages from Job.


As will be seen in the first commentary entry, the idea here of a “redeemer” does not have full Messianic theology explicit in it. Christians in the present, looking back in time, can unquestionably see Christ in Job’s theology.


What did Job mean by “redeemer?”


To answer this question, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges will be consulted:


“25. For I know] Rather, but I know. This is now something higher to which his mind rises. He desires no doubt to be vindicated before men, and would wish that all generations to come should know his claim to rectitude, when he no more lived himself to make it (Job 19:23-24); but what he desires above all things is that he might see God who now hides His face from him, and meet Him, for the meeting could not but be with joy (cf. ch. Job 23:6 seq.). Job’s problem is first of all a problem of religious life, and only in the second place a speculative one. And the speculative elements in it have no further meaning than as they aggravate the practical religious trouble. A solution of his problem, therefore, was possible in only one way, viz. by his seeing God (cf. ch. Job 42:5)—for to see God is to see Him in peace and reconciliation. And it is to grasp the assurance of this that Job’s heart now reaches forth its hand.”


“my Redeemer liveth] “Liveth” means more than is, exists. Job uses the word in opposition to himself—he dies but his redeemer lives after him. The term redeemer (Heb. gô’çl) is frequently used of God as the deliverer of His people out of captivity, e.g. very often in Isaiah 40 seq. (ch. Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 49:26, Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 54:8), and also as the deliverer of individuals from distress, Genesis 48:16; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 103:4. Among men the Goel was the nearest blood-relation, on whom it lay to perform certain offices in connexion with the deceased whose Goel he was, particularly to avenge his blood, if he had been unjustly slain (Ruth 2:20, &c.; Numbers 35:19). Job here names God his Goel. The passage stands in close relation with ch. Job 16:18-19, where he names God his “witness” and “sponsor” or representative. It is probable, therefore, that there is an allusion to the Goel among men—Job has in God a Goel who liveth. This Goel will vindicate his rights against the wrong both of men and God (Job 19:3; Job 19:7). At the same time this vindication is regarded less as an avenging of him, at least on others (though cf. Job 19:28-29), than as a manifestation of his innocence. This manifestation can only be made by God’s appearing and shewing the true relation in which Job stands to Him, and by Job’s seeing God. For his distress lay in God’s hiding His face from him, and his redemption must come through his again beholding God in peace. Thus, the ideas of Goel and redeemer virtually coincide.” (underlining emphasis mine)


“he shall stand at the latter day] To stand means to arise and appear, to come forward (as a witness, Deuteronomy 19:15; Psalm 37:12), or to interpose (as a judge, Psalm 12:5). The word day has no place here. The expression “the latter” means either last or later. It is used of God as the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12), but also otherwise in a comparative sense, later, to come, following (Psalm 48:13; Psalm 78:4; Ecclesiastes 4:16; Job 18:20). Here the word is an epithet of God and can hardly describe Him as the last, for Job certainly does not contemplate his vindication being put off till the end of all things. The expression is parallel to “my Goel” in the first clause, and literally rendered, means: and he who cometh after (me) shall stand; or, and as one who cometh after (me) he shall stand. The trans., in after time he shall stand, is nearly equivalent. Ewald and other high authorities render, an afterman, i. e. a vindicator.”


“upon the earth] Better, the dust. The word does not mean earth in opposition to heaven; such an antithesis did not need to be expressed; if God came forward or interposed in Job’s behalf He must do so upon the earth. The word “dust” carries rather an allusion to the earth as that wherein Job shall have been laid before God shall appear for him—the same allusion as is carried in the words “Goel” and “he who cometh after me;” cf. ch. Job 7:21, Job 17:16, Job 20:11, Job 21:26, &c.” (1)


The commentator does justice to the text using the grammatical, historical exegetical method. Job was looking to God as his redeemer. It is a danger to commit a historical anachronism when interpreting ancient texts. An anachronism is reading a modern belief into an ancient historical text.


Doe Job 19:25 point toward Christ, our redeemer? The reader will notice that this is a different question than the starting question.  


