The Biblical Book of Job – Is It Old or Real Old?

I usually shy away from those topics strictly defined as purely theological, as they are usually not presentable in the Truth Behind Reality statement/elaboration format. However, I am making the rare exception with this post. I have worked hard over the last three years to understand the chronology and meaning of Biblical events. I believe that the Bible is one long intermittently cyclical and linear sequence that reveals and explains both God in human terminology and his plan for all creation, beginning to end, as we are meant to know it.

On March 28, 2011, Fr. Robert posted the article “The Book of Job; content, dating..etc.” on his blog, Irishanglican’s Weblog. I took this as a personal challenge to consolidate my research and apply it specifically to assigning an historical period to the Biblical book of Job.

The ESV translation introduces the book of Job as follows: “Considered both a theological and a literary masterpiece, the book of Job is an honest portrayal of God allowing a good man to suffer.” The introduction ends by saying, “The unknown author was probably an Israelite writing sometime between 1500 and 500 B.C.” The data presented in this post settles the discrepancy of Job’s historical period through scripture only, no outside sources. It is my experience that the Bible is self-contained self-proving truth, and the degree to which we understand it is limited only by our willingness to receive it wholeheartedly and subsequently change accordingly.

The following data establishes only the historical period for the events contained in the book of Job. It does not address a possible later formal, or official, rendering of the account.

Assigning an Historical Period to the Biblical Book of Job:

Before the flood, Genesis 6:3 [ESV] says, “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in [or contend with] man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”” The average lifespan of pre-flood humans was 900 years. Noah was the last person to live the 900 year lifespan, dying at age 950 years. Noah’s eldest son, Shem, died at age 602 years (born before the flood, died after the flood). Four generations later, the Biblically documented lifespan had dropped by approximately 400 years: Peleg (born shortly after the Tower of Babel scattering) died at the age of 239 years (Josephus, the Jewish historian living at the time of Christ, provides a thorough account of this event and the ensuing aftermath).

The day Satan first attacked Job, Job was father to seven sons and three daughters who owned their own houses and had their own independent livelihood; they were well-established adults. Also, Job 1:3 says that Job was extremely wealthy; he was “…the greatest of all the people of the east.” Amassing this great wealth and rearing ten children to an age of independent adulthood (by today’s average 75-year western lifespan) would put Job well into his later adult years. At the end of the book of Job, Job 42:16 says that after all this affliction, “…Job lived 140 years and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.” Considering the years required for Job to both rear 10 children to the age of independent adulthood and become the greatest of all the people of the east before Satan attacked him, we can reasonably assume that Job was no less than 60 years old, but more realistically no less than 80 years old. If Job was only 60 years old when he lost everything, and then lived an additional 140 years after God restored his fortunes, we can assume with considerable accuracy that Job died at the approximate age of at least 200 years.

Terah, Abraham’s father, died at age 205 years (Genesis 11:12). Abraham died at age 175 years (Genesis 25:7). Joseph died at the age of 110 years (Genesis 50:26). Four hundred plus years after Joseph (or 215 depending on interpretation; see Date of Noah’s Flood), Moses was the first Biblically documented person to die at age 120 years, as mandated by God in Genesis 6:3. The 120 year lifespan limit is now commonplace with no documented overages. This places the historical period of Job at or before the historical period of Terah, Abraham’s father (pre-Israel). This renders the Book of Job a very old book from a very ancient time, hence the ancient feel of its content.

According to this data, it is simply impossible for the events in the book of Job to have occurred at any other time.

Many thanks to Fr. Robert for this challenge. Please visit Fr. Robert’s post “The Book of Job; content, dating..etc.”, as it gives more explicit detail about the book of Job.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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58 Responses to The Biblical Book of Job – Is It Old or Real Old?

  1. Lance Ponder says:

    Well, there’s more to it than that. If you’re suggesting the dating of Job’s life to be contemporary with Abraham, you’re probably right, but not precisely for the reasons you propose. The edict of Gen 6:3 is often cited as the reason for shorter life spans after the flood, but that’s simply not good exegesis. In Gen 6:3 God is starting to give instructions to Noah to prepare the ark. He has 120 years to complete the ark and climb aboard. Many people take the 120 year thing to mean life spans post-flood, but that’s simply not what it means.

    Your estimate of ages and suggesting Job to be a contemporary of Abraham for that reason is reasonable, but as they say on the commercials, there’s even more. Before I get into that, let us rule out pre-flood Job. Some suppose Job was composed before the flood and passed down. This is mostly because it contains absolutely no references to the Torah. Also the references to the great beasts and relatively long lifespan are used to justify the pre-flood idea. On their own these sound compelling, but there’s more evidence to consider. Job’s friends are named and their tribal ancestry is mentioned. Those tribal names correspond to other names given in genealogies in Genesis. This puts Job’s friends as descendants who would have lived roughly the same time or a little later than Abraham – probably a little later. His long age does suggest relatively early post-flood history, so it would not have been much after Abraham. It is possible Job was known (directly or indirectly) by either Abraham or Jacob who recorded (or kept a copy of Job’s recording) of Job’s story. It is widely held in Jewish tradition that Moses compiled and handed d0wn the book of Job, though it is not as certain that he actually wrote it. Bear in mind that Abraham was born within 3 centuries of the flood and lived 175 years. Isaac and Jacob lived very long lives, too spanning a period of more than 3 centuries. Abraham had many other sons besides Isaac and Ishmael and remember Esau also had a dozen sons. Together these families populated much of the middle east. I’d have to research which names are linked and whether they link to Abraham through his other sons or through Esau’s other sons, but either way Job probably lived about 5 to 6 centuries after the flood and probably no more than about 4 centuries before Moses.

