Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
The Book of Job
1. The Problem of the Book of Job
Why do afflictions upon afflictions befall the righteous man? This is the question, the answering of which is made the theme of the book of Job. Looking to the conclusion of the book, the answer stands: that afflictions are for the righteous man the way to a twofold blessedness. But in itself, this answer cannot satisfy; so much the less, as the twofold blessedness to which Job finally attains is just as earthly and of this world as that which he has lost by affliction. This answer is inadequate, since on the one hand such losses as those of beloved children cannot, as the loss of sheep and camels, really be made good by double the number of other children; on the other hand, it may be objected that many a righteous man deprived of his former prosperity dies in outward poverty. There are numerous deathbeds which protest against this answer. There are many pious sufferers to whom this present material issue of the book of Job could not yield any solace; whom, when in conflict at least, it might the rather bring into danger of despair. With reference to this conclusion, the book of Job is an insufficient theodicy, as in general the truth taught in the Old Testament, that the end, אהרית, of the righteous, as of the unrighteous, would reveal the hidden divine recompense, could afford no true consolation so long as this אהרית flowed on with death into the night of Hades, שׁאול, and had no prospect of eternal life.
But the issue of the history, regarded externally, is by no means the proper answer to the great question of the book. The principal thing is not that Job is doubly blessed, but that God acknowledges him as His servant, which He is able to do, after Job in all his afflictions has remained true to God. Therein lies the important truth, that there is a suffering of the righteous which is not a decree of wrath, into which the love of God has been changed, but a dispensation of that love itself. In fact, this truth is the heart of the book of Job. It has therefore been said - particularly by Hirzel, and recently by Renan - that it aims at destroying the old Mosaic doctrine of retribution. But this old Mosaic doctrine of retribution is a modern phantom. That all suffering is a divine retribution, the Mosaic Thora does not teach. Renan calls this doctrine la vielle conception patriarcale. But the patriarchal history, and especially the history of Joseph, gives decided proof against it. The distinction between the suffering of the righteous and the retributive justice of God, brought out in the book of Job, is nothing new. The history before the time of Israel, and the history of Israel even, exhibit it in facts; and the words of the law, as Deuteronomy 8:16, expressly show that there are sufferings which are the result of God's love; though the book of Job certainly presents this truth, which otherwise had but a scattered and presageful utterance, in a unique manner, and causes it to come forth before us from a calamitous and terrible conflict, as pure gold from a fierce furnace. It comes forth as the result of the controversy with the false doctrine of retribution advanced by the friends; a doctrine which is indeed not Mosaic, for the Mosaic Thora in the whole course of the history of revelation is nowhere impugned and corrected, but ever only augmented, and, consistently with its inherent character, rendered more complete.
To this question the book furnishes, as it appears to us, two answers: (1.) The afflictions of the righteous are a means of discipline and purification; they certainly arise from the sins of the righteous man, but still are not the workings of God's wrath, but of His love, which is directed to his purifying and advancement. Such is the view Elihu in the book of Job represents. The writer of the introductory portion of Proverbs has expressed this briefly but beautifully Proverbs 3:11; cf. Hebrews 12). Oehler, in order that one may perceive its distinction from the view of the three friends, rightly refers to the various theories of punishment. Discipline designed for improvement is properly no punishment, since punishment, according to its true idea, is only satisfaction rendered for the violation of moral order. In how far the speeches of Elihu succeed in conveying this view clear and distinct from the original standpoint of the friends, especially of Eliphaz, matters not to us here; at all events, it is in the mind of the poet as the characteristic of these speeches. (2.) The afflictions of the righteous man are means of proving and testing, which, like chastisements, come from the love of God. Their object is not, however, the purging away of sin which may still cling to the righteous man, but, on the contrary, the manifestation and testing of his righteousness. This is the point of view from which, apart from Elihu's speeches, the book of Job presents Job's afflictions. Only by this relation of things is the chagrin with which Job takes up the words of Eliphaz, and so begins the controversy, explained and justified or excused. And, indeed, if it should be even impossible for the Christian, especially with regard to his own sufferings, to draw the line between disciplinary and testing sufferings so clearly as it is drawn in the book of Job, there is also for the deeper and more acute New Testament perception of sin, a suffering of the righteous which exists without any causal connection with his sin, viz., confession by suffering, or martyrdom, which the righteous man undergoes, not for his own sake, but for the sake of God.
If we, then, keep in mind these two further answers which the book of Job gives us to the question, "Why through suffering to blessedness?" it is not to be denied that practically they are perfectly sufficient. If I know that God sends afflictions to me because, since sin and evil are come into the world, they are the indispensable means of purifying and testing me, and by both purifying and testing of perfecting me, - these are explanations with which I can and must console myself. But this is still not the final answer of the book of Job to its great question. And its unparalleled magnitude, its high significance in the historical development of revelation, its typical character already recognised in the Old Testament, consists just in its going beyond this answer, and giving us an answer which, going back to the extreme roots of evil, and being deduced from the most intimate connections of the individual life of man with the history and plan of the world in the most comprehensive sense, not only practically, but speculatively, satisfies.
2. The Chokma-Character of the Book
But before we go so far into this final and highest answer as the province of the Introduction permits and requires, in order to assign to the reader the position necessary to be taken for understanding the book, we ask, How comes it that the book of Job presents such a universal and absolute solution of the problem, otherwise unheard of in the Old Testament Scriptures? The reason of it is in the peculiar mental tendency (Geistesrichtung) of the Israelitish race from which it proceeded. There was in Israel a bias of a universalistic, humanic, philosophical kind, which, starting from the fear or worship (religion) of Jehovah, was turned to the final causes of things, - the cosmical connections of the earthly, the common human foundations of the Israelitish, the invisible roots of the visible, the universal actual truth of the individual and national historical. The common character of the few works of his Chokma which have been preserved to us is the humanic standpoint, stripped of everything peculiarly Israelitish. In the whole book of Proverbs, which treats of the relations of human life in its most general aspects, the name of the covenant people, ישׁראל, does not once occur. In Ecclesiastes, which treats of the nothingness of all earthly things, and with greater right than the book of Job may be called the canticle of Inquiry,
(Note: The book of Job, says H. Heine, in his Vermischte Schriften, 1854, i., is the canticle of Inquiry (das Hodhelied der Skepsis), and horrid serpents hiss therein their eternal Wherefore? As man when he suffers must weep his fill, so must he cease to doubt. This poison of doubt must not be wanting in the Bible, that great storehouse of mankind.)
even the covenant name of God, יהוה, does not occur. In the Son of Songs, the groundwork of the picture certainly, but not the picture itself, is Israelitish: it represents a common human primary relation, the love of man and woman; and that if not with allegorical, yet mystical meaning, similar to the Indian Gitagovinda, and also the third part of the Tamul Kural, translated by Graul.
So the book of Job treats a fundamental question of our common humanity; and the poet has studiously taken his hero not from Israelitish history, but from extra-Israelitish tradition. From beginning to end he is conscious of relating an extra-Israelitish history, - a history handed down among the Arab tribes to the east of Palestine, which has come to his ears; for none of the proper names contain even a trace of symbolically intended meaning; and romantic historical poems were moreover not common among the ancients. This extra-Israelitish history from the patriarchal period excited the purpose of his poem, because the thought therein presented lay also in his own mind. The Thora from Sinai and prophecy, the history and worship of Israel, are nowhere introduced; even indirect reference to them nowhere escape him. He throws himself with wonderful truthfulness, effect, and vividness, into the extra-Israelitish position. His own Israelitish standpoint he certainly does not disavow, as we see from his calling God יהוה everywhere in the prologue and epilogue; but the non-Israelitish character of his hero and of his locality he maintains with strict consistency. Only twice is יהוה found in the mouth of Job (Job 1:21, Job 12:9), which is not to be wondered at, since this name of God, as the names Morija and Jochebed show, is not absolutely post-Mosaic, and therefore may have been known among the Hebrew people beyond Israel. But with this exception, Job and his friends everywhere call God אלוהּ, which is more poetic, and for non-Israelitish speakers (vid., Proverbs 30:5) more appropriate than אלהים, which occurs only three times (Job 20:29; Job 32:2; Job 38:7); or they call Him שׁדּי, which is the proper name of God in the patriarchal time, as it appears everywhere in Genesis, where in the Elohistic portions the high and turning-points of the self-manifestation of God occur (Job 17:1, Job 35:11, cf. Exodus 6:3), and when the patriarchs, at special seasons, pronounce the promise which they have received upon their children (Genesis 28:3, Genesis 48:3, Genesis 49:25; cf. Genesis 43:14). Even many of the designations of the divine attributes which have become fixed in the Thora, as אפּים ארך, חנּוּן, רחוּם, which one might well expect in the book of Job, are not found in it; nor טוב, often used of Jehovah in Psalms; nor generally the too (so to speak) dogmatic terminology of the Israelitish religion;
(Note: קרושׁ, of God, only occurs once (Job 6:10); חסד but twice (Job 10:12, and with Elihu, Job 37:13); אהב with its derivatives not at all (Gen. only Genesis 19:19). In the speeches of the three, צדיק (only with Elihu, Job 34:17), משׁפט, and שׁלּם, as expressions of the divine justitia recompensativa, are not to be found; נסּה and בחן become nowhere synonymous to designate Job's sufferings by the right name; מסּה appears (Job 9:23) only in the general signification of misfortune.)
besides which also this characteristic, that only the oldest mode of heathen worship, star-worship (Job 31:26-28), is mentioned, without even the name of God (צבאות יהוה or צבאות אלהים) occurring, which designates God as Lord of the heavens, which the heathen deified. The writer has also intentionally avoided this name, which is the star of the time of the Israelitish kings; for he is never unmindful that his subject is an ante-and extra-Israelitish one.
Hengstenberg, in his Lecture on the Book of Job, 1856, goes so far as to maintain, that a character like Job cannot possibly have existed in the heathen world, and that revelation would have been unnecessary if heathendom could produce such characters for itself. The poet, however, without doubt, presupposes the opposite; and if he did not presuppose it, he should have refrained from using all his skill to produce the appearance of the opposite. That he has nevertheless done it, cannot mislead us: for, on the one hand, Job belongs to the patriarchal period, therefore the period before the giving of the law, - a period in which the early revelation was still at work, and the revelation of God, which had not remained unknown in the side branches of the patriarchal family. On the other hand, it is quite consistent with the standpoint of the Chokma, that it presupposes a preparatory self-manifestation of God even in the extra-Israelitish world; just as John's Gospel, which aims at proving in Christianity the absolute religion which shall satisfy every longing of all mankind, acknowledges τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ διεσκορπισμένα also beyond the people of God, John 11:52, without on this account finding the incarnation of the Logos, and the possibility of regeneration by it, to be superfluous.
This parallel between the book of Job and the Gospel by John is fully authorized; for the important disclosure which the prologue of John gives to us of the Logos, is already in being in the book of Job and the introduction to the book of Proverbs, especially ch. 8, without requiring the intervening element of the Alexandrine religious philosophy, which, however, after it is once there, may not be put aside or disavowed. The Alexandrine doctrine of the Logos is really the genuine more developed form, though with many imperfections, of that which is taught of the Chokma in the book of Job and in Proverbs. Both notions have a universalistic comprehensiveness, referring not only to Israel, but to mankind. The חכמה certainly took up its abode in Israel, as it itself proves in the book Σοφια Σειραχ, ch. 24; but there is also a share of it attainable by and allotted to all mankind. This is the view of the writer even beyond Israel fellowship is possible with the one living God, who has revealed himself in Israel; that He also there continually reveals himself, ordinarily in the conscience, and extraordinarily in dreams and visions; that there is also found there a longing and struggling after that redemption of which Israel has the clear words of promise. His wonderous book soars high above the Old Testament limit; it is the Melchizedek among the Old Testament books. The final and highest solution of the problem with which it grapples, has a quarry extending out even beyond the patriarchal history. The Wisdom of the book of Job originates, as we shall see, from paradise. For this turning also to the primeval histories of Genesis, which are earlier than the rise of the nations, and the investigation of the hieroglyphs in the prelude to the Thora, which are otherwise almost passed over in the Old Testament, belong to the peculiarities of the Chokma.
3. Position in the Canon
As a work of the Chokma, the book of Job stands, with the three other works belonging to this class of the Israelitish literature, among the Hagiographa, which are called in Hebrew simply כתובים. Thus, by the side of תורה and נביאים, the third division of the canon is styled, in which are included all those writings belonging neither to the province of prophetic history nor prophetic declaration. Among the Hagiographa are writings even of a prophetic character, as Psalms and Daniel; but their writers were not properly נביאים. At present Lamentations stands among them; but this is not its original place, as also Ruth appears to have stood originally between Judges and Samuel. Both Lamentations and Ruth are placed among the Hagiographa, that there the five so-called מגלות or scrolls may stand together: Schir ha-Schirim the feast-book of the eight passover-day, Ruth that of the second Schabuoth-day, Kinoth that of the ninth of Ab, Koheleth that of the eight Succoth-day, Esther that of Purim. The book of Job, which is written neither in prophetico-historical style, nor in the style of prophetic preaching, but is a didactic poem, could stand nowhere else but in the third division of the canon. The position which it occupies is moreover a very shifting one. In the Alexandrine canon, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, follow the four books of the Kings. The historical books therefore stand, from the earliest to the latest, side by side; then begins with Job, Psalms, Proverbs, a new row, opened with these three in stricter sense poetical books. Then Melito of Sardis, in the second century, places Chronicles with the books of the Kings, but arranges immediately after them the non-historical Hagiographa in the following order: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job; here the Salomonic writings are joined to the Davidic Psalter, and the anonymous book of Job stands last. In our editions of the Bible, the Hagiographa division begins with Psalms, Proverbs, Job (the succession peculiar to MSS of the German class); in the Talmud (Bathra, 14b), with Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs; in the Masora, and in MSS of the Spanish class, with Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs. All these modes of arrangement are well considered. The Masora connects with the אחרונים נביאים the homogeneous book, the Chronicles; the Talmud places the book of Ruth before the Psalter as an historical prologue, or as a connection between the prophetico-historical books and the Hagiographa.
(Note: That Job stands after the Psalms is explained by his being contemporary with the Queen of Sheba, or, accepting Moses as the writer of the book (in which case it should stand at the head of the Chethubim), by its not being placed foremost, on account of its terrible contents (according to the maxim בפרענותא מתחילינן לא).)
The practice in our editions is to put the Psalms as the first book of the division, which agrees with Luke 24:44, and with Philo, who places ὕμνους next to the prophetical books. Job stands only in the lxx at the head of the three so-called poetic books, perhaps as a work by its patriarchal contents referring back to the earliest times. Everywhere else the Psalter stands first among the three books. These three are commonly denoted by the vox memoralis מתספרי א; but this succession, Job, Proverbs, Psalms, is nowhere found. The Masora styles them after its own, and the Talmudic order אםספרי ת.
4. The System of Accentuation
Manner of Writing in Verses, and Structure of the Strophe
The so-ciphered three books have, as is known, this in common, that they are (with the exception of the prologue and epilogue in the book of Job) punctuated according to a special system, which has been fully discussed in my Commentary on the Psalms, and in Baer's edition of the Psalter. This accent system, like the prosaic, is constructed on the fundamental law of dichotomy; but it is determined by better organization, more expressive and melodious utterance. Only the so-called prose accents, however, not the metrical or poetic (with the exception of a few detached fragments), have been preserved in transmission. Nevertheless, we are always still able to discern from these accents how the reading in the synagogue divided the thoughts collected into the form of Masoretic verses, into two chief divisions, and within these again into lesser divisions, and connected or separated the single words; while the musical rhythm accommodated itself as much as possible to the logical, so that the accentuation is on this account an important source for ascertaining the traditional exegesis, and contains an abundance of most valuable hints for the interpreter. Tradition, moreover, requires for the three books a verse-like short line stich-manner of writing; and פסוק, versus, meant originally, not the Masoretic verse, but the separate sentence, στίχος, denoted in the accent system by a great distinctive; as e.g., Job 3:3 :
Let the day perish wherein I was born,
And the night, which said, There is a man-child conceived,
is a Masoretic verse divided into two parts by Athnach, and therefore, according to the old order, is to be written as two στίχοι.
(Note: The meaning of this old order, and the aptness of its execution, has been lost in later copyists, because they break off not according to the sense, but only according to the space, as the στίχοι in numbering the lines, e.g., of the Greek orators, are mere lines according to the space (Raumzeile), at least according to Ritschl's view (Die alex. Bibliotheken, 1838, S. 92-136), which, however, has been disputed by Vmel. The old soferish order intends lines according to the sense, and so also the Greek distinction by πέντε στιχηραὶ (στιχήρεις) βίβλοι, i.e., Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes.)
This also is important. In order to recognise the strophe-structure of Hebrew poems, one must attend to the στίχοι, in which the poetic thoughts follow one another in well-measured flow. Parallelism, which we must likewise acknowledge as the fundamental law of the rhythm of Hebrew poetry, forms the evolutions of thought not always of two members, but often - as e.g., Job 3:4, Job 3:5, Job 3:6, Job 3:9 - also of three. The poetic formation is not, however, confined to this, but even further combines (as is most unmistakeably manifest in the alphabetical psalms,
(Note: That from these we may proceed, the ancients here and there conjectures; as e.g., Serpilius says, "It may perhaps occur to some, whether now and then a slight judgment of the Davidic species of verse and poesy may not be in some way formed from his, so to speak, alphabetical psalms.")
and as recently also Ewald inclines to acknowledge)
(Note: On strophes in the book of Job, Jahrb. iii.:118: "That the Masoretic division of the verses is not always correct, follows also from a more exact consideration of the strophes. Here comes a further question, whether one must determine the limit of such a strophe only according to the verses, which are often in themselves very irregular, or rather, strictly according to the members of the verse? The latter seems to me, at least in some parts, certainly to be the case, as I have already had opportunity to remark." Nevertheless, he reckons the strophes in Neue Bemerkungen zum B. Ijob, Job 9:35-37, according to lines equals Masoretic verses.)
such distichs and tristichs into a greater whole, forming a complete circle of thought; in other words, into strophes of four, eight, or some higher number of lines, in themselves paragraphs, which, however, show themselves as strophes, inasmuch as they recur and change symmetrically. Hupfeld has objected that these strophes, as an aggregate formed of a symmetrical number of stichs, are opposed to the nature of the rhythm equals parallelism, which cannot stand on one leg, but needs two; but this objection is as invalid as if one should say, Because every soldier has two legs, therefore soldiers can only march singly, and not in a row and company. It may be seen, e.g., from Job 36:22-25, Job 36:26-29, Job 36:30-33, where the poet begins three times with הן, and three times the sentences so beginning are formed of eight lines. Shall we not say there are three eight-line strophes beginning with הן? Nevertheless, we are far from maintaining that the book of Job consists absolutely of speeches in the strophe and poetic form. It breaks up, however, into paragraphs, which not unfrequently become symmetrical strophes. That neither the symmetrical nor mixed strophe-schema is throughout with strict unexceptional regularity carried out, arises from the artistic freedom which the poet was obliged to maintain in order not to sacrifice the truth as well as the beauty of the dialogue. Our translation, arranged in paragraphs, and the schemata of the number of stichs in the paragraph placed above each speech, will show that the arrangement of the whole is, after all, far more strophic than its dramatic character allows, according to classic and modern poetic art.
(Note: What Gottfr. Hermann, in his diss. de arte poesis Graecorum bucolicae, says respecting the strophe-division in Theocritus, is nevertheless to be attentively considered: Verendum est ne ipsi nobis somnia fingamus perdamusque operam, si artificiosas stropharum comparationes comminiscamur, de quibus ipsi poetae ne cogitaverint quidem. Viderique potest id eo probabilius esse, quod saepenumero dubitari potest, sic an aliter constituendae sint strophae. Nam poesis, qualis haec bucolicorum est, quae maximam partem ex brevibus dictis est composita, ipsa natura sua talis est ut in partes fere vel pares vel similes dividi possit. Nihilo tamen minus illam strophicam rationem non negligendam arbitror, ut quae apud poetas bucolicos in consuetudinem vertisse videatur, etc.)
It is similar in Canticles, with the melodramatic character of which it better agrees. In both cases it is explained from the Hebrew poesy being in its fundamental peculiarity lyric, and from the drama not having freed itself from the lyric element, and attained to complete independence. The book of Job is, moreover, not a drama grown to complete development. Prologue and epilogue are treated as history, and the separate speeches are introduce din the narrative style. In the latter respect (with the exception of Job 2:10), Canticles is more directly dramatic than the book of Job.
(Note: Hence there are Greek MSS, in which the names of the speakers (e.g., ἡ νύμφη, αἱ νεανίδες, ὁ νυμφίος) are prefixed to the separate parts of Canticles (vid., Repertorium fr bibl. u. morgenl. Lit. viii. 1781, S. 180). The Archimandrite Porphyrios, who in his Travels, 1856, described the Codex Sinaiticus before Tischendorf, though unsatisfactorily, describes there also such διαλογικῶς written MSS of Canticles.)
The drama is here in reference to the strophic form in the garb of Canticles, and in respect of the narrative form in the garb of history or epopee. Also the book of Job cannot be regarded as drama, if we consider, with G. Baur,
(Note: Das B. Hiob und Dante's Gttliche Camdie, Studien u. Krit. 1856, iii.)
dramatic and scenic to be inseparable ideas; for the Jews first became acquainted with the theatre from the Greeks and Romans.
(Note: See my Geschichte der jdischen Dramatik in my edition of the Migdal Oz1 (hebr. handling of the Pastor fido of Guarini) by Mose Chajim Luzzatto, Leipz. 1837.)
Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the drama everywhere presupposes the existence of the stage, as e.g., A. W. v. Schlegel, in his Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, maintains. Gthe, at least, more than once asserts, that "drama and a composition for the stage may be separate," and admits a "dramatic plot and execution" in Canticles.
(Note: Werke (neue Ausg. in 30 Bden.), xiii. 596; xxvi. 513f.)
5. The Dramatic Art of the Plot and Execution
On the whole, we have as little hesitation as Hupfeld in calling the book of Job a drama; and it is characteristic of the Israelitish Chokma, that by Canticles and the book of Job, its two generic manifestations, it has enriched the national poesy with this new form of poetic composition. The book of Job is, though not altogether, yet substantially, a drama, and one consisting of seven divisions: (1) ch. 1-3, the opening; (2) ch. 4-14, the first course of the controversy, or the beginning entanglement; (3) ch. 15-21, the second course of the controversy, or the increasing entanglement; (4) ch. 22-26, the third course of the controversy, or the increasing entanglement at its highest; (5) ch. 27-31, the transition from the entanglement (δέσις) to the unravelling (λύσις): Job's monologues; (6) ch. 38-42:6, the consciousness of the unravelling; (7) Job 42:7., the unravelling in outward reality. In this we have left Elihu'a speeches (ch. 32-37) out of consideration, because it is very questionable whether they are a part of the original form of the book, and not, on the contrary, the introduction of another poet. If we include them, the drama has eight divisions. The speeches of Elihu form an interlude in the transition from the δέσις to the λύσις. The book of Job is an audience-chamber, and one can readily suppose that a contemporary or later poet may have mixed himself up with the speakers. Whether, however, this is really the case, may remain here undecided. The prologue is narrative, but still partly in dialogue style, and so far not altogether undramatical. In form it corresponds most to the Euripidean, which also are a kind of epic introduction to the pieces, and it accomplishes what Sophocles in his prologues so thoroughly understands. At the very beginning he excites interest in the occurrences to be brought forward, and makes us acquainted with that which remains concealed from the actors. After the knot of the puzzle is tied in the prologue, it becomes more and more deeply entangled in the three courses of the controversy. In the monologues of Job it begins to be disentangled, and in the sixth part the unravelling follows, well prepared for, and therefore not ἀπὸ μηχανῆς, and is perfected in the epilogue or exodus: the servant of God, being so far as necessary cleared by penitence, is justified in opposition to his friends; and the victor, tried in accordance with the divine utterance, is crowned. It is therefore a continually progressing history. The remark of Herder,
(Note: Geist der Ebrischen Poesi, 1805, i. S. 137.)