With this 2nd question in mind, Matthew Poole's Commentary will be consulted:


“This is the reason of his great confidence in the goodness of his cause, and his willingness to have the matter depending between him and his friends published and submitted to any trial, because he had a living and powerful Redeemer to plead his cause, and vindicate his person from all their severe censures, and to give sentence for him.”


“I know: I have no knowledge, nor confidence, nor hope of restitution to the prosperities of this life; yet this one thing I know, which is more comfortable and considerable, and therein I rejoice, though I be now a dying man, and in a desperate condition for this life.”


“My redeemer; in whom I have a particular interest, and he hath a particular care of me.”


“Quest. What redeemer and what deliverance doth Job speak of in this and the two following verses?”


“Answ. Some late interpreters understand this place metaphorically, of God’s delivering Job out of his doleful and desperate condition, and restoring him to his former splendour and happiness in the world; it being a very usual thing in Scripture to call eminent dangers or calamities by the name of death, as Psalm 22:15 88:4,5 Eze 37:11,12 2 Corinthians 11:23; and great and glorious deliverances by the name of quickening and resurrection, as Psalm 71:20 Isaiah 26:19 Romans 11:15. But the most interpreters, both ancient and modern, understand it of Christ, and of his resurrection, and of Job’s resurrection to life by his power and favour; which seems most probable for many reasons.”


“1. From that known rule, that a proper and literal interpretation of Scripture is always to be preferred before the metaphorical, where it suits with the text and with other scriptures.”


“2. From the Hebrew word goel, here used; which although sometimes it be used of God absolutely, or essentially considered, yet it most properly agrees to Jesus Christ; for this word, as all Hebricians know, is primarily used of the next kinsman, whose office it was to redeem by a price paid the sold or mortgaged estate of his deceased kinsman, Leviticus 25:25; and to revenge his death, Numbers 35:12; and to maintain his name and honour, by raising up seed to him, Deu 25:5: all which most fitly agrees to Christ, who is our nearest Kinsman and Brother, Hebrews 2:11, as having taken our nature upon him by incarnation; who also hath redeemed that everlasting inheritance which our first parents had utterly lost and sold by the price of his own blood; and hath revenged the death of mankind upon the great contriver of it, the devil, by destroying him and his kingdom; and hath taken a course to preserve our name, and honour, and persons to eternity. And if the places where God is called Goel in the Old Testament be examined, it will be found that either all or most of them may be, and some of them must be, understood of God the Son, or of Christ, as Genesis 48:16 Isaiah 49:20. See also Psalm 74:2 Isaiah 41:14 44:16 49:7 52:3 63:16.”


“3. Because Job was so far from such a firm confidence as he here professeth, that he had not the least degree of hope of any such glorious temporal restoration as his friends promised to him, as we have oft seen and observed in the former discourses, as Job 16:22 17:12,13, &c. And therefore, that hope which every righteous man hath in his death, Proverbs 14:32, and which Job oft professeth that he had, must necessarily be fixed upon his happiness in the future life.”


“4. Because some of the following expressions cannot without wresting and violence be applied to a metaphorical resurrection, as we shall see in the sequel.”


“5. Because this is a more lofty and spiritual strain than any in Job’s former discourses, and quite contrary to them. And as they generally savour of dejection and diffidence, and do either declare or increase his grief; so, this puts him into another and much better temper. And therefore, it is well observed, that after this time and these expressions we meet not with any such impatient or despairing passages as we had before; which shows that they had inspired him with new life and comfort.”


“6. Because this well agrees with other passages in this book; wherein Job declareth, that although he had no hope as to this life, And the comforts thereof, yet he had a hope beyond death, which made him profess, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, Job 13:15. Trust in him; for what? Surely for comfort and happiness. Where? Not in this life, for that he supposeth to be lost; therefore, it must be in the next life. And this was one reason why he so vehemently desired death, because he knew it would bring him unto God and unto true felicity. And this his hope and confidence in God, and in his favour to him, Job opposeth to those foul and false aspersions which his friends had cast upon him, as if he had forsaken God, and cast off all fear of him, and hope in him.”




“1. If this place had spoken of the resurrection of the body, some of the Hebrew’ writers or commentators upon this place, who did believe that doctrine, would have understood it so, and have urged it against the Sadducees, which they did not.”




