An Introduction to Job

Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

An Introduction to Job

JOB A REAL PERSON.--It has been supposed by some that the book of Job is an allegory, not a real narrative, on account of the artificial character of many of its statements. Thus the sacred numbers, three and seven, often occur. He had seven thousand sheep, seven sons, both before and after his trials; his three friends sit down with him seven days and seven nights; both before and after his trials he had three daughters. So also the number and form of the speeches of the several speakers seem to be artificial. The name of Job, too, is derived from an Arabic word signifying repentance.

But Ezekiel 14:14 conjunction with "Noah and Daniel," real persons. St. James ( James 5:11 he would not have been likely to do had Job been only a fictitious person. Also the names of persons and places are specified with a particularity not to be looked for in an allegory. As to the exact doubling of his possessions after his restoration, no doubt the round number is given for the exact number, as the latter approached near the former; this is often done in undoubtedly historical books. As to the studied number and form of the speeches, it seems likely that the arguments were substantially those which appear in the book, but that the studied and poetic form was given by Job himself, guided by the Holy Spirit. He lived one hundred and forty years after his trials, and nothing would be more natural than that he should, at his leisure, mould into a perfect form the arguments used in the momentous debate, for the instruction of the Church in all ages. Probably, too, the debate itself occupied several sittings; and the number of speeches assigned to each was arranged by preconcerted agreement, and each was allowed the interval of a day or more to prepare carefully his speech and replies; this will account for the speakers bringing forward their arguments in regular series, no one speaking out of his turn. As to the name Job--repentance (supposing the derivation correct)--it was common in old times to give a name from circumstances which occurred at an advanced period of life, and this is no argument against the reality of the person.

WHERE JOB LIVED.--"Uz," according to GESENIUS, means a light, sandy soil, and was in the north of Arabia-Deserta, between Palestine and the Euphrates, called by PTOLEMY (Geography, 19) Ausitai or Aisitai. In Genesis 10:23 ; 22:21 ; 36:28 ; 1 Chronicles 1:17 1 Chronicles 1:42 a man. In Jeremiah 25:20 ; Lamentations 4:21 in Genesis 22:21 different person from the one mentioned ( Genesis 10:23 Shem. The probability is that the country took its name from the latter of the two; for this one was the son of Aram, from whom the Arameans take their name, and these dwelt in Mesopotamia, between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Compare as to the dwelling of the sons of Shem in Genesis 10:30 of the East" ( Job 1:3 Assyrian inscriptions, states that "Uz is the prevailing name of the country at the mouth of the Euphrates." It is probable that Eliphaz the Temanite and the Sabeans dwelt in that quarter; and we know that the Chaldeans resided there, and not near Idumea, which some identify with Uz. The tornado from "the wilderness" ( Job 1:19 view of it being Arabia-Deserta. Job ( Job 1:3 greatest of the men of the East"; but Idumea was not east, but south of Palestine: therefore in Scripture language, the phrase cannot apply to that country, but probably refers to the north of Arabia-Deserta, between Palestine, Idumea, and the Euphrates. So the Arabs still show in the Houran a place called Uz as the residence of Job.

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