Authorship

"The origins of Job are shrouded in mystery. The author of the book is anonymous. Nor does the book indicate precisely when or where the events it describes took place. Job’s home in the land of Uz was probably between EDOM and northern Arabia, and his friends came from the vicinity of Edom. Details about when these events took place are even more vague. Many of the circumstances seem patriarchal: Job offers sacrifices without the benefit of a priest, his wealth is measured in terms of flocks and servants, and his long life-span (140 years) harkens back to Genesis. Because of these observations, many have assumed a pre-Mosaic origin for the book. The linguistic evidence of Job is inconclusive. The book contains both very old and relatively late Hebrew terms. This indicates Job has had a long history of transmission, being copied and recopied many times. In addition, the main character of the book may not even have been Israelite. Besides the Edomite geographical references, the book contains no reference to Mosaic law or the covenant, and God is seldom identified as Yahweh. The reader is forced to accept this book as detailing events 'about a famous man who lived a long time ago in a land far away.'"

Arnold, B. T., & Beyer, B. E. (2008). Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Second Edition) (298). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Time of composition

"Scholarly debate about the time of composition ranges from the early eighth century B.C. (contemporary with Isaiah) to the third century B.C. (second-temple Judah). Recent literary comparisons between Job and Isaiah have led some to accept the eighth-century date as the most likely time for the date of Job’s composition." Arnold, B. T., & Beyer, B. E. (2008). Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Second Edition) (298). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Setting

"The plot is definitely set in or before the patriarchal period. Job is a Gentile patriarch much like Abraham. Job’s great wealth is measured in terms of the number of cattle in his possession and servants in his employ (Job 1:3; 42:12). He is also the head of a large family for whom he serves as priest much as Abraham did for his family. For instance, Job offers sacrifices (1:5), an act unthinkable after the formal priesthood was established at Sinai. Furthermore, Job’s age exceeds those of the patriarchs. He lived 140 years after his restoration (42:16). Most telling is that Job is a non-Israelite. Uz, while not definitely located, is clearly not within the boundaries of Israel (Gen. 10:23; Lam. 4:21; Clines 1989, 10–11). In terms of the progress of redemption, Job is best understood as having lived before the Abrahamic covenant, which narrows the covenant community to a particular family." Longman, T., III, & Dillard, R. B. (2007). An Introduction to the Old Testament(Second Edition.) (226). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Multimedia

Resources

  • Zuck, Roy B. Sitting with Job: Selected Studies on the Book of Job. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003. ISBN 978-1592443840