    Other circumstantial evidence is found in the many references to climate and geology in Job. Job contains more references to snow and ice than the rest of scripture put together. This would correspond to the icy conditions in the northern regions in the centuries after the flood. The region of Palestine was much more fertile during Abraham’s time than today and that would match a time when there was more snow (more water) for regions which are today hotter and more arid. The ice and snow references would be very problematic for pre-flood period since geology and climate were radically different then.

    Having said all that, your logic is good and your conclusions are logical. Keep up the good work!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      As for the 120 year alternate view; I have briefly heard this from others, and it certainly makes sense. However, there is more documented evidence to support a literal limiting of the human lifespan than there is for a pre-flood disaster countdown. I am not saying you are incorrect because I have no evidence to refute your viewpoint. But, I find it more than coincidental that the maximum post-flood human lifespan drops significantly with each successive generation. It makes its debut with Joseph who died at 110 years (Joseph died before his older brothers (Genesis 50:24-26)), and settles in with the death of Moses at age 120 (post-Moses scripture neither infers nor directly states a lifespan greater than 120 years). Is it possible that one need not embrace one interpretation over the other, and that indeed both are equally true? I certainly would not reject the possibility that God was making a dual statement when he said I will limit their days to 120. Meaning, “I will destroy the earth in 120 years” and “I will limit their lifespan to 120 years after the flood.”

      We can rule out a pre-flood Job by one fact alone. Before the flood, animals and humans coexisted without fear of each other. After the flood, God said to Noah in Genesis 9:2, “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.” Consider the following excerpts from Job 41: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? (Job 41:1)”; “Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! (Job 41:8)”; “No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. (Job 41:10)”; “When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. (Job 41:25)”. If the events in Job took place before the flood, the terrifying depiction of the Leviathan would be absent. Enmity between humans and living creatures began after the flood, not before. I used this fact alone to rule out a pre-flood Job.

      Whenever I write anything truth-oriented, I always aim to keep my unproved/un-provable biases out of the mix. Doing otherwise would force others to see my personal viewpoint at the expense of truth. So, now that I have laid out my official argument for Job’s historical period, I want to give my personal input. If someone pressed me to give an educated guess for Job’s deathbed age, I would say 220 years, plus or minus 5. This would put Job in roughly the same generation as Nahor, Abraham’s grandfather, who died at age 148 years (Genesis 11:24-25). This explains to me why I keep getting an ancient feel when reading Job versus an old feel when reading about Abraham.

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      • C. Valentine says:

        Dear Sir: thank you. To me this is a peaceful and logical view. Perhaps this was how Abram was reached by the LORD? Did the story (or knowing Job himself) Lead Abram to seek the Almighty? What did the LORD use to cause Abram to leave paganism? Well it is just conjecture on my part. Blessings to you……..C.Isaac Valentine.

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    • Dan Ransom says:

      You are absolutely correct in the 120 years before the flood. I think people get confused in the writings of the first 6 chapters of Genesis. Chapter 5 shows Noah having 3 sons, but then again in Chapter 6 , Genesis 6:3 KJV
      And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

      Then after that shows Noah having Children. Genesis 6:9-10 KJV
      These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. [10] And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

      In Chapter 5 it tells how old Noah’s father is and how old Noah was when he had children.

      Genesis 5:30-32 KJV
      And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: [31] And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died. [32] And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

      If Noah was 600 at the time of the flood, and 6:3 takes place before Noah had children. And he was 500 before he had when he had children. It’s easy to see, when God was going to pass judgment on man in 6:3.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d never thought much about where to place Job in the timeline of history, but your post and Lance’s comment provide a lot of interesting insight. I love what the book of Job teaches about patience in suffering and the hope of a Redeemer.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      Agreed, and something that really strikes me is the conversation between God and Job. While God never refutes the truth of Jobs words to his friends, or Job’s righteous devotion to God, God does take severe issue with the basis for Job’s words. Job’s confession to God in Job 42:1-6 makes this clear: [1] “Then Job answered the Lord and said: [2] “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. [3] ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. [4] ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ [5] I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; [6] therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.””