"Here all is stationary in long conversations," is superficial. It is from beginning to end a stream of the most active life, with external incident only in the opening and in the unravelling; what Shlegel says of Gthe's Iphigenie holds good of the middle of the book, that the ideas are worked into incidents, and brought, as it were, before the eye. Moreover, as in Gthe's Tasso, the deficiency of external action is compensated by the richness and precision with which the characters are drawn. Satan, Job's wife, the hero himself, the three friends, - everywhere diversified and minute description. The poet manifests, also, dramatic skill in other directions. He has laid out the controversy with a masterly hand, making the heart of the reader gradually averse to the friends, and in the same degree winning it towards Job. He makes the friends all through give utterance to the most glorious truths, which, however, in the application to the case before them, turn out to be untrue. And although the whole of the representation serves one great idea, it is still not represented by any of the persons brought forward, and is by no one expressly uttered. Every person is, as it were, the consonant letter to the word of this idea; it is throughout the whole book taken up with the realization of itself; at the end it first comes forth as the resulting product of the whole. Job himself is not less a tragic hero than the Oedipus of both Sophicles' tragedies.
(Note: Schultens says: Quidquid tragoedia vetus unquam Sophocleo vel Aeschyleo molita est cothurno, infra magnitudinem, gravitatem, ardorem, animositatem horum affectuum infinitum quantum subsidet. Similarly Ewald (Jahrb. ix. 27): Neither the Hindoos, nor the Greek sand Romans, have such a lofty and purely perfected poem to produce. One would perhaps compare it with one of Aeschylus or Sophocles' tragedies as the nearest, but we cannot easily find a single one among these approaching its unblemished height and perfection in the midst of the greatest simplicity.)
What is there an inevitable fate, expressed by the oracle, is in the book of Job the decree of Jehovah, over whom is no controlling power, decreed in the assembly of angels. As a painful puzzle the lot of affliction comes down on Job. At the beginning he is the victor of an easy battle, until the friends' exhortations to repentance are added to suffering, which in itself is incomprehensible, and make it still harder to be understood. He is thereby involved in a hard conflict, in which at one time, full of arrogant self-confidence, he exalts himself heavenward; at another time, sinks to the ground in desponding sadness.
The God, however, against which he fights is but a phantom, which the temptation has presented to his saddened eye instead of the true God; and this phantom is in no way different from the inexorable fate of the Greek tragedy. As in that the hero seeks to maintain his inward freedom against the secret power which crushes him with an iron arm; so Job maintains his innocence against this God, which has devoted him to destruction as an offender. But in the midst of this terrific conflict with the God of the present, this creation of the temptation, Job's faith gropes after the God of the future, to whom he is ever driven nearer the more mercilessly the enemies pursue him. At length Jehovah really appears, but not at Job's impetuous summons. He appears first after Job has made a beginning of humble self-concession, in order to complete the work begun, by condescendingly going forth to meet him. Jehovah appears, and the fury vanishes. The dualism, which the Greek tragedy leaves unabolished, is here reconciled. Human freedom does not succumb; but it becomes evident that not an absolute arbitrary power, but divine wisdom, whose inmost impulse is love, moulds human destiny.
6. Time of Composition
That this masterpiece of religious reflection and systematic creative art - this, to use Luther's expression, lofty and grand book, in which, as the mountains round an Alpine valley, all the terribly sublime that nature and human history present is ranged one above another - belongs to no other than the Salomonic period, we might almost assume, even if it were not confirmed on all sides. The opinion that Moses wrote the book of Job before the giving of the law, is found in the Talmuds (jer. Sota V. 8; b. Bathra, 15a). This view has been recently revived by Ebrard (1858). But how improbable, all but impossible, that the poetical literature of Israel should have taken its rise with such a non plus ultra of reflective poetry, and that this poem should have had Moses the lawgiver for its author? "Moses certainly is not the composer of the book of Job," says Herder rightly,
(Note: Geist der Ebr. Poesie, 1805, i. S. 130.)
"or Solon might have written the Iliad and the Eumenides of Aeschylus." This opinion, which is also found in Origen, Jerome, Polychronius, and Julian of Halicarnassus, would surely never have suggested itself to any one, had not the studious avoidance in the book of all reference to the law, prophecy, history, religious worship, and even of the religious terminology of Israel, consequent on its design, produced the appearance of a pre-Sinaitic origin. But, first, this absence of such reference is, as we have already seen, the result of the genius and aim which belong to the book; secondly, the writer distinctly enough betrays his acquaintance with the Thora: for as the Chokma for the most part necessarily presupposes the revelation of God deposited in the Thora, and is even at pains to show its universal and eternal ideas, and its imperishable nature full of meaning for all men, so a book like the book of Job could only have been written by an Israelitish author, only have sprung from the spiritual knowledge and experience rendered possible by the Thora.
(Note: Reggio indeed maintains (Kerem Chemed, vi. 53-60) in favour of the Mosaic pre-Sinaitic composition: "God is only represented as the Almighty, the Ruler of the universe: His love, mercy, forbearance - attributes which the Thora first revealed - are nowhere mentioned;" and S. D. Luzzatto concludes from this even the non-Israelitish origin of the book: "The God of Job is not the God of Israel, the gracious One: He is the almighty and just, but not the kind and true One;" but although the book does not once use the words goodness, love, forbearance, compassion of God, it is nevertheless a bright example of them all; and it is the love of God which it manifests as a bright ray in the dark mystery of the affliction of the righteous.)
For as insight into the groping of the heathen world after divine truth is only possible in the light of Christianity, so also such a spiritually bold and accurate reproduction of an old patriarchal tradition was only possible in the light of the revelation of Jehovah: not to mention that the middle part of the book is written in the style of the book of Proverbs, the surrounding parts in evident imitation of the style of the primitive histories of the Pentateuch.
But as the supposition of a pre-Salomonic composition is proved invalid, so also are all the grounds on which it has been sought to prove a post-Salomonic. Ewald, whom Heiligstedt and Renan follow, is of opinion that it shows very unsettled and unfortunate times in the background, and from this and other indications was written under Manasseh; Hirzel, that the writer who is so well acquainted with Egypt, seems to have been carried into Egypt with King Jehoahaz; Stickel, that the book presupposes the invasion of the Asiatic conqueror as begun, but not yet so far advanced as the destruction of Jerusalem; Bleek, that it must belong to the post-Salomonic period, because it seems to refer to a previous comprehensive diversified literature. But all this rests on invalid grounds, false observation, and deceptive conclusions. Indeed, the assumption that a book which sets forth such a fearful conflict in the depths of affliction must have sprung from a time of gloomy national distress, is untenable: it is sufficient to suppose that the writer himself has experienced the like, and experienced it at a time when all around him were living in great luxury, which must have greatly aggravated his trial. It would be preferable to suppose that the book of Job belongs to the time of the exile (Umbreit and others), and that Job, though not exactly a personification of Israel, is still לרשׂראל משׁל,
(Note: Vid., c. 90 of Ez chajim, by Ahron b. Elias of Nicomedia, edited by Delitzsch, 1841, which corresponds to More Nebuchim, iii.-22-24. The view that the poet himself, by Job intended the Israel of the exile (according to Warburton, the Israel of the restoration after the exile; according to Grotius, the Edomites carried into exile by the Babylonians), is about the same as the view that the guilty Pericles may be intended by King Oedipus, or the Sophists by the Odysseus of the Philoctetes.)
a pattern for the people of the exile (Bernstein); for this view, interesting indeed in itself, has the similarity of several passages of the second part of the book of Isaiah in its favour: comp. Isaiah 40:14 with Job 21:22; Isaiah 40:23 with Job 12:24; Isaiah 44:25 with Job 12:17, Job 12:20; Isaiah 44:24 with Job 9:8; Isaiah 49:4 with Job 15:35; Psalm 7:15. These, however, only prove that the severely tried ecclesia pressa of the exiles might certainly recognise itself again in the example of Job, and make it seem far more probable that the book of Job is older than that period of Israel's suffering.
The literature of the Chokma began with Solomon. First in the time of Solomon, whose peculiar gift was worldly wisdom, a time which bears the character of peaceful contemplation resulting from the conflicts of belief of David's time,
(Note: Thus far Gaupp, Praktische Theol. ii. 1, 488, is in some degree right, when he considers the book of Job a living testimony of the new spirit of belief which was bursting forth in David's time.)
the external and internal preliminary conditions for it existed. The chief part of Proverbs and Canticles is by Solomon himself; the introductory passages (Proverbs 1-9) represent a later period of the Chokma, probably the time of Jehoshaphat; the book of Ecclesiastes, which is rightly assigned by H. G. Bernstein in his Questiones Kohelethanae to the time between Artaxerxes I Longimanus, and Darius Codomannus, and perhaps belongs to the time of Artaxerxes II Mnemon, represents the latest period. The book of Job is indicated as a work of the first of these three periods, by its classic, grand, and noble form. It bears throughout the stamp of that creative, beginning-period of the Chokma, - of that Salomonic age of knowledge and art, of deeper thought respecting revealed religion, and of intelligent, progressive culture of the traditional forms of art, - that unprecedented age, in which the literature corresponded to the summit of glorious magnificence to which the kingdom of the promise had then attained. The heart of Solomon (according to 1 Kings 5:9., Hebrew version; 1 Kings 4:29, English version) enclosed within itself a fulness of knowledge, "even as the sand that is on the seashore:" his wisdom was greater than the קרם בני, from whom the traditional matter of the book of Job is borrowed; greater than the wisdom of the מצרים, with whose country and natural marvels the author of the book of Job is intimately acquainted. The extensive knowledge of natural history and general science displayed in the book of Job, is the result of the wide circle of observation which Israel had reached. It was a time when the chasm between Israel and the nations was more than ever bridged over. The entire education of Israel at that time took a so to speak cosmopolitan direction. It was a time introductory to the extension of redemption, and the triumph of the religion of Israel, and the union of all nations in belief on the God of love.
7. Signs from the Doctrinal Contents
That the book of Job belongs to this period and no other, is confirmed also by the relation of its doctrinal contents to the other canonical writings. If we compare the doctrine respecting Wisdom - her super-eminence, applicability to worldly matters, and co-operation in the creation of the world - in Proverbs 1-9, especially ch. 8, with Job 28, it is there manifestly more advanced, and further developed. If we compare the pointing to the judgment of God, Job 19:29, with the hint of a future general judgment, which shall decide and adjust all things, in Ecclesiastes 12:14, we see at once that what comes forward in the former passage only at first as an expression of personal belief, is in the latter already become a settled element of general religious consciousness.
And however we may interpret that brilliant passage of the book of Job, Job 19:25-27, - whether it be the beholding of God in the present bodily, future spiritual, or future glorified state, - it is by no means an echo of an already existing revelation of the resurrection of the dead, that acknowledgment of revelation which we see breaking forth and expanding throughout Isaiah 26:19, comp. Isaiah 25:8, and Ezekiel 37 comp. Hosea 6:2, until Daniel 12:2. The prevailing representations of the future in the book of Job are exactly the same as those in the Psalms of the time of David and Solomon, and in the Proverbs of Solomon. The writer speaks as one of the same age in which Heman sighed, Psalm 88:11., "Wilt Thou show wonders to the dead? or shall the shades arise and praise Thee? Shall Thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, Thy faithfulness in the abyss?" Besides, the greatest conceivable fulness of allusion to the book of Job, including Elihu's speeches, is found in Psalm 88 and 89, whose authors, Heman and Ethan, the Ezrahites, are not the same as the chief singers of David and of the same name, but the contemporaries of Solomon mentioned in 1 Kings 5:11. These two psalms coincide with the book of Job, both in expressions with which remarkable representations are united, as קרושׁים of the celestial spirits, רפאים of the shades in Hades, אבדון of Hades itself, and also in expressions which do not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, as אמים and בּעתים; and the agreement is manifest, moreover, in the agreement of whole verses either in thought or in expression: comp. Psalm 89:38 with Job 16:19; Psalm 89:48 with Job 7:7; Psalm 89:49 with Job 14:14; Psalm 88:5 with Job 14:10; Psalm 88:9 with Job 30:10; Psalm 89:8 with Job 31:34. In all these passages, however, there is no such similarity as suggests a borrowing, but an agreement which, since it cannot possibly be accidental, may be most easily explained by supposing that the book of Job proceeds from just the same Chokma-fellowship to which, according to 1 Kings 5:11, the two Ezrahites, the writers of Psalm 88 and 89, belong.
One might go further, and conjecture that the same Heman who composed Psalm 88, the gloomiest of all the Psalms, and written under circumstances of suffering similar to Job's, may be the author of the book of Job - for which many probable reasons might be advanced; by which also what G. Baur rightly assumes would be confirmed, that the writer of the book of Job has himself passed through the inward spiritual conflict which he describes, and accordingly gives a page from his own religious history. But we are satisfied with the admission, that the book of Job is the work of one of the wise men whose rendezvous was the court of Solomon. Gregory of Nazianzen and Luther have already admitted the origin of the book in Solomon's time; and among later critics, Rosenmller, Hvernick, Vaihinger, Hahn, Schlottmann, Keil, and Hofmann (though in his Weissagung und Erfllung he expressed the opinion that it belongs to the Mosaic period), are agreed in this.
(Note: Also Professor Barnwell, in the Carolina Times, 1857, No. 785, calls the book of Job "the most brilliant flower of this brighter than Elizabethan and nobler than Augustan era.")
8. Echoes in the Later Sacred Writings
It may be readily supposed, that a book like this, which is occupied with a question of such vital import to every thinking and pious man, - which treats it in such a lively manner, riveting the attention, and bespeaking sympathy, - which, apart from its central subject, is so many-sided, so majestically beautiful in language, and so inexhaustible in imagery, - will have been one of the most generally read of the national books of Israel. Such is found to be the case; and also hereby its origin in the time of Solomon is confirmed: for at this very period it is to Psalm 88-89 only that it stands in the mutual relation already mentioned. But the echoes appear as early as in the חכמים דברי, which are appended to the Salomonic משׁלי in the book of Proverbs: comp. the teaching from an example in the writer's own experience, Proverbs 24:30. with Job 5:3. The book of Job, however, next to the Proverbs of Solomon, was the favourite source of information for the author of the introductory proverbs (Proverbs 1-9). Here (apart from the doctrine of wisdom) we find whole passages similar to the book of Job: comp. Proverbs 3:11 with Job 5:17; Proverbs 8:25 with Job 15:7; Proverbs 3:15 with Job 28:18.
Then, in the prophets of the flourishing period of prophetic literature, which begins with Obadiah and Joel, we find distinct traces of familiarity with the book of Job. Amos describes the glory of God the Creator in words taken from it (Amos 4:13; Amos 5:8, after Job 9:8; cf. Job 10:22; Job 38:31). Isaiah has introduced a whole verse of the book of Job, almost verbatim, into his prophecy against Egypt (Isaiah 19:5 equals Job 14:11): in the same prophecy, Isaiah 19:13. refer to Job 12:24., so also Isaiah 35:3 to Job 4:4. These reminiscences of the book of Job are frequent in Isaiah (Isaiah 40-66). This book of solace for the exiles corresponds to the book of Job not only in words, which exclusively belong in common to the two (as גּזע and צאצאים), and in surprising similarity of expression (as Isaiah 53:9, comp. Job 16:17; Isaiah 60:6, comp. Job 22:11), but also in numerous passages of similar thought and form (comp. Isaiah 40:23 with Job 12:24); and in the description of the Servant of Jehovah, one is here and there involuntarily reminded of the book of Job (as Isaiah 50:6, comp. with Job 16:10). In Jeremiah, the short lyric passage, Jeremiah 20:14-18, in which he curses the day of his birth, falls back on Job 3:the form in which the despondency of the prophet breaks forth is determined by the book of Job, with which he was familiar. It requires no proof that the same prophet follows the book of Job in many passages of Lamentations, and especially the first part of Lamentations 3:he makes use of confessions, complaints, and imagery from the affliction of Job, to represent the affliction of Israel.
By the end of the time of the kings, Job was a person generally known in Israel, a recognised saint: for Ezekiel, in the year 593-2 b.c. (Ezekiel 14:14.), complains that the measure of Israel's sin is so great, that if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the midst of Israel, though they might save themselves, they would not be able to hold back the arm of divine justice. The prophet mentions first Noah, a righteous man of the old world; then Daniel, a righteous man of contemporary Israel; and last of all Job, a righteous man beyond the line of the promise.
(Note: Hengstenberg (Beitrge, i. 72) thinks Job is mentioned last because less suited to Ezekiel's purpose than Noah and Daniel. Carpzov (Introd. in ll. poet. p. 35) is more ingenious, but too artificial, when he finds an anti-climax in the order: Noachus in clade primi mundi aecumenica, Daniel in clade patriae ac gentis suae, Iobus in clade familiae servatus est.)
He would not, however, have been able to mention him, if he had not, by means of the written narrative, been a person well known among the people to whom the prophetical discourse was addressed. The literature of the Old Testament has no further reference to the question of the time of the composition of the book of Job; for, on a comparison of Ecclesiastes 5:14 with Job 1:21, it scarcely remains a question to which the priority belongs.
9. The Chief Critical Questions
Whether, however, the whole book, as we now have it, comes from the time of Solomon, as the work of one poet, or of one chief poet,
(Note: Compare Bttcher, Aehrenlese, S. 68: "Respecting the mode of composition, we think there was one chief poet, with several contemporary associates, incited by a conversation on the then (i.e., according to Bttcher's view, in the reign of Manasseh) frequent afflictions of the innocent.")
is a question which can be better determined in the course of the exposition. More or less important doubts have been entertained whether some constituent parts of the whole belong to the original setting. By far the most important question of criticism respects the six chapters of Elihu's speeches (ch. 32-37), respecting which the suspicion entertained by the fathers, and first decidedly expressed by Stuhlmann (1804), that not only in form are they inferior to the artistic execution of the rest of the work, but also in contents are opposed to its original plan, is not yet set aside, and perhaps never will be altogether satisfactorily settled. Besides this, Kennicot also has suspected the speech of Job, Job 27:11-28:28, because there Job seems to yield to the friends' controverted doctrine of retribution. De Wette is more inclined here to suppose a want of connection on the part of the writer than an interpolation. We shall have to prove whether this speech of Job really encroaches upon the province of the unravelling, or renders the transition more complete.
The whole description of Behemoth and Leviathan, Job 40:15-41:26, is regarded by Ewald as a later addition: De Wette extends this judgment only to Job 41:4-26: Eichhorn was satisfied at first with changing the order of Jehovah's speeches; but in the last edition of his Einleitung ascribed the passage about the two monsters to a later poet. The exposition will have to bring the form of expression of the supposed interpolation, and its relation to the purpose of the second speech of Jehovah, in comparison with the first, under consideration. But we need not defer our judgment of the prologue and epilogue. All the doubts raised by Stuhlmann, Bernstein, Knobel (diss. de carminis Iobi argumento, fine ac dispositione, and Studien u. Kritiken, 1842, ii.), and others, respecting both these essential parts, are put an end to by the consideration, that the middle part of the book, without them, is a torso without head and feet.
10. The Satan of the Prologue
But the Satan in the prologue is a stumbling-block to many, which, if it does not lead them to doubt the authenticity of the prologue, still causes them to question whether the composition of the book belongs to the time of Solomon. For Satan is first definitely named, Zechariah 3:1-10, and 1 Chronicles 21:1; consequently in writings of the period after the exile. On the other hand, שׁטן, Numbers 22:22, appellatively describes one who comes forward hostilely, or as a hindrance; and Psalm 109:6 is at least open to question whether the prince of evil spirits may not be meant, which, according to Zechariah 3:1, seems to be intended. However, in Micaiah's vision, 1 Kings 22:19-23, where one might expect השׂטן, הרוח is used. It is even maintained in the present day, that the idea of Satan was first obtained by the Israelitish race from contact with the East-Asiatic nations, which began with Israel in the time of Menahem, with Judah in the time of Ahaz; the view of Diestel, that it is the copy of the Egyptian Set-Typhon, stands at present alone. When we consider that the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is regarded by Him and His apostles from one side as the overthrow of Satan, it were a miserable thing for the divine truth of Christianity that this Satan should be nothing more than a copy of the Persian Ahriman, and consequently a mere phantom. However, supposing there were some such connection, we should then have only two periods at which the book of Job could possibly have been composed, - the time after the exile, and the time of Solomon; for these are the only periods at which not only collision, but also an interchange of ideas, between Israel and the profane nations could have taken place. It is also just as possible for the conception of Satan to have taken possession of the Israelitish mind under Solomon as during the exile, especially as it is very questionable whether the religion of Cyrus, as found in the Zend books, may not have been far more influenced by Israel, than, contrariwise, have influenced Israel.
But the conception of Satan is indeed much older in its existence than the time of Solomon: the serpent of paradise must surely have appeared to the inquiring mind of Israel as the disguise of an evil spirit; and nothing further can be maintained, than that this evil spirit, which in the Mosaic worship of the great day of atonement is called עזאזל (called later זבוב בעל, a name borrowed from the god of Ekron), appears first in the later literature of Israel under the name השׂטן. If now, moreover, the Chokma of the Salomonic period was specially conversant with the pre-Israelitish histories of Genesis, whence indeed even the chief thought of Canticles and the figure of חיים עץ, e.g., frequently occurring in Proverbs are drawn, it is difficulty to conceive why the evil spirit, that in its guise of a serpent aimed its malice against man, could not have been called השׂטן so early as the Salomonic period.
The wisdom of the author of the book of Job, we have said above, springs from paradise. Thence he obtains the highest and ultimate solution of his problem. It is now time to give expression to this. At present we need only do so in outline, since it is simply of use to place us from the commencement at the right standpoint for understanding the book of Job.
11. The Ultimate Solution of the Problem
The nature of sin is two-sided. It consists in the creature's setting up himself in opposition to God, who is the essence of the personality of the creature. It consists also, on the other side, in the stirring up of the depth of the nature of the creature, whose essential consistence has its harmony in God; and by this stirring up, falls into a wild confusion. In other words, evil has a personal side and a natural side. And just so, also, is God's wrath which it excites, and which operates against it. For God's wrath is, on the one hand, the personal displeasure or aversion into which His love is changed, since the will of the creature and the will of God are in opposition; on the other hand, an excited condition of the contrary forces of the divine nature, or, as Scripture expresses it, the kindling of the fire of the divine glory, in which sense it is often said of wrath, that God sends it forth, that He pours it forth, and that man has to drink of it (Job 21:20, comp. Job 6:4).
(Note: Vid., my Proleg. to Weber's book on the Wrath of God.)
In reference to the creature, we call evil according to its personal side ἔχηθρα, and according to its natural side ἀταξία, turba.
(Note: Vid., Biblische Psychologie, S. 128, 160.)
Both personal evil and natural evil have originated in the spirit world: first of all, in a spirit nearest to God, which as fallen is called השׂטן. It has sought its own selfish ends, and thereby deranged its nature, so that it has become in every respect the object of the divine wrath, and the material for the burning of the divine wrath: for the echthra and turba have the intention and the burning of the wrath of God in themselves as divine correlata; but Satan, after that he has become entirely possessed of these divine powers (Energien), is also their instrument. The spirit of light and love is altogether become the spirit of fire and wrath; the whole sphere of wrath is centred in him. After having given up his high position in the realm of light, he is become lord of the realm of wrath.
He has, from the commencement of his fall, the hell within himself, but is first cast into the lake of fire at the end of the present dispensation (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10 : comp. Daniel 7:11). In the meantime, he is being deprived of his power by the Son of man, who, in the midst of His own and His disciples' victories over the demons, beholds him fall as lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18), and by His death gives him his deathblow, - a final judgment, which, later on, becomes fully manifest in the continuous degradation of the vanquished (comp. Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:3, Revelation 20:10). Accordingly, when Satan, in the book of Job, still appears among the angles of God in heaven, and indeed as κατήγωρ, it is quite in accordance with the disclosures which the New Testament Scriptures give us respecting the invisible angelic side of the present dispensation.
Thus Job's suffering is a dispensation of love, but brought about by the wrath-spirit, and with every appearance of wrath. It is so with every trial and chastisement of the righteous. And it cannot be otherwise; for trial is designed to be for man a means of overcoming the evil that is external to him, and chastisement of overcoming the evil that is within him. There is a conflict between evil and good in the world, which can issue in victory to the good only so, that the good proves itself in distinction from the evil, withstands the assault of evil, and destroys the evil that exists bound up with itself: only so, that the good as far as it is still mixed with the evil is refined as by fire, and more and more freed from it.
This is the twofold point of view from which the suffering of Job is to be regarded. It was designed, first of all, that Job should prove himself in opposition to Satan, in order to overcome him; and since Job does not pass through the trial entirely without sinning, it has the effect at the same time of purifying and perfecting him. In both respects, the history of Job is a passage from the history of God's own conflict with the evil one, which is the substance of the history of redemption, and ends in the triumph of the divine love. And Gaupp
(Note: Praktische Theologie, ii. 1, S. 488f.)
well says: In the book of Job, Satan loses a cause which is intended only as prelude to the greatest of all causes, since judgment is gone forth over the world, and the prince of darkness has been cast forth. Accordingly the church has always recognised in the passion of Job a type of the passion of Jesus Christ. James (James 5:11) even compares the patience of Job and the issue of the Lord's sufferings. And according to this indication, it was the custom after the second century to read the book of Job in the churches during passion-week.
