Monday, August 8, 2016

The Always Inspiring Book of Job

Assigning an Historical Period to the Biblical Book of Job:

Before the flood, Genesis 6:3 [ESV] says, “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in [or contend with] man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”” The average lifespan of pre-flood humans was 900 years. Noah was the last person to live the 900 year lifespan, dying at age 950 years. Noah’s eldest son, Shem, died at age 602 years (born before the flood, died after the flood). Four generations later, the Biblically documented lifespan had dropped by approximately 400 years: Peleg (born shortly after the Tower of Babel scattering) died at the age of 239 years (Josephus, the Jewish historian living at the time of Christ, provides a thorough account of this event and the ensuing aftermath).

The day Satan first attacked Job, Job was father to seven sons and three daughters who owned their own houses and had their own independent livelihood; they were well-established adults. Also, Job 1:3 says that Job was extremely wealthy; he was “…the greatest of all the people of the east.” Amassing this great wealth and rearing ten children to an age of independent adulthood (by today’s average 75-year western lifespan) would put Job well into his later adult years. At the end of the book of Job, Job 42:16 says that after all this affliction, “…Job lived 140 years and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.” Considering the years required for Job to both rear 10 children to the age of independent adulthood and become the greatest of all the people of the east before Satan attacked him, we can reasonably assume that Job was no less than 60 years old, but more realistically no less than 80 years old. If Job was only 60 years old when he lost everything, and then lived an additional 140 years after God restored his fortunes, we can assume with considerable accuracy that Job died at the approximate age of at least 200 years.

Terah, Abraham’s father, died at age 205 years (Genesis 11:12). Abraham died at age 175 years (Genesis 25:7). Joseph died at the age of 110 years (Genesis 50:26). Four hundred plus years after Joseph (or 215 depending on interpretation; see Date of Noah’s Flood), Moses was the first Biblically documented person to die at age 120 years, as mandated by God in Genesis 6:3. The 120 year lifespan limit is now commonplace with no documented overages. This places the historical period of Job at or before the historical period of Terah, Abraham’s father (pre-Israel).
This renders the Book of Job a very old book from a very ancient time, hence the ancient feel of its content.

According to this data, it is simply impossible for the events in the book of Job to have occurred at any other time.
So how long ago is that 'other time'?  According to Bible(dot)org., the poetic book is at least 4,000 years old, being written
as soon-ago as the late 2nd millennium B.C. 
or earlier as references to Job's friends actions/homes suggest a more ancient, earlier 2nd millennium  B.C. date. 


1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.


4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinnedand cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.


6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”


Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”


8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”


9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”


12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”


Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.


13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”


16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”


17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”


18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”


20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 


21 and said:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

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