Many have questioned the time and place of the events recorded in the book of Job. Even the author of the book is unknown and has been debated throughout the centuries by both Jewish and Christian commentators. Often times, the opinions pressed to answer these questions are presented with very superficial consideration that lack thorough thought or study of the actual text itself. The conclusion of this study will probably surprise many.

The mystery about the book’s origin is amazing in itself. Merrill Unger noted, “This poem is widely recognized, even in secular circles, as one of the world’s most magnificent dramatic poems. The sublimity of its theme, the majesty of its thought patterns, the grandeur of its literary sweep are unexcelled in any piece of literature.”1)Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook, Moody Press (Chicago, IL: 1966, 1977),  p. 267 Indeed, others have exclaimed, “the very pinnacle of ancient Hebrew poetry was reached in Job…”2)Robert Alter, The World of Biblical Literature, Basic Books (1992), p. 54 Even with this wide acclaim, “No one knows who wrote the Book of Job, when it was written, when its events occurred, or where Job lived.”3)Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (ed. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck), Victor Books (1987), p. 716

The first thing to note is that Job was a gentile. Mike Mason wrote about Job, “there is nothing remotely Jewish about him.”4)Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job, Crossway Books (Wheaton, IL: 1994), p. 20 The Babylonian Talmud records rabbis debating this topic: “This baraita states that Job was not a Jew, but rather a gentile.”5)Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15b; https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15b.5?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en This is evident in his expression “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5) This is also indicating in the fact that Job had dogs over his flock (Job 30:1) which would not be the case for Jews as they viewed dogs as unclean. The reference of “earrings” (Job 42:11) is most often connected with paganism (Judges 8:24), idolatry (Genesis 35:4) and apostasy among the Jews (Exodus 32:2-3; Isaiah 3:2; Hosea 2:13). Job having given an inheritance to his daughters (Job 42:15) would also suggest that he was no Jew as the law only provided inheritances to a daughter if the father had no sons (Numbers 27:8), though it seems to have been the custom outside of Israelites (Genesis 31:14). Job furthermore, expressed a desire that his words would be written in a book and be preserved forever (Job 19:23-24). Henry Morris thinks this “strongly suggested” Job himself as the author.6)Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 19This seems rather to identify that Job himself was not the author of the book, that he desired someone else would record his trials. Nor could he be the author since it is in the Bible and the Holy Scripture was authored only by Jews (Romans 3:1-2). The fact that Josephus has no mention of Job in his Antiquity of the Jews shows that he was not viewed as a Jew by the Jews to be included as part of their history. We will return to the question of who the author may have been after assessing all the information.

That the Book of Job belongs in the inspired text of the Bible is evident as James offers Job as an example of patience exhibited among the prophets (James 5:10-11), along with other illusions clearly referencing the Book of Job (Job 22:29 cf. James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6; also Job 15:8 cf. Romans 11:34-35), as well as the Lord Jesus Christ quotes Job 39:30 in Matthew 24:28, and Paul cites Job 5:13 with the phrase “For it is written” (1 Corinthians 3:19). The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls further confirms this. “Remnants of only four manuscripts [of Job] were unearthed at Qumran”7)The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (trans. Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich) HarperCollins Publisher (New York, NY: 1999), p. 590 one of which manuscript (4Q157=iii, 5-9; iv, 16-v, 4) “represent the oldest extant Aramaic rendering of the Hebrew Bible”8)The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls (Trans. Geza Vermes), Penguin Classics (New York, NY: 1962, 2004), p. 463 along with a manuscript from Leviticus.

WHERE WAS JOB

To first consider the location of “Uz,” we recognize that Job is said to be “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). References of the east is always from the vantage point of Israel in the Bible. This is also vouched for by the mention of Behemoth: “he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.” (Job 40:23) God speaking these words to Job shows that Job was in close proximity to the Jordan river to be able to have seen this creature drink from it. Furthermore, Uz cannot be placed far north as “fair weather cometh out of the north” (Job 37:22) and if it was thought to be to far north, north winds would only bring cold. Uz cannot be far south as warmth comes with the south wind (Job 37:17). Uz latitudinal would be located approximately with Israel as references of the north and south wind being beneficial for a garden were stated by Solomon (Song of Solomon 4:16). Also, with the rain patterns including a “latter rain” (Job 29:23) which is consistent with the weather patterns of Israel itself, also indicates that Uz is located near enough to the Mediterranean Sea, which is a major cause of much of Israel’s weather patterns.