      God was addressing the very thing for which Job later repented: Job’s proclamation of God by head knowledge alone, not through personal experience. God made very clear to Job that head knowledge is never enough. All through scripture God commands us to personally know him with our whole self. Yet, the very thing God addressed in Job is the very thing we humans are so guilty of today. We say, “If you follow this or that rule, you’ll be alright with God.” Or we might say, “If you were baptized, you’ll be alright with God.” While the Bible makes very clear what we should and should not do, above all else God commands us to love him, to know him, with not just our mind but also our whole self. Yahweh says through Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-6, [4] “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [5] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Jesus said in Matthew 22:37, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”” This was the very lesson God taught to Job. And considering that the events found in the book of Job occurred 500-600 years before the Mosaic Law, we can rest assured that regardless of era, God commands us to love him with our whole self. God is who he is and never changes.

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  3. Nice guys! Just a note, the discovery of fragments from Job among the Dead Sea Scrolls knocks out attempts to date Job as late as the second century. Also we should note however that Job is part of what is called Wisdom Literature, and perhaps did not appear, at least in the final form until the time of Solomon, or even somewhat later, per the depth of the Wisdom Lit. itself.

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  4. Todd Beal says:

    I incorrectly stated that Joseph died at age 120. According to Genesis 50:26, he died at age 110 years. I fixed the error in both the Post and my first comment reply to Lance Ponder. I apologize for the confusion.

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    • Lance Ponder says:

      No worries. Also, I am aware there’s probably more people who support that Gen 6:3 refers to limiting human age rather than the flood countdown. Interestingly, except for Joseph all the patriarchs listed prior to Moses lived more than 120 years and that was at least 7 and up to 10 centuries after the flood. Yes, life spans got shorter, but it took a long time before maximum ages crept below 120. While it may be taken to mean people in the present age won’t live that long, I personally reject that as the primary meaning of Gen 6:3.

      It seems like everyone here pretty much agrees Job was post-flood and post-Babel and pre-Moses. It is less certain if Job was a contemporary of Abraham or if he lived a bit before or after him. Considering the life spans involved it is hard for me to imagine they would not have overlapped. I suspect Job’s account was really recorded by Abraham and passed down along with other material compiled in Genesis, though kept separate according to God’s will.

      My favorite passage in Job is from 19:25-27a:

      As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
      and that as the last
      he will stand upon the earth.
      And after my skin has been destroyed,
      yet in my flesh I will see God,
      whom I will see for myself,
      and whom my own eyes will behold,
      and not another.

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      • Todd Beal says:

        Lance,

        I want you to know that I appreciate the scholarship on your part in addressing the historical period of Job. It is refreshing to work with someone that truly cares about truth and real thought. While no two people will ever see eye to eye on every detail, I see that our final conclusions are not that far apart. Thanks a lot for truly engaging me.

        | I suspect Job’s account was really recorded by Abraham and passed down along with other material compiled in Genesis, though kept separate according to God’s will. |

        It is very interesting that you choose Abraham as Job’s “torch carrier”. Josephus said in chapters 7 and 8 of his book of Antiquities that even in Josephus’ day, Abraham was looked upon as a wise and intellectual icon by the Chaldean peoples (instinct tells me this was Job’s home region). Josephus said that Abraham, before his emigration to Canaan, instructed the Chaldeans about the fixed order of the planets (astronomy) and that God, the one and only God, set the order; thereby teaching them about God. Josephus also said that upon his arrival in Egypt, Abraham taught the Egyptians arithmetic and the science of astronomy. Josephus said that the science of astronomy came from the Chaldeans to the Egyptians by Abraham, and then onto Greece from the Egyptians. Who better than Abraham to both understand the significance of and pass on the account of Job?

        If you have not read “Josephus – The Complete Works” I highly recommend it. This really solidified for me the reality of Biblical history, thus removing the abstracted story aspect. Also, while researching for my comment to Michael Knudsen, I ran across an “Answers in Genesis” gold mine of an article concerning the approximate date of the flood and Israel’s 430 (215) year sojourn in Egypt. Whether you ultimately agree with it or not, it is most informative.

        As for Job 19:25-27a, man, that’s moving, deeply stirring. We are truly more than conquerors in Christ Jesus our Lord, the King of Kings from before time began and forever!

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        • I have found this article and discussion very interesting and helpful. Jewish tradition has long held that the poetic epic of Job was originally captured in print by Moses. The style is considerably different from the Pentateuch, but would be if Moses had recorded faithfully as he had received it.

          I have long wondered where Moses had received his theology prior to the burning bush. He was raised in the polytheistic court of Pharaoh.

          Since the events of the Book of Job take place in northern arabia,( ancient Midian) is it possible that Moses was exposed to Job through his father-in-law Jethro who was the priest of Midian? ( Ex.3:1 ) Religious oral tradition was kept by the priest caste in this period of time, and we know that Jethro also was a worshiper of Yahveh ( Ex.18:7-12) This could be why Yahveh only had to reveal Himself to Moses as the God of his fathers Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Any thoughts?

