NET Bible

Job 15:7 Were you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills?

Proverbs 8:25 before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,

Who does Eliphaz understand to be "the first man ever born"?

  • Proverbs 8 is Wisdom personified as a woman, not a man. Oct 9, 2017 at 15:18
  • @RevelationLad I believe that is only a play on the grammatical gender of the word 'wisdom' (Heb. ḥokmâ/Gk. sophia) and not integral, as such, to the personification. Oct 9, 2017 at 15:43
  • @RevelationLad Interesting read. I tend not convict the wisdom literature of promotic archaic practices of worshiping goddesses, since I'm a Christian, but also because it's a highly subjective, and I believe, markdely eisegetical move. Especially given how wisdom is often most explicitly synonymized with other synonymous words, such as prudence, counsel, knowledge—that is, whith being a simple personification of God's good virtues/attributes. Or even sometimes with the 'spirit/Spirit' of God. Oct 9, 2017 at 21:59
  • @SolaGratia I don't disagree with you. I think you are on solid ground. I see the issue as taking the verse in Proverbs "out of context" attempting to link it to Job. Oct 9, 2017 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


There is parallelism here which we must take into account. With parallelism, it's not always clear whether equating the two parallel concepts is intended by the author or not, and is largely a subjective endeavor, however, I think this case is quite clear:

Job 15:7-8

Are you the first man that was born | or | were you made before the hills?

Have thou heard God's counsel | and | shall you take away wisdom to yourself?

Since Proverbs, also Wisdom Literature, written after Job and based on the same idea of personifying God's wisdom, says the following:

Proverbs 8:12,25

I, wisdom ... ... The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth:

This seems to be quite an overt allusion to this passage. However, wisdom is not a "man born," but a personification of God's wisdom. It seems to be the case, therefore, that Job 15:7a and Job 15:7b might not be equating "the first man" with being "made before the hills," as this is not a necessary link. It's more likely two successive examples of being of prime importance: the first manever born; 'God thought it essential to make you, even before getting around to making the mountains' (accusing Job or pride, or mocking his futility).

  • I have heard it argued that the hills were not made until the flood.
    – Ruminator
    Mar 16, 2019 at 17:08
  • @Ruminator That sounds like a rather baseless assumption to me... Mar 16, 2019 at 22:19

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