The Leviathan also is said to be in the “sea” and swims in the “deep,” which is likely a reference to the Mediterranean Sea or possibly the Red Sea which is mentioned with close proximity just south of Edom (Numbers 20:23, 21:4). Job 40:22 mentions “willows of brook” which is a phrase used only in two other places. Leviticus 23:40 expresses the use of this material to build booths for an annual holiday which the Jews were to dwell in to remind them of the wilderness wandering. This identifies the material is abundant in Israel as well as the wilderness they wandered in for forty years. In Isaiah 15:7, the phrase is used as a prophecy against Moab which lies just east of the Dead Sea. Edward Young’s commentary states in a footnote “‘Brook of the Willows’ – Possibly Zered (?), modern Wadi el-Hesa, which formed the boundary between Moab and Edom.”9)Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah: Volume 1, Chapters 1-18, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Grand Rapids, MI: 1965), Vol. 1, p. 459

Comments made about the constellations are also suggestive of a location near the sea, likely the Mediterranean. “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” (Job 9:8-9) Also Job 38:31-32, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” Stars were created as signs for seasons (Genesis 1:14) and has historically been used for navigation on the sea as is suggested in 9:8 which follows with references to these astrological signs. “Arcturus” is the Bear (commonly called the dipper) of the northern hemisphere being opposite to the southern hemisphere presented as the “chambers of the south” with Orion and Pleiades between. Different hemisphere will naturally have different constellations in view at different seasons. Orion is viewed in November and December which would be the stormy season in Israel, while Pleiades is seen in spring with the name derived from sailing as the time ship go out to sea and is also accompanied with rain. Josephus mentions “a large shower of rain, which fell at the stting of the Pleiades”10)Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book XIII, Chap VII, sect. 2; The Complete Works of Josephus (Trans. William Whiston), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapid, MI: 1960, 1981), p. 278 indicating the Spring time latter rain in Israel corrilated with the time the Pleiades’ visibility was ending. Amos 5:8 also mentions Orion in connection with the sea. Thus, Uz is not far out in the desert of Arabia as is commonly reported, and the weather patterns are the same as Israel.

Some of the animals mentioned are strong indicators for a location close to Israel. Lions (Job 28:8) once lived with relative abundance in the area. The “unicorn” is mentioned only in Numbers 23:22; 24:8; Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 39:9-10; Psalm 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isaiah 34:7. Whatever this creature was, outside of poetic usage in the Psalms, mention of it is limited to the wilderness wandering period and Isaiah, whose context depicts “Bozrah… in the land of Idumea” (Isaiah 34:6) as being the land of Edom “modern-day Buseirah about 25 mile southeast of the Dead Sea…”11)John A. Martin, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (ed. John F, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck), Victor Books (1987), p. 1085 The Hebrew word translated “ostrich” (Job 39:13) is used in Ezekiel 17:3, 7 in a parable and only once elsewhere, Leviticus 1:16 expressing the feathers of the fowls to be sacrificed by Aaron or his sons during the wandering in the wilderness. The hawk (Job 39:26) is translated as “blossom” in Genesis 40:10; elsewhere only mentioned in Leviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15. Again, suggestive of the wilderness wandering. Job 1:19 states, “there came a great wind from the wilderness” which also indicates close proximity to the wilderness wandering as other references to great winds is connected to the sea, not the wilderness.

The primary position of the wilderness wandering would have been south/south east of the land of Israel. Job being identified as the richest among the men of the east, we will have to locate Uz south east of Israel. Jeremiah mentions Uz along with surrounding nations of Israel. “And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert…” (Jeremiah 25:20-24). All these are immediately around Israel with Philistines, Ashkelon, Azzah, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, which were mentioned right after Uz, being located in the southern portion.

The “Sabeans” (Job 1:15) is presented with a parallel as Tema/Sheba in Job 6:19. Sheba being descendant of Cush (Genesis 10:7) would place the property of Cush’s descendants around modern day Saudi Arabia. Moses wife is called an “Ethiopian” (כֻשִׁ֖ית literally Cushite) which is not to be assumed to be the same as modern day Ethiopia since her father was a Midian priest (Exodus 2:16, 3:1, 18:1), thus Cush is synonymous with Midian (Habakkuk 3:7). Dedan would also identify with this location and is yoke frequently with Tema or Sheba (Genesis 10:7; 25:3; 1 Chronicles 1:9, 32; Ezekiel 38:13). Eliphaz the Temanite mentioned in Job 2:11 is discussed by John Gill who says, “Eliphaz, was either from Teman, a city in Edom, on the borders of Arabia Deserta, as the Targum; or a descendant of Teman, a grandson of Esau…”12)John Gill, “Commentary on Job 2:11”. “The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-2.html. 1999. Teman is also identified with Bozrah which is in Edom (Amos 1:12), Bozrah and “the land of Temanites” are united in 1 Chronicles 1:45, and Obadiah connects Teman as the “mount of Esau” (Obadiah 1:9).

