3

It seems there are so many instances in the Book of Job that could force interpreters to classify it as a parable/allegory.

Let me point out one of them here. There seems to be a sharp literary contrast between Job 1:3 and 42:12.

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. (Job 1:3 ESV)

And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. (Job 42:12)

If Job is a real account, then how do we chart the descent of Eliphaz the Temanite; Bilhad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite characterization?

If the book is not a parable/allegory, then, what would be the best way to contrast and interpret Job 1:3 and 42:12?

  • It classified as Wisdom, and as such we need to understand the moral and not seeking for historical truths. – A. Meshu Oct 14 '18 at 17:07
  • It is unclear what exactly you are asking here. Especially: 1. You seem to have some concept of "Jewish fables" that I'm not familiar with. What would make a text a "Jewish fable"? 2. If you consider that one of the defining characteristics of Judaism is the existence of a scriptural tradition, then Judaism proper did not begin until somewhere during the Babylonian exile at the earliest. While the date of Job is debated, an earlier origin is very likely, so the book can't have resulted in "Jewish culture". – user2672 Oct 14 '18 at 19:09
  • Good point, @Keelan. Expand on it and I would upvote it. – user25930 Oct 14 '18 at 19:44
  • @Keelan: As Dr Peter McGowan has observed, you raised a thoughtful point here. What I am asking is this! 1. How do we reconcile the contrast between Job 1:3 and 42:12? 2. If the book couldn't have resulted in "Jewish culture," how do we reconcile the names that are used in the book. Some of those names are traceable to Judaism? – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 14 '18 at 21:56
  • 1
    At the beginning, Job had such and such, And after all his afflictions, God blessed him and he had much, much more. And the possessions are listed. I don't see a problem, myself. – Nigel J Oct 15 '18 at 21:23
2

I don't think "sharp literary contrast" is an accurate description for the passage where God restores double for Job's material losses, especially if the description was from a literal event as opposed to a purely literary event.

Also consider Torah, the Law that was later delivered to Moses by God, required a similar double restitution from a thief in certain conditions, which is exactly what ha satan was guilty of in Job. Compare the conditions in Exodus 22:4 and 22:7.

Note that the earlier Pharaonic penalties were usually triple. See http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/law_and_order/index.html

| improve this answer | |
  • What generates a lot of interest in this investigation is the multiplier significance viz-a-viz the numerical precision in the restoration of Job's material losses. Does that not establish the connotative essence of a literary masterpiece? – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 15 '18 at 23:07
  • In context, Torah and similar previous ANE documents primarily connote a legal rather than a literary value. You might be able to argue that the precise factor of two demonstrates a simpler, stronger commitment than a more nuanced factor of, let's say, one-and-five-sixths or two-and-one-fifth. – Dieter Oct 16 '18 at 3:23
  • You are right on point here and thanks to @ Pascal's Wager. – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 16 '18 at 7:40
2

The Septuagint version of Job contains a conclusion that indicates that Job was a real, historical person:

This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over: first, Balac, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba: but after Balac, Jobab, who is called Job: and after him Asom, who was governor out of the country of Thæman: and after him Adad, the son of Barad, who destroyed Madiam in the plain of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. And his friends who came to him were Eliphaz, of the children of Esau, king of the Thæmanites, Baldad sovereign of the Sauchæans, Sophar king of the Minæans*


* Brenton translation

| improve this answer | |
  • This has helped to answer a part of my question @Keelan: 1. Will it be justified to classify the Book of Job as a parable or a real account? 2. Can we trace Eliphaz the Temanite; Bilhad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite to some pedigrees in Judaism? I would appreciate it if you could do some edits to touch on the other phase of the question when I said what generates a lot of interest in this investigation is the multiplier significance viz-a-viz the numerical precision in the restoration of Job's material losses. Does that not establish the connotative essence of a literary masterpiece? – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 17 '18 at 19:39
0

Ezekiel and James mention Job as a real person:-

Ezekiel 14:14 Even if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were within it, they would be able to save only themselves because of their righteousness,’ . . .

James 5:11 Look! We consider happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job . . .

Therefore he must be real and the Bible book named after him.

Further to the above is the fact The God himself spoke about the man Job; see Job 1:8-9 & 2:3!

| improve this answer | |
  • Please don't add signatures. See the help center. – user2672 Oct 16 '18 at 19:48
  • 1
    On topic, that those other books mention Job does not mean he cannot be a fictitious role model. – user2672 Oct 16 '18 at 19:51
  • Good point, @Keelan. It sounds good to note that those other books mention Job. I'm afraid! I would accept this answer, if it it is expounded to chart the descent of Eliphaz the Temanite; Bilhad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite? – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 16 '18 at 20:03
  • I think Jesus can have the last word. John 17:17 "Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth. No room for fiction I think. – user26950 Oct 17 '18 at 17:26
  • I also believe the Bible is inherent. The historicity of Job is a subject of debate within Jewish Tradition @Alex. But we can chart the descent of Eliphaz the Temanite; Bilhad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite? – – Ernest Abinokhauno Oct 18 '18 at 18:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.