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          • Todd Beal says:

            mayesdarryljunk,

            [ Since the events of the Book of Job take place in northern arabia,( ancient Midian) is it possible that Moses was exposed to Job through his father-in-law Jethro who was the priest of Midian? ]

            The Land of Uz, Job’s homeland, was eventually conquered by the Edomites (Esau’s descendants); hence, the Bible’s reference to Edom as the Land of Uz – see The Land of Uz.

            Also, the land of Uz (as it existed during Job’s lifetime) shared its border with Midian, meaning the Job narrative did not take place in Midian but in Uz across the border.

            I discovered some very good articles that shed light on Job’s personal age, and the historical time frame and geographic location for Job’s narrative. Hopefully these articles will give you enough information to answer your question.

            According to Richard Clark, author of the Q&A series ‘Age of Job’, Job died a few years after Moses fled from Eqypt to Midian. According to a couple of the articles I read, it is possible that Job passed on his narrative directly to either Jethro (Moses’ Midian priest father in law) or to Moses himself.

            You will find another in-depth article here, by D. Marc Jacobs Jr.:

            And finally, the following article addresses your question directly:

            Jethro the Midian, by Lloyd Thomas (excerpt below):

            “Apart from Jethro’ s priestly example, what lasting value could God have intended Moses to receive in those forty long years in such a radically different Midianite culture from his Egyptian background? There are two significant possibilities – our Bible books of Job and Genesis. Job, by its language and content, appears to predate Israel’ s Exodus and Sinai covenant – [thus predating] Moses’ call to lead his people.

            Job himself lived in the land of Uz, the territory of Edom (Lam. 4:21) – the descendants of Esau, son of Isaac – which borders on Midian. Job was not an Israelite.”

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            • Neat stuff Todd! Maybe you should work some on the Dating of the Book of Daniel also? (Six century, 605 (Dan. 1: 1). The liberals have given a late date to Daniel also, which is of course bull, and really just unbelief! 😉

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            • Todd Beal says:

              Thank you Fr. Robert.

              [The liberals have given a late date to Daniel also, which is of course bull, and really just unbelief!]

              One of my apologetics books mentions that also. Apparently, skeptic scholars believe Daniel could not possibly be a future-looking prophecy because of its unparalleled accuracy (right down to the detail). Their claim is that only a backward-looking historical account can be that spot on.

              I’m glad you mentioned this idea Fr. Robert. Before now I have not considered tackling the Book of Daniel’s authorship date. I believe the end result would do more than just establish Daniel’s prophetic credibility. It would also open up a much needed dialog here on Truth Behind Reality, bringing attention to the end-times prophetic events occurring right now in our world.

              Thanks for this.

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            • Great idea Todd! Rock on mate! YOU will have my support!

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  5. Lance Ponder says:

    I am so happy to get into the nuts and bolts of things with you also. I’m a fan of AiG also. I have a copy of the complete works of Josephus, but haven’t ever taken the time to sit down and actually read it. I’ve also got Augustine’s works, too, and havent’ read them yet either. LOL. As for the Abraham thing, that’s interesting I would come up with the same conclusion as Josephus, but for my part that’s purely speculation. I also believe all of Genesis was handed down to Moses to compile into its present form. I am of the opinion that God handed the revelation of Gen 1 directly to Adam who wrote it down and passed it down. I suspect most of Gen 2-9 was written by Seth and Noah and most of Gen 10 and later was written by Abraham and later Jacob and finally Joseph. It seems far too solid to have been strictly oral tradition handed down and too detailed to be of the typical direct revelation style. Again, my opinion.

    I have somewhere worked out all the dates for the flood and the Egyptian exile and all that. I prefer the shorter period IN Egypt. The 430 years I think is from the giving of the promise to Abraham until the exodus and not from the entry into Egypt by Joseph until the exodus. For a long time I was of the other view, but a wise and patient friend showed me that my former position was ultimately impossible to defend in light of scripture, not to mention history.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Hey Lance,

      I want to know more about Augustine’s works. Who is he; in what historical period did he live and about what period(s) did he write?

      Regarding whether the handing down of the Genesis scripture was oral or written, I have read several historians that say in ancient civilizations, oral history was as reliable as today’s written. The historical records show that exact memorization was taken as seriously as religious scribing was and is in Israel. I know it is hard for us modern westerner’s to grasp, but according to even non-Biblical scholars of ancient history, that is how history was handed down and thus preserved. My personal thoughts on the issue is that the more technology advances, the less adept we become in personally achieving what technology replaces; we become lazy. It is a whole lot easier for me to Google a scripture than to work at remembering where it physically occurs in the Bible and what exactly the text says – sadly. Whether or not what you say is ultimately true, I think we do ourselves a disservice by equating the scholarship methods of the distant past with our own modern day slothful thinking.

      Regarding the 430/215 year discrepancy, I land squarely in your court. I wasn’t even aware of an alternate Israel/Egyptian sojourn time span prior to reading Josephus. I simply took the words in Genesis and Exodus at face value. However, Josephus planted the seed and the article I mentioned to you in my last comment sealed the deal. It makes a whole lot more sense to reread the scripture with the 200+ years time span forming the basis. By the way, knowing how much you value history, Josephus explains why the Exodus Pharaoh was unacquainted with Egypt’s savior Joseph of Genesis. The pharaoh mentioned in Exodus was of an invading people who conquered the Genesis-era line of Pharaohs.