John Gill states of Bildad the Shuhite, “Bildad, was a descendant from Shuah, a son of Abraham, by Keturah, Genesis 25:2; whose posterity with geographers are called Sauchites, Sauchaeans, Sacceans, and settled in Arabia Deserta, from whence Bildad came…”13)John Gill, “Commentary on Job 2:11”. “The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-2.html. 1999. also see 1 Chronicles 1:32. The posterity of Abraham with Keturah as well as Ishmael, are said by Josephus to have inhabited Arabia with Keturah’s children being called “troglodytes.”14)Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book II, Chap IX, sect. 3; The Complete Works of Josephus (Trans. William Whiston), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapid, MI: 1960, 1981), p. 56 Josephus later states, “when he [Moses] came to the city Midian, which lay upon the Red Sea, and was so dominated from one of Abraham’s sons by Ketruah…” 15)Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book II, Chap XI, sect. 1; The Complete Works of Josephus (Trans. William Whiston), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapid, MI: 1960, 1981), p. 58 which was considered “the country of the Troglodytes”16)Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book II, Chap XI, sect. 2; The Complete Works of Josephus (Trans. William Whiston), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapid, MI: 1960, 1981), p. 59

Zophar the Naamathite is perhaps from the city named Naamah (Joshua 15:41) which was in the territory of the tribe of Judah near the coast of Edom (Joshua 15:21). “Names and places mentioned in the book seem to give it a setting among the descendants of Esau…”17) Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI: 1924, 1964), p. 225

All this strongly asserts that Uz would be located in Edom just as Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 4:21, “O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz…” Therefore, there is no question as for where these events took place. Job indeed had a house (Job 31:32; 42:11) which he also called his nest (Job 29:18), having been located within the city of Uz (Job 29:7). Henry Morris noted: “The Bible mentions two men named Uz. The first was the son of Aram (founder of the Aramaeans), the son of Shem, the son of Noah. The other was a grandson of Seir, the Horite (or Hurrian) who first settled the area later known as Mount Seir, which eventually fell into the hands of Esau and became part of the land of the Edomites (see Gen. 36:8, 20, 21, 28). The second Uz may have been named in memory of the first, who was perhaps his ancestor.”18) Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 14

This conclusion has been contested by many scholars throughout history. Jonathan Edwards cited Bedford’s Scripture Chronology (p.365, 366) “the Septuagint calls it Ausitis but never calls that Uz in the land of Edom by this name…. Now the land of Uz, in Idumea [i.e. Edom], can in no respect be called the east.”19)Bedford’s Scripture Chronology, p. 365, 366; as cited by Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachuettes) Fourth Printing 2004, Vol 2, p. 744 Both of these statements are completely wrong. First, Edom is considered east being south east of Israel (Isaiah 11:14). “The land of Uz would have been toward the upper reaches of the Sinai Peninsula, east of Egypt and just north of the Red Sea.”20) Henry M. Morris, The Book of Beginnings, Volume Two: Noah, the Flood, and the New World, Institute for Creation Research (Dallas, TX: 2013), p. 162-163 Secondly, the Septuagint does use the name Ausitis to refer to Edom, right in the book of Job. “The Septuagint, in a postscript, following ancient tradition, identified Job with Jobad, the second king of Edom, Gen. 36:33.”21)Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI: 1924, 1964), p. 225 Not just the Septuagint, but also Arabic versions which are said to be translated from a Syriac copy as well. Translated, the postscript states, “he dwelt in the land of Ausitis, on the borders of Idumaea [Edom] and Arabia; that his name was first Jobab…” The argument contrary to the Edom conclusion is established by identifying Ausitis with the same name mentioned by Ptolemy (Georaphy 19) as by the Euphrates in conjunction with the erroneous expression “Idumea was not east”,22) Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments (Volumes I and II), Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI) p. 308 and directing attention to Uz (spelled Huz in the KJV), the son of Nahor who lived in Haron (Genesis 22:21), who named his other son Buz. One of Job’s friends, Elihu, is said to be a Buzite (Job 32:2). However, “Buz in Jer 25:23 was a place name in Edom.”23) Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook, Moody Press (Chicago, IL: 1966, 1977),  p. 271

WHEN WAS JOB

Again, noting that Job was “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3) with the context clearly referencing his “substance” as making him very rich. This would imply that the great empires of the east are not prominent at the time Job lived so it would be reasonable to assume Egypt is the dominant empire of the world during Job’s life. Most commonly, Job is assumed by conservative authors to have lived during the Patriarchal period. After locating Job in Edom as well as the plenty of references to different nations, we know it occurred after the Tower of Babel, and before the Babylonian exile since Ezekiel mentions Job (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). Samuel Terrien suggests:

A story which presents an Edomite sheik as a hero of faith, uniquely approved by Yahweh, can hardly have been written or orally adapted in Hebrew during the sixth century or later, at a time when the attitude of the Judeans—and afterward the Jews—against the Edomites was one of hostility bordering on fanatic hatered (see Pss. 83:4-6; 137:7; Isa. 34:5-6; Jer. 49:7-22; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 25:12-14; 35:2; Obad. 10-14). The mere fact of the Edomitic origin of Job almost requires the conclusion that the story was “Hebraicized” long before the end of the seventh century B.C.24)Samuel Terrien, “Job Introduction,” The Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 1954), Vol. 3, p. 888

One of the main arguments for Job living during the time of the patriarchs is that he lived to a late age. Henry Morris said, “he probably live at least 200 years (Job 42:16), longer even than Abraham (Genesis 25:7).”25)Henry Morris, The New Defenders Study Bible, World Publishing (1995, 2006), p. 782 Similarly, Timothy Berry claims “Job lived to be about 210 years of age.”26)Timothy W. Berry, From Eden to Patmos: An Overview of Biblical History, Livewithamission.com, (2015), p. 21 This is conjectural, assuming “If God doubled Job’s remaining years the way he doubled his possessions (Job 42:10)…”27)Timothy W. Berry, From Eden to Patmos: An Overview of Biblical History, Livewithamission.com, (2015), p. 21 However, the verse simply says “After this lived Job an hundred and forty years” (Job 42:16). All we know prior is that Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters (Job 1:2) that at least two of his sons were old enough to live in their own houses (Job 1:4, 18), and they all died (Job 1:19). My wife and I (aged 31 and 33 respectively at the time of this writing) have 8 children with ages ranging between 12 years and less than one year. Job was probably 50 to 60 years of age when his affliction began. The grammar וַיְחִ֤י אִיּוֹב֙ אַֽחֲרֵי is comparative to the repeated phrase in Genesis 5 וַֽיְחִי־שֵׁ֗ת אַֽחֲרֵי֙ which would indicate Job live 140 years after his afflictions. However, the long ages does not prove the era Job lived in. For example, Joseph live to be 110 (Genesis 50:26), Moses live to be 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7), and Jehoiada lived 130 years old (2 Chronicles 24:15). This is close to a 1,200 years difference with the assumption of those closer to the patriarchs should have lived longer, but the exact reverse is true. Further issues of speculating the era he lived in based on the longevity of his life is it does not match as smoothly as scholars attempt to make it appear. Placing Job’s death at the age 200 or 210, recognize Terah died at 205 (Genesis 11:32), Abraham at 175 (Genesis 25:7), Isaac at 180 (Genesis  35:28), Jacob at 147 (Genesis 47:28-29). We would therefore expect Job to have lived before Abraham when considering lifespans.

Job had indicated that the common lifespan during his days was normally short (Job 7:1; 14:1-2). Bildad seemed to indicate the briefness of life was in contrast to “the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their father: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)” (Job 8:8-9). It was well known even among gentiles that life spans had been longer in ages in the past. The Sumerian Kings List, dated to 2000 B.C., expressed long lives of “eight kings with an average lifespan of 30,150 years…”28)Johnathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary on Genesis 1-11, Creation Ministry International (Powder Springs, Georgia: 2015), p. 448 When the Pharaoh met Jacob, he was shocked to hear that he was 130 year old at that time (Genesis 47:8-9). Job, being approximately 50-60 at the time of his affliction was younger than his friends, but indicated he was past his youth (Job 13: 26; 29:8). Job had wrinkles (Job 16:8) and was only expecting to live a few more years (Job 16:22; 17:1, 11-16).  Eliphaz said, “With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.” (Job 15:10) Eliphaz seems to be the oldest of the three friends (Job 42:7). When Elihu spoke, he started by saying, “I am young, and ye are very old” (Job 32:6).

However, the place names indicate he live later than Abraham. Roy Zuck noted,

Several personal and place names in the book were also associated with the patriarchal period. Examples include (a) Sheba, a grandson of Abraham (Gen. 25:3), and the Sabeans from Sheba (Job 1:15; 6:19); (b) Tema, another grandson of Abraham (Gen. 25:15), and Tema, a location in Arabia (Job 6:19); (c) Eliphaz, a son of Esau (Gen. 36:4),  and Eliphaz, one of Job’s companions (Job 2:11; these two Eliphazes, however, are not necessarily the same person); (d) Uz, a nephew of Abraham (Gen. 22:21), and Uz, where Job lived (Job 1:1). Though it cannot be stated with certainty, possibly Job lived in Jacob’s time or shortly thereafter.29) Roy Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (ed. John F, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck), Victor Books (1987), p. 717

The error here is that the Sabeans were a people group descending from Sheba the grandson of Abraham. Therefore, there must be allotted enough time for Sheba to have enough descendants to multiply significantly. Job 6:19 mentions “the companies of Sheba” as well as “troops of Tema” another grandson of Abraham which would have needed much time to become so populous. Job’s companion Eliphaz was obviously not the same Eliphaz in Genesis 36:4 since Job’s friend was a Temanite (Job 2:11) as a descendant of Abraham through Ishmael (Genesis 25:13, 15), not Esau’s son. Being called a “Temanite” implies a large people group; consider the fact that the 70 descendants of Jacob that entered Egypt were not as of yet called Israelites but were to become Israelites during the centuries in Egypt (Exodus 1:5-7). The word “Israelites” is first used in Exodus 9:7; so if Sheba and Tema were contemporaries with Jacob/Israel, we may more reasonably assumes centuries having passed to establish them as populated people groups. J. Vernon McGee mentions “Eliphaz was descended from Esau’s eldest son. [Genesis 36:10]… This would make it seem that Job was a contemporary with Jacob.”30)J. Vernon McGee, thru the Bible with J Vernon McGee, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN: 1982), Vol. 2, p. 580 He is obviously not thinking descendant far enough down the line to have become a people group. Isaiah 21:13-14 mentions “the inhabitants of the land of Tema” which clearly establishes the land of Tema became known by that name for its inhabitants—the Temanites—were a populous people group.

McGee also cites as evidence “the fact that the Book of Job makes no reference to the Mosaic Law nor to any events recorded in the Book of Exodus would seem to indicate that it was written before the Exodus.”31) J. Vernon McGee, thru the Bible with J Vernon McGee, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN: 1982), Vol. 2, p. 580 This argument from silence is frequently repeated. “This book also contains no trace of the Mosaic system of sacrifice. Instead, Job clearly functions as the priest of his family (1:5)”32)Timothy W. Berry, From Eden to Patmos: An Overview of Biblical History, Livewithamission.com, (2015), p. 21 David Cloud concurs, saying “We also know that it was written before the Mosaic law because Job offered his own sacrifices instead of going to the Tabernacle or the Temple (Job 1:5).”33)David Cloud, Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity (5th Edition), Way of Life Literature (Port Huron, MI: 1993, 2008), p. 321 Likewise, Henry Morris writes, “Job evidently lived about the time of Abraham. It is significant that, despite the prevalent ancient tradition of Moses’ connection with the book, the book of Job nowhere mentions the Mosaic laws or even the children of Israel. It was clearly written well before the time of Jacob (“Israel”).”34)Henry Morris, The New Defenders Study Bible, World Publishing (1995, 2006), p. 782; also see Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 12 His son Henry Morris III follows, : “There is no mention of the nation of Israel in the book of Job. There is no reference o the Ten Commandments. And although there is reference to sacrifice, there is no hint that a system or formal liturgical tabernacle or temple worship was known. Everything in the book suggests that its authorship is long before the nation of Israel existed.”35) Henry M. Morris, The Book of Beginnings, Volume Two: Noah, the Flood, and the New World, Institute for Creation Research (Dallas, TX: 2013), p. 175 Mike Mason states: “there is no reference anywhere in the book to the nation of Israel, nor to its temple, nor to its law or covenant or kings or prophets or Scripture, nor to any of the other religious milieu in which the rest of the Old Testament is steeped.”36) Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job, Crossway Books (Wheaton, IL: 1994), p. 19

This oft repeated argument from silence fails on a number of points. First, the question must be set forth as why would one expect a book that centers around a gentile hero to contain remarks about Israel or it’s covenant, or its laws or Scripture or any such things? Secondly, there are sacrifices mentioned, though not specifically detailed which makes it impossible to say they were not Mosaic in type. Thirdly, it seems foolish to assume Job, being a gentile, is expected to bring sacrifices to the Tabernacle or Temple. Fourthly, there does seem to be clearly expressed knowledge of the Mosaic law of not keeping clothing as a pledge past the sun setting (Exodus 22:26; Deuteronomy 24:13 cf. Job 22:6; 24:7, 10). “In Israel, righteousness was defined by adherence to the Torah of YHWH. In the book of Job, of course, the Torah is mentioned only in passing, nontechnical senses, for Job is not an Israelite.”37)John H. Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context: A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI: 1989, 1990), p. 181 Whenever Israel looked to their pagan neighbors, they made the lowest men to be priests (1 Kings 12:31) or have familial priests as seen in the Judges period after the Mosaic system existed (Judges 17:5). Surely this opinion proves nothing.

It also appears that there are indeed references to the Exodus. Job 12:23 sounds like Job was aware of God destroying Egypt. “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them” followed immediately by a verse that seems to mention Israel’s wilderness wandering: “He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.” (Job 12:24) The phrase “the chief of the people of the earth” must be Israel, God’s elect nation. John Gill’s exposition of this verse states:

when they were discomfited by the Amalekites, quickly after their coming out of Egypt, see Numbers 14:45; about which time Job lived: and the rather, since it follows,

and caused them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way: no track, no beaten path to follow, to be a guide to them, and direct their way; in such a wilderness the Israelites wandered near forty years, see Psalm 107:40.38) John Gill, “Commentary on Job 12:4”. “The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-12.html. 1999.

The next chapter continues, “Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” (Job 13:1-3) Job appears to be saying he and his friends were aware of God directing Israel through the wilderness. The Red Sea crossing was a major event that stirred all the nations to fear God. Rahab reported how all of Jericho heard about the Red Sea crossing (Joshua 2:9-10). God’s purpose in overthrowing Pharaoh was “that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Romans 9:17) Egypt is said to communicate with the land of Canaan (Numbers 14:13-15). Job and his friends heard about God’s working at the Red Sea which explains their monotheism.