(Note: Vid., Origen's Opp. t. ii. p. 851: In conventu ecclesiae in diebus sanctis legitur passio Iob, in deibus jejunii, in diebus abstinentiae, in diebus, in quibus tanquam compatiuntur ii qui jejunant et abstinent admirabili illo Iob, in deibus, in quibus in jejunio et abstinentia sanctam Domini nostri Jesu Christi passionem sectamur. Known thus from the public reading in the churches, Job was called among the Syrians, Machbono, the Beloved, the Friend (Ewald, Jahrb. x. 207); and among the Arabs, Es-ssabûr, the patient one.)
The ultimate solution of the problem which this marvellous book sets forth, is then this: the suffering of the righteous, in its deepest cause, is the conflict of the seed of the woman with the seed of the serpent, which ends in the head of the serpent being trampled under foot; it is the type or copy of the suffering of Christ, the Holy God, who has himself borne our sins, and in the constancy of His reconciling love has withstood, even to the final overthrow, the assault of wrath and of the angel of wrath.
The real contents of the book of Job is the mystery of the Cross: the Cross on Golgotha is the solution of the enigma of every cross; and the book of Job is a prophecy of this ultimate solution.
12. The History of the Exposition
Before proceeding to the exposition, we will take a brief review of the history of the exposition of the book. The promise of the Spirit to lead into all truth is continually receiving its fulfilment in the history of the church, and especially in the interpretation of Scripture. But nowhere is the progress of the church in accordance with this promise so manifest as in the exposition of the word, and particularly of the Old Testament. In the patristic and middle ages, light was thrown only on detached portions of the Old Testament; they lacked altogether, or had but an inadequate knowledge of, the Hebrew language. They regarded the Old Testament not as the forerunner, but allegory, of the New, and paid less attention to it in proportion as the spiritual perception of the church lost its apostolic purity and freshness. However, so far as inward spiritual feeling and experience could compensate for the almost entire absence of outward conditions, this period has produced and handed down many valuable explanations.
But at the time of the Reformation, the light of the day which had already dawned first spread in all its brightness over the Old Testament. The knowledge of Hebrew, until then the private possession of a few, became the public property of the church: all erroneous interventions which had hitherto separated the church both from Christ and from the living source of the word were put aside; and starting from the central truth of justification by faith and its results, a free but still not unrestricted investigation commenced. Still there was wanting to this period all perception of historical development, and consequently the ability to comprehend the Old Testament as preparing the way for the New by its gradual historical development of the plan of redemption. The exposition of Scripture, moreover, soon fell again under the yoke of an enslaving tradition, of a scholastic systematizing, and of an unhistorical dogmatizing which mistook its peculiar aim; and this period of bondage, devoid of spirituality, was followed by a period of false freedom, that of rationalism, which cut asunder the mutual relation between the exposition of Scripture and the confession of the church, since it reduced the covenant contents of the church's confession to the most shallow notion of God and the most trivial moral rules, and regarded the Old Testament as historical indeed, but with carnal eyes, which were blind to the work of God that was preparing the way in the history of Israel for the New Testament redemption. The progress of exegesis seemed at that time to have been stayed; but the Head of the church, who reigns in the midst of His enemies, caused the exposition of His word to come forth again from the dead in a more glorious form. The bias towards the human side of Scripture has taught exegesis that Scripture is neither altogether a divine, nor altogether a human, but a divine-human book. The historical method of regarding it, and the advanced knowledge of language, have taught that the Old Testament presents a divine-human growth tending towards the God-man, a gradual development and declaration of the divine purpose of salvation, - a miraculous history moving inward towards that miracle of all miracles, Jesus Christ. Believing on Him, bearing the seal of His Spirit in himself, and partaking of the true liberty His Spirit imparts, the expositor of Scripture beholds in the Old Testament, with open face, now as never before, the glory of the Lord.
The truth of this sketch is confirmed by the history of the exposition of the book of Job. The Greek fathers, of whom twenty-two (including Ephrem) are quoted in the Catena,
(Note: It contains as basis the Greek text of the book of Job from the Cod. Alexandrinus, arranged in stichs.)
published by Patricius Junius, 1637, furnish little more than could be expected. If there by any Old Testament book whose comprehensive meaning is now first understood according to the external and internal conditions of its gradual advance to maturity, it is the book of Job. The Greek fathers were confined to the lxx, without being in a position to test that translation by the original text; and it is just the Greek translation of the book of Job which suffers most seriously from the flaws which in general affect the lxx. Whole verses are omitted, others are removed from their original places, and the omissions are filled up by apocryphal additions.
(Note: On this subject vid., Gust. Bickel's De indole ac ratione versionis Alexandrinae in interpretando l. Iobi, just published (1863).)
Origen was well aware of this (Ep. ad Afric. 3f.), but he was not sufficiently acquainted with Hebrew to give a reliable collation of the lxx with the original text in his Tetrapla and Hexapla; and his additions (denoted by daggers), and the passages restored by him from other translators, especially Theodotion (by asterisks), deprive the Septuagint text of its original form, without, however, giving a correct impression of the original text. And since in the book of Job the meaning of the whole is dependent upon the meaning of the most isolated passage, the full meaning of the book was a perfect impossibility to the Greek fathers. They occupied themselves much with this mysterious book, but typical and allegorical could not make up what was wanting to the fathers, of grammatical and historical interpretation. The Italic, the next version to the lxx, was still more defective than this: Jerome calls the book of Job in this translation, Decurtatus et laceratus corrosusque. He revised it by the text of the Hexapla, and according to his own plan had to supply not less than about 700-800 versus (στίχοι). His own independent translation is far before its age; but he himself acknowledges its defectiveness, inasmuch as he relates, in his praefatio in l. Iob, how it was accomplished. He engaged, non parvis numis, a Jewish teacher from Lydda, where there was at that time an university, but confesses that, after he had gone through the book of Job with him, he was no wiser than before: Cujus doctrina an aliquid profecerim nescio; hoc unum scio, non potuisse me interpretari nisi quod antea intellexeram. On this account he calls it, as though he would complain of the book itself, obliquus, figuratus, lubricus, and says it is like an eel - the more tightly one holds it, the faster it glides away. There were then three Latin versions of the book of Job, - the Italic, the Italic improved by Jerome, and the independent translation of Jerome, whose deviations, as Augustine complains, produced no little embarrassment. The Syrians were better off with their Peschito, which was made direct from the original text;
(Note: Perhaps with the use of the Jewish Targum, though not the one extant, for Talmudic literature recognises the existence of a Targum of the book of Job before the destruction of the temple, b. Sabbath, 115a, etc. Besides, the lxx was considered of such authority in the East, that the monophysite Bishop Paulus of Tela, 617, formed a new Syriac translation from the lxx and the text of the Hexapla Published by Middeldorff, 1834-35; cf. his Curae hexaplares in Iobum, 1817).)
but the Scholia of Ephrem (pp. 1-19, t. ii. of the three Syriac tomi of his works) contain less that is useful than might be expected.
(Note: Froriep. Ephraemiana in l. Iobi, 1769, iv., says much about these Scholia to little purpose.)
The succeeding age produced nothing better.
Among the expositors of the book of Job we find some illustrious names: Gregory the Great, Beda Venerabilis (whose Commentary has been erroneously circulated as the still undiscovered Commentary of Jerome), Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus,
(Note: His Postillae super Iob are still unprinted.)
and others; but no progress was made in the interpretation of the book, as the means were wanting. The principal work of the middle ages was Gregory the Great's Expositio in beatum Iob seu Moralium, ll. xxxv., a gigantic work, which leaves scarcely a dogmatic-ethical theme untouched, though in its own proper sphere it furnishes nothing of importance, for Gregory explained so, ut super historiae fundamentum moralitatis construeret aedificium et anagoges imposuerit culmen praestantissimum
(Note: Notker quoted by Dmmler, Formelbuch des Bischof's Salomo von Constanz, 1857, S. 67f.)
but the linguistic-historical foundation is insufficient, and the exposition, which gives evidence of significant character and talent, accordingly goes off almost constantly into digressions opposed to its object.
It was only towards the end of the middle ages, as the knowledge of the Hebrew language began, through Jewish converts, to come into the church, that a new era commenced. For what advance the Jewish exposition of the book of Job had hitherto made, beyond that of the church, it owed to the knowledge of Hebrew; although, in the absence of any conception of the task of the expositor, and especially the expositor of Scripture, it knew not how fittingly to turn it to account. Saadia's (born 890) Arabic translation of the book of Job, with explanations,
(Note: Vid., Ewald-Duke's Beitrge zur Gesch. der ltesten Auslegung und Spracherklrung des A. T. 2 Bdd. 1844.)
does not accomplish much more than that of Jerome, if we may in general say that it surpasses it. Salomo Isaaki of Troyes (Raschi, erroneously called Jarchi), whose Commentary on the Book of Job (rendered incomplete by his death, 1105) was completed by his grandson, Samuel b. Mer (Raschbam, died about 1160),
(Note: Respecting this accounts are uncertain: vid., Geiger, Die franzsische Exegetenschule (1855), S. 22; and comp. de Rossi, Catalogus Cod. 181. Zunz, Zur Geschichte und Literatur.)
contains a few attempts at grammatical historical exposition, but is in other respects entirely dependent on Midrash Haggada (which may be compared with the church system of allegorical interpretation), whose barren material is treasured up in the catena-like compilations, one of which to the collected books of the Old Testament bears the name of Simeon ha-Darschan (שמעוני ילקוט); the other to the three poetical books, the name of Machir b. Todros (מכירי ילקוט). Abenezra the Spaniard, who wrote his Commentary on the Book of Job in Rome, 1175, delights in new bold ideas, and to enshroud himself in a mystifying nimbus. David Kimchi, who keeps best to the grammatical-historical course, has not expounded the book of Job; and a commentary on this book by his brother, Mose Kimchi, is not yet brought to light. The most important Jewish works on the book of Job are without doubt the Commentaries of Mose b. Nachman or Nahmanides (Ramban), born at Gerona 1194, and Levi b. Gerson, or Gersonides (Ralbag), born at Bagnols 1288. Both were talented thinkers; the former more of the Platonic, the latter of the Aristotelic type. Their Commentaries (taken up in the collective Rabbinical Commentaries), especially that of the latter, were widely circulated in the middle ages. They have both a philosophical bias.
(Note: Other older commentaries bearing on the history of exposition, as Menahem b. Chelbo, Joseph Kara, Parchon, and others, are not yet known; also that of the Italian poet Immanuel, a friend of Dante, is still unprinted. The rabbinical commentaries contain only, in addition, the Commentary of Abraham Farisol of Avignon (about 1460).)
What is to be found in them that is serviceable on any point, may be pretty well determined from the compilation of Lyra. Nikolaus de Lyra, author of Postillae perpetuae in universa Biblia (completed 1330), possessed, for that age, an excellent knowledge of the original text, the necessity of which he acknowledged, and regarded the sensus literalis as basis of all other sensus. But, on the one hand, he was not independent of his Jewish predecessors; on the other, he was fettered by the servile unevangelical spirit of his age.
With the Commentary of Albert Schultens, a Dutchman (2 vols. 1737), a new epoch in the exposition begins. He was the first to bring the Semitic languages, and chiefly the Arabic, to bear on the translation of the book. And rightly so,
(Note: Though not in due proportion, especially in Animadversiones philologicae in Iobum (Op. minora, 1769), where he seeks to explain the errors of translation in the lxx from the Arabic.)
for the Arabic has retained more that is ancient than any other Semitic dialect; and Jerome, in his preface to Daniel, had before correctly remarked, Iob cum arabica lingua plurimam habet societatem. Reiske (Conjecturae in Iobum, 1779) and Schnurrer (Animadv. ad quaedam loca Iobi, 1781) followed later in the footsteps of Schultens; but in proportion as the Israelitish element was considered in its connection with the Oriental, the divine distinctiveness of the former was forgotten. Nevertheless, the book of Job had far less to suffer than the other biblical books from rationalism, with its frivolous moral judgments and distorted interpretations of Scripture: it reduced the idea of the book to tameness, and Satan, here with more apparent reason than elsewhere, was regarded as a mythical invention; but there were, however, no miracles and prophecies to be got rid of.
And as, for the first time since the apostolic period, attention was now given to the book as a poetical masterpiece, substantial advantage arose to the exposition itself from the translations and explanations of an Eckermann, Moldenhauer, Stuhlmann, and others. What a High-German rhymster of the fourteenth century, made known by Hennig, and the Florentine national poet Juliano Dati at the beginning of the sixteenth century, accomplished in their poetical reproductions of the book of Job, is here incomparably surpassed. What might not the fathers have accomplished if they had only had at their disposal such a translation of the book of Job as e.g., that of Bckel, or of the pious Miss Elizabeth Smith, skilled in the Oriental languages (died, in her twenty-eighth year, 1805), or of a studious Swiss layman (Notes to the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, together with a Translation of the Book of Job, Basel 1841)?
The way to the true and full perception of the divine in Scripture is through the human: hence rationalism - especially after Herder, whose human mode of perception improved and deepened - prepared the way for a new era in the church's exposition of the book of Job. The Commentaries of Samuel Lee (1837), Vaihinger (1842), Welte (1849), Hahn (1850), and Schlottmann (1851),
(Note: Vid., the review of the last two by Oehler in Reuter's Repertorium, Feb. 1852; and Kosegarten's Aufsatz ber das B. Hiob in der Kieler Allgem. Monatsschrift, 1853, S. 761-774.)
are the first-fruits of this new period, rendered possible by the earlier Commentaries of Umbreit (1824-32), Ewald (1836-51), and Hirzel (1839, second edition, edited by Olshausen, 1852), of whom the first
(Note: Vid., Ullmann-Riehm's Bltter der Erinnerung an F. W. C. Umbreit (1862), S. 54-58.)
is characterized by enthusiasm for the poetical grandeur of the book, the second by vivid perception of the tragical, and the third by sound tact and good arrangement, - three qualifications which a young Scotch investigator, A. B. Davidson, strives, not unsuccessfully, to unite in his Commentary (vol. i.1862).
(Note: The author, already known by a Treatise on the Hebrew Accentuology, is not to be mistaken for Sam. Davidson. In addition, we would call attention to the Commentary of Carey (1858), in which the archaeology and geography of the book of Job is illustrated by eighty woodcuts and a map.)
Besides these substantially progressive works, there is the Commentary of Heiligstedt (1847), which is only a recapitulatory clavis after the style of Rosenmller, but more condensed; and for what modern Jewish commentaries, as those of Blumenfeld, Arnheim (1836), and Lwenthal (1846), contain beyond the standpoint of the earlier פרושׁים and באורים, they are almost entirely indebted to their Christian predecessors. Also in the more condensed form of translations, with accompanying explanations, the understanding of the book of Job has been in many ways advanced. We may mention here the translations of Kster (1831), who first directed attention to the strophe-structure of Hebrew poetry, but who also, since he regarded the Masoretic verse as the constructive element of the strophe, has introduced an error which has not been removed even to the present day; Stickel (1842), who has, not untastefully, sought to imitate the form of this masterpiece, although his division of the Masoretic verse into strophe lines, according to the accents, like Hirzel's and Meier's in Canticles, is the opposite extreme to the mistake of Kster; Ebrard (1858), who translates in iambic pentameters, as Hosse had previously done;
(Note: Vid., Schneider, Die neuesten Studien ber das B. Hiob, Deutsche Zeitschr. fr christl. Wissensch., 1859, No. 27.)
and Renan, who solely determines his arrangement of the stichs by the Masoretic division of verses, and moreover haughtily displays his scornful opposition to Christianity in the prefatory Etude.
(Note: Against which Abb Crelier has come forward: Le livre de Job venge des interprtations fausses et impies de M. Ernest Renan, 1860.)
Besides, apart from the general commentaries (Bibelwerke), among which that of Von Gerlach (Bd. iii. des A. T. 1849) may be mentioned as the most noted, and such popular practical expositions as Diedrich's (1858), many - some in the interest of poetry generally (as Spiess, 1852), others in the interest of biblical theology (as Haupt, 1847; Hosse, 1849; Hayd, 1859; Birkholz, 1859; and in Sweden, Lindgren, Upsala 1831) - have sought to render the reading of the book of Job easier and more profitable by means of a translation, with a short introduction and occasional explanations.
Even with all these works before us, though they are in part excellent and truly serviceable, it cannot be affirmed that the task of the exposition has been exhaustively performed, so that absolutely no plus ultra remains. To adjust the ideal meaning of the book according to its language, its bearing on the history of redemption, and its spiritual character, - and throughout to indicate the relation of the single parts to the idea which animates the whole is, and remains, a great task worthy of ever-new exertion. We will try to perform it, without presuming that we are able to answer all the claims on the expositor. The right expositor of the book of Job must before everything else bring to it a believing apprehension of the work of Christ, in order that he may be able to comprehend this book from its connection with the historical development of the plan of redemption, whose unity is the work of Christ. Further, he must be able to give himself up freely and cheerfully to the peculiar vein of this (together with Ecclesiastes) most bold of all Old Testament books, in order that he may gather from the very heart its deeply hidden idea. Not less must he possess historical perception, in order that he may be able to appreciate the relativeness with which, since the plan of salvation is actually and confessedly progressive, the development of the idea of the book is burdened, notwithstanding its absolute truth in itself. Then he must not only have a clear perception of the divinely true, but also of the beautiful in human art, in order to be able to appreciate the wonderful blending of the divine and human in the form as in the contents. Finally, he must stand on the pinnacle of linguistic and antiquarian knowledge, in order to be able to follow the lofty flight of its language, and become families with the incomparably rich variety of its matter. This idea of an expositor of the book of Job we will keep in view, and seek, as near as possible, to attain within the limit assigned to this condensed exegetical handbook.
Appendix to the Commentary on Job
The Monastery of Job in Hauran, and the Tradition of Job
The oral tradition of a people is in general only of very subordinate value from a scientific point of view when it has reference to an extremely remote past; but that of the Arabs especially, which is always combined with traditions and legends, renders the simplest facts perplexing, and wantonly clothes the images of prominent persons in the most wonderful garbs, and, in general, so rapidly disfigures every object, that after a few generations it is no longer recognisable. So far as it has reference to the personality of Job, whose historical existence is called in question or denied by some expositors, it may be considered as altogether worthless, but one can recognise when it speaks of Job's native country. By the ארץ עוּץ the writer of the book of Job meant a definite district, which was well known to the people for whom he wrote; but the name has perished, like many others, and all the efforts of archaeologist to assign to the land its place in the map of Palestine have been fruitless. Under these circumstances the matter is still open to discussion, and the tradition respecting Job has some things to authorize it. True, it cannot of itself make up for the want of an historical testimony, but it attains a certain value if it is old, i.e., if it can be traced back about to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, when reliable information was still obtainable respecting that district, although its name was no longer in use.
In all the larger works of travel on Palestine and Syria, we find it recorded that Haurn is there called Job's fatherland. In Hauran itself the traveller hears this constantly; if any one speaks of the fruitfulness of the whole district, or of the fields around a village, he is always answered: Is it not the land of Job (bildd jb)? Does it not belong to the villages of Job (di' jb)? Thus to Seetzen
(Note: Seetzen, Reisen durch Syrien, etc., i.66.)
Bosr was pointed out as a city of Job; and to Eli Smith
(Note: Ed. Robinson, Palstina, iii. 911 Germ. edit..)
even the country lying to the east of the mountains was called the land of Job. In Kanawat, a very spacious building, belonging to the Roman or Byzantine period, situated in the upper town, was pointed out to me as the summer palace of Job (the inscription 8799 in Corp. Inscr. Graec. is taken from it). The shepherds of D'il, with whom I passed a night on the Wdi el-Lebwe, called the place of their encampment Job's pasture-ground. In like manner, the English traveller Buckingham, when he wandered through the Nukra, was shown in the distance the village of Gherbi (i.e., Chirbet el-ghazale, which from its size is called el-chirbe κατ ̓ εξοχήν) as the birthplace and residence of Job,
(Note: C. Ritter, Geogr. von Syr. u. Pal. ii. 842 equals Erdkunde, xv. Pt. 2, p. 842].)
and it seems altogether as though Hauran and the Land of Job are synonymous. But if one inquires particularly for that part of the country in which Job himself dwelt, he is directed to the central point of Hauran, the plain of Hauran (sahl Haurn),
(Note: Whether the word מישׁר, Deuteronomy 3:10, only signifies the plain of Hauran or its southern continuation, the eastern Belk, may be doubtful, because in that passage both the Amorite kingdoms are spoken of. But since it is the "cities" of the plain, of which the eastern Balk can have had but few or none, that are spoken of, מישׁר will surely exclude the latter.)
and still more exactly to the district between the towns of Naw and Edre't, which is accounted the most fertile portion of the country, covered with the ruins of villages, monasteries, and single courts, and is even now comparatively well cultivated. Among the nomads as well as among the native agricultural population, this district is called from its formation Nukra or Nukrat esh-Shm,
(Note: On this name, which belongs to the modern geography of the country, comp. my Reisebericht ber Hauran u. d. Trachonen, S. 87.)
a name by which this highly-favoured plain is known and celebrated by the poets in the whole Syrian desert, as far as 'Irk and Higz.
But even the national writers are acquainted with and frequently make mention of the Hauranitish tradition of Job; yet they do not call Job's home Nukra, - for this word, which belongs only to the idiom of the steppe, is unknown to the literature of the language, - but Bethenje (Betanaea). It is so called in a detailed statement of the legends of Job:
(Note: Catalogue of Arab. MSS collected in Damascus by J. G. Wetzstein. Berlin 1863, No. 46, p. 56.)
After the death of his father, Job journeyed into Egypt
(Note: The connection with Egypt, in which these legends place Job, is worthy of observation. - Del.)
to marry Rahme (רחמה) the daughter of Ephraim, who had inherited from her grandfather Joseph the robe of beauty; and after he had brought her to his own country, he received from God a mission as prophet to his countrymen, viz., to the inhabitants of Haurn and Batanaea (Arab. b‛ṯh 'llh t‛ rsûlâ 'lâ qûmh whm 'hl ḥûrân w-'l-btnı̂t). The historian of Jerusalem, Mugr ed-dn el-Hambeli, in the chapter on the legend of the prophets, says: "Job came from el-'s, and the Damascene province of Batanaea was his property." In like manner, in the Geography of Jkt el-Hamawi,
(Note: Orient. MSS in the Royal Library in Berlin, Sect. Sprenger, No. 7-10.)
under the art. Bethenje, it is said: "and in this land lived Job (wakn jb minh)."
Modern exegetes, as is known, do not take the plain of Hauran, but the mountain range of Hauran with its eastern slope, as the Provincia Batanaea. I have sought elsewhere
(Note: Reisebericht, S. 83-87.)
to show the error of this view, and may the more readily confine myself to merely referring to it, as one will be convinced of the correctness of my position in the course of this article. One thing, however, is to be observed here, that the supposition that Basan is so called as being the land of basalt rocks, is an untenable support of this error. The word basalt may be derived from βασάντις, or a secondary formation, βασάλτις, because Basan is exclusively volcanic;
(Note: Vid., p. 540, comp. p. 542, note 1, of the foregoing Commentary.)
but we have no more right to reverse the question, than to say that Damascus may have received its name from the manufacture of damask.
