The Book of Job -- More Insight Wanted

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EmilySC

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Thanks (for the input on Job). See recent entries on Ramblings on Isa. 65 & 66. Job's age (living another 140 years "after this" [KJV]) is the reason given by some that he may have lived earlier than Moses when men lived longer. Of course Moses lived 120 years and was still going strong when he died.

One of his friends mentions a significant flood which seems to place him after Noah's time.

I need a little help to understand how he could have been in Moses's time. Weren't all of Isaac's descendants in Egypt?

I moved this to a new post in hopes that I can get some help understanding this book better.

My other question (for now) is the references to the constellations Orion / Pleiades). Are these references in the Hebrew or were they more likely inserted by the KJV translators.

Again, I will be very appreciative of any help that you can offer me.
 
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semilargeintestine

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I want to correct something. I just rechecked my sources, and Job was not a Jew, but rather a righteous Gentile (he is descended from Abraham's brother, Nahor). It is an important distinction.

Without getting too detailed, the Arizal places Job in the time of Isaac using many references and examples of exegesis that I won't get into. However, the Arizal also relates to Job in the Exodus. Now if Job is living in the time of Isaac AND in the time of the Exodus, that means he either lived to be at least 200-300 years old, or there is something else going on.

There are a few possibilities. One possibility is that since G-d and the Heavens are outside of time, it is possible for them to discuss people anachronistically. In fact, the prophets often discuss people and events without regard for chronology, and the Torah often uses future tense to describe things that happened in the past.

The Arizal relates that when the Israelites were crossing through the split sea, the Egyptians came in after them. At that point, the Satan began his case, saying that both parties were guilty of idol worship and should be drowned, for saving one and not the other is against the Torah. G-d ransomed Israel using Job, since he was not a Jew and could be put in place of the Israelites. Now if Job lived during the time of Isaac and we presume he did not live close to 300 years, it is possible that G-d is referring to Job outside of the chronological order of events, and so the Satan would still be happy with it since there is no concept of past-present-future in the way we know it.

The other possibility is that Job is just a metaphor for righteous Gentiles. That is, that there are multiple Jobs, and that his story is just a generalization to teach us what happens when the Heavenly Court convenes and how faith in G-d will protect you.

As far as the constellations, they are in the Hebrew as well. They are mentioned a few times. In Job 9:9, they are mentioned:

עֹשֶׂה-עָשׁ, כְּסִיל וְכִימָה; וְחַדְרֵי תֵמָן.

Rashi comments on כְּסִיל וְכִימָה, saying, "Orion, and the Pleiades: they are constellations." The verse follows a few others describing G-d as the creator of the stars, etc.
 

EmilySC

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Thanks for the information--I appreciate your explanation--it certainly fits with what I know (and am learning).

I guess I need to study up on the names of the constellations a little more. Apparently they have been named a lot longer than I was thinking. Probably since the days men first looked up in the skies at night.

New question: When and by whom is the book of Job thought to have been written?

Second new question has to do with Job lamenting that his own children are repelled/repulsed by him (paraphrasing). Since all of his own children were killed prior to him being personally afflicted, that verse doesn't seem to fit. I know that he later was given the same number of children again.

Is my paraphrase (about his children) consistent with the Hebrew?


Thanks again. I'm feeling strongly that I need to use Job's "lessons" as the basis for something I need to write. Problem is that I have more questions than answers when I study the book.
 

semilargeintestine

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Job is a complex and difficult book. It is not easily paraphrased or summed up because it is about a difficult and complex subject matter, and the Hebrew is obscure and often esoteric. It's authorship and chronology is highly debated. A gemara names the author as none other than Moshe Rabbeinu himself, which seems to indicate that Job did not actually exist (however, there are inconsistencies with dating there, so it's still debated).

In addition, the Sefer Iyov (Book of Job) is the only book of the Tanakh with the kind of format we see over there. It has a prologue, dialogues, the intrusion of Elihu, the appearance of G-d, and an epilogue. It is structured almost like a novel. The Vilna Gaon explains, however, that even if Job never existed, it does not degrade the book; rather, it explains that Job was created to answer some very fundamental questions that are sure to trouble people (which supports the theory that it was written by Moses, since he was very worried about the people falling to sin once he died).

The book discusses why good people suffer, how G-d works, why things aren't always explained to us in our lifetimes, experience going at odds with dogma, reward and punishment, the goodness of G-d even in the apparent absence of good, and the question of whether or not it is okay to be angry and question one's suffering.

These are very complex issues that the people of Israel were going to face once Moses died and they entered the Land of Israel, for G-d's presence would no longer be with them in the obvious way that it was in the desert. He feared that they would forget that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe, and they would turn away from Him in their frustration or arrogance. The book of Job seems to address them turning away in frustration or desperation while his many warnings in the Torah address the potential for arrogance and undue self-pride.

It is fitting that we are discussing this during Sukkot, when we leave the comforts of our study house to dwell in a flimsy, temporary structure to remind us that the only protection we can depend on is G-d, not the physical things we create and acquire for ourselves.
 

Sempine

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(For ESC)
Thanks again for your insight. The other question about Job's reference to his children (when they would have been dead) being repulsed by him is no longer of interest to ESC since the question stemmed from a reading of questionable translation. Other translations speak of little children or wicked children (not Job's children).

BTW, there is a thread on the web that suggests that Job was an Edomite and that he might possibly have been Jobab, a leader of the Hyksos people which invaded and ruled Egypt about the time Joseph would have been transported there. It contains a lot of speculation, but you might be interested in seeing what the purported "scholar" has "uncovered."

Again, thanks for responding.
 

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