Many authors present the idea that Moses as the author of Job, or translator, came across the story while keeping the flock of his father in law Jethro in Midian. Henry Morris speculated this being the time “Moses must have obtained the tablets recounting Job’s experiences, recognizing them as a supremely important revelation of God’s dealings with all men, even with those outside his covenant relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”39) Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 18It is more likely the Israelites came across the events of Job while in contact with the Edomites (Numbers 20:14-21). “Job was a common West Semitic name in the second millennium B.C. Job was also the name of a 19th-century-B.C. prince in the Egyptian Execration texts. Other occurrences of the name are found in the Tell el-Amarna letters (ca. 1400 B.C.) and in Ugaritic texts.”40) Roy Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (ed. John F, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck), Victor Books (1987), p. 717; also see Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Bible Handbook, Moody Press (Chicago, IL: 1966, 1977),  p. 268; also see Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 17 The exodus out of Egypt would have occurred in 1446 B.C. and after 40 years of wandering would bring us to the date of 1406 B.C. consistent with extra-biblical sources presenting the name of Job around 1400 B.C.

The full postscript attached to the Septuagint version indicates Job living five generations after Abraham, but reveals inconsistencies such as Job reigning over Edom after Balak, son of Beor, whom Moses and Joshua overthrew. Obviously the error here is that Balak was not the king of Edom but rather Moab (Numbers 22:4); and Balak was not the son of Beor, but rather Balaam was (Numbers 22:5). The postscript translated is as follows: “that he dwelt in the land of Ausitis, on the borders of Idumaea and Arabia; that his name was first Jobab; that he married an Arabian woman, and begot a son, whose name was Ennon; that his father was Zare, a son of the sons of Esau; that his mother was Bosorra (or Bosra); and that he was the fifth from Abraham. And these are the kings that reigned in Edom, which country he reigned over; the first was Balac, the son of Beor, the name of whose city was Dennaba; after Balac, Jobab, called Job; after him Asom, who was governor in the country of Theman; after him Adad, the son of Barad, who cut off Midian in the field of Moab, the name of whose city was Gethaim. The friends that came to him (Job) were Eliphaz, of the sons of Esau, the king of the Themanites; Baldad, king of the Sauchseans; and Sophar, king of the Minaeans.”(Translation of the Septuagint postscript from the Book of Job) Further intrigue is the phrase, “Job continued his parable” אִ֭יּוֹב שְׂאֵ֥ת במְשָׁל֗וֹ וַיֹּאמַֽר׃  (Job 27:1; 29:1) is almost identical grammatically to Balaam who “took up his parable” וַיִּשָּׂ֥א מְשָׁל֖וֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ (Numbers 23:7, 18; 24:3,15, 20, 21, 23). Further correlation with Balaam is seen in Job offering burnt offerings according to the number of all his sons, which is seven (Job 1:4-5); as well as seven bullocks and rams for his friends (Job 42:8) which is similar to Balaam’s custom (Numbers 23:1). This was not commanded in the Mosaic law but accommodated for by God when He spoke to Balaam and also Job.

Some authors from within the creationist movement have advanced an argument that Job lived around the Ice Age.41)see Michael Oard, An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, ICR (El Cajon, CA: 1990); also see Michael Oard, “Where Does the Ice Age Fit?”, Chapt. 16 in The New Answers Book (ed. Ken Ham), Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2006, 2007), pp. 207-219 Henry Morris writes, “Consequently, it may be significant that there are more references to cold, snow, ice, and frost in Job than in any other book of the Bible.”42) Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 30 Problems with this argument is that it most likely is built upon a false correlation. The Book of Job has extensive discourses about nature and natural event. Weather patterns are quite commonly commented on in Job. It is also circular reasoning to assume a date and then find it verified by references of cold weather which would never have been interpreted as such unless the date was assumed. Also, Michael Oard notes: “The reason the Ice Age is not directly discussed in the Bible is probably because the Scandinavian ice sheet and mountain ice caps were farther north than the region where the Bible was written.”43) Michael Oard, “Where Does the Ice Age Fit?”, in The New Answers Book (ed. Ken Ham), Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2006, 2007), p. 216 Henry M. Morris III, who repeats the Ice Age argument seems to refute it himself when discussing the land of Uz “was one of the more beautiful spots that was safely away from the rule of Nimrod and farther away from the climate shifts that were leading to the coming Ice Age.”44) Henry M. Morris, The Book of Beginnings, Volume Two: Noah, the Flood, and the New World, Institute for Creation Research (Dallas, TX: 2013), p. 163 If Uz was far enough away from being effected by the Ice Age, than how could there be any correlation? Locating Uz in Edom also gives us an interesting comment from the first century Jewish historian Josephus to consider. He speaks of Trypho with an army from Syria intending to attack Simon in Jerusalem. Trypho “resolved to go afterwards to Jerusalem, by the way of Iudmea [a later name for Edom]… he prepared his cavalry as though he would be at Jerusalem that very night; but so great quantity of snow fell in the night, that it covered the roads, and made them so deep, that there was no passing, especially for the cavalry.”45)Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, Book XIII, Chap VI, sect. 5-6; The Complete Works of Josephus (Trans. William Whiston), Kregel Publications (Grand Rapid, MI: 1960, 1981), p. 276 Thus heavy snow falls, though rare, can hit the area formerly known as Edom without the Ice Age needing to be evoked.