(Note: In the fair at Muzrb we again saw the sheikh of the Wsje-Beduins, whose guest we had been a week before at the Springs of Joseph in western Gln, where he had pitched his tent on a wild spot of ground that had been traversed by lava-streams. In answer to our question whether he still sojourned in that district, he said: "No, indeed! Nâzilin el-jôm bi-ard bethêne shêle (we are not encamped in a district that is completely bethêne)." I had not heard this expression before, and inquired what it meant. The sheikh replied, bethêne (Arab. buṯaynat) is a stoneless plain covered with rich pasture. I often sought information respecting this word, since I was interested about it on account of the Hebrew word בּשׁן, and always obtained the same definition. It is a diminutive form, without having exactly a diminutive signification, for in the language of the nomads it is an acknowledged fact that such a form takes the place of the usual form. The usual form is either bathne or bathane. The Kms gives the former signification, "a level country." That the explanation of the Kamus is too restricted, and that of the Sheikh of Wjje the more complete, may be shown from the Kamus itself. In one place it says, The word moreover signifies (a) the thick of the milk (cream); (b) a tender maiden; (c) repeated acts of benevolence. These three significations given are, however, manifestly only figurative applications, not indeed of the signification which the Kamus places Primo loco, but of that which the Sheikh of the Wjje gave; for the likening of a "voluptuously formed maiden," or of repeated acts of benevolence, to a luxurious meadow, is just as natural to a nomad, as it was to the shepherd Amos (Amos 4:1) to liken the licentious women of Samaria to well-nourished cows of the fat pastures of Basan. Then the Kamus brings forward a collective form buthun (Arab. butun, perhaps from the sing. bathan equals בּשׁן, like Arab. usud from asad) in the signification pastures (Arab. ryâd); pastures, however, that are damp and low, with a rich vegetation. That the word is ancient, may be seen from the following expression of Chlid ibn el-Weld, the victor on the Jarmk: "'Omar made me governor of Damascus; and when I had made it into the buthêne, i.e., a stoneless fertile plain (easy to govern and profitable), he removed me." Jkt also mentions this expression under Bethenje. Chlid also uses the diminutive as the nomads do (he was of the race of Machzm); probably the whole word belongs only to the steppe, for all the women who were called buthêne, e.g., the beloved of the poet Geml, and others mentioned in the "Dwn of Love" (Dı̂wân es-sabâbe), were Beduin women.
After what has been said, we cannot assign to the Hebr. בּשׁן any other signification than that of a fertile stoneless plain or low country. This appellation, which was given, properly and originally, only to the heart of the country, and its most valuable portion, viz., the Nukra, would then a potiori be transferred to the whole, and when the kingdom of Basan was again destroyed, naturally remained to that province, of which it was the proper designation.)
The home of Job is more definitely described in the following passages. Muhammed el-Makdeshi
(Note: Orient. MSS in the Royal Library at Berlin; Sect. Sprenger, No. 5.)
says, p. 81 of his geography: "And in Haurn and Batanaea lie the villages of Job and his home (di' jb wa-diruh). The chief place (of the district) is Naw, rich in wheat and other cereals." The town of Naw is still more definitely connected with Job by Jkt el-Hamawi under the article Naw: "Between Nawa and Damascus in two days' journey; it belongs to the district of Hauran,
(Note: If writers mention Haurn alone, they mean thereby, according to the usage of the language of the Damascenes, and certainly also of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:16, Ezekiel 47:18), the plain of Haurn as far as the borders of the Belk, including the mountains of Haurn, the Leg, and Gdr; it is only in the district itself, where special divisions are rendered necessary, that the three last mentioned parts are excluded. If writers mention Haurn and Bethenje together, the context must determine whether the former signifies the whole, and the latter the part, as in the above quotation from Makdeshi, or whether both are to be taken as coordinate, as in a passage of Istachri (edited by Mller, Botha 1839): "And Haurn and Bethenje are two provinces of Damascus with luxuriant corn-fields." Here the words are related to one another as Auranitis (with the chief town Bostra) to Batanaea (with the chief town Adratum, i.e., Edre't), or as the Haurn of the Beduins and the Nukra of the same. The boundary between both is the Wdi 'Ir, which falls into the Zd south of Edre't.)
and is, according to some, the chief town of the same. Naw was the residence (menzil) of Job;" and Ibn er-Rbi says, p. 62 of his essay on the excellences of Damascus:
(Note: Catalogue of Arab. MSS collected in Damascus, No. 26.)
"To the prophets buried in the region of Damascus belongs also Job, and his tomb is near Naw, in the district of Hauran." Such passages prove at the same time the identity of the Nukra with Batanaea; for if the latter is said to be recognisable from the fact of Job's home being found in it, and we find this sign in connection with the Nukra in which Naw with its surrounding country is situated, both names must denote one and the same district.
That, according to the last citation, Job's tomb is also shown in the Nukra, has been already observed in my Reisebericht, S. 121. Jkt, under Dr jb, thus expresses himself: "The Monastery of Job is a locality in Hauran, a Damascene province, in which Job dwelt and was tried of God. There also is the fountain which he made to flow with his foot, and the block of rock on which he leant. There also is his tomb." What Kazwni ways in his Wonders of Creation (‛agâib el-machlûkât), under Dr jb, accords with it: "The Monastery of Job lies in one of the Damascene provinces, and was the place of Job's residence, in which God tried him. There also is the fountain which sprang forth at the stamping of his foot, when at the end of his trial God commanded him, and said: Strike with thy foot - (thus a fountain will spring forth, and) this shall be to thee a cool bath and a draught (Korn, xxxviii. 41ff.). There is also the rock on which he sat, and his tomb." Recurring to the passage of the Koran cited, we shall see that the stone of Job, the fountain and the tomb, are not situated in the Monastery itself, but at some little distance from it.
I came with my cortge out of Gln, to see the remarkable pilgrim fair of Muzrb, just when the Mekka caravan was expected; and since the Monastery of Job, never visited by any one now-a-days, could not lie far out of the way, I determined to seek it out, because I deluded myself with the hope of finding an inscription of its founder, 'Amr I, and in fact one with a date, which would have been of the greatest importance in reference to the history of the Ghassanides, - a hope which has remained unfulfilled. In the evening of the 8th of May we came to Tesl. Here the Monastery was for the first time pointed out to us. It was lighted up by the rays of the setting sun, - a stately ruin, which lay in the distance a good hour towards the east. The following morning we left Tesl. Our way led through luxuriant corn-fields and fields lying fallow, but decked with a rich variety of flowers in gayest blossom, to an isolated volcanic mound, Tell el-Gum',
(Note: "Hill of the heaps of riders." The hill is said to have been named after a great engagement which took place there in ancient days. Among the 'Aneze the gem‛, נמע, plur. gumû‛ is a division of 400-600 horsemen.) from which we intended to reconnoitre the surrounding country.
from this point, as far as the eye could reach, it swept over fields of wheat belonging to the communities of Sahm, Tell Shihb, Tesl, Naw, and Sa'dje, which covered a region which tradition calls the home of Job. True, the volcanic chaos (el-wa'r) extended in the west to the distance of some three miles up the hill on which we stood, and on the north the plain was bounded partly by Tell el-Gbia and the "tooth of Naw" (sinn Naw), a low ridge with a few craters; but towards the E. and S. and S.W. the plain was almost unbounded, for isolated eminences, as Tell 'Ashtar, T. Ash'ar, T. Shihb, T. el-Chammn, and others, rose above the level of the plain only like mole-hills; and the deep gorges of the Meddn, Jarmk, Ht, and Muchbi, were sudden and almost perpendicular ravines, either not seen at all, or appeared as dark marks. The plain slopes gently and scarcely perceptibly towards Kufr el-m, Kufr es-smir, Zzn, and Bendek; and the Naher el'Owrid, a rover abounding in water in its level bed, resembles a glistening thread of silver. If this district had trees, as it once had, - for among the ruins one often discovers traces of vineyards and garden walls, which it can have no longer, since the insecurity and injustice of the country do not admit of men remaining long in one and the same village, therefore not to take hold upon the soil and establish one's self, and become at home anywhere, - it would be an earthly paradise, by reason of its healthy climate and the fertility of its soil. That even the Romans were acquainted with the glorious climate of Hauran, is proved by the name Palaestina salutaris, which they gave to the district.
(Note: This appellation is erroneously given to the province of Petra (Palaestina tertia) in Burckhardt's Travels (Gesenius' edition, S. 676). Bcking also, Not. dign. or. pp. 139, 345, and 373, is guilty of this oversight. Comp. thereon, Mommsen, Verzeichniss der rm. Provinzen aufgesetzt um, 297, in the Transactions of the Berlin Acad. der Wissensch. 1862, S. 501f.)
The inhabitants of Damascus say there is no disease whatever in Haurn; and as often as the plague or any other infectious disease shows itself in their city, thousands flee to Hauran, and to the lava-plateau of the Leg. This healthy condition may arise from the volcanic formation of the country, and from the sea-breeze, which it always has in connection with its position, which is open towards the west. Even during the hottest days, when e.g., in the Ghta a perfect calm prevails, so that no breeze is felt, this cool and moist sea-breeze blows refreshingly and regularly over the plain; and hence the Hauranitish poet never speaks of his native country without calling it the "cool-blowing Nukra" (en-nukra el-‛adı̂je). But as to the fertility of the district, there is indeed much good arable land in the country east of the Jordan, as in Irbid and Suwt, of the same kind as between Salt and 'Ammn, but nowhere is the farming, in connection with a small amount of labour (since no manure is used), more productive than in Hauran, or more profitable; for the transparent "Batanaean wheat" (hinta bethenı̂je) is always at least 25 per cent. higher in price than other kinds. Hence the agriculture of that region also, in times of peace and security (during the first six centuries after Christ), produced that fondness for building, some of the magnificent memorials of which are our astonishment in the present day; and, in fact, not unfrequently the inscriptions testify that the buildings themselves owe their origin to the produce of the field. Thus, in the locality of Nhite in the Nukra, I found the following fragment of an inscription:...Μασαλέμου Ράββου κτίσμα ἐξ ἰδίων κόπων γεωργικῶν ἐν ἔτι στ, Masalemos son of Rabbos set up (this memorial) out of the produce of his farming in the year 280. Of a like kind is the following remains of two distichs in Marduk: . . . δρός τε σαόφρων . . . μεγαρόν . . . ις ἀνάπαυμα μέγιστον . . . γεωπονίης. In Shakk the longer inscription of a mausoleum in a state of good preservation begins:
Βάσσος ἑῆς πάτρης μεγακύδεος ἀγλαὸν ὄμμα
Ἐκ σφετέρου καμάτοιο γεωπονίης τέ μ ̓ ἔδειμεν.
Bassos, beaming eye of the honourable city of his birth,
Has built me out of the produce of his own tillage.
Similar testimonies are to be found in the inscriptions of Burckhardt.
After a long sojourn on the hill, which was occasioned by the investigation of some interesting plants in the crater of the mound, we set out for Sa'dje, which is built on the slope of a hill. After a good hour's journey we arrived at the Makm jb, "the favoured tomb of Job," situated at the southern base of the hill, and rendered conspicuous by two white domes, and there we dismounted. The six attendants and alumni of the Makm, or, as the Arabs thoughtfully call them, "the servants of our master Job" (chdimn sjidna jb), received us, with some other pilgrims, at the door of the courtyard, and led us to the basin of the fountain of Job, by the side of which they spread out their mantles for us to rest upon under the shade of walnut tree and a willow. While the rest were negated in the duties of hospitality, the superior of the Makm, the Sheikh Sa'd el-Darfri (from Darfr) did not leave us, and made himself in every way obliging. Like him, all the rest of the inhabitants of the place were black, and all unmarried; their celibacy, however, I imagine, was only caused by the want of opportunity of marrying, and the limited accommodation of the place. Sheikh Sa'd believed himself to be fifty years of age; he left his home twenty years before to go on pilgrimage to Mekka, where he "studied" four years; the same length of time he sojourned in Medna, and had held his present office ten years. Besides his mother tongue, he spoke Arabic and a little Turkish, having been in Constantinople a few years before. His judgment of the inhabitants of that city is rather harsh: he charges them with immorality, drunkenness, and avarice. In one year, said he, I could hardly save enough to travel by the steamer to Chdscha Bk (Odessa). How different was my experience to the inhabitants of this city! I was there three months, during which time I had nothing to provide for, and left with ninety Mnt (imperials), which just sufficed to set up these dilapidated relics again. A Russian ship brought me to Smyrna, whence I travelled by the Nemswi (Austrian Lloyd steamer) to Syria.
According to the account given by the inhabitants of Sa'dje, the Makm has been from ancient times a negro hospice. These Africans, commonly called 'Abd in Damascus, and in the country Tekrine, come chiefly from Tekrr in Sdn; they first visit Mekka and Medna, then Damascus, and finally the Makm of Job. Here they sojourn from twenty to thirty days, during which time they wash themselves daily in Job's fountain, and pray upon Job's stone; and the rest of the day they either read or assist the dwellers in the Makm in their tillage of the soil. When they are about to leave, they received a testimonial, and often return home on foot across the Isthmus of Suez, often by water, chiefly from Jf, by the Austrian Lloyd ship to Egypt, and thence to their native country. These pilgrims, so far as the requirements of their own country are concerned, are literati; and it appears as though by this journey they obtained their highest degree. I have frequently met them in my travels. They are known by their clean white turban, and the white broad-sleeved shirt, which reaches to the ankles, their only garment. They carry a small bundle over the shoulder upon a strong staff, which may serve as a weapon of defence in case of need. In this bundle they carry a few books and other effects, and above this their cloak. They are modest, taciturn men, who go nimbly onward on their way, and to whom one always gladly gives a supper and a night's lodging.
We visited the holy places in the company of the Sheikh Sa'd. The Makm, and the reservoir, which lies fifty paces to the front of it, are surrounded by a wall. This reservoir is filled by a strong, rapid, and cold stream of water, which comes from the fountain of Job, about 400 paces distant. The fountain itself springs up by the basalt hill on which the village and the Job's stone are situated; and it is covered in as far as the reservoir (called birke), in order to keep the water fresh, and to guard against pollution. Between the fountain and the Makm stand a half-dozen acacias and a pomegranate, which were just then in full bloom. The Makm itself, on which the wretched habitations for the attendants and pilgrims adjoin, is a one-storey stone building, of old material and moderate circumference. The first thing shown us was the stone trough, called gurn, in which Job bathed at the end of his trial. The small space in which this relic stands, and over which, so far as I remember, one of the two domes is raised, is called wadjet sjidn jb, "the lavatory of our lord Job." Adjoining this is the part with the tomb, the oblong mound of which is covered with an old torn green cloth. The tomb of Sa'd was more carefully tended. Our Damascene travelling companions were divided in their opinions as to the person whose tomb was near that of Job, as in Syria it is hardly possible to find and distinguish the makms of the many men of God (rigl Allh) or favoured ones of God (auli) who bear the same names; but a small white flag standing upon the grave informed us, for it bore the inscription: "This is the military emblem (rje) of our lord Sa'd ab Merzka."
Perhaps the preservation of the Makm of Job is due to the tomb of Sa'd, as its endowments have long since disappeared, while the tomb of Sa'd still has its revenues. From 'Agln it receives tribute of oil and olives yearly. And several large vegetable gardens, which lie round about the Makm, and are cultivated by its attendants, must also contribute something considerable towards its maintenance. In these gardens they grow dura (maize), tobacco, turnips, onions, and other things, for their own use and for sale. The plants, which can be freely watered from the fountain of Job, are highly esteemed. The government levies no taxes on the Makm, and the Arabs no tribute; and since, according to the popular belief, that Beduin horse that is watered from the birke dies, the Beduins do not even claim the rights of hospitality, - a fortunate circumstance, the removal of which would speedily cause the ruin of the hospice. From nightly thieves, who not unfrequently break through the walls of the stables in the villages of the plain, and carry off the smaller cattle, both the Makm and the village are secure; for if the night thieves come, they see, as every one in Hauran testifies, a surging sea around the place, which prevents their approach.
From the Makm we ascended the hill of the village, on the highest part of which is the stone of Job (Sachrat jb). It is inside a small Mussulman hall of prayer, which in its present form is of more modern origin, but is undoubtedly built from the material of a Christian chapel, which stood here in the pre-Muhammedan age. It is an unartistic structure, in the usual Hauranitish style, with six or eight arches and a small dome, which is just above the stone of Job. My Mussulman attendants, and a Hauranite Christina from the village of Shemiskn, who had joined us as we were visiting the Sachra, trod the sacred spot with bare feet, and kissed the rock, the basaltic formation of which is unmistakeable. Against this rock, our guide told us, Job leaned "when he was afflicted by his Lord" (hı̂n ibtelâ min rabbuh).
(Note: As is generally known, the black stone in Mekka and the Sachra in Jerusalem are more celebrated than the stone of Job; but less revered are the Mebrak en-nka in Bosr, the thievish stone of Moses in the great mosque at Damascus, the doset en-neb on the mountain of el-Hgne, and others.)
While these people were offering up their 'Asr (afternoon) prayer in this place, Sa'd brought me a handful of small long round stones and slag, which the tradition declares to be the worms that fell to the ground out of Job's sores, petrified. "Take them with thee," said he, "as a memento of this place; let them teach thee not to forget God in prosperity, and in misfortune not to contend with Him." The frequent use of these words in the mouth of the man might have weakened them to a set phrase: they were, however, appropriate to the occasion, and were not without their effect. After my attendants had provided themselves with Job's worms, we left the Sachra. These worms form a substantial part of the Hauranitish tradition of Job, and they are known and revered generally in the country. Our Christian attendant from Shemiskn bound them carefully in the broad sleeve of his shirt, and recited to us a few verses from a kasde, in which they are mentioned. The poem, which a member of our company, the dervish Regeb, wrote down, is by a Hauranite Christian, who in it describes his unhappy love in colours as strong as the bad taste it displays. The lines that are appropriate here are as follows: -
Min ‛azma nârı̂ nâra jôm el-qijâma,
Tûfâna Nûha 'dmû‛ a 'ênı̂ ‛anuh zôd.
Ja‛ qûba min hoznı̂ hizânuh qisâma
Min belwetı̂ Ejûba jerta‛ bihe ‛d-dûd.
(Note: The metre forms two spondeo-iambics and trochaeo-spondaics.)
The fire of hell at the last day will kindle itself from the glow of my pain,
And stronger than the flood of Noah are the tear-streams of mine eyes.
The grief of Jacob for his son was but a small part of my grief;
And, visited with my misery, Job was once the prey of worms.
(Note: Comp. p. 576 of the foregoing Commentary.)
The village, which the peasants call Shch Sa'd, and the nomads Sa'dje, is, as the name implies, of later origin, and perhaps was founded by people who fled hither when oppressed elsewhere, for the sake of being able to live more peacefully under the protection of the two tombs. That the place is not called jbje, is perhaps in order to distinguish it from the Monastery of Job.
In less than a quarter of an hour we rode up to the Dr jb, a square building, standing entirely alone, and not surrounded by ruins. When the Arabian geographers call it a village, they reckon to it the neighbouring Sa'dje with the Makm. It is very extensive, and built of fine square blocks of dolerite. While my fellow-traveller, M. Drgens, was engaged in making a ground-plan of the shattered building, which seemed to us on the whole to have had a very simple construction, I took some measurements of its sides and angles, and then searched for inscriptions. Although the ground-floor is now in part hidden in a mezbele,
(Note: On the word and subject, vid., p. 573 of the foregoing Commentary.)
which has been heaped up directly against the walls, on the east side, upon the architrave, not of the chief doorway, which is on the south, but of a door of the church, is found a large Greek inscription in a remarkable state of preservation. The architrave consists of a single carefully-worked block of dolerite, and at present rests almost upon the ground, since the rubbish has filled the whole doorway. The writing and sculpture are hollowed out.
In the center is a circle, and the characters inscribed at each side of this circle are still undeciphered; the rest of the inscription is easy to be read: αὕτη ἡ πύλη κ(υρίο)υ δίκαιοι εἰσελεύσοντε ἐν αὐτῇ· τοῦτο τὸ ὑπέρθυρον ἐτέθη ἐν χρόνοις Ἠελίου εὐλαβεστ(άτου) ἡγουμ(ένου) μ(ηνί) Ἰουλίῳ κε ἰνδ(ι)κ(τίωνος) ιε τοῦ ἔτους πηντακοσιοστοῦ τρικοστοῦ ἕκτου κ(υρί)ου Ἰ(ης)οῦ Χ(ριστ)οῦ Βασιλεύοντος. The passage of Scripture, Psalm 118:20, with which this inscription beings, is frequently found in these districts in the inscriptions on church portals.
This inscription was an interesting discovery; for, so far as I know, it is the oldest that we possess which reckons according to the Christian era, and in the Roman indiction (indictio)
(Note: Vid., Gibbon, ed. Smith, ii. 333. - Tr.)
we have an important authority for determining its date. Now, since there might be a difference of opinion as to the beginning of the "kingdom of Christ," I was anxious to have the judgment of an authority in chronology on the point; and I referred to Prof. Piper of Berlin, who kindly furnished me with the following communication: - "...The inscription therefore furnishes the following data: July 25, indict. xv., year 536, κυρίου Ιοῦ Χοῦ βασιλεύοντος. To begin with the last, the Dionysian era, which was only just introduced into the West, is certainly not to be assumed here. But it is also by no means the birth of Christ that is intended. Everything turns upon the expression βασιλεύοντος. The same expression occurs once in an inscription from Syria, Corp. Inscr. Graec. 8651: βασιλεύοντος Ιουστινιανοῦ τῷ ια ἔτει. The following expression, however, occurs later concerning Christ on Byzantine coins: Rex regnantium and βασιλεὺς βασιλέων (after Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), the latter under John Zimiszes (died 975), in De Saulcy, Pl. xxii. 4. But if the βασιλεία of Christ is employed as the era, we manifestly cannot refer to the epoch of the birth of Christ, but must take the epoch of His ascension as our basis: for with this His βασιλεία first began; just as in the West we sometimes find the calculation begins a passione. Now the fathers of the Western Church indeed place the death (and therefore also the ascension) of Christ in the consulate of the two Gemini, 29 a.d. Not so with the Greek fathers. Eusebius takes the year of His death, according to one supposition, to be the 18th year of Tiberius, i.e., 785 a.u.c. equals 32 a.d. Supposing we take this as the first year regnante Jesu Christo, then the year 536, of the inscription of the Monastery of Job, is reduced to our era, after the birth of Christ, by adding 31. Thus we have the number of the year 567, to which the accompanying xv. indictio corresponds, for 567 + 3 equals 570; and 570/15 has no remainder. XV is therefore the indiction of the year 567, which more accurately belongs to the year from 1st Sept. 566 to 31st Aug. 567. And since the day of the month is mentioned in the inscription, it is the 25th July 567 that is indicated. For it appears to me undoubted that the indictions, according to the usual mode of computation among the Greeks, begin with the 1st Sept. 312. Thus a Sidonian inscription of dec. 642 a.d. has the I indiction (Corp. Inscr. Gr. 9153)...."
Thus far Prof. Piper's communication. According to this satisfactory explanation of its date, this inscription is perhaps not unqualified to furnish a contribution worth notice, even for the chronology of the life of Jesus, since the Ghassinides, under whom not only the inscription, but the Monastery itself 300 years earlier, had its origin, dwelt in Palestine, the land of Christ; and their kings were perhaps the first who professed Christianity.
The "festival of the Monastery of Job," which, according to Kazwn's Syrian Calendar,
(Note: Calendarium Syriacum Cazwinii, ed. Guil. Volck, Lips. 1859, p. 15.)
the Christians of the country celebrated annually on the 23rd April, favours the pre-Muhammedan importance of the Monastery. This festival in Kazwn's time, appearing only by name inf the calendar, had undoubtedly ceased with the early decline of Christianity in the plain of Hauran, for the historically remarkable exodus of a large portion of the Ghassinides out of the cities of Hauran to the north of Georgia had taken place even under the chalifate of Omar. The Syrian Christians of the present day celebrate the festival of Mr Gorgius (St. George), who slew the dragon (tennn) near Beirt, on the 23rd April. A week later (the 1st May, oriental era) the Jews of Damascus have the sm jb (the fast of Job), which lasts twenty-four hours. In Kazwn's calendar it is erroneously set down to the 3rdMay.
Moreover, with reference to the Monastery, it must be mentioned that, according to the history of Ibn Kethr,
(Note: Comp. A. v. Kremer, Mittelsyrien, etc., Vienna 1853, S. 10.)
the great Greco-Ghassinide army, which, under the leadership of Theodoric, a brother of the Emperor Heraclius, was to have repulsed the attack of the Mussulmans on Syria, revolted in its neighbourhood in the 13th year of the Hegira (Higra), while the enemy was encamped on the south bank of the Meddn, and was drawn up near Edre't. After several months had passed came the battle known as the "battle of the Jarmk," the issue of which cost the Byzantines Syria. The volcanic hollows of the ground, which for miles form a complex network of gorges, for the most part inaccessible, offer great advantages in defensive warfare; and here the battle near Edre', in which 'Og king of Bashan lost his kingdom, was probably fought.
According to the present division of the country, the Monastery of Job and the Makm are in the southern part of Gdr, an administrative district, which is bounded on the north by the Wd Brt, on the east by the W. el-Horr and the high road, on the south by the Jarmk, and on the west by the W. Hit and by a range of volcanic mounds, which stretch to the south-east corner of the Snow-mountain (el-Hermn); this district, however, has only a nominal existence, for it has no administration of its own. Either it is added to Haurn, or its revenues, together with those of Gln, are let out to the highest bidder for a number of years. Gdr is the natural north-western continuation of the plain of Haurn; and the flat bed of the Horr, which does not form a gorge until it comes to the bridge of Sra, forms no boundary proper. Moreover, the word is not found in ancient geography; and the Arabian geographers, even the later ones, who recognised the idea of Gdr, always so define the position of a locality situated in Gdr, that they say it is situated in the Haurn. Thus Jkt describes the town of el-Gbia, situated in western Gdr, and in like manner, as we have seen above, Naw and the Monastery of Job, etc.
