Job an Edomite?

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Quilter2
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Job an Edomite?

Post by Quilter2 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:02 am

Hi Steve,
I am doing your Genesis lectures. In one of them you are talking about chronology, and state that Job was probably an Edomite. Can you tell us why you think he was Edomite? I know one of his friends was from Edom but why do you say Job probably was? Thanks
Paula

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steve
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Re: Job an Edomite?

Post by steve » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:42 am

Job's nationality is not given, but he was not Israelite. He would have lived, in all likelihood, during the time that Israel was in bondage in Egypt (since one of his friends was a Temanite (Edomite) and one was a Shuhite (descended from a child Abraham had with Keturah). This means that there would have to be enough time elapsed from the founding of Esau's and Shuah's families to have people identified with their clans. Since Esau was contemporary with Jacob, and Esau's sons were contemporary with the 12 sons of Jacob, who went down to Egypt, Teman (Esau's grandson—Gen.36:10-11) would have been born during the Israelite captivity. The clan of the Temanites could not have existed until at least one generation after Teman lived.


Job himself is identified only as the greatest of the men of the East. Since "the East" would most naturally be referring to the east of Israel, that would make him (most likely) either Ammonite, Moabite or Edomite. He had at least one Edomite friend of Temanite (Edomite) ancestry, which makes it probable that Job was also from the same region. Also, Job worshipped the true God, as Esau probably did (Jacob and Esau were both raised by Isaac in the lifetime of Abraham). Moab and Ammon never were raised in any connection with Abraham, and their descendants worshipped demon gods, like Chemosh. If Job was Moabite or Ammonite, he probably would not have known the true God, while (I am guessing) he would, if he was Edomite.

Job apparently lived before the establishment of Israel as a nation (that is, before the Exodus). If he was a foreign worshipper of Yahweh, contemporary with Moses, or later, he would have been expected to convert to the Mosaic religion and worship at the tabernacle. There are cultural indicators in Job that he lived in the patriarchal period (e.g., when fathers served as priests to their families), rather than later, in the time of Moses, Joshua or the judges of Israel.

In any case, we don't know Job's nationality. Edomite is an educated guess.

DeGraff
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Re: Job an Edomite?

Post by DeGraff » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:07 pm

From reading Peter Enn's (and others) I'm open to the idea that both Job and Jonah are more like parables than actual history. In the second temple period it was common to take characters mentioned elsewhere (I believe Jonah was mentioned briefly in Chronicles) and create a teaching play around them.

In chapter one of Job, four disasters happen and each time there is one survivor who returns to Job to say "and I am the only one who escaped to tell you". It sounds like a story instead of a factual account. I'm thinking both books were oral stories based on true people and events, that were retold and embellished over time. That doesn't make them any less inspired.

When Jesus told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we aren't to assume he was describing an actual event just because he called Lazarus by name and includes Abraham as a character.

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steve
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Re: Job an Edomite?

Post by steve » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:14 pm

I think there could be literary elements of Job that come from the time of Solomon or later. That is, I believe the story is a true one, but the speeches may not have been originally uttered in poetry. Someone familiar with the story may have reframed the speeches into poetic form, in accordance with the poetic nature of other wisdom literature (a genre of which Job is considered a sample, along with Proverbs and Ecclesiastes). This would not mean that anything in the book was made-up by the later poet, but the it may have been recast as a literary production in the age when Israel's wisdom literature was popular.

It seems unlikely to me that a later Israelite author would make-up the story of whole cloth, since the hero is apparently a Gentile. The whole point of the story of Jonah may be that of God's inclusion of repentant Gentiles, but no such issue arises in Job. His non-Israelite ethnicity would seem to be incidental to the story (which seems to be interested in an entirely different lesson), and that does not seem to be what an Israelite writer of fiction would include.

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