“1. All the Jewish writers which are now extant lived and wrote since Christ’s time, when the doctors of that people were very ignorant of many great truths, and of the plain meaning of many scriptures, and very corrupt in their principles as well as in their practices.”


“2. There was a manifest reason why they could not understand this text thus, because they believed that Job in his agonies did deny God’s providence, and consequently the resurrection and the future judgment, which though it was a most uncharitable and false opinion, yet forced them to interpret this text another way.”




“2. How is it credible that Job, in those ancient times, and in that dark state of the church, should know these great mysteries of Christ’s incarnation, and of the resurrection and life to come?”




“1. The mystery of Christ’s incarnation was revealed to Adam by that first and famous promise, that the seed of the woman should break the serpent’s head, Genesis 3:15; which being the only foundation of all his hopes for the recovery and salvation of himself, and of all his posterity, he would doubtless carefully and diligently teach and explain it, as need required, to those that descended from him.”


“2. That the ancient patriarchs and prophets were generally acquainted with these doctrines is undeniably evident from Hebrews 11 1 Peter 1:9-12.”


“3. Particularly Abraham, from whom Job is supposed to have descended, had the promise made to him, that Christ should come out of his loins, Genesis 12:3; and is said to have seen, Christ’s day, and rejoiced to see it, John 8:56, and had his hopes and desires fixed upon a divine and heavenly city and country, Hebrews 11:10,16. And as Abraham knew and believed these things himself, so it is manifest that, he taught them to his children and servants, Genesis 18:19, and to his kindred and others, as he had occasion. And therefore, it cannot seem strange that Job professeth his faith and hope in these things.”


“My redeemer liveth: I am a dying man, and my hopes are dying, but he liveth, and that forever; and therefore though I die, yet he both can and will make me live again in due time, though not in this world, yet in the other, which is much better; and though I am now highly censured and condemned by my friends and others as a great dissembler and a secret sinner, whom God’s hand hath found out; yet there is a day coming wherein my cause shall be pleaded, and my name and honour vindicated from all these reproaches, and my integrity brought to light.”


“He shall stand: I am falling and dying, but he shall stand firm, and unmovable, and victorious, in full power and authority; all which this word stand signifies; and therefore, he is able to make me stand in judgment, and to maintain my cause against all opposers. Or, he shall arise, as this verb most commonly signifies, i.e. either,”


“1. He shall exist, or be born, as this word is oft used; as Numbers 32:14 Deu 29:22 Judges 2:10 1 Kings 3:12 Matthew 11:11. And it notes Christ’s incarnation, that although as he was God he was now and from all eternity in being, yet he should in due time be made man, and be born of a woman. Or,”


“2. He shall arise out of the dust; which had been more probable, if it had been in the text from or out of, as now it is upon, the earth or dust; for Christ’s resurrection from the dead might be fitly mentioned here as the cause of Job’s resurrection, which followeth.”


“At the latter day; either,”


“1. In the days of the Messiah, or of the gospel, which are oft called the latter or last days or times; as Isaiah 2:2 Hosea 3:5 Joel 2:28, compared with Acts 2:17 1 Timothy 4:1 2 Timothy 3:1 Hebrews 1:1. Or rather,”


“2. At the day of the general resurrection and judgment, which, as those holy patriarchs well knew and firmly believed, was to be at the end of the world, and which is called the last day, John 6:39,40,44,51 11:24 12:48 1 Peter 1:5; for this was the time when Job’s resurrection, of which he speaketh here, was to be. Heb. at the last; by which word he plainly intimates that his hope was not of things present, and of worldly felicities, of which his friends had discoursed so much; but of another kind of, and a far greater, blessedness, which should accrue to him in after-times, long after he was dead and rotten. Or, the last; who is both the first and the last, Isaiah 44:6 Revelation 1:11, who shall subdue and survive all his and his people’s enemies, and after others the last enemy, death, 1 Corinthians 15:26, and then shall raise up his people and plead their cause, and vindicate them from all the calumnies and injuries which are put upon them, and conduct them to life and glory.”