(Note: Jkt says under Gdr, "It is a Damascene district, it has villages, and lies in the north of Haurn; according to others, it is reckoned together with Haurn as one district." The last words do not signify that Gdr and Haurn are words to be used without any distinction; on the contrary, that Gdr is a district belonging to Haurn, and comprehended in it.)
There is no doubt that, as the Gdr of the present day is reckoned in the Nukra, so this country also in ancient days, at least as far as its northern watershed, has belonged to the tetrarchy of Batanaea.
The Monastery of Job is at present inhabited. A certain sheikh, Ahmed el-Kdir, has settled down here since the autumn of 1859, as partner of the senior of the Damascene 'Omarje (the successors of the Chalif 'Omar), to whose family endowments (waqf) the Monastery belongs, and with his family he inhabits a number of rooms in the inner court, which have escaped destruction. He showed us the decree of his partner appointing him to his position, in which he is styled Sheikh of the Dr jb, Dr el-Lebwe, and 'Ashtar. Dr el-Lebwe, "the monastery of the lion,"
(Note: The name of this monastery, which is about a mile and a half north-east of the Dr Ejb, is erroneously called D. el-leb in Burckhardt's Travels in Syria (ed. Gesenius, S. 449). The same may be said of D. en-nubuwwe in Annales Hamzae, ed. Gottwaldt, p. 118.)
was built by the Gefnide Eihem ibn el-Hrith; and we shall have occasion to refer to 'Ashtar, in which Newbold,
(Note: C. Ritter, Geogr. v. Syr. u. Pal. ii. 821 [Erdk. xv. Pt. 2, p. 821].)
in the year 1846, believed he had found the ancient capital of Basan, 'Ashtart, further on. But the possessor of all these grand things was a very unhappy man. While we were drinking coffee with him, he related to us how the inhabitants of Naw had left him only two yoke (feddân) of arable land from the territory assigned to him, and taken all the rest to themselves. The harvest of that year, after the deduction of the bedhâr (the new seed-corn), would hardly suffice to meet the demands of his family, and of hospitality; and for his partner, how had advanced money to him, there would be nothing left. In Damascus he found no redress; and the Sheikh of Naw, Dhib el-Medhjeb, had answered his last representation with the words, "He who desires Job's inheritance must look for trials." Here also, as in Arabia generally, I found that intelligence and energy was on the side of the wife. During our conversation, his wife, with one of her children, had drawn near; and while the child kissed my hand, according to custom, she said: "To-morrow thou wilt arrive at Muzrb; Dhib will also be going thither with contributions for the pilgrims. We put our cause in thy hands, arrange it as seems thee best; this old man will accompany thee." And as we were riding, the Sheikh Ahmed was also obliged to mount, and his knowledge of the places did us good service on Tell Ashtar and Tell el-Ash'ar. In Muzrb, where the pilgrim fair and the arriving caravans for Mekka occupied our attention for five days, we met Dhib and the Ichtirje (elders of the community) of Naw; and, after some opposition, the sheikh of the Monastery of Job obtained four feddân of land under letter and seal, and returned home satisfied.
The case of this man is no standard of the state of the Hauranites, for there are so many desolated villages that there is no lack of land; only round about Naw it is insufficient, since this place is obliged to take possession of far outlying fields, by reason of its exceedingly numerous agricultural population.
(Note: That the Sheikh Ahmed was permitted to take up his abode in the Monastery, was owing to a religious dread of his ancestor (gidd), 'Abdel-Kdir el-Glni, and out of courteousness towards his partner.)
The more desolate a land exposed to plunder becomes, the more populous must its separate towns become, since the inhabitants of the smaller defenceless villages crowd into them. Thus the inhabitants of the large town of Kenkir at the present time till the fields of twelve neighbouring deserted villages; and Salt, the only inhabited place in the Belk, has its corn-fields even at a distance of fifteen miles away. The poet may also have conceived of Job's domain similarly, for there were five hundred ploughmen employed on it; so that it could not come under the category of ordinary villages, which in Syria rarely have above, mostly under, fifty yoke of oxen. According to the tradition, which speaks of "Job's villages" (di' jb), these ploughmen would be distributed over several districts; but the poet, who makes them to be overwhelmed by one ghazwe, therefore as ploughing in one district, will have conceived of them only as dwelling in one locality.
It might not be out of place here to give some illustration of the picture which the poet draws of Job's circumstances and position as a wealthy husbandman. Haurn, the scene of the drama (as we here assume), must at that period, as at present, have been without protection from the government of the country, and therefore exposed to the marauding attacks of the tribes of the desert. In such a country there is no private possession; but each person is at liberty to take up his abode in it, and to cultivate the land and rear cattle at his own risk, where and to what extent he may choose. Whoever intends doing so much first of all have a family, or as the Arabs say, "men" (rigâl), i.e., grown-up sons, cousins, nephews, sons-in-law; for one who stands alone, "the cut off one" (maktû‛), as he is called, can attain no position of eminence among the Semites, nor undertake any important enterprise.
(Note: In the present day the household is called ‛ashı̂ra, and all families of important in Haurn are and call themselves ‛ashâir (Arab. ‛šâ'r); but the ancient word batn does also occur, and among the Semitic tribes that have migrated to Mauritania it is still in use instead of the Syrian ‛ashı̂ra. Batn, collect. butûn, is the fellowship of all those who are traced back to the בּטן of one ancestral mother. Thus even in Damascus they say: nahn ferd batn, we belong to one family; in like manner in the whole of Syria: this foal is the batn of that mare, i.e., its young one; or: I sold my mare without batn, or with one, two, three-fourths of her batn, i.e., without her descendants, or so that the buyer has only 6 or 12 or 18 kı̂rât right of possession in the foals she will bear. In all these applications, batn is the progenies uteri, not the uterus itself; and, according to this, בני בטני, Job 19:17, ought to be explained by "all my relations by blood.")
Then he has to make treaties with all the nomad tribes from which he has reason to fear any attack, i.e., to pledge himself to pay a yearly tribute, which is given in native produce (in corn and garments). Thus the community of el-Hgne, ten years since, had compacts with 101 tribes; and that Job also did this, seems evident from the fact that the poet represents him as surprised not by neighbouring, but by far distant tribes (Chaldaeans and Sabaeans), with whom he could have no compact.
(Note: These sudden attacks, at any rate, do not say anything in favour of the more southernly position of Ausitis. If the Beduin is but once on his horse or delûl, it is all the same to him whether a journey is ten days longer or shorter, if he can only find water for himself and his beast. This, however, both bands of marauders found, since the poet distinctly represents the attacks as having been made in the winter. The general ploughing of the fallow-lying wâgiha of a community (it is called shiqâq el-wâgiha), ready for the sowing in the following autumn, always takes place during January and February, because at this time of the year the earth is softened by the winter rains, and easy to plough. While engaged in this work, the poet represents Job's ploughmen as being surprised and slain. Hence, for the destruction of 500 armed ploughmen - and they were armed, because they could only have been slain with their weapons in their hands in consequence of their resistance - at least 2000 horsemen were necessary. So large a ghazwe is, however, not possible in the summer, but only in the winter, because they could not water at a draw-well, only at the pools (ghudrân) formed by the winter rains. For one of these raids of the Chaldaeans, Haurn, whither marauding bands come even now during the winter from the neighbourhood of Babylon in six or seven days, lay far more convenient than the country around Ma'n and 'Akaba, which is only reached from the Euphrates, even in winter, by going a long way round, since the Nufd (sandy plains) in the east, and their western continuation the Hlt, suck in the rain without forming any pools. On the other hand, however, this southern region lay nearer and more convenient for the incursions of the Sabaeans, viz., the Keturaean (Genesis 25:3), i.e., Petraean tribe of this name. The greater or less distance, however, is of little consequence here. Thus, as the Shemmar of Negd from time to time make raids into the neighbourhood of Damascus, so even the tribes of Wdi el-Kor might also do the same. Moreover, as we observed above, the poet represents the sudden attacks as perpetrated by the Sabaeans and Chaldaeans, probably because they only, as being foreign and distant races which never had anything to do with Job and his men, and therefore were without any consideration, could practise such unwonted barbarities as the robbery of ploughing heifers, which a ghazwe rarely takes, and the murder of the ploughmen.)
Next he proceeds to erect a chirbe, i.e., a village that has been forsaken (for a longer or shorter period), in connection with which, excepting the relations, slaves, and servants of the master, all those whom interest, their calling, and confidence in the good fortune of the master, have drawn thither, set about the work. Perhaps Job 15:28 has reference to Job's settlement.
(Note: Verbally, Job 3:14, which we, however, have interpreted differently, accords with this. - Del.)
With reference to the relation of the lord of a village (ustâd beled, or sâhib dê‛a) to his work-people, there are among the dependents two classes. The one is called zurrâ‛, "sowers," also fellâhin kism, "participating husbandmen," because they share the produce of the harvest with the ustâd thus: he receives a fourth while they retain three-fourths, from which they live, take the seed for the following season, give their quota towards the demands of the Arabs, the village shepherds, the field watchmen, and the scribe of the community (chatı̂b); they have also to provide the farming implements and the yoke-oxen. On the other hand, the ustâd has to provide for the dwellings of the people, to pay the land-tax to the government, and, in the event of a failure of the crops, murrain, etc., to make the necessary advances, either in money or in kind at the market price, and without any compensation. This relation, which guarantees the maintenance of the family, and is according to the practice of a patriarchal equity, is greatly esteemed in the country; and one might unhesitatingly consider it therefore to be that which existed between Job and his ploughmen, because it may with ease exist between a single ustâd and hundreds, indeed thousands, of country people, if Job 1:3 did not necessitate our thinking of another class of country people, viz., the murâbi‛ı̂n, the "quarterers." They take their name from their receiving a fourth part of the harvest for their labour, while they have to give up the other three-fourths to the ustâd, who must provide for their shelter and board, and in like manner everything that is required in agriculture. As Job, according to Job 1:3 (comp. on Job 42:12), provided the yoke-oxen and means of transport (asses and camels), so he also provided the farming implements, and the seed for sowing. We must not here think of the paid day-labourer of the Syrian towns, or the servants of our landed proprietors; they are unknown on the borders of the desert. The hand that toils has there a direct share in the gain; the workers belong to the aulâd, "children of the house," and are so called; in the hour of danger they will risk their life for their lord.
This rustic labour is always undertaken simultaneously by all the murâbi‛ı̂n (it is so also in the villages of the zurrâ‛) for the sake of order, since the ustâd, or in his absence the village sheikh, has the general work of the following day announced from the roof of his house every evening. Thus it is explained how the 500 ploughmen could be together in one and the same district, and be slain all together.
The ustâd is the sole judge, or, by deputy, the sheikh. An appeal to the government of the country would be useless, because it has no influence in Hauran; but the servant who has been treated unjustly by his master, very frequently turns as dachı̂l fi 'l-haqq (a suppliant concerning his right) to his powerful neighbour, who is bound, according to the customs of the country, to obtain redress for him (comp. Job 29:12-17). If he does not obtain this by persuasion, he cries for force, and such a demand lies at the root of many a bloody feud.
Powerful and respected also as the position, described in Job 29:1, of such a man is, it must, according to the nature of its basis, fall in under strokes of misfortune, like those mentioned in Job 1:14-19, and change to the very opposite, as the poet describes it in Job 30:1.
After these observations concerning the agricultural relations of Hauran, we return to the tradition of Job. As we pursue the track of this tradition further, we first find it again in some of the Christina writers of the middle ages, viz., in Eugesippus (De distanc. loc. terr. sanct.), in William of Tyre (Histor. rerum a Francis gest.), and in Marino Sanuto (De secretis fid. cruc.). The passages that bear upon the point are brought together in Reland (Palest. pp. 265f.); and we would simply refer to them, if it were possible for the reader to find his way among the fabulous confusion of the localities in Eugesippus and Sanuto.
The oldest of these citations is from Eugesippus, and is as follows: One part of the country is the land of Hus, out of which Job was; it is also called Sueta, after which Bildad the Suhite was named. Sanuto tells us where this locality is to be sought. "Sueta is the home of Baldad the Suite, Below this city (civitas), in the direction of the Kedar-tribes, the Saracens are accustomed to assemble out of Aram, Mesopotamia, Ammon, Moab, and the whole Orient, around the fountain of Fiale; and, on account of the charms of the place, to hold a fair there during the whole summer, and to pitch their coloured tents." In another place he says: fontem Fialen Medan, i.e., aquas Dan, a Saracenis nuncupari.
Now, since according to an erroneous, but previously prevalent etymology, "the water of Dan" (מי דן equals יאר דּן) denoted the Jordan, and since we further know from Josephus (Bell. iii. 10, 7) that the Phiala is the small lake of Rm, whose subterranean outflow the tetrarch Philip is said to have shown to be the spring of the Jordan, which comes to light deeper below, we should have thought the country round about the lake of Rm, at the south foot of Hermn, to be the home of Job and Bildad. This discovery would be confirmed by the following statement of Eugesippus (in Reland, loc. cit.): "The river Dan flows under ground from its spring as far as the plain of Meldan, where it comes to light. This plain is named after the fair, which is held there, for the Saracens call such an one Meldan. At the beginning of the summer a large number of men, with wares to sell, congregate there, and several Parthian and Arabian soldiers also, in order to guard the people and their herds, which have a rich pasture there in the summer. The word Meldan is composed of mel and dan." It is indeed readily seen that the writer has ignorantly jumbled several words together in the expression meldan, as m Dan, "water of Dan," and Mdn or mı̂dân, "market-place;" perhaps even also leddân, the name of the great fountain of the Jordan in the crater of the Tell el-Kdi. In like manner, the statement that the neighbourhood of Phiala, or that of the large fountain of the Jordan, might formerly have been a fair of the tribes, is false, for the former is broken up into innumerable craters, and the latter is poisoned by the swamp-fevers of the Hle; but as to the rest, both Eugesippus and Sanuto seem really to speak of a tradition which places Job's or Bildad's home in that region. And yet it is not so: their tradition is no other than the Hauranitish; but ignorance of the language and geography of the country, and some accidental circumstances, so confused their representations, that it is difficult to find out what is right. The first clue is given us by the history of William of Tyre, in which (l. xxii. c. 21) it is said that the crusaders, on their return from a marauding expedition in the Nukra, wished to reconquer a strong position, the Cavea Roob, which they had lost a short time before. "This place," says the historian, "lies in the province of Suite, a district distinguished by its pleasantness, etc.; and that Baldad, Job's friend, who is on that account called the Suite, is said to have come from it." This passage removes us at once into the neighbourhood of Muzrb and the Monastery of Job, for the province of Suete is nothing but the district of Suwt (Arab. ṣwı̂t),
(Note: Reisebericht, S. 46; comp. Ritter, Syr. u. Pal. ii. 1019 [Erdk. xv. Pt. 2, p. 1019].)
the north-western boundary of which is formed by the gorge of the Wd Rahb. The Cavea Roob, which was first of all again found out by me on my journey in 1862, lies in the middle of the steep bank of that wadi, and is at present called maghret Rahb, "the cave of R.," or more commonly mu'allakat Rahb, "the swinging cave of R.," and at the time of the Crusades commanded the dangerous pass which the traveller, on ascending from the south end of the Lake of Galilee to Edre't by the nearest way, has to climb on hands and feet. In another passage (xvi. 9), where the unhealthy march to Bosr is spoken of, Will. of Tyre says: "After we had come through the gorge of Roob, we reached the plain which is called Medan, and where every year the Arabs and other oriental tribes are accustomed to hold a large fair." This plain is in the vicinity of Muzrb, in which the great pilgrim-fair is held annually. We find something similar in xiii. 18: "After having passed Decapolis
(Note: Here in the more contracted sense, the district of Gadara, Kefrt, and Irbid.)
we came to the pass of Roob, and further on into the plain of Medan, which stretches far and wide in every direction, and is intersected by the river Dan, which falls into the Jordan between (Tiberias and Scythopolis (Bsn)." This river, the same as that which Sanuto means by his aquae Dan (M Dn), is none other than the Wdi el-Meddn, called "the overflowing one," because in the month of March it overflows its banks eastward of the Gezzr-bridge. It is extremely strange that the name of this river appears corrupted not only in all three writers mentioned above, but also in Burckhardt; for, deceived by the ear, he calls it Wd Om el-Dhan.
(Note: Burckhardt, Travels in Syr. and Pal. (ed. Gesenius, S. 392).)
The Meddn is the boundary river between the Suwt and Nukra plains; it loses its name where it runs into the Makran; and where it falls into the valley of the Jordan, below the lake of Tiberias, it is called el-Muchb.
We have little to add to what has been already said. The Fiale of Sanuto is not the Lake Rm, but the round begge, the lake of springs of Muzrb, the rapid outflow of which, over a depth of sixty to eighty feet, forms a magnificent waterfall, the only one in Syria, as it falls into the Meddn near the village of Tell Shihb.
The unfortunate confusion of the localities was occasioned by two accidental circumstances: first, that both the springs of the Jordan below Bnis and the lake of Muzrb, have a village called Rahb (רחוב) in their vicinity, of which one is mentioned in Judges 18:28., and the other, about a mile below the Cavea Roob, is situated by a fountain of the same name, from which village, cavern, and wadi derive their names; secondly, that there, as here, there is a village Abil (אבל): that near Dan is situated in the "meadow-district of 'Ijn" (Merg. 'Ijn); and that in the Suwt lies between Rahb and the Makran, and was visited by Seetzen as well as by myself. Perhaps the circumstance that, just as the environs of Muzrb have their Mdn,
(Note: The word el-mı̂dân and el-mêdân signifies originally the hippodrome, then the arena of the sham-fight, then the place of contest, the battle-field, and finally a wide level place where a large concourse of men are accustomed to meet. In this sense the Damascenes have their el-mı̂dân, the Spanish cities their almeidân, and the Italians their corso.)
so the environs of Bnis have their Ard el-Mejdn, "region of battle-fields," may also have contributed to the confusion; thus, for example, the country sloping to the west from the Phiala towards the Hle, between Gubbt ez-zt and Za'ra, is called, perhaps on account of the murderous encounters which took place there, both in the time of the Crusades and also in more ancient times. It is certainly the ground on which the battle narrated in the book of Joshua, Joshua 11:1, took place, and also the battle in which Antiochus the Great slew the Egyptian army about 200 b.c.)
What we have gained for our special purpose from this information (by which not a few statements of Ritter, K. v. Raumer, and others, are substantiated), is not merely the fact that the tradition which places Job's home in the region of Muzrb existed even in the middle ages (which the quotation given above from Makdesh, who lived before the time of the Crusades, also confirms), and even came to the ears of the foreigners who settled in the country as they then passed through the land, but also the certainty that this tradition was then, as now, common to the Christians and the Mussulmans, for the three writers previously mentioned would hardly have recorded it on the testimony of the latter only.
(Note: Estri ha-Parchi, the most renowned Jewish topographer of Palestine, in his work Caftor wa-ferach, completed in 1322 (newly edited by Edelmann, published by Asher, Berlin, 1852, S. 49), says דאר איוב lies one hour south of נבו, since he identifies Naw with the Reubenitish Neb, Numbers 32:38, as Zora'' with יעזר, Numbers 32:35; so that he explains ארץ עוץ by ארץ יעזר, although he at the same time considers the name, according to Saadia, as one with אלגוטה (el Ghuta). His statements moreover are exact, as one might expect from a man who had travelled for seven years in all directions in Palestine; and his conclusion, ארץ עוץ היא ארץ קדם לארץ ישׂראל כנגד טבריא, perfectly accords with the above treatise. - Del.)
There can be no doubt as to which of these two religions must be regarded as the original mother of this tradition. The Hauranite Christians, who, from their costume, manners, language, and traditions, undoubtedly inherited the country from the pre-Muhammedan age, venerate the Makm perhaps even more than the Muhammedans; which would be altogether impossible in connection with the hostile position of the two religious sects towards one another, and in connection with the zealous scorn with which the Syrian Christians regard the religion of Islam, if the Hauranitish tradition of Job and the Makm were of later, Muhammedan origin. It is also possible that, on a closer examination of the Makm and the buildings about the Sachra, one might find, besides crosses, Greek inscriptions (since they are nowhere wanting in the Nukra), which could only have their origin in the time before the occupation of Islam (635 a.d.); for after this the Hauranite Christians, who only prolong their existence by wandering from chirbe to chirbe, have not even built a single dwelling-house, much less a building for religious worship, which was forbidden under pain of death in the treaty of Omar. But in connection with the pre-Islam Monastery of Job, which owed its origin only to the sacred tradition that held its ground in that place, are monumental witnesses that this tradition is pre-Islamic, and has been transferred from the Christians to the Mussulmans, required? We may go even further, and assert that Muhammed, in the Sur. xxxviii. 41ff. of the Korn, had the Hauranitish tradition of Job and the localities near Sa'dje definitely before his mind.
We must regard the merchandise caravans which the inhabitants of Tehma sent continuously into the "north country," esh-shâm,
(Note: In Jemen the Higz, Syria may have been called Shm in the earliest times. The name was taken into Syria itself by the immigration of the Jemanic tribes of Kud'a, and others, because they brought with them the name of Syria that was commonly used in their native land.)
and the return freight of which consisted chiefly of Hauranitish corn, as proof of a regular intercourse between the east Jordanic country and the west of the Arabian peninsula in the period between Christ and Muhammed. Hundreds of men from Mekka and Medina came every year to Bosr; indeed, when it has happened that the wandering tribes of Syria, which were, then also as now, bound for Hauran with the kêl, i.e., their want of corn, got before them, and had emptied the granaries of Bosr, or when the harvests of the south of Hauran had been destroyed by the locusts, which is not unfrequently the case, they will have come into the Nukra
(Note: The remarkable fair at Muzrb can be traced back to the earliest antiquity, although Bosr at times injured it; but this latter city, from its more exposed position, has been frequently laid in ruins. It is probable that the merchants of Damascus pitched their tents for their Kasaba, i.e., their moveable fair, twice a year (in spring and in autumn) by the picturesque lake of Muzrb. If, with the tradition, we take the Nukra to be the home of Job, of the different ways of interpreting Job 6:19 there is nothing to hinder our deciding upon that which considers it as the greater caravan which acme periodically out of southern Arabia to Hauran (Bosr or Muzrib). Tm with its well, Heddg (comp. Isaiah 21:14), celebrated by the poets of the steppe, from which ninety camels (sâniât) by turns raise a constantly flowing stream of clear and cool water for irrigating the palms and the seed, was in ancient times, perhaps, the crossing point of the merchant caravans going from south to north, and from east to west. Even under the Omajad Cahlifs the Mekka pilgrim-route went exclusively by way of Tm, just as during the Crusades so long as the Franks kept possession of Kerak and Shbak. An attempt made in my Reisebericht (S. 93-95) to substitute the Hauranitish Tm in the two previously mentioned passages of Scripture, I have there (S. 131) given up as being scarcely probable.)
as far as Naw, sometimes even as far as Damascus, in order to obtain their full cargo.
If commerce often has the difficult task of bringing together the most heterogeneous peoples, and of effecting a reciprocal interchange of ideas, it here had the easy work of sustaining the intercourse among tribes that were originally one people, spoke one idiom, and regarded themselves as all related; for the second great Sabaean migration, under 'Amr and his son Ta'labe, had taken possession of Mekka, and left one of their number, Rab'a ibn Hritha, with his attendants (the Chuz'ites), behind as lord of the city. In the same manner they had become possessed of Jathrib (el-Medna), and left this city to their tribes Aus and Chazreg: the remainder of the people passed on to Peraea and took possession of the country, at that time devastated, as far as Damascus, according to Ibn Sa'd, even including this city. By the reception of Christianity, the Syrian Sabaeans appear to have become but slightly or not at all estranged from their relatives in the Higz, for Christianity spread even here, so that the Caesars once ventured to appoint a Christian governor even to the city of Mekka. This was during the lifetime of the Gefnite king 'Amr ibn Gebele. At the time of Muhammed there were many Christians in Mekka, who will for the most part have brought their Christianity with the Syrian caravans, so that at the commencement of Islm the Hauranitish tradition of Job might have been very well known in Mekka, since many men from Mekka may have even visited the Makm and the Sachra, and there have heard many a legend of Job like that intimated in the Korn xxxviii. 43. Yea, whoever will give himself the trouble to investigate minute commentaries on the Koran, especially such as interpret the Koran from the tradition (hadı̂th), e.g., the Kitb ed-durr el-muchtr, may easily find that not merely Kazwn, Ibn el-Ward, and Jkt, whose observations concerning the Monastery of Job have been given above, but also much older authorities, identify the Koranish fountain of Job with the Hauranitish.
