The Gospel in Job: The Matthew Bible vs. The Geneva Bible

The Gospel according to Job. It’s clear in the Matthew Bible. But see how the Geneva Bible changed it.

In the passage below, Job was answering his miserable friends, who were accusing him as a wicked and doomed man. No, he said, for his redeemer lived – his Saviour Jesus, whom he would see with his own eyes when, at the last, he was raised in the general resurrection:

Job 19:23-29 in the Matthew Bible:

23 O that my words were written, O that they were put in a book.
24 Would God they were graven with an iron pen in lead or in stone.
25 For I am sure that my redeemer liveth, and that I shall rise out of the earth in the latter day:
26 that I shall be clothed again with this skin, and see God in my flesh.
27 Yea I myself shall behold him, not with other, but with these same eyes. My reins are consumed within me
28 when you say, Why do not we persecute him? We have found an occasion against him.
29 But beware of the sword, for the sword will be avenged of [by] wickedness: and be sure that there is a judgment.

Myles Coverdale commented on this passage that all Job’s hope and delight rested in the future resurrection. (Parker Society, Remains of Myles Coverdale, p 172.) Some say the book of Job was written even before Genesis. Whatever the date, it is amazing to think that the ancients had knowledge of the redeemer, the coming resurrection of the body, and the final judgment.

But the Geneva Bible omits the future resurrection of Job. Instead, they state that Jesus will stand “last on the earth.” In its commentary on verse 29, it also denies the final judgment. I am constantly amazed by how the Puritans changed the Matthew Bible.  Here is their “correction” of this passage. I copy their italics, which show their added words:

Job 19:23-29 in the 1599 Geneva Bible (Tolle Lege edition):

23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were written even in a book.
24 And graven with an iron pen in lead, or in stone forever!
25 For I am sure that my Redeemer liveth, and he shall stand the last on the earth.
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet shall I see God in my flesh.
27 Whom I myself shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and none other for me, though my reins are consumed within me.
28 But ye said, Why is he persecuted? And there was a deep matter in me.
29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for the sword will be avenged of wickedness, that ye may know that there is a judgment.

The Geneva note on verse 29 says, “God will be revenged of this hasty judgment, whereby you condemned me.”

The Puritans changed the import of verse 29. In their version, Job is not warning about the future judgment, but telling his friends that God will get revenge for their hasty judgment. That is no small change.

It is worth noting that the Puritans claimed to “correct” the Matthew Bible by the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit. See my blog post, and what they said in their 1560 preface: ). However, again and again, I find the changes are not pleasing. But let the reader decide…