      I won’t go into it, but reading Josephus really answers a whole lot of questions that the Bible does not address. After reading Josephus, I now realize that the Bible is both an historical and spiritual book, but the recorded history is given only as credence to the intended spiritual truth. This is not to say the Bible is incomplete, but rather it is not primarily an historical document. That is why we have competent historians like Josephus to give the remaining historical background. As an important sidebar example, Josephus said that even in his day (the time of Christ) the pillar of salt remains of Lot’s wife existed as public knowledge. He even mentioned where to find it. Why doesn’t Biblical scripture mention this? It doesn’t mention it because it is not relevant to God’s core spiritual message. This was a hard concept for me to grasp, but doing so made me realize the importance of our individual God-given personal mission in life. Josephus’ mission was Jewish historian, a role that the Bible was never intended to fill. It is most humbling to know that God created me with a purpose that is so unique, so important, that he created me with that purpose in mind. That’s awesome, and the reality of it quakes me to my core with deep humility.

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  6. Todd Beal says:

    Lance,

    I noticed that you use the term “later” when referring to a more ancient historical period, and “earlier” when referring to a more current historical period. May I suggest you reverse the two, as doing so will coincide with the common usage of “early” and “later” for time-based references?

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  7. Lance Ponder says:

    This is just my opinion, but I don’t hold the ancient art of oral tradition in quite as high a regard as those scholars. For example, even among the ancients of Israel the Samaritan bible is different from the Jewish bible in many critical areas. As another example, the schism between Esau and Jacob resulted in very different histories being handed down. There are dozens of different “flood myths” but only the Genesis account is supported both scientifically and theologically as a genuine historical account. Having said that, I agree they had much more capacity as a society for memorization than we do today.

    Augustine lived in the 5th century. He was an important church leader in Northern Africa. He was trained in rhetoric in Rome in the period between Constantine and the fall of Rome. His writings were considered very important theology and remain among only a few of antiquity to be among the cornerstones of the Roman church to this day. Many of his doctrines remain prime among contemporary Catholics and Protestants alike.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Lance,

      | This is just my opinion, but I don’t hold the ancient art of oral tradition in quite as high a regard as those scholars. … |

      Understood, and I will also say that whenever God’s revelation is involved, the preserved accuracy dramatically increases, oral or written, to the degree the preserver is in tune with God.

      Something tells me I have some catching up to do on Augustine.

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  8. Using the geneaologies as a universal calendar is the best method I know of to undermine the theory of Evolution. Timelines are much shorter than the billions of years evolutionists claim as scientific fact.

    The things I find spiritualy most important about the Book of Job are:

    Job never was told why these events occured in his life. As readers, we are told. Job’s part was to accept them and simply trust God.

    Job’s friends gave him seemingly good advice. God disapproved of it entirely and said that He would not forgive them unless Job forgave them. This is the kind of advice we often hear in the world and would do well to study Job in order to eliminate this type of advice from our belief system.

    Job received everything back and more. The hardest thing to learn to do in life is to accept things with an open heart and mind after having experienced serious losses. We tend to be afraid and not want to commit to people at a deep level again. We tend to create a distance between us and the new people and things that come into our lives. Even though we may have more in fact, we have less in reality because we can’t accept them fully. We need to learn to let people and things go when we must, and accept the replacements without fear of more loss and love them and enjoy them whole-heartedly.

    Elizabeth

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Elizabeth,

      | Job received everything back and more. The hardest thing to learn to do in life is to accept things with an open heart and mind after having experienced serious losses. We tend to be afraid and not want to commit to people at a deep level again. We tend to create a distance between us and the new people and things that come into our lives. Even though we may have more in fact, we have less in reality because we can’t accept them fully. We need to learn to let people and things go when we must, and accept the replacements without fear of more loss and love them and enjoy them whole heartedly. |

      I needed to hear that. Thank you.

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      • Todd,

        2 Corinthians 1:4 King James Version (KJV)

        4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

        It is always the physical world that is being taken away from us and never the everlasting love of our Savior. Sometimes we need the comfort of another in the physical world to remind us of who we are and where we are going. We are meant to comfort each other.

        Today was the 1 year anniversary of the death of my business partner of 6.5 years. We worked together with people as if we almost had one mind. He is sorely missed. In comforting you, I was comforted also. That is Christian fellowship to me.

        Elizabeth

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        • Todd Beal says:

          Elizabeth, my best friend and I have had a similar friendship for 28 years. We can talk for hours and deep dive into the crucial topics of life: truth, philosophy, theology, history, etc. We just get where the other is coming from. If something were to ever happen to him it would create a huge hole in my life and I would grieve terribly.

          I know it will take a period of time before your grieving isn’t quite so fresh, but it sure was a blessing that you had 6 ½ years of friendship with this man. It’s rare to be that much on the same page with someone.

