Justification by faith is both an Old Testament and a New Testament doctrine. It reads like a major theme in the book of Job, the oldest Old Testament book. Job's friends speak to him about justification and Job answers about justification. Is Job justified?
A related aspect to justification is a common Old Testament Hebrew word, mishpot, translated "judgment." Forms of mishpot occur 23 times in Job. "Judgment" and "righteousness" both have been assessed as the theme of the entire Bible. I can't disagree with either assessment. Over ten years ago I read a book by James Hamilton, God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, which proposed judgment as the subject of all of scripture. Men are judged by God as to whether they are righteous. He judges a man righteous, who is justified. Men also judge other men as to their justification, which is what Job's friends were doing.
Judgment, mishpot, by God is based upon His righteous nature and standard or law. A popular recent, contemporary concept is "authenticity" or "authentic." Job was authentic, and the normal or plain understanding of authentic has been based upon an objective standard, so outside of one's own self. Self-authenticity is a kind of oxymoron. Just because you're consistent with your own understanding of who you are doesn't make you authentic. Naugahyde couldn't be said to be authentic. Leather is. And one can judge leather by an objective standard. It was at one time the outer layer or skin of an animal.
Was Job justified? Was he an authentic righteous man? He, his friends, and finally God have this discussion. Satan said he wasn't. God said he was. So what is it?
One of Job's friends, Zophar, starts his speech in chapter 11, asking and using the ninth of twenty-eight usages of a form of the Hebrew verb form tsadek (v. 2):
Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?
Zophar insinuates overt loquaciousness of Job, implying Job's justification of himself with his words. Zophar is suggesting that rather than the words of Job justifying him, it be the consequences of his actions. In other words, someone facing the hardship of Job couldn't be righteous. In weighing Job's talk against the gravity of his situation, Zophar infers that the latter condemns him. However, Job's guilt or righteousness could not be judged by the circumstances of his life. Job has been arguing against the false conclusion that his trials evidenced unrighteousness.
In a second chapter of Job's answer to Zophar in Job 13:18, he says:
Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.
12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? 14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous (tsadek)? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous (tsadek)? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?
4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
Alas! and did my Savior bleed?And did my Sov'reign die?Would He devote that sacred headFor such a worm as I?
5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
I put on righteousness (tsadek), and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.
Let me be weighed in an even (tsadek) balance, that God may know mine integrity.
Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified (tsadek) himself rather than God.
12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. . . . . 32 If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
For Job hath said, I am righteous (tsadek): and God hath taken away my judgment.
2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness (tsadek) is more than God's? . . . . 7 If thou be righteous (tsadek), what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness (tsadek) to my Maker.
Wilt thou also disannul my judgment (mishpot)? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous (tsadek)?
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.