job ('iyobh, meaning of name doubtful; some conjecturing "object of enmity," others "he who turns," etc., to God; both uncertain guesses; Iob): The titular hero of the Book of Job, represented as a wealthy and pious land-holder who lived in patriarchal times, or at least conditions, in the land of Uz, on the borders of Idumea. Outside of the Book of Job he is mentioned by Ezekiel (Eze 14:14,20) as one of 3 great personages whose representative righteousness would presumably avail, if that of any individuals could, to redeem the nation; the other two being Noah, an ancient patriarch, and Daniel, a contemporary of the prophet. It is difficult to determine whether Job was an actual personage or not. If known through legend, it must have been on account of some such experience as is narrated in the book, an experience unique enough to have become a potent household word; still, the power and influence of it is due to the masterly vigor and exposition of the story. It was the Job of literature, rather than the Job of legend, who lived in the hearts of men; a character so commanding that, albeit fictitious, it could be referred to as real, just as we refer to Hamlet or Othello. It is not the way of Hebrew writers, however, to evolve literary heroes from pure imagination; they crave an authentic basis of fact. It is probable that such a basis, in its essential outlines, existed under the story of Job. It is not necessary to suppose, however, that the legend or the name was known to Israel from ancient times. Job is introduced (Job 1:1) as if he had not been known before. The writer, who throughout the book shows a wide acquaintance with the world, doubtless found the legend somewhere, and drew its meanings together for an undying message to his and all times.
John Franklin Genung
© Levend Water