          I have learned that the only thing that stays the same in life is change, and that’s forever. We can either change for the better or change for the worse but either way we are always changing; always becoming, always letting go and always receiving something new, even if that means perceiving something familiar in a brand new way.

          Thank you for your wisdom and insight. Your presence here is a breath of fresh air.

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  9. Ryan Sherman says:

    Once we grant that the Bible’s truth is internally self-justified, and that the only significant external factor is the sensitivity of the individual’s heart, it seems besides the point to discuss things like the Dead Sea Scrolls and historical records and facts and science.

    Still, for folk like me and Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_D._Ehrman), sometimes the love of the Bible and the love of truth have come into conflict, at which point sentiments that attribute our difficulties to our own unwillingness to receive truth and change sound condescending and are quite unhelpful.

    Perhaps it’s even worth pointing out that to shun things like the Dead Sea Scrolls, science, and historical records and loudly insist that the current collection of books in the Bible are all 100% literally true, trumping all else, actually indicate a disinclination for truth, a lack of capacity for change, and an unwillingness to be open.

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    • Whatever Bart Ehrman is? He is simply no lover of the “internally self-justified”, save for his own heretical, and at best heterodox ideas! The Holy Scripture is its own “presupposition” and authority & truth!

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  10. Randall Geiger says:

    Have you considered the text without preconceived notions?

    Job 32:16 tells us that Elihu is the author. Why do “scholars” not have a clue as to its authorship?

    Job is of Uz. Uz borders on Edom. Eliphaz is an Edomite/Temonite. The first Eliphaz is the son of Esau (Edom) Gen 36:4. Teman is the son of Eliphaz Gen 36:11. Edom is later referred to as Teman Jer 49:7,20. Thus, the Eliphaz of Job is more likely a later descendant of Teman. Names in Bible genealogies are repetitive.

    An association with Abraham by age is just conjecture. God granted Hezekiah additional years and even turned the clock backwards. He can also grant Job a few extra years despite how old anyone else got at the time Joel 2:25.

    Bildad is a descendant of Abraham’s son Shuah by Keturah his second wife Gen 25:2. Abraham pushed his other sons to the East when Isaac took over the inheritance Gen 25:6. This may have placed Bildad’s family close to Job’s domain.

    Zophar is of a city parceled to Judah by Joshua after Israel entered the land. Its age places no limitation upon Job’s time line.

    Elihu is a descendant of Buz, more likely the Gileadite in Bashan I Chron 5:14. Elihu seems to be more of a local personality. He is the guy who trips by at the puzzling moment and comes up with the solution. Notice that God does not condemn him or rebuke him like He does the others in Job 42:7. Elihu is kin to Ram, who is a descendant of Judah. This more likely explains how the book of Job was preserved and later included in the Masoretic text.

    Now, the thing I don’t see associated with this story by the “scholars” is the

    Chaldeans and Sabeans mentioned in Job chapter one.

    The Sabeans took his oxen and asses, and slew his servants Job 1:14-15.

    The Chaldeans took the camels and slew his servants Job 1:17.

    The Sabeans are a tall people associated with Ethiopia, Egypt, and a wilderness Isa 45:14, Ez 23:42.

    In 2Ch:36 the King of Egypt puts down the King of Judah and sets up his brother Jehoiakim.

    Job’s story most likely took place during Jehoiakim’s reign. The Sabeans are likely to have been associated with the Egyptian probes into Judah during and after Necho’s subjection of Jerusalem.

    The Chaldean bands which preyed upon Job’s camels predated the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem and Judah.

    Hence we see evidence which substantiates the attacks on Job’s assets from both sides in the same time period.

    Ruben, Gad, and Manasseh have already been removed from Bashan by the Assyrians I Ch 5:26. So the land of Bashan or Gilead, or Uz, or Midian, whatever you want to call it, is fairly unprotected and vulnerable to the armies of Egypt or Chaldea who sent “bands” to round up resources for their larger contingencies.

    Another interesting observation is that the “King’s Highway” ran very close to Uz through Edom.

    Job’s prosperity may have been due to: 1) the land was conducive to the raising of cattle, and 2) he had close access to a large trade route. The downside may have been that the trade route was also an “expressway” for the invaders from Ethiopia and the Chaldees.

    These simple explanations from scripture may be key to understanding the date of the book of Job.

    The genealogies place all of the men mentioned close enough to Job’s locale.

    The history of the day places the Chaldees and the Sabeans in the right neighborhood to carry out the plundering.

    Then consider God’s placement of Job in the sequence of the books of the Bible. Job is the first of the five poetical books which places it closest to the end of the twelve historical books. This is by divine design. If job were the oldest written book of the Bible, it would be placed before the other historical books or possibly between one of the books of the Pentateuch.

    Job pictures Israel’s demise, suffering, and return to preeminence.

    Was Job an Israelite? Well, he didn’t have to be, but considering who his friends were, what his story represents, and what book his story is published in, I think he was. At the least, we know what God he served: the one who had a Son.