“Upon the earth; the place upon which Christ shall appear and stand at the last day. Heb. upon the dust; in which his saints and members lie or sleep, whom he will raise out of it. And therefore he is fitly said to stand upon the dust, or the grave, or death, because then he will put that among other enemies under his feet; as it is expressed, 1 Corinthians 15:25,26. Some render the words thus, and that very agreeably to the Hebrew, the last, or at the last, he shall arise or stand up against (for so this very phrase is used, Genesis 4:8 Judges 9:18 Psalm 44:3) the dust, and fight with it, and rescue the bodies of the saints, which are held in it as prisoners, from its dominion and territories. Some understand this of God, that he should stand last in the field, as Conqueror of all his enemies. But this neither agrees with the words, the Hebrew aphar signifying dust, and being never used of the field or place of battle; nor with Job’s scope, which was to defend himself against his friends’ accusations, and to comfort himself with his hopes and assurance of God’s favour to be exhibited to him in due time; which end the words in that sense would by no means serve, because God might and would be Conqueror of all his enemies, though Job himself had been one of them, and though his cause had been bad, and his friends should with God have triumphed over him.” (2)


What hermeneutical approach does Matthew Poole's Commentary on Job 19: 25-26 use?


Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible will help answer this question about Poole’s approach:


Job 19:25-27


“For I know that my Redeemer liveth.”


“Of the resurrection (on Easter Day).”


This text is a prophecy and prediction of our Saviour Christs glorious resurrection. A sacred truth, requiring not only the assent, but the devotion and adoration of our faith. Here Job foresees and foretells the resurrection of Christ. He tells us that Christ, who by His death redeemed him, hath again obtained an endless life. That after His fall by death, He is recovered and got up again; stands, and shall stand, at last upon the earth. And Job prophesies of his own resurrection, that, though he were now in a dying condition, death had already seized upon him; yet he knew there was hope in his death, that he should be raised from the grave of corruption to an ever-living and blessed state and condition.”


I. Job’s belief concerning Christ. Here is–


“1. The saving object of his faith; that is, Christ, his Redeemer; his Redeemer dead and alive again; and to appear again at the last day to judge the quick and the dead. Here is a personal interest he claims in Christ. My Redeemer.”


“2. Job’s assurance. I know. It fully expresses the nature of faith; it is strongly persuaded of what it believes; it puts it beyond ifs, and ands, and hopeful supposals. Faith is an evidence, not a conjecture; not a supposition, but a subsistence. This knowledge of Job will appear the greater and more admirable, as his belief was beset with three great impediments.”


“(1) There is the resurrection of the dead. That is a matter beyond all reach of reason.”


“(2) Things at a distance are not discernible.”


“(3) Distance hinders sight; but darkness and indisposition of the air, much more. Yet Job, in the thickest mists of contrariety and contradiction, sees clearly and believes assuredly.” (3)


Like Poole, Barns understands the text in Job to be prophetic as noted by the text underlining. Both commentators would see Job 19: 25-26 as a Messianic prophecy.     


In closing:


Job 19:25-26 in Job’s mind is that God is his redeemer. Recognizing this in no way takes the prophetic Messianic hope from the text. 


Job 19:25-26 teaches us that despite Job's suffering and belief that God has abandoned him, Job still holds on to his hope in a Redeemer. He expresses his faith that his Redeemer will stand on the earth and bear witness to his innocence and that his life will be restored after his skin has been destroyed. This passage encourages us to have faith in God even in our darkest moments, trusting that He will redeem us and restore us when believers are most vulnerable.


Moreover, Job 19:25-26 presents Job in a deeply reflective moment, recognizing the hope of his faith despite his trials. From a Reformed theological perspective, Job acknowledges that his Redeemer lives and that even in death, he will be vindicated from the injustice he has suffered. Job's faith is a model of trust in the sovereignty of an all-powerful God and his conviction that God will ultimately deliver him from his suffering. This declaration is a reminder of the power of faith in the midst of the darkest of times and that even in death, the believer can take comfort in the promise of ultimate redemption.


“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)




1.      Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, by A. B. Davidson, Job, (Cambridge University Press, 1898), e-Sword version.

2.      Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible, Job, Vol. 1, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 967-968.

3.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Job, Vol. 4 p. 534-535.


Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of 15 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon.