Job 14 is, as I read it, specifically rejecting any hope of a resurrection. I don't read Hebrew but the NIV certainly reads that way.
The first 12 verses are entirely void of any hope:
1 “Mortals, born of woman,
are of few days and full of trouble. 2 They spring up like flowers and wither away;
like fleeting shadows, they do not endure. 3 Do you fix your eye on them?
Will you bring them[a] before you for judgment? 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
No one! 5 A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed. 6 So look away from him and let him alone,
till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.
7 “At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail. 8 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant. 10 But a man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more. 11 As the water of a lake dries up
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, 12 so he lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, people will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.
Job 14:3 Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew me
In verses 13 to 17 he fantasizes of God giving hope beyond the grave and how he would be willing to patiently wait for that:
13 “If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time
and then remember me! 14 If someone dies, will they live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal[b] to come. 15 You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made. 16 Surely then you will count my steps
but not keep track of my sin. 17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
you will cover over my sin.
Job 14:14 Or release
But in 18ff he says that God destroys that hope as they utterly vanish without a trace:
18 “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place, 19 as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy a person’s hope. 20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
you change their countenance and send them away. 21 If their children are honored, they do not know it;
if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it. 22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies
and mourn only for themselves.”
Job 19:25-27 are taken by some to declare the opposite - that Job believes that Jesus is his redeemer from sin and death and he will raise him from the dead. However, is that really his hope?:
25 I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.[d] 26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet[e] in[f] my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Footnotes Job 19:25 Or vindicator Job 19:25 Or on my grave Job 19:26
Or And after I awake, / though this body has been destroyed, / then
Job 19:26 Or destroyed, / apart from
When will Job see God? Not at "the last day" but "in the future" which we see "fulfilled" here:
KJV Job 42:5 "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but
now mine eye seeth thee."
In Job 14 he has made it clear that his hope is only in redemption in this life because hope beyond that is vain. So here he is expressing his hope for this life:
- his "rich uncle" ("redeemer") is alive. He is talking about God, not Jesus.
- later (after some time) God will act on the earth
- after his skin is wrecked by his disease (probably Leish Maniasis) he will see God [act]
- it will be the same Job, not some resurrection or reincarnation situation
- and for this his heart yearns
That his earthly hope was granted is shown in Job and the story ends:
NIV Job 42: 12The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more
than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand
camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13And he also
had seven sons and three daughters. 14The first daughter he named
Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15Nowhere in
all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters,
and their father granted them an inheritance along with their
brothers. 16After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw
his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17And so
Job died, an old man and full of years.
That this was his "end" is likewise expressed by James:
NIV James 5: 10Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the
face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the
Lord. 11As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord
finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
I could be wrong but if I had to do a book report for high school that is how I would interpret it. If I knew Hebrew I might have a different interpretation.
While Job complains that God has taken away his hope, God arrives and responds to Job, reproving him and telling him he simply doesn't have enough information. He doesn't say that he does have hope but since Job lacks the big picture it may be implied. Jesus makes resurrection a given for those who are faithful to him:
KJV Mar 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the
living: ye therefore do greatly err.
In Job's speech in Job 19 he makes a solemn declaration that his hope that God will act on his behalf in the future, re-clothing him in fresh skin and dispensing justice but, he explains, his "heart grows faint within him":
NET Bible Job 19:
23 “O that my words were written down, O that they were written on a
scroll, 24 that with an iron chisel and with lead they were engraved
in a rock forever!
25 As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that as the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God, 27 whom I will see for myself, and
whom my own eyes will behold, and not another. My heart grows faint
within me. 28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him, since the root of
the trouble is found in him!’ 29 Fear the sword yourselves, for wrath
brings the punishment by the sword, so that you may know that there is
I take this to be Job asserting that objectively he knows and considers absolutely incontestable that God will not let him down but will in the future set things to right for him upon the earth but that his heart is sinking into despair. In other words, here in his speech he seems to describe himself as someone whose mind sees hope but his hopeless speeches reflect the despair of his emotions.
In fact, with that insight as we look at his earlier speech in chapter 14 we see that he claims that before his ordeal he may have had hope for a resurrection but that the assaults on him have worn them down to nothing:
NET Bible Job 14:
18 But as a mountain falls away and crumbles, and as a rock will be removed from its place, 19 as water wears away stones, and torrents
wash away the soil, so you destroy man’s hope. 20 You overpower him
once for all, and he departs; you change his appearance [IE: you make
his countenance fall into despair] and send him away.
So Job's hopes have been crushed out of him as if all the soil on his farm was washed off his farm into the sea.
So the reader is alerted that despite Job's complaint that his complaints that God has taken away all hope he does retain hope that God will reverse this all in the future and there will be justice. In a word, it seems Job is venting.
The genre of Job is not a theological discourse per se but an accounting of the mysterious ways of God, particularly in human suffering.