Chapter 1:1-5 (ESV) - There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Question to consider: What comes to mind when you think of Job?
The book of Job is thought to be the oldest of the books in scripture, and its authorship is not certain. It is possible it is autobiographical given the description of the detailed conversations with God. Genesis may begin with the creation of everything, but it was written by Moses at some point after Israel’s Exodus from Egypt to give them a sense of their history and culture. We rely on the details of Genesis because we believe that Moses wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after having met with the LORD on the mountain and in the tabernacle.
Job would have been written about 500 years before this, probably around the generation after the birth of the twelve sons of Jacob since Uz was the firstborn son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Genesis 22:21). From among Job’s friends, Eliphaz the Temanite appears to be a son of Esau born by one of his Canaanite wives, Adah, who was a daughter of Elon the Hittite. (Genesis 36:4) Eliphaz had a son named Teman who became a chief in the land of Edom (Genesis 36:15) which would explain why he was called a Temanite. Bildad the Shuhite was a descendant of Shuah who was born to Abraham’s concubine, Keturah, after the death of Sarah. (1 Chronicles 1:32)
I couldn’t find anything about Zophar the Naamathite, but I think the information above demonstrates that the time period was sometime during the generation coming after Jacob and Esau. During this time, 1 Chronicles 1:43-44 says, “These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the people of Israel: Bela the son of Beor, the name of his city being Dinhabah. Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place.” It’s possible that Jobab is the full name for Job and would explain the abundance of his possessions, land, and servants, and why Job was called “the greatest of all the people of the east”.
Also in line with this greatness could be Job’s sense of morality. This would have been the days before the Law was given so generally, the patriarch of the family served as its priest. A good example of this was Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, who was the chief priest of Midian. It is apparent from this passage that Job did not want to even have a hint of impropriety towards God so he even performed sacrifices on behalf of his children just in case they got out of control during their birthday celebrations.
Eventually, the Edomites would oppose Israel and even rejoice in its fall at the time of Ezekiel, for they believed they could then step in and take over the land they believed Jacob had stolen from their father, Esau. For this, God would judge them and let them be wiped out, never to regain their former glory. At this time, however, it would appear that there was at least one king of Edom who loved the LORD.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for preserving this account of a man who blessed Your name in the midst of hardship. May we find comfort and rest in Your capable and sovereign hand. Amen.