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  11. Bozo says:

    “The day Satan first attacked Job, Job was father to seven sons and three daughters who owned their own houses and had their own independent livelihood; they were well-established adults.” – There is no basis for that assumption. On the contrary, he was probably quite young. Jews have historically married young. He probably was already married by 20 if not 18. If he had a child every year, he would have been 30 by the time his 10th child was born. Since they gathered at one of their homes at the time of their death, it is safe to assume that they were in the age range of 20 to 30. That would have made Job 40 to 50.

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    • Not sure what you would consider quite young, but typically in ancient times in levantine cultures males would not marry until their mid to late twenties since a young man would have to be established in a trade and proven as a stable provider. Job also is clearly not jewish since he acts as priest to his family and friends and his daughters were also listed as recipients of his inheritance , something forbidden by the mosaic law.

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  12. beggs says:

    Good discussion – I just finished reading Job – its written like a stage play – but it was gr8 – why does God refer to the monster at the end? Is that part of end time prophecy?

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    • Todd Beal says:

      I don’t have the answer to that question, except it appears God is showing Job that God is God, that he created everything and has power over everything, not Job. It seems to me God was telling Job, “Remember your place.” What’s interesting here is that in no part of this account does the scripture ever mention Job sinning.

      I also love this section because, just like every other human, Job made pronouncements to his friends about God that were strictly from knowledge, not experience. Job confessed that to God. See Job 42:1-6:

      1 Then Job answered the Lord and said, 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” 4 ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; 6 Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”

      Regarding prophecy in the book of Job, I found one thing very specifically. Notice Job 38:22-23:

      22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress, for the day of war and battle?

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    • All creatures are created by God and subject to His command, even those whose power and wildness were beyond the capabilities of human effort to tame and control, i.e.”monsters”, so what would compel Job and his friends to believe that they could comprehend God and His ways? God is pointing out that if human ability is incapable of controlling even just one of Gods works. how much more foolish is it for them to presume to understand Gods ways.

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  13. Doug W. Koehler says:

    You folks are forgetting Job 38:31 where ORION is mentioned (pertaining to the constellation. The term ORION was created by the Greek culture, so all you have to do is look when the Greeks began their mythology. There you have it.

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    • Btw, see E.W. Bullinger’s book: Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, explained and Illustrated, (Originally published in 1898 by Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, in London). My copy here is a Baker Book House reprint, 1968. The whole book is based upon the work of the ancient Greeks in language, formed into the “Schema” of the Greeks and the Romans, “Figura”. Over two hundred of them! The Introduction to the book is a must read! And even Walter Kaiser said: “This book should be on every exegete’s shelf alongside the Greek and Hebrew lexicons and grammars.”

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      • Todd Beal says:

        Fr. Robert, I don’t know whether you are addressing me or replying to Doug’s comment. In the case it is me, I bought that book back when you recommended Bullinger’s ‘Witness of the Stars’ but I really have not gotten into it yet. Right now I am up to my eyeballs in studying Hebrew.

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  14. Doug W. Koehler says:

    P.S. I forgot to write in the punchline that The branch of Greek mythology is extremely old, dating back to the worship of the Earth Mother in 2000 B.C. Orion is mentioned in the oldest surviving works of Greek literature, which probably date back to the 7th or 8th century BC, but which are the products of an oral tradition with origins several centuries earlier.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Doug,

      Something to keep in mind here is that the word “Orion” is not a translation of the original Hebrew word כְּסִיל (kesil) – which in short definition means, “stupid fellow, dullard, fool”. See the following excerpt from the Wikipedia article, Biblical Names of the Stars:

      …kesil signifies in Hebrew “impious”, adjectives expressive of the stupid criminality which belongs to the legendary character of giants; and the stars of Orion irresistibly suggest a huge figure striding across the sky. The Arabs accordingly named the constellation Al-gebbar, “the giant”, the Syriac equivalent being Gabbara in old Syriac version of the Bible known as Peshitta. We may then safely admit that… Kesil did actually designate Orion.

      Our Bible translations borrow the word “Orion” from the Greeks which was their unique name for this constellation. The Jewish scriptures do not ever call this constellation “Orion” in the Hebrew tongue. However, based on the Hebrew meaning and contextual usage of kesil, we can confidently associate it with the constellation the Greeks call “Orion”. The Arabs called it Al-gebbar (the giant); the Hebrews called it kesil (the fool); the Greeks called it Orion (the giant hunter mentioned in Greek mythology).

      We call it Orion because that’s the name that stuck.

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  15. Ken Pepiton says:

    I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to thank you for your blog and offer a few thoughts that came up while I was researching a presentation regarding Job.