The Babylonian Talmud also records a debate among rabbis about Job. “Rava says: Job lived at the time of the spies whom Moses sent to scout the land of Canaan.”46)Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15a; https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15a.14?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en It also mentions “what is taught in a baraita: The days of Job’s life extended from when Israel entered Egypt until they left, indicating that this is the period during which he lived…”47)Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15a; https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15a.14?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en However, “Rabbi Elazar says: Job lived in the days of the judging of the Judges…”48)Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15b; https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15b.5?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en The debates recorded between various rabbis in the Talmud presents dates between Job being a contemporary with Jacob, Moses, Queen of Sheba, Ahasuerus and Esther, during the Second Temple, and even that he was a parable and never truly existed. The Genesis Rabbah states, “Job was born when the Jews went down to Egypt; he married Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and he died when the Israelites left Egypt.”49)Genesis Rabbah 57:4; http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tmm/tmm07.htm If Job was only born when the Jews went to Egypt, Dinah would have been quite a bit older than him being a great oddity for the culture of a wife older than the husband. Exodus Rabbah places Job as a contemporary with Jethro and Balaam being advisers for Pharaoh. By not offering advise to Pharaoh, Job received punishment, placing his afflictions during the wandering.50)Exodus Rabbah 1:9;http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tmm/tmm08.htm Though there is a vast array of ancient Jewish opinions, a great number of them provide an approximate timing of the wandering.

Finally, consider the word “sapphire” (Job 28:6, 16) is used in Exodus (Exodus 24:10; 28:18; 39:11) with other references appearing in a non-literal sense (Song of Solomon 5:14; Isaiah 54:11; Lamentations 4:7; Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1) with the exception of perhaps Ezekiel 28:13. The “gold of Ophir” (Job 22:24, 28:16) earliest mention outside of Job is 1 King 9:28 or Psalm 45:9. The “onyx” (Job 28:16) is mentioned 10 times elsewhere, primarily in Exodus with the exception of three other references (Genesis 2:12; 1 Chronicles 29:2; Ezekiel 28:3). “Topaz” (Job 28:19) is only used in Exodus 28:17; 39:10; and Ezekiel 28:13. The word “reed” (Job 40:21) is also strongly suggestive of Exodus. All these seem to indicate the author being familiar with the objects that were seen during the wilderness wandering.

WHO WROTE JOB?

Henry M. Morris III “suggests that Job himself authored this epic poem.”51)Henry M. Morris, The Book of Beginnings, Volume Two: Noah, the Flood, and the New World, Institute for Creation Research (Dallas, TX: 2013), p. 161 Many others have followed this thought, but we noted above that he was a gentile which would not allow him to be the author of inspired text. Others have suggested Elihu such as Jonathan Edwards: “It looks to me probable, chiefly…no person seems to be so likely as Elihu…”52) Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachuettes) Fourth Printing 2004, Vol 2, p. 745 Elihu would be disqualified for the same reason as Job.

The earliest opinions of Christian authors have held that Moses was the author of Job. In A.D. 248, the first expression came from Origen, who wrote, “And besides all these instances, in the book of Job, which is older even than Moses himself…”53)Origen, “Against Celsus,” Book VI, Chap. XLIII; The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Allen Menzies, D.D.), Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 4, p. 593 This statement does not confirm that he believed Moses was the author but simply that the events occurred before Moses’ age. It is, however perceived that he meant Moses as the author because shortly after, around A.D. 311, Methodius also said that “the Book of Job is by Moses.”54)Methodius, “Extracts from The Work on Things Created,” Sect. VIII; The Ante-Nicene Father, (ed. Allen Menzies, D.D.), Hendrickson Publishers (Peabody, Massachusetts: 1896, Fifth Printing, 2012) Vol. 6, p. 381 The Babylonian Talmud records the views of some rabbis considering Moses the author:

The baraita further states that Moses wrote his own book, i.e., the Torah, the portion of Balaam, and the book of Job. This supports Rabbi Levi bar Laḥma, as Rabbi Levi bar Laḥma says: Job lived in the time of Moses. It is written here with regard to Job: “Oh, that my words were written now [eifo]” (Job 19:23), and it is written there in Moses’ words to God: “For in what shall it be known here [eifo]” (Exodus 33:16). The unusual use of the word eifo in these two places indicates that Job and Moses lived in the same generation.”55)Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 15a; https://www.sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15a.14?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en

Others who have said Job was the author claim Moses had edited the original tablets that Job wrote in order to circumvent Job being a gentile.56) Henry M. Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job, Master Books (Green Forest, AR: 2000, 2010), p. 18-19 But grammatical assessment would not permit this view: “The style forbids its being attributed to Moses…”57)Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments (Volumes I and II), Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI) p. 308 One reason is because Moses had a unique manner of writing. “In the Pentateuch the 3rd pers. fem. sing. Is spelled הִיא  i.e. the masculine form is written but the feminine form is read; the reason for this is obscure.”58) Thomas O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew,  Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd. (London: 1973), p. 82 Thus Moses cannot be the author of Job.