A statement of Eusebius, of value in connection with this investigation, brings us at one stride about three hundred years further on. It is in the Onomastikon, under Καρναείμ, and is as follows: "Astaroth Karnaim is at present (about 310 a.d.) a very large village (κώμη μεγίστη) beyond the Jordan, in the province of Arabia, which is also called Batanaea. Here, according to tradition (ἐκ παραδόσεως), they fix the dwelling (οἶκος) of Job." On the small map which accompanies these pages, the reader will find in the vicinity of the Makm the low and somewhat precipitous mound, not above forty feet in height, of Tell 'Ashtar, the plateau of which forms an almost round surface, which is 425 paces in diameter, and shows the unartistic foundations of buildings, and traces of a ring-wall. Here we have to imagine that 'Astarot Karnaim. Euseb. here makes no mention whatever of the city of Astaroth, the ancient capital of Basan, for this he does under Astaroo'th; the hypothesis of its being the residence of king 'Og, which Newbold
(Note: C. Ritter, Geogr. v. Syr. u. Pal. ii. 819ff. [Erdk. xv. 2, p. 819ff.] The information of Newbold, which is printed in the Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellschaft, i. 215f., is unfortunately little to be relied on, and is to be corrected according to the topography of the mound given above.)
set up here, consequently falls to the ground. The κώμη μεγίστη of Eusebius must, in connection with the limited character of the ground, certainly be somewhat contracted; but the identity of the localities is not to be doubted in connection with the great nearness of the οἶκος (the Makm).
(Note: A small, desolated stone village, situated a quarter of an hour's journey from the mound of 'Ashtar, which however has not a single house of any importance, has two names among the inhabitants of that region, either Chirbt 'Ijn en-Nle (the ruins near the Nila-springs) or Chirbt 'Ashtar, which can signify the ruins of 'Ashtar and the ruins near 'Ashtar. Since it is, however, quite insignificant, it will not be the village that has given the name to the mound, but the mound with its buildings, which in ancient days were perhaps a temple to Astarte, surrounded by a wall, has given the name to the village.)
Let us compare another statement that belongs here; it stands under Ἀσταρὼθ Καρναείμ, and is as follows: "There are at the present time two villages of this name in Batanaea, which lie nine miles distant from one another, μεταξὺ ΑΔΑΡΩΝ καὶ ΑΒΙΛΗΞ." Jerome has duo castella instead of two villages, by which at least the κώμη μεγίστη is somewhat reduced; for that it is one of these two castles
(Note: The meaning of "castle," as defined by Burckhardt, Travels in Syr. etc. p. 657, should be borne in mind here. "The name of Kal'at or castle is given on the Hadj route, and over the greater part of the desert, to any building walled in and covered, and having, like a Khan, a large courtyard in its enclosure. The walls are sometimes of stone, but more commonly of earth, though even the latter are sufficient to withstand an attack of Arabs." - Tr.)
can be the less doubtful, since they also regulate the determining of the respective localities. If the reading ΑΒΙΛΗΞ is correct, only Abil (אבל) in the north of Suwt can (since, without doubt, the Arabian names of the places in Hauran existed in Eusebius' day) be intended; and ΑΔΑΡΩΝ ought then to be changed into ΑΛΑΡΩΝ, in order to denote the large village of El-hr, on the lofty peak of the same name in the plain of Gdr. El-hr lies to the north, and Abil to the south of 'Ashtar. If, however, as is most highly probable, instead of ΑΒΙΛΗΞ (which form Euseb. does not use elsewhere, for he calls the town of Abil Ἀβέλ, and the inscription in Turra has the form πόλεως Ἀβέλις), ΑΒΙΔΗΞ is to be read, which corresponds to the Ἀβιδᾶ of Ptolemy (ed. Wilberg, p. 369) and the modern /Abidn near Btirr, thus the name of the other village is to be changed from ΑΔΑΡΩΝ to ΑΡΑΡΩΝ (for which the Cod. Vat. erroneously has ΔΡΑΡΩΝ), the modern 'Arr.
(Note: Some, in connection with this word, have erroneously thought of the city of Edre't, which Eusebius calls Ἀδρά in the immediately preceding article Ἀδραά, and in the art. Edraei'.)
'Abdn, however, lies nine miles west, and 'Arr nine miles east of 'Ashtar.
Now, as to the second village, and its respective castle, which is mentioned in the second citation from the Onomastikon, I believe that both Euseb. and Jerome intend to say there are two villages, of which the one has the byname of the other; consequently the one is called Astart (Karnaim), and the other Karnaim (Astart). Twelve miles west of 'Ashtar lies the Golanite village of Kornje (קרניּה), which in old Kantra I have taken up in my trigonometrical measurements.
We find also a third passage in the Onomast. which belongs here; it is under Ἰαβώκ in Cod. Vat., under Ἰδουμαία in Cod. Leid. and Vellarsi, and runs: "According to the view of a certain one (κατά τινος), this region is the land of Asitis (Ausitis), the home of Job, while according to others it is Arabia (ἡ Ἀραβία); and again, according to others, it is the Land of Shn." Whether genuine or not, this passage possesses a certain value. If it is genuine, Jerome would have left it accordingly untranslated, because he would not be responsible for its whole contents, for he not unfrequently passes over or alters statements of Eusebius where he believes himself to be better informed; but, taken exactly, he could only have rejected the views of those who seek Job's native country on the Jabbok (if the passage belongs to the art. Ἰαβώκ) or in Edom (if it belongs to Ἰδουμαία), or in the Belk, the land of Shn; but not the view of those who make Arabia (Batanaea) to be Ausitis, for the statement of Eusebius with reference to this point under Carnaei'm he translates faithfully. If the passage is not genuine, it at any rate gives the very early testimony of an authority distinct from Eusebius and Jerome in favour of the age of the Hauranitish tradition concerning Job, while it has only a single (κατά τινος) authority for the view of those who make Edom to be Ausitis, and even this only when the passage belongs to Ἰδουμαία.
By means of these quotations from the Onomastikon, that passage of Chrysostom (Homil. V. de Stud. 1, tom. ii. p. 59), in which it is said that many pilgrims from the end of the earth come to Arabia, in order to seek for the dunghill on which Job lay, and with rapture to kiss the ground where he suffered ( - - ἀπὸ περάτων τῆς γῆς εἰς τῆν Ἀραβίαν τρέχοντες, ἵνα τῆν κοπρίαν ἴδωσι, καὶ θεασάμενοι καταφιλήσωσι τῆν γῆν), appears also to obtain its right local reference. This Arabia is certainly none other than that which Eusebius explains by ἣ καὶ Βαταναία, and that κοπρία or mezbele to be sought nowhere except near the Makm jb. And should there by any doubts upon the subject, ought they not to be removed by the consideration that the proud structure of the Monastery of Job, with its spring festivals mentioned above, standing like a Pharos casting its light far and wide in that age, did not allow either the Syrian Christians or the pilgrims from foreign parts to mistake the place, which tradition had rendered sacred, as the place of Job's sufferings?
There is no monastery whose origin, according to an unimpeachable testimony, belongs to such an early date as that of the Monastery of Job. According to the chronicles of the peoples (ta'rı̂ch el-umem), or the annals of Hamze el-Isfahni (died about 360 of the Hegira), it was built by 'Amr I, the second Gefnide. Now, since the first Ghassanitish king (Gefne I) reigned forty-five years and three months, and 'Amr five years, the Monastery would have been in existence about 200 a.d., if we place the beginning of the Gefnide dynasty in the time 150 a.d. Objections are raised against such an early date, because one is accustomed on good authority to assign the origin of monasteries to about the year 300 a.d. In the face of more certain historical dates, these objections must remain unheeded, for hermit and monastery life (rahbanı̂ja) existed in the country east of Jordan among the Essenes and other societies and forms of worship, even before Christianity; so that the latter, on its appearance in that part, which took place long before 200 a.d., received the monasteries as an inheritance: but certainly the chronology of the Gefnide dynasty is not reliable. Hamze fixes the duration of the dynasty at 616 years; Ibn Sa'd,
(Note: Wetzstein, Catal. Arab. MSS collected in Damascus, No. 1, p. 89.)
in his history of the pre-Islamic Arabs, at 601 years; and to the same period extends the statement of Mejnishi,
(Note: Wetzst. Catal. Arab. MSS collected in Damascus, No. 24, p. 16.)
who, in his topography of the Ka'be, says that between the conquest of Mekka by Ta'lebe and the rule of the Kos in this city was 500 years. On the contrary, however, Ibn Jusef
(Note: Hamzae Isfahan. Annales, ed. Gottwald, Vorrede, p. xi.)
informs us that this dynasty began "earlier" than 400 years before Islamism. With this statement accord all those numerous accounts, according to which the "rupture of the dyke" (sêl el-‛arim), the supposed cause of the Jemanic emigration, took place rather more than 400 years before Islamism. If therefore, to content ourselves with an approximate calculation, we make Islamism to begin about 615 (the year of the "Mission" was 612 a.d.), and the Gefnide dynasty, with the addition of the "earlier," 415 years previous, then the commencement of the reign of Gefne I would have been 200 a.d., and the erection of the Monastery shortly before 250.
When the tribe whose king later on built the Monastery migrated from Jemen into Syria, the Trachonitis was in the hands of a powerful race of the Kud'ides, which had settled there in the first century of our era, having likewise come out of Jemen, and become tributary to the Romans. This race had embraced Christianity from the natives; and some historians maintain that it permitted the Gefnides to settle and share in the possession of the country, only on the condition that they likewise should embrace Christianity. In those early times, these tribes, of course, with the new religion received the tradition of Job also from the first hand, from the Jews and the Jewish Christians, who, since the battle of the Jewish people with the Romans, will have found refuge and safety to a large extent in Petraea, and especially in the hardly accessible Trachonitis. The Nukra also, as the most favoured region of Syria and Palestina, will have had its native population, among which, in spite of the frequent massacres of Syrians and Jews, there will have been many Jews. Perhaps, moreover, the protection of the new Jemanic population of Hauran again attracted Jewish settlers thither: Naw
(Note: If Naw is not also of Jewish origin, its name is nevertheless the old Semitic נוה, "a dwelling" (Job 5:3, Job 5:24; Job 8:6; Job 18:15), and not, as Jkt supposes, the collective form of nawât, "the kernel of a date.")
at least is a place well known in the Talmud and Midrash, which is mentioned, as a city inhabited by the Jews among those who are not Jews, and as the birth-place of several eminent teachers.
(Note: No less than three renowned teachers from Naw appear in the Talmud and Midrash: ר שׁילא דנוה, Schila of Nawa (jer. Sabbath cap. ii., Wajikra rabba cap. xxxiv., Midrasch Ruth on ii. 19a), ר פלטיא דנוה (Midr. Koheleth on i. 4b) and ר שׁאול דנוה (ib. on xii. 9a). נוה is mentioned as an enemy of the neighbouring town of חלמיש in Wajikra rabba c. xxiii., Midr. Echa on i. 17a, and Midr. Schir on ii. 1. - Del.)
Moreover, in Syria the veneration of a spot consecrated by religious tradition is independent of its being at the time inhabited or desolate. The supposed tombs of Aaron near Petra, of Hud near Gerash, of Jethro (Su'b) in the valley of Nimrn, of Ezekiel in Melhat Hiskn, of Elisha on the el-Jesha' mountains, and many other mezâre (tombs of the holy, to which pilgrims resort), are frequently one or more days' journey distant from inhabited places, and yet they are carefully tended. They are preserved from decay and neglect by vows, by the spring processions, and especially by the piety of the Beduins, who frequently deposit articles of value near the mezâre, as property entrusted to the care of the saint. The Makm of Job may also have been such a consecrated spot many centuries before the erection of the Monastery, and perhaps not merely to the Jews, but also to the Aramaean and Arab population. The superstitious veneration of such places is not confined among the Semites to a particular religious sect, but is the common heritage of the whole race; and the tradition of Job in particular was, originally, certainly not Israelitish, but Aramaean.
Job is not mentioned in the writings of Josephus, but we do find there a remarkable passage concerning Job's native country, the land of the Usites, viz., Ant. i.:6: "Aram, from whom come the Aramaeans, called by the Greeks Syrians, had four sons, of whom the first was named Οὔσης, and possessed Trachonitis and Damascus." The first of these two, Trachonitis, has usually been overlooked here, and attention has been fixed only on Damascus. The word el-Ghta (Arab. 'l-gûṭt), the proper name of the garden and orchard district around Damascus, has been thought to be connected in sound with 'Us, and they have been treated as identical: this is, however, impossible even in philological grounds. Ghta would certainly be written עוּטה in Hebrew, because this language has no sign for the sound Gh (Arab. g); but Josephus, who wrote in Greek, ought then to have said Γούσης, not Οὔσης, just as he, and the lxx before him and Eusebius after him, render the city עזה by Γάζα, the mountain עיבל by Γαιβάλ, the village עי by Γαΐ́, etc. In the same manner the lxx ought to have spoken of a Γαυσῖτις, not Αὐσῖτις, if this were the case. Proper names, also, always receive too definite and lasting an impress for their consonants, as ץ and ט, to be easily interchanged, although this is possible with the roots of verbs. Moreover, if the word עוץ had had the consonant ץ (Arab. ḍ), Josephus must have reproduced it with τ or θ, not with s, in accordance with the pronunciation (especially if he had intended to identify עוץ and Ghta). And we see from Ptolemy and Strabo, and likewise from the Greek mode of transcribing the Semitic proper names in the Haurnite inscriptions of the Roman period, e.g., Μάθιος and Νάταρος for Arab. mâḍâ and nḍr, that in the time of Josephus the sound of ץ had already been divided into Arab. ṣ and ḍ; comp. Abhandl. der Berlin. Acad. d. Wissenschaft, 1863, S. 356f. Hence it is that Josephus manifestly speaks only of one progenitor Οὔσης, therefore of one tribe; while the word Ghta, often as a synonym of buq'a (בקעה), denotes a low well-watered country enclosed by mountains, and in this appellative signification occurs as the proper name of several localities in the most widely separated parts of Arabia (comp. Jkt, sub voce), which could not be the case if it had been equals ארץ עוץ.
(Note: On the name 'Us, as the name of men and people, may be compared the proper names 'As and 'Aus, together with the diminutive 'Ows, taken from the genealogies of the Arabs, since the Old Testament is wanting in words formed from the root עוץ, and none of those so named was a Hebrew. In Hebr. they might be sounded עוץ, and signify the "strong one," for the verbal stems Arab. ‛ṣṣ, ‛wṣ, ‛ṣy (comp. Arab. ‛ṣb, ‛ṣr, ‛ṣm, and others) have the signif. "to be compressed, firm, to resist.")
The word Ausitis used by the lxx also has no formation corresponding to the word Ghta, but shows its connection with עוּץ ארץ by the termination; while the word Ghta rendered in Greek is Gouthata' (in Theophanes Byzant. Gouthatha'), in analogy e.g., with the form Cheblatha' for Ribla (Jos. Ant. x. 11).
(Note: On this word-formation comp. Reisebericht, S. 76.)
But why are we obliged to think only of Damascus, since Josephus makes Trachonitis also to belong to the land of the Usites? If we take this word in its most limited signification, it is (apart from the eastern Trachon) that lava plateau, about forty miles long and about twenty-eight broad, which is called the Leg in the present day. This is so certain, that one is not obliged first of all to recall the well-known inscription of the temple of Mismia, which calls this city situated in the Leg, Μητροκώμη τοῦ Τράχωνος. From the western border of this Trachon, however, the Monastery of Job is not ten miles distant, therefore by no means outside the radius that was at all times tributary to the Trachonites (Arab el-wa'r), a people unassailable in their habitations in the clefts of the rocks.
(Note: Comp. Jos. Ant. xv. 10, 3; Zeitschr. fr allg. Erdkunde, New Series, xiii. 213.)
According to this, the statement of Josephus would at least not stand in open contradiction to the Hauranitish tradition of Job. But we go further and maintain that the Monastery of Job lies exactly in the centre of Trachonitis. This word has, viz., in Josephus and others, a double signification - a more limited and a wider one. It has the more limited where, together with Auranitis, Batanaea, Gamalitica, and Gaulonitis, it denotes the separate provinces of the ancient kingdom of Basan. Then it signifies the Trachonitis kat' exochee'n, i.e., the wildest portion of the volcanic district, viz., the Leg, the Haurn mountain range, the Saf and Harra of the Rgil. On the other hand, it has the wider signification when it stands alone; then it embraces the whole volcanic region of Middle Syria, therefore with the more limited Trachonitis the remaining provinces of Basan, but with the exception, as it seems, of the no longer volcanic Galadine (North Gilead). In this sense, therefore, as a geographical notion, Trachonitis is almost synonymous with Basan.
Since it is to the interest of this investigation to make the assertion advanced sure against every objection, we will not withhold the passages in support of it. Josephus says, Ant. xv. 10, 3, the district of Hle (Οὐλαθά) lies between Galilee and Trachonitis. He might have said more accurately, "between Galilee and Gaulonitis," but he wished to express that the great basaltic region begins on the eastern boundary of the Hle. The word Trachonitis has therefore the wider signification. In like manner, in Bell. iii. 10 it is said the lake of Phiala lies 120 stadia east of Paneion (Bnis) on the way to the Trachonitis. True, the Phiala is a crater, and therefore itself belongs to Trachonitis, but between it and Bnis the lava alternates with the chalk formation of the Hermn, whereas to the south and east of the Phiala it is everywhere exclusively volcanic; Trachonitis has therefore here also the wider signification. Ant. xvii. 2, it is said Herod had the castle of Βαθύρα built in Batanaea (here, as often in Josephus, in the signification of Basan), in order to protect the Jews who travel from Babylon (vi Damascus) to Jerusalem against the Trachonite robbers. Now, since this castle and village (the Btirr mentioned already), which is situated in the district of Gamalitica on an important ford of the Muchbi gorge between 'Abidin and Sebbte, could not be any protection against the robbers of Trachonitis in the more limited sense, but only against those of Golan, it is manifest that by the Trachonites are meant the robbers of Trachonitis in the wider sense. Aurelius Victor (De Hist. Caes. xxvii.) calls the Emperor M. Julius Philippus, born in Bosr, the metropolis of Auranitis, quite correctly Arabs Trachonites; because the plain of Hauran, in which Bosra is situated, is also of a basaltic formation, and therefore is a part of the Trachonitis.
The passage of Luke's Gospel, Luke 3:1, where it says Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis, also belongs here. That Philip possessed not perhaps merely the Trachonitis (similar to a province assigned to a man as banishment rather than for administration, producing little or no revenue) in the more limited sense, but the whole Basanitis, is shown by Josephus, who informs us, Ant. xvii. 11, 4 and freq., that he possessed Batanaea (in the more restricted sense, therefore the fruitful, densely populated, profitable Nukra), with Auranitis, Trachonitis, etc. We must therefore suppose that in the words τῆς Ἰτουραίας καὶ Τραχωνίτιδος χώρας in Luke, one district is meant, which by Ἰτουραίας is mentioned according to the marauding portion of its population, and by Trachooni'tidos more generally, according to its trachonitic formation.
(Note: Eusebius in his Onomast. also correctly identifies the two words, at one time under Ἰτουραία, and the other time under Τραχωνῖτις. After what we have said elsewhere (Reisebericht, S. 91ff.) on the subject, surely no one will again maintain that the peaceful villages of the plain of Gdr were the abodes of the Ituraeans, the wildest of all people (Cic. Phil. ii. 11; Strabo, xvi. 2). Their principal hiding-places will have been the Trachonitis in the more restricted sense, but one may seek them also on the wooded mountains of Gln and in the gorges of the Makran. That Ptolemy and Josephus speak only of the Trachonites and never of the Ituraeans (in the passage Ant. xiii. 11, 3, Ἰδουμαία is to be read instead of Ἰτουραία), and Strabo, on the other hand, speaks only of the latter, favours the identity of the two; of like import is the circumstance, that Pliny (H. N. v. 23) makes the inhabitants of the region of Baetarra (Btirr) Ituraeans, and Josephus (Ant. xvii. 2) Trachonites. But in spite of the identity of the words Trachonitis and Ituraea, one must not at the same time overlook the following distinction. If the Trachonites are called after the country, it must be the description of all the inhabitants of the country, whereas the Ituraeans, if they gave the name to the country, are not necessarily its exclusive population. The whole of the district of which we speak has a twofold population in keeping with its double character (rugged rock and fruitful plain), viz., cattle-rearing freebooters in the clefts of the rocks, and peaceful husbandmen in the plain; the former dwelling in hair tents (of old also in caves), the latter in stone houses; the former forming the large majority, the latter the minority of the population of the district. If writers speak of the Ituraeans, they mean exclusively that marauding race that hates husbandry; but if they speak of the Trachonites, the connection must determine, whether they speak of both classes of the population, or only of the marauding Trachonites (the Ituraeans), or of the husbandmen of the plain (of the provinces of Batanaea and Auranitis). The latter are rarely intended, since the peaceful peasant rarely furnishes material for the historian.)
Ioannes Malalas (Chronogr. ed. Dindorf, p. 236), who, as a Syrian born, ought to be well acquainted with the native usage of the language, hence calls Antipas, as a perfectly adequate term, only toparch of Trachonitis; and if, according to his statement (p. 237), the official title of this Herod was the following: Σεβαστὸς Ἡρώδης τοπάρχης καὶ θεσμοδότης Ἰουδαίων τε καὶ Ἑλλήνων, Βασιλεὺς τῆς Τραχωνίτιδος, it is self-evident that "king of Trachonitis" here is synonymous with king of Basan. In perfect harmony with this, Pliny says (H. N. v. 18) that the ten cities of Decapolis lay within the extensive tetrarchies of Trachonitis, which are divided into separate kingdoms. Undoubtedly Pliny adds to these tetrarchies of Trachonitis in the wider sense, which are already known to us, Galadine also, which indeed belonged also the pre-Mosaic Basan, but at the time of Josephus is mostly reckoned to Peraea (in the more limited sense).
On the ground of this evidence, therefore, the land of the Usites of Josephus, with the exception of the Damascene portion, was Trachonitis in the wider sense; and since the Makm jb is in the central point of this country, this statement accords most exactly with the Syrian tradition. It is clear that the latter remains untouched by the extension of the geographical notion in Josephus, for without knowing anything more of a "land of the Usites," it describes only a portion of the same as the "native country of Job;" and again, Josephus had no occasion to speak of Job in his commentary on the genealogies, therefore also none to speak of his special home within the land of the Usites. Eusebius, on the other hand, in his De Originibus (ix. 2, 4), refers to this home, and says, therefore limiting Josephus' definition: Hus, Traconitidis conditor, inter Palaestinam et Coelesyriam tenuit imperium; unde fuit Iob.
With this evidence of agreement between two totally independent witnesses, viz., the Syrian tradition and Josephus, the testimony of the latter in particular has an enhanced value; for, although connected with the Bible, it nevertheless avails as extra-biblical testimony concerning the Usites, it comes from an age when one might still have the historical fact from the seat of the race, and from an authority of the highest order. True, Josephus is not free from disfigurements, where he has the opportunity of magnifying his people, himself, or his Roman patrons, and of depreciating an enemy; but here he had to do with nothing more than the statement of the residence of a people; and since the word Ou'sees also has no similarity in sound with the words Damascus and Trachonitis, that might make a combination with them plausible, we may surely have before us a reliable historical notice here, or at least a tradition which was then general (and therefore also for us important), while we may doubt this in connection with other parts of the genealogies, where Josephus seems only to catch at that which is similar in sound as furnishing an explanation.
