Intercession Theology in the Book of Job overlooked

Koot van Wyk 25th of July 2020

The book of Hebrews may have a clear source for the theology of the Advocate in Heaven that is an Intercessor to the Father on behalf of the faithful. This is a theology that Moses was familiar with and as author of the Book of Job he may have actually presented it that way. However, the clarity of the phrases were not clear to Judaism that did not work with a Messiah as Advocate in Heaven before Yahweh and Who is also Yahweh Himself but a separate entity that the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 like the Son of Man in front of Him is also a different entity.

Two verses in Job stands out and needs retranslation and reinterpretation and in fact, more literal approach than previously.

The two verses are shrouded in a smoke of misunderstanding and misinterpretation in the past. Also a mistranslation. Plainly said, the modern translations are wrong on this. Job 16:19 in conjunction with Job 16:21. The link is absolutely essential for together they supply the most amazing surprise that the theology of Intercession of Jesus before God is actually known to Moses already. It should not come as a surprise to us that Hebrews 11:17-19 indicates that Moses knew Christ.

יט  גַּם-עַתָּה, הִנֵּה-בַשָּׁמַיִם עֵדִי;    וְשָׂהֲדִי, בַּמְּרֹמִים.     19

Even now, behold, my Witness/Advocate is in heaven, and He that testifies of me, is on high.

כ  מְלִיצַי רֵעָי;    אֶל-אֱלוֹהַּ, דָּלְפָה עֵינִי.  

כא  וְיוֹכַח לְגֶבֶר עִם-אֱלוֹהַּ;    וּבֶן-אָדָם לְרֵעֵהוּ. 

21 And He will set aright/[intercede on behalf of] man with God, and a Son of Man on behalf of His friends.

E. Dhorme reasoned very strange in the expression ofוּבֶן-אָדָם  by saying that if it was “son of man” then it should have had the preposition lamed added reading: ולּבֶן-אָדָם. This is strange to suggest while וּבֶן-אָדָם is the subject of this sentence and while there is already a lamed preposition in the object part of the sentence functioning. The waw-copulative is making it a synonymous phrase with the hemistich before. The nouns

וּבֶן-אָדָם  is the subject of the same subject of the verb וְיוֹכַח in the first hemistich, namely the action of setting aright/interceding/ arbiter. The imperfectum calls for a future Judgment to come and not one that is currently running in heaven. Dhorme is right that it should have had this lamed-preposition if it was a parallel with לְגֶבֶר but it is not a parallel with this [man] but with the verbal part of the first hemistich וְיוֹכַח indicated supra. He is also wrong to suggest that the word that corresponds with גֶבֶר is אָדָם. It is an oversight of analysis on his part.


Vulgate misreading

20     ecce enim in caelo testis meus et conscius meus in excelsis

For behold my witness is in heaven, and he that knoweth my conscience is on high.


22     atque utinam sic iudicaretur vir cum Deo quomodo iudicatur filius hominis cum collega suo

And O that a man might so be judged with God, as the son of man is judged with his companion!


Transliteration of Latin into Hebrew of Vulgate

כא  וְכיוֹכַח גֶבֶר עִם-אֱלוֹהַּ; כיוֹכַח בֶן-אָדָם לְרֵעֵהוּ  .        

One can see the errors in the text of Jerome very clearly now. I have crossed out the letters or words repeated that should not be in the text. The kaph in the verb in the first hemistich is inserted as an extra plus וְכיוֹכַח functioning as sic. This “like” = sic is not in the original Hebrew. It must have been a faulty manuscript that Jerome was using. Maybe even a paraphrase for he added the verb in the first hemistich also in the second hemistich to make what is implicit, explicit. I have crossed out with a line this extra addition by Jerome. This led to the false interpretation by E. Dhorme that בֶן-אָדָם is the object of the syntax of the second hemistich and that it should be aligned with the first hemistich גֶבֶר. The problem with Dhorme is that he sits with a lot of data but his judgment of the data is impaired. While one can complement him for bringing so much data around the book of Job together, his individual decisions on the text, semantics, reconstruction of the original must receive many red cards. With me, he does. We are as apart from text-theory and text-analysis as the east is from the west. Our epistemologies differ so our endresults will differ as well. At the end of the day it is who makes more sense and who is more harmonious with the original Hebrew.

Without adding the extra kaph, it is possible to see what went wrong as a second option. The letters were all connected in the original leaving it up to the translator or reader to connect the words. When he came to the end of the first hemistich, the last part of the first hemistich and the second hemistich was read together forming a new word and brought “like” as יוֹכַח וֹהַּיךְ אֱל. In our construction above of Jerome’s original we suggested the form כיוֹכַח. A semantical equivalent also suggested by Dhorme (1926: 241) is the one that was just reconstructed by me supra. Word-division is the problem for Jerome or his reader here. Jerome is still wrong textually and no matter how honestly and correct he wants to translate this text, if it is faulty, it is wrong. It happens to be faulty and wrong. The original Hebrew is the virgin correct text.

What Judaism did the with text both online and in their printed English editions of the Hebrew text, is to read the Targum form, translate the Targum and then to superimpose the English reading on the Hebrew form, albeit different than the Targum. It was done by the Syriac.[1] It is apparent, and the scholars Penna and Gottstein have emphasized this in their analysis in articles and presentations of the past, that the Vulgate, Septuagint, Targum and Syriac sometimes shares the errors where they differ with the consonantal text of the Masoretic tradition.

Targum Reading of Job 16:22

설명: D:\Job 16 Walton Polyglot in Syriac and Targum WaltPoly5_IVKings-Psalms)_0176.jpg

Syriac Reading of Job 16:21

설명: D:\Job 16 Walton Polyglot in Syriac and Targum WaltPoly5_IVKings-Psalms)_0176.jpg

It is very likely, if a Qumran Job exists, that it may give hints as to where the degenerative form of the book of Job behind the Vulgate, Syriac and Targum came from.

The looseness with which the Targum approach the original is clear. The lamed preposition of the second hemistich is substituted with the same preposition as the first hemistich. The Syriac did the same but in the opposite style. The lamed of the second hemistich is used to substitute the preposition in the first hemistich.

The phenomenon of equalizing is already a signal that the text is secondary to the consonantal text of the Masoretic Tradition. In fact, the consonantal text of the Masoretic tradition easily supports the work and ministry of Jesus Christ as outlined in the book of Hebrews. Would Jews do that if they knew that? Hardly. The surprising thing is that they kept the original as it is although they deny the Messiahship of Jesus.


[1] It can be seen in the Walton Polyglot for both Targum and Syriac. Downloaded on the 25th of July 2020 from