A comparison with ancient literature of other cultures leads one to conclude, “There is little doubt that the poet of Job was acquainted with Egypt, perhaps even with the Egyptian language…. However, there is no direct literary influence from Egypt upon the biblical poem.”59)Samuel Terrien, “Job Introduction,” The Interpreter’s Bible, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 1954), Vol. 3, p. 879-880 Being that we have concluded that the events occurred during the historical period of Israel’s wilderness wandering, the only two authors of Scriptures would be Moses, which we have eliminated, and Joshua. Joshua becomes our default option, but also many internal evidences can confirm this option. The Hebrew word translated as “piece of money” (Job 42:11) is only used twice elsewhere (Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32). Both of these references are in context of Jacob’s days so it could be argued that it is evidence for the patriarchal period, or it could be acknowledged that the word is only used by Moses and Joshua, the two authors that knew the Egyptian culture and lived through the wilderness wandering. The same verse in Job mentions “an earring” which mentioned in context of two occasions in Genesis (Genesis 24:22, 30 47; 35:4) and two occasions in Exodus (32:2, 3; 35:22) and is very rarely used outside of these contexts.

God asks Job: “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?”  Job 38:22-23). This suggest either the hail judgement on Egypt (Exodus 9:18) or Joshua’s campaign as he conquered the land of Canaan (Joshua 10:11). This reference would demand either Moses or Joshua as the author. Roy Zuck also brought insight that would oppose his own opinion and offer greater support for Joshua. “In Old Testament times a person sometimes recorded events about himself in the third person. Of course, someone else may have written the last two verses (Job 42:16-17), which tell of Job’s age and death. That too was not uncommon (e.g., Deut. 1-33 was written by Moses, but Duet. 34, on Moses’ death, was added by someone else).”60)Roy Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (ed. John F, Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck), Victor Books (1987), p. 716 This too, is suggestive of Joshua as the author since he is the one who wrote the end of Deuteronomy.

External evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls would further support our conclusion of the time of writing as well as Joshua being the probable author. “Interestingly, one of the manuscripts of Job of very early date (ca. 225-150 BCE) was inscribed in the archaic paleo-Hebrew script, common before the Babylonian exile (587-539 BCE). All the other identified manuscripts written in this script are among the Books of Moses (that is, Genesis through Deuteronomy), though there is another that deals with the figure of Joshua.”61) The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (trans. Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich) HarperCollins Publisher (New York, NY: 1999), p. 590

In conclusion, we would offer Joshua as the author of the Book of Job. He must have come across the events of Job’s life when they approached Edom but were denied passage. Job likely heard about the Red Sea crossing as indicated in Mariam’s song that the great men of Edom–called “dukes”–would hear of it and fear Exodus 15:15. Job then would have converted around the age of twenty along with his friends (who were older) that expressed monotheistic views. Although, Job’s conversion to monotheism could have been briefly before the events recorded in his book which would explain why his children do not seem to share the same devotion to Jehovah. In this case he would be around 60 years of age during the Red Sea crossing. Whether Joshua wrote it during the last year of the wilderness wandering when he came in contact with the story or perhaps latter in his life around the same time he wrote his own book documenting his conquering of Canaan is undetermined. The reference to hail for the day of battle would give weight to the later end of Joshua’s life when he wrote it. This would set the composition of the book of Job between 1399 B.C., when Joshua ceased leading wars at the age of 85 (Joshua 14:10) and his death in 1374 B.C. at the age of 110 (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8). If Job was in his 60s when the Red Sea crossing occurred, he would have been 100 when his story was communicated to Israel. It is conjectural but should not be excluded to think that Job actually joined the Israelites as a proselyte; and the nation of Edom’s loss of its richest citizen ignited the animosity causing the king to reject permission of Israel passing through their nation on the king’s highway. This could have stirred the Edomites to greater degrees of idolatry as did Jeroboam later occasioned idols to compete with Judah’s worship of Jehovah when the northern and southern kingdoms were divided. However, based on Job 42:15, it seems he remained in his own land of Uz. If Joshua was the author, Job would have outlived Joshua approximately 37 years (assuming Job was 200 when he died). This would make Job 42:13-17 a later addition after Joshua died by another author. In light of Joshua adding the end to Deuteronomy, as well as finding the extended postscript to the Septuagint version of Job, this possibility appears all the more likely. The internal evidence presented above stands with strength over other views of the place, time and author of Job.

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