But that which might injure the authority of Josephus is the contradiction in which it seems to stand to a far older statement concerning Ausitis, viz., the recognised postscript of the lxx to the book of Job, which makes Job to be the Edomitish king Jobab. The identification, it may be said, can however only have been possible because Ausitis was in or near Edom. But the necessity of this inference must be disputed. It is indeed unmistakeable that that postscript is nothing more than a combination of the Jews beyond Palestine (probably Egytpio-Hellenistic), formed, perhaps, long before the lxx, - such a vagary as many similar ones in the Talmud and Midrash. From the similarity in sound of Ἰωβάβ with Ἰώβ, and the similarity in name of Ζαρά, the father of Jobab, with a son of Re'l and grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:13), Job's descent from Esau has been inferred. That Esau's first-born was called Elphaz and his son Temn, seemed to confirm this combination, since (in accordance with the custom
(Note: From this custom, which is called the grandfather's "living again," the habit, singular to us, of a father calling his son jâ abı̂, "my father!" or jâ bêjı̂, "my little father," as an endearing form of address, is explained.)
of naming the grandson as a rule after his grandfather) Elphaz the Temanite might be regarded as grandson of that Elphaz, therefore like Job as great-grandson of Esau and πέμπτος ἀπὸ Ἀβραάμ. The apparent and certainly designed advantages of this combination were: that Job, who had no pedigree, and therefore was to be thought of as a non-Israelite, was brought into the nearest possible blood-relationship to the people of God, and that, by laying the scene in the time of the patriarchs, all questions which the want of a Mosaic colouring to the book of Job might excite would be met. Now, even if the abode of Job were transferred from the land of 'Us to Edom, it would be only the consequence of his combination with Jobab, and, just as worthless as this latter itself, might lead no one astray. But it does not seem to have gone so far; it is even worthy of observation, that מבצרה (from Bosra, the Edomite city),
(Note: It need hardly be mentioned that one is not to think of the Hauranitish Bosr (Arab. bṣrâ), since this name of a city only came into use some centuries after Christ.)
being attached to the misunderstood υἱὸς Ζαρά ἐκ Βοσόῤῥας, Genesis 36:33, is reproduced in the lxx by μητρὸς Βοσόῤῥας, as also that Job's wife is not called an Edomitess, but a γυνὴ Ἀράβισσα. And it appears still far more important, that Ausitis lies ἐν τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆς Ἰδουμαίας καὶ Ἀραβίας, so far as the central point of Ἰδουμαία is removed by the addition καὶ τῆς Ἀραβίας, and Job's abode is certainly removed from the heart of Idumaea. The Cod. Alex. exchanges that statement of the place, even in a special additional clause, for ἐπὶ τῶν ὁρίων τοῦ Εὐφράτου, therefore transfers Ausitis to the vicinity of the Euphrates, and calls the father of Jobab ( equals Job) Ζαρὲθ ἐξ ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου (מבני קדם). Nevertheless we attach no importance to this variation of the text, but rather offer the suggestion that the postscript gives prominence to the observation: οὗτος (viz., Ἰώβ) ἑρμεενεύεται ἐκ τῆς Συριακῆς βίβλου.
(Note: It is indeed possible that the Hebrew text is meant here, for Philo usually calls the Hebrew Χαλδαΐστί, and the Talmud describes the Jewish country-dialect as סורסי; it is possible, and even more probable, that it is a Syrian, i.e., Aramaean Targum - but not less possible that it is a Syrian original document. According to Malalas (ed. Dindorf, p. 12), Origen understands ἐκ τῆς Συριακῆς βίβλου elsewhere of a Hebrew original, but in c. Celsum iii. 6 he describes the Hebrew language in relation to the Syriac and Phoenician as ἑτέρα παρ ̓ ἀμθοτέρας, and the Homilies on Job in Opp. Origenis, ed. Delaure, ii. 851, say: Beati Iob scriptura primum quidem in Arabia Syriace scripta, ubi et habitabat. - Del.)
If we compare the postscript of the lxx with the legend of Islam, we find in both the Esauitish genealogy of Job; the genealogy of the legend is: jb ibn Zrih (זרח) ibn Re'l ibn el-'Ais ibn Ishk ibn Ibrhm; and we may suppose that it is borrowed directly from the lxx, and that it reached Arabia and Mekka even in the pre-Islamic times by means of the (Arabian) Christians east of Jordan, who had the Old Testament only in the Greek translation. Even the Arabic orthography of the biblical proper names, which can be explained only on the supposition of their transfer from the Greek, is in favour of this mode of the transmission of the Christian religion and its legends to the people of the Higaz. Certainly there can be no doubt as to an historical connection between the postscript and the legend, and therefore it would be strange if they did not accord respecting the home of Job. The progenitor el-'Ais (עיץ), in the genealogy of the legend, is also a remarkable counterpart to the Ausitis ἐν τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆς Ἰδουμ. καὶ Ἀρ., for it is a blending of עשׂו and עוּץ, and it has to solve the difficult problem, as to how Job can be at the same time an Usite and an Esauite; for that Job as an Aisite no longer belongs to Idumaea, but to the district of the more northern Aramaeans, is shown e.g., from the following passage in Mugr ed-dn's History of Jerusalem: "Job belonged to the people of the Romans (i.e., the Aisites),
(Note: We will spare ourselves the ungrateful task of an inquiry into the origin of this 'Ais and his Protean nature. Biblical passages like Lamentations 4:21, or those in which the readings ארם and אדום are doubtful, or the erroneous supposition (Jos. Ant. viii. 7) that the Ben-Hadad dynasty in Damascus is of Edomitish origin, may have contributed to his rise. Moreover, he is altogether one and the same with the Edom of the Jerish tradition: he is called the father of Rm, Asfar, Sfar, Sfn (מלך חצפון), and Nidr (Hamz. Isfah. Ann. p. 79, l. 18, read Arab. ndr for ntsr, and Zeitschr. d. d. m. Gesellsch. ii. 239, 3, 6, read ennidr for ennefer), i.e., of the Messiah of the Christians (according to Isaiah 11:1))
for he sprang from el-'Ais, and the Damascene province of Batanaea was his property."
The κοπρία of the lxx, at Job 2:8, leads to the same result; that it is also found again as mezbele in the later legend, is a further proof how thoroughly this accords with the lxx, and how it has understood its statement of the position of Ausitis. It may also be maintained here, that it was only possible to translate the words בתוך־חאפר by ἐπὶ τῆς κοπρίας ἔξω τῆς πόλεως when "heap of ashes" and "dunghill" were synonymous notions. This, however, is the case only in Hauran, where the dung, as being useless for agricultural purposes, is burnt from time to time in an appointed place before the town (vid., p. 573),
(Note: Comp. p. 576, note, of the foregoing Commentary. The Arabic version of Walton's Polyglot translates after the Peschito in accordance with the Hebr. text: "on the ashes (er-remâd)," whereas the Arabic translation, of which Tischendorf brought back fifteen leaves with him from the East, and which Fleischer, in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. 1864, S. 288ff., has first described as an important memorial in reference to the history of MSS, translates after the Hexapla in accordance with the lxx: "on the dunghill (mezbele) outside the city."-Del.)
while in every other part of Syria it is as valuable and as much stored up as among us. If the lxx accordingly placed the kopri'a of Job in Hauran, it could hardly represent Ausitis as Edom.
But how has the Ausitis of the lxx been transferred hither? Certainly not as the "land of 'Us" (in the sense of the land of Basan, land of Haurn), for without wasting a word about it, there has never been such an one in the country east of the Jordan: but as "the land of the Usites" in the sense of the Arabic dir 'Us (dwelling-place of the Usites) or ard ben 'Us. A land receives designations of this kind with the settlement of a people in it; they run parallel with the proper name of the country, and in the rule vanish again with that people. These designations belong, indeed, to the geography of the whole earth, but nowhere have they preserved their natural character of transitoriness more faithfully than in the lands where the Semitic tongue is spoken. It is this that makes the geographical knowledge of these countries so extremely difficult to us, because we frequently take them to be the names of the countries, which they are not, and which - so far as they always involve a geological definition of the regions named - can never be displaced and competently substituted by them. In this sense the land of the Usites might, at the time of the decay of both Israelitish kingdoms, when the ארם דמשׂק possessed the whole of Peraea, very easily extend from the borders of Edom to the gates of Damascus, and even further northwards, if the Aramaean race of 'Us numbered many or populous tribes (as it appears to be indicated in כל מלכי ארץ העוץ, Jeremiah 25:20), in perfect analogy with the tribe of Ghassn, which during five hundred years occupied the country from the Aelanitic Gulf to the region of Tedmor, at one time settling down, at another leading a nomadic life, and Hauran was the centre of its power. By such a rendering the Ἀραβία of the postscript would not be different from the later provincia Arabiae, of which the capital was the Trachonitish Bostra, while is was bounded on the south end of the Dead Sea by Edom (Palaestine tertia).
But should any one feel a difficulty in freeing himself from the idea that Ausitis is to be sought only in the Ard el-Hlt east of Ma'n, he must consider that the author of the book of Job could not, like that legend which places the miraculous city of Iram in the country of quicksands, transfer the cornfields of his hero to the desert; for there, with the exception of smaller patches of land capable of culture, which we may not bring into account, there is by no means to be found that husbandman's Eldorado, where a single husbandman might find tillage for five hundred (Job 1:3), yea, for a thousand (Job 42:12) yoke of oxen. Such numbers as these are not to be depreciated; for in connection with the primitive agriculture in Syria and Palestine, - which renders a four years' alternation of crops necessary, so that the fields must be divided into so many portions (called in Hauran wâgihât, and around Damascus auguh, Arab. 'wjh), from which only one portion is used annually, and the rest left fallow (bûr), - Job required several square miles of tillage for the employment of his oxen. It is all the same in this respect whether the book of Job is a history or poem: in no case could the Ausitis be a country, the notorious sterility of which would make the statement of the poet ridiculous.
Our limited space does not admit of our proving the worth which we must acknowledge to the tradition, by illustrating those passages of the Old Testament scriptures which have reference to עוץ and ארץ עוץ. But to any one, who, following the hints they give, wishes again to pursue the investigations, elsewhere useless, concerning the position of the land of the Usites, we might indicate: (1) that עוץ the first-born of Aram (Genesis 10:23) is the tribe sought, while two others of this name - a Nahorite, Job 22:21, and a Horite, Job 36:28 - may be left out of consideration; the former because the twelve sons of Nahor need not be progenitors of tribes, and the latter because he belongs to a tribe exterminated by the Edomites in accordance with Deuteronomy 2:12, Deuteronomy 2:22 : (2) that ארץ העוץ, Jeremiah 25:20, is expressly distinguished from אדום in the Jeremiah 25:21, and - if one compares the round of the cup of punishment, Jeremiah 25, with the detailed prophecies which follow in Jeremiah 46:1, to which it is a prooemium that has been removed from its place - corresponds to דמשׂק (with Hamt and Arpad), Jeremiah 49:23 : (3) that therefore Lamentations 4:21, where יושׁבת בארץ עוץ would be devoid of purpose if it described the proper habitable land of Edom, must describe a district extending over that, in which the Edomites had established themselves in consequence of Assyria having led away captive the Israelitish and Aramaean population of the East Jordanic country and Coele-Syria. In connection with Jeremiah 25:20 one must not avoid the question whether עוץ is the name of the ארם דמשׂק that has been missed. Here the migration of the Damascene Aramaeans from Kr (Amos 9:7) ought to be considered, the value of the Armenian accounts concerning the original abode of the Usites tested, what is erroneous in the combination of קיר with the river Kur shown and well considered, and in what relations both as to time and events that migration might have stood to the overrunning of Middle Syria by the Aramaean Sbaean tribes (from Mesopotamia) under Hadad-ezer, and to the seizure and possession of the city of Damascus by Rezon the Sbaean? Finally, one more tradition might be compared, to which some value may perhaps be attached, because it is favoured by the stone monuments, whose testimony we are not accustomed otherwise to despise in Palestine and Syria. The eastern portal of the mosque of Ben Umja in Damascus, probably of the very temple, the altar of which king Ahaz caused to be copied (2 Kings 16:10), is called Grn or the Gerun gate: the portal in its present form belongs to the Byzantine or Roman period. And before this gate is the Grnje, a spacious, vaulted structure, mostly very old, which has been used since the Mussulman occupation of the city as a mêda'a, i.e., a place for religious ablutions. The topographical writings on Damascus trace these two names back to a Grn ibn Sa'd ibn 'Ad ibn 'Aus (עוץ) ibn Iram (ארם) ibn Sm (שׁם) ibn Nh (נוח), who settled in Damascus in the time of Solomon (one version of the tradition identifies him with Hadad, Jos. Ant. viii. 7), and built in the middle of the city a castle named after him, in which a temple to the planet (kôkeb) Mushteri, the guardian-god of the city, has been erected. That this temple, which, as is well known, under Theodosius, at the same time with the temple of the sun at Ba'lbek, passed over to the Christians, was actually surrounded with a strong, fortified wall, is capable of proof even in the present day. In this tradition, which has assumed various forms, a more genuine counterpart of the biblical עוץ appears than that 'Ais which we have characterized above as an invention of the schools, viz., an 'Aus (Arab. ‛wṣ), father of the Adite-tribe which is said to have settled in the Damascene district under that Grn, and also ancestor of the prophet Hd, lost to the tradition, whose makâm on the mountains of Sut rises far above Gerash a city of pillars, this true Iram dht el-'imd, the valley of the Jabbok and the Sawd of Gilead.
It is with good reason that we have hitherto omitted to mention the Αἰσῖται of Ptolemy v. 18 (19). The Codd have both Αἰσεῖται and Αἰσῖται; different Semitic forms (e.g., the name of the Arab. bny hays, which, according to Jkt, once dwelt in the Harra of the Ragil) may lie at the basis of this name, only not the form עוּץ, which ought to be Οὐσῖται, or at least Αὐσῖται (which no Cod. reads). As to the abodes of the Αἰσῖται, Ptolemy distributes them under nine greater races or groups of races, which in his time inhabited the Syrian steppe. Three of these had their settlements in the eastern half of the Syrian steppe towards the Euphrates of on its western banks: the Καυχαβηνοί in the north, the Αἰσῖται in the middle, and the Ὀρχηνοί in the south. According to this the Αἰσῖται would have been about between Ht and Kfa, or in that district which is called by the natives Ard el-Wudjan, and in which just that race of the Chaldaeans might have dwelt that plundered Job's camels. There we are certainly not to seek the scene of the drama of Job; and if the Edomites were dispersed there (Lamentations 4:21), they were not to be envied on account of their fortune. But if the Aisi'tai are to be sought there, we may not connect the Καυχαβηνοί with the village of Cochabe (Arab. kawkab) on the Hermon (Epiphan. Haer. x. 18), in order then to remove the Aisi'tai, dwelling "below them," to Batanaea.
And now, in concluding here, I have still to explain, that in writing these pages I was not actuated by an invincible desire of increasing the dull literature respecting the ארץ עוץ by another tractate, but exclusively by the wish of my honoured friend that I should furnish him with a contribution on my visit to the Makm jb, and concerning the tradition that prevails there, for his commentary on the book of Job.
As to the accompanying map, it is intended to represent the hitherto unknown position of the Makm, the Monastery, and the country immediately around the, by comparing it with two localities marked on most maps, Naw and the castle of Muzrb. The latter, the position of which we determined in 1860 as 32 44' north lat. and 35 51' 45" east long. (from Greenwich), lies three hours' journey on horseback south of the Monastery. The Wdi Jarmk and Wdi Ht have the gorge formation in common with all other wadis that unite in the neighbourhood of Zzn and from the Makran, which is remarkable from a geological point of view: a phenomenon which is connected with the extreme depression of the valley of the Jordan. For the majority of the geographical names mentioned in this essay I refer the reader to Carl Ritter's Geographic von Syrien und Palstina;
(Note: Translated by W. L. Gage, and published by T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1866, 4 vols.)
others will be explained in my Itinerarien, which will be published shortly.
Ἐπ ̓ αὐτῶν τῶν λέξεων [τοῦ βιβλίου] γενόμενοι σαφηνίσωμεν τὴν ἔννοιαν,αὐτοῦ ποδηγούντος ἡμᾶς πρὸς τὴν ἑρμηνείαν, τοῦ καὶ τὸν ἅγιονἸὼβ πρὸς τοὺς ἀγῶνας ἐνισχύσαντος. - Olympiodoros.
The Opening - Job 1:1
Job's Piety in the Midst of the Greatest Prosperity - Job 1:1-5
The book begins in prose style: as Jerome says, Prosa incipit, versu labitur, pedestri sermone finitur. Prologue and epilogue are accordingly excepted from the poetical accentuation, and are accented according to the usual system, as the first word shows; for אישׁ has, in correct editions, Tebir, a smaller distinctive, which does not belong to the poetical accentuation. The writer does not begin with ויהי, as the writers of the historico-prophetical books, who are conscious that they are relating a portion of the connection of the collective Israelitish history, e.g., 1 Samuel 1:1, אישׁ ויהי, but, as the writer of the book of Esther (Esther 2:5) for similar reasons, with היה אישׁ, because he is beginning a detached extra-Israelitish history.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
The lxx translates, ἐν χώρᾳ τῇ Αὐσίτιδι; and adds at the close of the book, ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆν Ἰδουμαίας καὶ Ἀραβίας, therefore north-east from Idumea, towards the Arabian desert. There, in the Arabian desert west from Babylon, under the Caucabenes, according to Ptolemy (v. 19, 2), the Αἰσῖται (Αἰσεῖται), i.e., the Uzzites, dwelt. This determination of the position of Uz is the most to be relied on. It tends indirectly to confirm this, that Οὖσος, in Jos. Ant. i. 6, 4, is described as founder of Trachonitis and Damascus; that the Jakut Hamawi and Moslem tradition generally (as recently Fries, Stud. u. Krit. 1854, ii.) mention the East Haran fertile tract of country north-west of Tm and Bzn, el-Bethenije, the district of Damascus in which Job dwelt;
(Note: Vid., Abulfeda, Historia anteislam. p. 26 (cf. 207f.), where it says, "The whole of Bethenije, a part of the province of Damascus, belonged to Job as his possession.")
that the Syrian tradition also transfers the dwelling-place of Job to Hauran, where, in the district of Damascus, a monastery to his honour is called Dair Ejjub (vid., Volck, Calendarium Syriacum, p. 29). All these accounts agree that Uz is not to be sought in Idumaea proper (Gebl). And the early historical genealogies (Genesis 10:23; Genesis 22:21; Genesis 36:28) are not unfavourable to this, since they place Uz in relation to Seir-Edom on the one hand, and on the other to Aram: the perplexing double occurrence of such names as Tm and Dma, both in Idumaea and East Hauran, perhaps just results from the mixing of the different tribes through migration. But at all events, though Uz did not lie in Gebl, yet both from Lamentations 4:21, and on account of the reference in the book of Job itself to the Horites, a geographical connection between Idumaea and Ausitis is to be held; and from Jeremiah 25:20 one is warranted in supposing, that עוץ, with which the Arabic name of Esau, ‛yṣ ('l-‛yṣ), perhaps not accidentally accords, was the collective name of the northern part of the Arabian desert, extending north-east from Idumaea towards Syria. Here, where the aborigines of Seir were driven back by the Aramaic immigrants, and to where in later times the territory of Edom extended, dwelt Job. His name is not symbolic with reference to the following history. It has been said, איּוב signifies one hostilely treated, by Satan namely.
(Note: Geiger (DMZ, 1858, S. 542f.) conjectures that, Sir. xlix. 9 (καὶ γὰρ ἐμνήσθη τῶν ἐχθρῶν ἐν ὄμβρῳ), τῶν ἐχθρῶν is a false translation of איוב. Renan assents; but τῶν εχθρῶν suits there excellently, and Job would be unnaturally dragged in.)
But the following reasons are against it: (1) that none of the other names which occur in the book are symbolically connected with the history; (2) that the form קטּול has never a properly passive signification, but either active, as יסּור, reprover (as parallel form with קטּל), or neuter, as ילּוד, born, שׁכּור, drunken, also occasionally infinitive (vid., Frst, Concord. p. 1349 s.), so that it may be more correct, with Ewald, after the Arabic (אוּב, cognate with שׁוּב, perhaps also בּוא), to explain the "one going of himself." Similar in sound are, יוב, the name of one of the sons of Issachar (Genesis 46:13); the name of the Idumaean king, יובב, Genesis 36:33 (which the lxx, Aristeas, Jul. Africanus,
(Note: Vid., Routh, Relinquiae ii.:154f.: Ἐκ τοῦ Ἠσαῦ ἄλλοι τε πολλοὶ καὶ Ραγουὴλ γεννᾶται ἀφ ̓ οὗ Ζάρεδ, ἐξ οὗ Ἰὼβ ὅς κατὰ συγχώρησιν θεοῦ ὑπὸ διαβόλου ἐπειράσθη καὶ ἐνίκησε τὸν πειράζοντα.)
combine with Job); and the name of the king of Mauritania, Juba, which in Greek is written Ἰόβας (Didymus Chalcenter. ed. Schmidt, p. 305): perhaps all these names belong to the root יב, to shout with joy. The lxx writes Ἰώβ with lenis; elsewhere the א at the beginning is rendered by asper, e.g., Αβραάμ, Ἡλίας. Luther writes Hiob; he has preferred the latter mode, that it may not be read Job with the consonantal Jod, when it should be Iob, as e.g., it is read by the English. It had been more correctly Ijob, but Luther wished to keep to the customary form of the name so far as he could; so we, by writing Iob with vowel I, do not wish to deviate too much from the mode of writing and pronunciation customary since Luther.
(Note: On the authorizing of the writing Iob, more exactly ob, also job (not, however, Ijjob, which does not correspond to the real pronunciation, which softens ij into , and uw into ), vid., Fleischer's Beitrge zur arab. Sprachkunde (Abh. der schs. Gesellschaft d. Wissenschaften, 1863), S. 137f. [The usual English form Job is adopted here, though Dr. Delitzsch writes Iob in the original work. - Tr.])
The writer intentionally uses four synonyms together, in order to describe as strongly as possible Job's piety, the reality and purity of which is the fundamental assumption of the history. תּם, with the whole heart disposed towards God and what is good, and also well-disposed toward mankind; ישׁר, in thought and action without deviation conformed to that which is right; אלהים ירא, fearing God, and consequently being actuated by the fear of God, which is the beginning (i.e., principle) of wisdom; מרע סר, keeping aloof from evil, which is opposed to God. The first predicate recalls Genesis 25:27, the fourth the proverbial Psalms (Psalm 34:15; Psalm 37:27) and Proverbs 14:16. This mingling of expressions from Genesis and Proverbs is characteristic. First now, after the history has been begun in praett., aorr. follow.
And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.2, 3 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and servants in great number; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
It is a large, princely household. The numbers are large, but must not on that account be considered an invention. The four animals named include both kinds. With the doubled אלפי corresponds the also constructive מאות, the Tsere of which is never shortened, though in the singular one says מאת, from מאה. The aorists, especially of the verb היה (הוה), which, according to its root, signifies not so much esse as fieri, existere, are intended to place us at once in the midst of his prosperity. Ex iis, says Leo Africanus in reference to flocks, Arabes suas divitias ac possessiones aestimant. In fine, Job was without his equal among the קרם בני. So the tribes are called which extend from Arabia Deserta, lying to the east of Palestine, northwards to the countries on the Euphrates, and south over Arabia Petraea and Felix. The wisdom of these tribes, treasured up in proverbs, songs, and traditions, is mentioned in 1 Kings 5:10, side by side with the wisdom of the Egyptians. The writer now takes a very characteristic feature from the life of Job, to show that, even in the height of prosperity, he preserved and manifested the piety affirmed of him.
His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.4, 5 And his sons went and feasted in the house of him whose day it was, and sent and called for their sisters to eat and drink with them. And it happened, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, I may be that my sons have sinned, and dismissed God from their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The subordinate facts precede, Job 1:4, in perff.; the chief fact follows, Job 1:5, in fut. consec. The perff. describe, according to Ges. 126, 3, that which has happened repeatedly in the past, as e.g., Ruth 4:7; the fut. consec. the customary act of Job, in conjunction with this occurrence. The consecutio temporum is exactly like 1 Samuel 1:3.
It is questionable whether אישׁ בּית is a distinct adverbial expression, in domu unuiscujusque, and יומו also distinct, die ejus (Hirz. and others); or whether the three words are only one adverbial expression, in domo ejus cujus dies erat, which latter we prefer. At all events, יומו here, in this connection, is not, with Hahn, Schlottm., and others, to be understood of the birthday, as Job 3:1. The text, understood simply as it stands, speaks of a weekly round (Oehler and others). The seven sons took it in turn to dine with one another the week round, and did not forget their sisters in the loneliness of the parental home, but added them to their number. There existed among them a family peace and union which had been uninterruptedly cherished; but early on the morning of every eighth day, Job instituted a solemn service for his family, and offered sacrifices for his ten children, that they might obtain forgiveness for any sins of frivolity into which they might have fallen in the midst of the mirth of their family gatherings.