    Regarding post-flood time period:
    Job 22:15-17 (KJV)
    15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
    16 Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
    17 Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

    Regarding the accuracy of oral histories: the Hopi in Arizona have a very detailed oral history that goes back at least to their arrival in the western hemisphere (Book of the Hopi, Fred Waters) and among the Navajo traditional songs – histories and instructions – were still being taught and memorized in the twentieth century (Left Handed, Son of Old Man Hat, A Navajo Autobiography; recorded by Walter Dyk, published in 1995 by University of Nebraska Press). I hold the belief that these traditional stories empowered those two cultures to remain separate even though the entire Hopi nation is surrounded by the large Navajo nation and has been for centuries.

    That said, I am leaning toward Abraham being the author/recorder of Genesis up to his own life. And that, Abe received the story through the Babel/Peleg events from Shem. It has been suggested that the Melchizedek priest Abe met after the battle of four kings with five could have been Shem. The two men’s lives did overlap.

    And I think Moses got the Job story from Jethro, thus explaing the style diferences between Job and other Mosaic works.

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  16. Dennis Degler says:

    As a research scientist reading through Job one day I found it fascinating that [chapter 40] vv15-24 appear to describe in surprising yet unmistakable detail the a herbivorous dinosaur such as diplodocus with a “tail like a cedar of Lebanon”. All the more surprising when one considers that the first fossil dinosaur discovery was made less than 200 years ago ! I saw your post on the probable period Job was written as being “in or before the time of Terah”, who was born, I understand, 2296BC. As the Flood was only 50 years or so earlier this is beginning to confirm my suspicions that it was written by a pre-flood person who would have actually seen the diplodocus, also confirming another suspicion that the dinosaurs were exterminated solely by the Flood. Hence Job would have either been written by, or at least transported on the arc by, a member of Noah’s family. What are your thoughts?

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Dennis,

      I do not subscribe to the popular consensus that dinosaurs, including certain Biblically mentioned creatures such as the Unicorn (mentioned proper in the KJV only), did not exist post-flood. I have studied enough Biblical, extra Biblical, and non-Biblical evidence to conclude that Dinosaurs, Unicorns, etc. did exist for several hundred years post-flood, at least in some limited type and quantity. I will post that research at some later date, as your current question focuses on pre-flood/post-flood dating of the events in the book of Job.

      Evidence for placing the events of Job post-flood:

      1. Job 41 talks about fear between animals and mankind. This enmity did not exist pre-flood. Animals and humans coexisted without fear of each other. This eliminates the events of Job as pre-flood.
        1. After the flood, God said to Noah in Genesis 9:1-5 [ESV]: “1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”
        2. Now consider the following excerpts from Job 41 [ESV]: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? [Job 41:1]”; “Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! [Job 41:8]”; “No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. [Job 41:10]”; “When he raises himself up the mighty are afraid; at the crashing they are beside themselves. [Job 41:25]”. If the events in Job took place before the flood, the terrifying depiction of the Leviathan would be absent. Enmity between humans and living creatures began after the flood, not before.
          • The Bible’s first mention of hunting comes after the flood in Genesis 10:8-9. Nimrod was referred to as a Mighty Hunter.
      2. Job’s friend, Eliphaz the Temanite, mentions the flood in Job 22:15-17 [ESV]
        • 15 Will you keep to the old way
              that wicked men have trod?
          16 They were snatched away before their time;
              their foundation was washed away.
          17 They said to God, ‘Depart from us,’
              and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’”
        • Eliphaz speaks of the flood as common historical knowledge, not future tense. This eliminates the events of Job as pre-flood.
      3. In Job 38:25-26 [ESV], God speaks to Job about rain in everyday life. This eliminates the events of Job as pre-flood.
        • 25 “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain
              and a way for the thunderbolt,
          26 to bring rain on a land where no man is,
              on the desert in which there is no man…
        • Rain did not occur before the flood, and consequently neither did rainbows; Genesis 9:12-15 [ESV]: 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

      I hope this provides some good food for your study, Dennis. I ask you to start at the very top of this blog post and work your way down through both the post and comments. The post itself establishes the entry point for dating the book of Job. The subsequent comment section will give you scads of study material and resources, more than what you can exhaust in several days of hardcore research.

      This is what I love so much about the readership on Truth Behind Reality: we each bring something unique to the table of thought. May I suggest you also tap into Fr. Robert’s theological and Church History expertise (including his knowledge of the field of Philosophy). He is a very studied man, and one whom I greatly respect. You can visit him at Irish Anglican’s Weblog.

      Todd Beal

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  17. In Job 40: 15-24, “behemoth” is perhaps (as it appears) a water-ox, or hippopotamus. But surely not dinosaur! Personally I see Job in a more prose account of the fall and restoration of the pious or faithful Job frames the book as a whole (1: 1-2 ; 42: 7-17). But of course with a dramatic poetic dialogue, with the “friends” of Job! And surely the Book addresses itself with the question of faith in a sovereign God.

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    • Btw, surely the Book of Job gives a patriarchal date, perhaps between Genesis 11 and 12, or not long after the time of Abraham? My thoughts anyway, and we MUST always see both the theological and literary aspects! This Book has universal perspectives, though too a fallen world of good (so-called) and evil, of almost impersonal forces operating in a predetermined manner. GOD is in control!

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