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The first chapter of Job describes a man who was favored by God (Job).

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.

For whatever reason, I'm assuming he was pre-flood period, but was wondering if there's an estimated time-period he was alive.

Looking for potential years (6000BC or something) but also any correction to my assumption it was pre-flood.

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I found an interesting 37-page paper concluding ~1275 BC, while Wikipedia claims between the 6th and 4th century BC is the most common scholarly opinion. After looking at it for half an hour, I decided to leave this question to experts. – dancek Sep 6 '11 at 10:05
This question assumes that Job was alive... many think he's a fictional character, and that the book of Job is just a parable. Of course the question is still interesting, in the sense of "When did the story of Job take place?" – Flimzy Sep 28 '11 at 2:02
@dancek It's worth noting that (a) That 37-page paper finds the time of Job by page 7, and the entire rest of it is devoted to proving that people followed a six month rather than twelve month year, (b) The way in which the paper "finds" the time of Job is not very complex, (i) by equating Job to another person called Jobab (from Genesis 36), (ii) by equating Zerah grandson of Esau to Zerah father of Jobab. – Kidburla Sep 2 at 11:27

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote

Job 1:15 and 1:17 refer to raids by the Sabeans and Chaldeans respectively. The Sabeans are a bit tricky to identify, but the Chaldeans (Hebrew kasdim) are definitely a Babylonian tribe. They were one of the groups to sack Nineveh after the death of Ashurbanipal. The Chaldeans were around for quite a while before that - Genesis 11:28, 11:31 has "Ur of the Chaldees" being Abra(ha)m's home city. In that case it would not make sense to place the Job story before the Flood.

Since the Chaldeans were most prominent in the 8th-6th centuries BC, this is a plausible date range for the Job story to take place - and probably towards the more recent end, since it coincides with their period of greatest military success, and the rise of their dynasty in Babylon before it too was conquered by the Persians. Mind you, it could be pushed back another thousand years to the time of Abraham, given the lack of other clues about the setting.

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This is plausible and interesting, but I think there's a couple other proposals on this are there not? Is it possible it's pre-flood story passed down orally? – Caleb Sep 6 '11 at 8:22
There is a tradition which has it composed in the patriarchal age, since Job makes no reference to Israel, the Law, the priesthood, etc. Job 9:13, 26:12 refer to God's action against "Rahab", which in Isaiah 30:7, 51:9-10 is used as a monstrous personification of Egypt; that would put Job after the Exodus. Others place it during or after the Exile. The main poem is quite possibly much older than the frame story (which contains the Chaldean reference), and the whole thing has been edited, making it difficult to say when the story originated. – James T Sep 6 '11 at 12:29
So yes, there are many other opinions but no consensus. – James T Sep 6 '11 at 12:30

Catholic Tradition treats Job as an inspired parable and, like lots of the Bible, take this and the assumption that it has multiple authors for granted (not at the expense of its divine inspiration). So... I think it's not a particularly impious statement to say that Job probably wasn't a written story until well after the dynastic period and into the time of exile and since it has the air of historical fiction, certainly wasn't set in the future. Job was also was referred to in Sirach and by Ezekiel

There two things that make it likely that Job was intended to take place in the time of the post-flood Patriarchs (Abraham and Isaac).

  1. Job lived in the land of Uz who was a grandson of Shem (therefore after the flood)
  2. Job's wealth and lands closely resembled Abraham's (tons of sheep and oxen), so he's need to be a similar sort of man occupying a similar sort of space.

See Karel Van Der Toorn - The Ancient Near Eastern Literary Dialogue for more information than I care to repeat and Catholic Enyclopedia's entry on Job.

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On Job 1:1, it is said: "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job." Uz may have been refering to The Uz, who was the son of Aram and a direct descendent of Shem. Or, Uz might have been a variation to the word Oz, which means east. In Job 1:3, it is said that Job was the greatest man of all East. Most scholars will date Job in 4th and 6th BCE/BC. However, I look at it differently. If you look at the verses close enough, then the Historical background would be that it is sometime at Patriarchal Age, which is at the time of Abraham, Issiac and Jacob, and the generation of Jacob seems to be most close. In BCE/BC of 1800.

  • The Creation of the World - ????

  • Noah's Era - ????

  • Abraham's birth - BC 2166

  • Jacob's birth - BC 2006

  • Story of Job - ????(most likely BC 1800)

  • Birth of Joseph - BC 1915

  • Birth of Moses - BC 1527

  • Exodus - BC 1446

  • David crowned as the King - BC 1010

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Right, I vaguely remember them saying that stuff about Oz in my Hebrew studies class. One thing though, is that 'scholars date' and 'when Job was' need not be the same time unless Job wrote Job, which I guess some people believe. – Peter Turner Sep 24 '11 at 4:23

It apears logical that Job lived after the flood in the land of UZ. (Edom) southern Isreal and extending outward over its borders.I am disapointed that he did not live preflood with the huge dinasours.(i was sure).But however more interestingly the possibility that there were sizabley large post flood dinasours. Re: Behamoth, Laviathon.Lamentations 4:21 reads: “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz”.

From the Wikipedia Page on the Land of Uz:

Uz is sometimes identified with the kingdom of Edom, roughly in the area of modern-day southwestern Jordan and southern Israel.[3]Lamentations 4:21 reads: "Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz".Other locations proposed for Uz include more southern Arabia, especially Dhofar, said to be the home of the original Arabs;[4]Bashan in modern-day southern Syria/western Jordan; Arabia east of Petra, Jordan;[5] and even modern-day Uzbekistan.[6]According to the Dead Sea document, The War Scroll, the land of Uz is mentioned as existing somewhere beyond the Euphrates possibly in relation to Aram. In Column 2 verse 11, it is noted, "they shall fight against the rest of the sons of Aramea: Uz, Hul, Togar, and Mesha, who are beyond the Euphrates."

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@Dtest. there is one person named JOB in Genesis 46:13. He was the third son Of Issachar. The Job in the book of Job, I believe, was a fictional person. In Job 27:1 and Job 29:1 it clearly says that Job took up or continued his parable. I believe the whole book of Job is a parable written by Moses. Moses lived 1393-1273 according to my research. TO ANSWER THE QUESTION..Job was never Alive.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

This answer would be acceptable if you could add references showing that this is a common understanding, and who teaches/believes it. On this site, we're not looking for personal interpretation, but rather focusing on what various Christian groups teach. See How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? – David 13 hours ago

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