The writer might have represented this celebration on the evening of every seventh day, but he avoids even the slightest reference to anything Israelitish: for there is no mention in Scripture of any celebration of the Sabbath before the time of Israel. The sacred observance of the Sabbath, which was consecrated by God the Creator, was first expressly enjoined by the Sinaitic Thora. Here the family celebration falls on the morning of the Sunday, - a remarkable prelude to the New Testament celebration of Sunday in the age before the giving of the law, which is a type of the New Testament time after the law. The fact that Job, as father of the family, is the Cohen of his house, - a right of priesthood which the fathers of Israel exercised at the first passover (מצרים פסח), and from which a relic is still retained in the annual celebration of the passover (הדורות פסח), - is also characteristic of the age prior to the law. The standpoint of this age is also further faithfully preserved in this particular, that עולה here, as also Job 42:8, appears distinctly as an expiatory offering; whilst in the Mosaic ritual, although it still indeed serves לכפר (Leviticus 1:4), as does every blood-offering, the idea of expiation as its peculiar intention is transferred to הטאת and אשׁם. Neither of these forms of expiatory offering is here mentioned. The blood-offering still bears its most general generic name, עולה, which it received after the flood. This name indicates that the offering is one which, being consumed by fire, is designed to ascend in flames and smoke. העלה refers not so much to bringing it up to the raised altar, as to causing it to rise in flame and smoke, causing it to ascend to God, who is above. קדּשׁ is the outward cleansing and the spiritual preparation for the celebration of the sacred festival, as Exodus 19:14. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the masculine suffixes refer also to the daughters. There were ten whole sacrifices offered by Job on each opening day of the weekly round, at the dawn of the Sunday; and one has therefore to imagine this round of entertainment as beginning with the first-born on the first day of the week. "Perhaps," says Job, "my children have sinned, and bidden farewell to God in their hearts." Undoubtedly, בּרך signifies elsewhere (1 Kings 21:10; Psalm 10:3), according to a so-called ἀντιφραστικὴ εὐφημία, maledicere. This signification also suits Job 2:5, but does not at all suit Job 2:9. This latter passage supports the signification valedicere, which arises from the custom of pronouncing a benediction or benedictory salutation at parting (e.g., Genesis 47:10). Job is afraid lest his children may have become somewhat unmindful of God during their mirthful gatherings. In Job's family, therefore, there was an earnest desire for sanctification, which was far from being satisfied with mere outward propriety of conduct. Sacrifice (which is as old as the sin of mankind) was to Job a means of grace, by which he cleansed himself and his family every week from inward blemish. The futt. consec. are followed by perff., which are governed by them. כּכה, however, is followed by the fut., because in historical connection (cf. on the other hand, Numbers 8:26), in the signification, faciebat h.e. facere solebat (Ges. 127, 4, b). Thus Job did every day, i.e., continually. As head of the family, he faithfully discharged his priestly vocation, which permitted him to offer sacrifice as an early Gentile servant of God. The writer has now made us acquainted with the chief person of the history which he is about to record, and in Job 1:6 begins the history itself.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah; and Satan came also in the midst of them.
The translation "it happened on a day" is rejected in Ges. 109, rem. 1, c.
(Note: The references to Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar have been carefully verified according to the English edition published by Bagster and Sons, London. - Tr.)
The article, it is there said, refers to what precedes - the day, at the time; but this favourite mode of expression is found at the beginning of a narrative, even when it cannot be considered to have any reference to what has preceded, e.g., 2 Kings 4:18. The article is used in the opposite manner here, because the narrator in thought connects the day with the following occurrence; and this frees it from absolute indefiniteness: the western mode of expression is different. From the writer assigning the earthly measure of time to the place of God and spirits, we see that celestial things are represented by him parabolically. But the assumptions on which he proceeds are everywhere recognised in Scripture; for (1.) האלהים בּני, as the name of the celestial spirits, is also found out of the book of Job (Genesis 6:2; cf. Psalm 29:1; Psalm 59:7; Daniel 3:25). They are so called, as beings in the likeness of God, which came forth from God in the earliest beginning of creation, before this material world and man came into existence (Job 28:4-7): the designation בּני points to the particular manner of their creation. (2.) Further, it is the teaching of Scripture, that these are the nearest attendants upon God, the nearest created glory, with which He has surrounded himself in His eternal glory, and that He uses them as the immediate instruments of His cosmical rule. This representation underlies Genesis 1:26, which Philo correctly explains, διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὅλων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτοῦ δυνάμεσιν; and in Psalm 59:6-8, a psalm which is closely allied to the book of Job, קהל and סוד, of the holy ones, is just the assembly of the heavenly spirits, from which, as ἄγγελοι of God, they go forth into the universe and among men. (3.) It is also further the teaching of Scripture, that one of these spirits has withdrawn himself from the love of God, has reversed the truth of his bright existence, and in sullen ardent self-love is become the enemy of God, and everything godlike in the creature. This spirit is called, in reference to God and the creature, השּׂטן ,er, from the verb שׂטן, to come in the way, oppose, treat with enmity, - a name which occurs first here, and except here occurs only in Zechariah 3:1-10 and 1 Chronicles 21:1. Since the Chokma turned, with a decided preference, to the earliest records of the world and mankind before the rise of nationalities, it must have known the existence of this God-opposing spirit from Genesis 2f. The frequent occurrence of the tree of life and the way of life in the Salomonic Proverbs, shows how earnestly the research of that time was engaged with the history of Paradise: so that it cannot be surprising that it coined the name השּׂטן for that evil spirit. (4.) Finally, it agrees with 1 Kings 22:19-22; Zechariah 3:1, on the one hand, and Revelation 12 on the other, that Satan here appears still among the good spirits, resembling Judas Iscariot among the disciples until his treachery was revealed. The work of redemption, about which his enmity to God overdid itself, and by which his damnation is perfected, is during the whole course of the Old Testament history incomplete.
Herder, Eichhorn, Lutz, Ewald, and Umbreit, see in this distinct placing of Satan in relation to the Deity and good spirits nothing but a change of representations arising from foreign influences; but if Jesus Christ is really the vanquisher of Satan, as He himself says, the realm of spirits must have a history, which is divided into two eras by this triumph. Moreover, both the Old and New Testaments agree herein, that Satan is God's adversary, and consequently altogether evil, and must notwithstanding serve God, since He makes even evil minister to His purpose of salvation, and the working out of His plan in the government of the world. This is the chief thought which underlies the further progress of the scene. The earthly elements of time, space, and dialogue, belong to the poetic drapery.
Instead of על התיצּב, לפני is used elsewhere (Proverbs 22:29): על is a usage of language derived from the optical illusion to the one who is in the foreground seeming to surpass the one in the background. It is an assembly day in heaven. All the spirits present themselves to render their account, and expecting to receive commands; and the following dialogue ensues between Jehovah and Satan: -
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.7 Then Jehovah said to Satan, Whence comest thou? Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
The fut. follows מאין in the signification of the praes., Whence comest thou? the perf. would signify, Whence hast thou come? (Ges. 127, 2). Cocceius subtly observes: Notatur Satanas velut Deo nescio h.e. non adprobante res suas agere. It is implied in the question that his business is selfish, arbitrary, and has no connection with God. In his answer, בּ שׁוּט, as 2 Samuel 24:2, signifies rapid passing from one end to the other; התלּך, an observant roaming forth. Peter also says of Satan, περιπατεῖ (1 Peter 5:8.).
(Note: Among the Arabs the devil is called 'l-ḥârt, el-hharith - the active, busy, industrious one.)
He answers at first generally, as expecting a more particular question, which Jehovah now puts to him.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?8 Then said Jehovah to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil.
By כּי Jehovah gives the reason of His inquiry. Had Satan been observant of Job, even he must have confessed that there was on the earth real genuine piety. לב שׂים, animum advertere (for לב is animus, נפשׁ anima), is construed with על, of the object on which the attention falls, and on which it fixes itself, or אל, of the object towards which it is directed (Job 2:3). The repetition of the four predicates used of Job (Job 1:1) in the mouth of Jehovah (though without the waw combining both pairs there) is a skilful touch of the poet. Further on, the narrative is also interwoven with poetic repetitions (as e.g., Job 34 and Genesis 1), to give it architectural symmetry, and to strengthen the meaning and impression of what is said. Jehovah triumphantly displays His servant, the incomparable one, in opposition to Satan; but this does not disconcert him: he knows how, as on all occasions, so here also, to deny what Jehovah affirms.
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?9-11 Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Hast Thou not blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land? But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath: truly he will renounce Thee to Thy face.
Satan is, according to the Revelation 12:10, the κατήγωρ who accuses the servants of God day and night before God. It is a fact respecting the invisible world, though expressed in the language and imagery of this world. So long as he is not finally vanquished and condemned, he has access to God, and thinks to justify himself by denying the truth of the existence and the possibility of the continuance of all piety. God permits it; for since everything happening to the creature is placed under the law of free development, evil in the world of spirits is also free to maintain and expand itself, until a spiritual power comes forward against it, by which the hitherto wavering conflict between the principles of good and evil is decided. This is the truth contained in the poetic description of the heavenly scene, sadly mistaken by Umbreit in his Essay on Sin, 1853, in which he explains Satan, according to Psalm 109:6, as a creation of our author's fancy. The paucity of the declarations respecting Satan in the Old Testament has misled him. And indeed the historical advance from the Old Testament to the New, though in itself well authorized, has in many ways of late induced to the levelling of the heights and depths of the New Testament. Formerly Umbreit was of the opinion, as many are still, that the idea of Satan is derived from Persia; but between Ahriman (Angramainyus) and Satan there is no striking resemblance;
(Note: Moreover, it is still questionable whether the form of the ancient doctrine of fire-worship among the Persians did not result from Jewish influences. Vid., Stuhr, Religionssysteme der herdn. Vlker des Orients, S. 373-75.)
whereas Diestel, in his Abh. ber Set-Typhon, Asasel und Satan, Stud. u. Krit., 1860, 2, cannot indeed recognise any connection between עזאזל and the Satan of the book of Job, but maintains a more complete harmony in all substantial marks between the latter and the Egyptian Typhon, and infers that "to Satan is therefore to be denied a purely Israelitish originality, the natural outgrowth of the Hebrew mind. It is indeed no special honour for Israel to be able to call him their own. He never has taken firm hold on the Hebrew consciousness." But how should it be no honour for Israel, the people to whom the revelation of redemption was made, and in whose history the plan of redemption was developed, to have traced the poisonous stream of evil up to the fountain of its first free beginning in the spiritual world, and to have more than superficially understood the history of the fall of mankind by sin, which points to a disguised superhuman power, opposed to the divine will? This perception undoubtedly only begins gradually to dawn in the Old Testament; but in the New Testament, the abyss of evil is fully disclosed, and Satan has so far a hold on the consciousness of Jesus, that He regards His life's vocation as a conflict with Satan. And the Protevangelium is deciphered in facts, when the promised seed of the woman crushed the serpent's head, but at the same time suffered the bruising of its own heel.
The view (e.g., Lutz in his Biblishce Dogmatik) that Satan as he is represented in the book of Job is not the later evil spirit, is to be rejected: he appears here only first, say Herder and Eichhorn, as impartial executor of judgment, and overseer of morality, commissioned by God. But he denies what God affirms, acknowledges no love towards God in the world which is not rooted in self-love, and is determined to destroy this love as a mere semblance. Where piety is dulled, he rejoices in its obscurity; where it is not, he dims its lustre by reflecting his own egotistical nature therein. Thus it is in Zechariah 3:1-10, and so here. Genuine love loves God חנּם (adverb from חן, like gratis from gratia): it loves Him for His own sake; it is a relation of person to person, without any actual stipulations and claim. But Job does not thus fear God; ירא is here praet., whereas in Job 1:1 and Job 1:8 it is the adjective. God has indeed hitherto screened him from all evil; שׂכתּ from שׂוּך, sepire, and בּעד (בּעד) composed of בּ and עד, in the primary signification circum, since עד expresses that the one joins itself to the other, and בּ that it covers it, or covers itself with it. By the addition of מסּביב, the idea of the triple בּעד is still strengthened. מעשׂה, lxx, Vulg., have translated by the plural, which is not false according to the thought; for ידים מעשׂה is, especially in Deuteronomy, a favourite collective expression for human enterprise. פּרץ, a word, with the Sanskrito-Sem. frangere, related to פּרק, signifying to break through the bounds, multiply and increase one's self unboundedly (Genesis 30:30, and freq.). The particle אוּלם, proper only to the oldest and classic period, and very commonly used in the first four books of the Pentateuch, and in our book, generally ואוּלם, is an emphatic "nevertheless;" Lat. (suited to this passage at least) verum enim vero. אם־לא is either, as frequently, a shortened formula of asseveration: May such and such happen to me if he do not, etc., equals forsooth he will (lxx ἦ μήν); or it is half a question: Attempt only this and this, whether he will not deny thee, equals annon, as Job 17:2; Job 22:20. The first perhaps suits the character of Satan better: he affirms that God is mistaken. בּרך signifies here also, valedicere: he will say farewell to thee, and indeed על־פּניך (as Isaiah 65:3), meeting thee arrogantly and shamelessly: it signifies, properly, upon thy countenance, i.e., say it to thee, to the very face, that he will have nothing more to do with thee (comp. on Job 2:5). In order now that the truth of His testimony to Job's piety, and this piety itself, may be tried, Jehovah surrenders all Job's possessions, all that is his, except himself, to Satan.
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.12 Then Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy hand; only upon himself put not forth thy hand. And Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.
Notice well: The divine permission appears at the same time as a divine command, for in general there is not a permission by which God remains purely passive; wherefore God is even called in Scripture creator mali (the evil act as such only excepted), Isaiah 45:7. Further, the divine arrangement has not its foundation in the sin which still clings to Job. For in the praise conferred upon Job, it is not said that he is absolutely without sin: universal liability to sin is assumed not only of all the unrighteousness, but even of all the righteousness, of Adam's race. Thirdly, the permission proceeds, on the contrary, from God's purpose to maintain, in opposition to Satan, the righteousness which, in spite of the universal liability to sin, is peculiar to Job; and if we place this single instance in historical connection with the development of the plan of redemption, it is a part of the conflict of the woman's seed with the serpent, and of the gradual degradation of Satan to the lake of fire. After Jehovah's permission, Satan retires forthwith. The license is welcome to him, for he delights in the work of destruction. And he hopes to conquer. For after he has experienced the unlimited power of evil over himself, he has lost all faith in the power of good, and is indeed become himself the self-deceived father of lies.
And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:13-15 And it came to pass one day, when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, that a messenger came to Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, when the Sabeans fell upon them, and carried them away, and smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The principal clause, היּום ויהי, in which the art. of היּום has no more reference to anything preceding than in Job 1:6, is immediately followed by an adverbial clause, which may be expressed by participles, Lat. filiis ejus filiabusque convivantibus. The details which follow are important. Job had celebrated the usual weekly worship early in the morning with his children, and knew that they were met together in the house of his eldest son, with whom the order of mutual entertainment came round again, when the messengers of misfortune began to break in upon him: it is therefore on the very day when, by reason of the sacrifice offered, he was quite sure of Jehovah's favour. The participial construction, the oxen were ploughing (vid., Ges. 134, 2, c), describes the condition which was disturbed by the calamity that befell them. The verb היוּ stands here because the clause is a principal one, not as Job 1:13, adverbial. על־ידי, properly "at hand," losing its radical meaning, signifies (as Judges 11:26) "close by." The interpretation "in their places," after Numbers 2:17, is untenable, as this signification of יד is only supported in the sing. שׁבא is construed as fem., since the name of the country is used as the name of the people. In Genesis three races of this name are mentioned: Cushite (Genesis 10:7), Joktanish (Genesis 10:28), and Abrahamic (Genesis 25:3). Here the nomadic portion of this mixed race in North Arabia from the Persian Gulf to Idumaea is intended. Luther, for the sake of clearness, translates here, and 1 Kings 10:1, Arabia. In ואמּלטה, the waw, as is seen from the Kametz, is waw convertens, and the paragogic ah, which otherwise indicates the cohortative, is either without significance, or simply adds intensity to the verbal idea: I have saved myself with great difficulty. For this common form of the 1 fut. consec., occurring four times in the Pentateuch, vid., Ges. 49, 2. The clause לך להגּיד is objective: in order that - so it was intended by the calamity - I might tell thee.
And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.The Second Messenger:
16 While he was yet speaking, another came, and said, The fire of God fell from heaven, and set fire to the sheep and servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The fire of God, which descends, is not a suitable expression for Samm (Schlottm.), that wind of the desert which often so suddenly destroys man and beast, although indeed it is indicated by certain atmospheric phenomena, appearing first of a yellow colour, which changes to a leaden hue and spreads through the atmosphere, so that the sun when at the brightest becomes a dark red. The writer, also, can scarcely have intended lightning (Rosenm., Hirz., Hahn), but rain of fire or brimstone, as with Sodom and Gomorrha, and as 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:12.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.The Third Messenger:
17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans ranged themselves in three bands, and rushed upon the camels, and carried them away, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Without any authority, Ewald sees in this mention of the Chaldeans an indication of the composition of the book in the seventh century b.c., when the Chaldeans under Nabopolassar began to inherit the Assyrian power. Following Ewald, Renan observes that the Chaldeans first appear as such marauders about the time of Uzziah. But in Genesis we find mention of early Semitic Chaldeans among the mountain ranges lying to the north of Assyria and Mesopotamia; and later, Nahor Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, whose existence is traced back to the patriarchal times (vid., Genesis, p. 422),
(Note: This reference is to Delitzsch's Commentar ber die Genesis, 1860, a separate work from the Keil and Delitzsch series. - Tr.)
and who were powerful enough at any time to make a raid into Idumaea. To make an attack divided into several ראשׁים, heads, multitudes, bands (two - Gen. JObadiah 14:15; three - Judges 7:16, 1 Samuel 11:11; or four - Judg. JObadiah 9:34), is an ancient military stratagem; and פּשׁט, e.g., Judges 9:33, is the proper word for attacks of such bands, either for plunder or revenge. In לפי־חרב, at the edge of the sword, l'epe, ל is like the usual acc. of manner.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:The Fourth Messenger:
18 While he was yet speaking, another also came, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: and, behold, a great wind came across from the desert, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Instead of עוד, we have עד here: the former denotes continuity in time, the latter continuity in space, and they may be interchanged. עד in the signif. "while" is here construed with the participle, as Nehemiah 7:3; comp. other constructions, Job 8:21; 1 Samuel 14:19; Jonah 4:2. "From the other side of the desert" is equivalent to, from its farthest end. הנּערים are the youthful sons and daughters of Job, according to the epicene use of נער in the Pentateuch (youths and maidens). In one day Job is now bereft of everything which he accounted the gift of Jehovah, - his herds, and with these his servants, which he not only prizes as property, but for whom he has also a tender heart (Job 31); last of all, even his dearest ones, his children. Satan has summoned the elements and men for the destruction of Job's possessions by repeated strokes. That men and nations can be excited by Satan to hostile enterprises, is nothing surprising (cf. Revelation 20:8); but here, even the fire of God and the hurricane are attributed to him. Is this poetry or truth? Luther, in the Larger Catechism, question 4, says the same: "The devil causes strife, murder, rebellion, and war, also thunder and lightning, and hail, to destroy corn and cattle, to poison the atmosphere," etc., - a passage of our creed often ridiculed by rationalism; but it is correct if understood in accordance with Scripture, and not superstitiously. As among men, so in nature, since the Fall two different powers of divine anger and divine love are in operation: the mingling of these is the essence of the present Kosmos. Everything destructive to nature, and everything arising therefrom which is dangerous and fatal to the life of man, is the outward manifestation of the power of anger. In this power Satan has fortified himself; and this, which underlies the whole course of nature, he is able to make use of, so far as God may permit it as being subservient to His chief design (comp. Revelation 13:13 with 2 Thessalonians 2:9). He has no creative power. Fire and storm, by means of which he works, are of God; but he is allowed to excite these forces to hostility against man, just as he himself is become an instrument of evil. It is similar with human demonocracy, whose very being consists in placing itself en rapport with the hidden powers of nature. Satan is the great juggler, and has already manifested himself as such, even in paradise and in the temptation of Jesus Christ. There is in nature, as among men, an entanglement of contrary forces which he knows how to unloose, because it is the sphere of his special dominion; for the whole course of nature, in the change of its phenomena, is subject not only to abstract laws, but also to concrete supernatural powers, both bad and good.
And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,The Conduct of Job:
20, 21 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.
The first three messengers Job has heard, sitting, and in silence; but at the news of the death of his children, brought by the fourth, he can no longer overcome his grief. The intensity of his feeling is indicated by rising up (cf. Jonah 3:6); his torn heart, by the rending of his mantle; the conscious loss of his dearest ones, by cutting off the hair of his head. He does not, however, act like one in despair, but, humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, falls to the ground and prostrates himself, i.e., worshipping God, so that his face touches the earth. השׁתּחוה, se prosternere, this is the gesture of adoration, προσκήνησις.
(Note: Vid., Hlemann's Abh. ber die biblische Gestaltung der Anbetung, in his Bibelstudien, Abth. 1((1859).)
יצתי is defectively written, as Numbers 11:11; cf. infra, Job 32:18. The occurrence of שׁמּה here is remarkable, and may have given rise to the question of Nicodemus, John 3:4 : μὴ δύναται ἄνθρωπος εἰς τῆν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν. The writer of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 5:14) has left out this difficult שׁמה. It means either being put back into a state of unconsciousness and seclusion from the light and turmoil of this world, similar to his former state in his mother's womb, which Hupfeld, in his Commentatio in quosdam Iobeidos locos, 1853, favours; or, since the idea of אמּי בּטן may be extended, return to the bosom of mother earth (Ew., Hirz., Schlottm., et al.), so that שׁמה is not so much retrospective as rather prospective with reference to the grave (Bttch.), which we prefer; for as the mother's bosom can be compared to the bosom of the earth (Psalm 139:15), because it is of the earth, and recalls the original forming of man from the earth, so the bosom of the earth is compared to the mother's, Sir. 40:1: ἀφ ̓ ἡμέρας ἐξόδου ἐκ γαστρὸς μητρὸς ἕως ἡμέρας ἐπιταφῆς εἰς μητέρα πάντων. The writer here intentionally makes Job call God יהוה. In the dialogue portion, the name יהוה occurs only once in the mouth of Job (Job 12:9); most frequently the speakers use אלוה and שׁדי. This use of the names of God corresponds to the early use of the same in the Pentateuch, according to which שׁדי is the proper name of God in the patriarchal days, and יהוה in the later days, to which they were preparatory. The traditional view, that Elohim describes God according to the attribute of justice, Jehovah according to the attribute of mercy, is only in part correct; for even when the advent of God to judgment is announced, He is in general named Jehovah. Rather, אלהים (plur. of אלוהּ, fear), the Revered One, describes God as object; יהוה or יהוה, on the other hand, as subject. אלהים describes Him in the fulness of His glorious majesty, including also the spirits, which are round about Him; יהוה as the Absolute One. Accordingly, Job, when he says יהוה, thinks of God not only as the absolute cause of his fate, but as the Being ordering his life according to His own counsel, who is ever worthy of praise, whether in His infinite wisdom He gives or takes away. Job was not driven from God, but praised Him in the midst of suffering, even when, to human understanding and feeling, there was only occasion for anguish: he destroyed the suspicion of Satan, that he only feared God for the sake of His gifts, not for His own sake; and remained, in the midst of a fourfold temptation, the conqueror.
(Note: In Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (vid., Jul. Hamberger, Gott und seine Offenbarung, S. 71), there is much that reminds one of the book of Job, especially the repeated misfortunes which befall the worthy clergyman, his submission under all, and the issue which counterbalances his misfortune. But what is copied from the book of Job appears to be only superficial, not to come from the depth of the spiritual life.)
Throughout the whole book he does not go so far as to deny God (אלהים בּרך), and thus far he does not fall into any unworthy utterances concerning His rule.
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.22 In all this Job sinned not, nor attributed folly to God.
In all this, i.e., as the lxx correctly renders it: which thus far had befallen him; Ewald et al. translate incorrectly: he gave God no provocation. תּפלה signifies, according to Job 24:12, comp. Job 6:6, saltlessness and tastelessness, dealing devoid of meaning and purpose, and is to be translated either, he uttered not, non edidit, anything absurd against God, as Jerome translates, neque stultum quid contra Deum locutus est; or, he did not attribute folly to God: so that נתן ל are connected, as Psalm 68:35; Jeremiah 13:16. Since נתן by itself nowhere signifies to express, we side with Hirzel and Schlottm. against Rdiger (in his Thes.) and Oehler, in favour of the latter. The writer hints that, later on, Job committed himself by some unwise thoughts of the government of God.