What I mean is the following:

  • Job stands out as being as old as the Torah (if not older)

  • None of the characters are Israelites (especially if it was Abrahamic time when Israel didn't even exist)

  • Every other book can be traced back by tradition, the author is fully unknown

So how did the Jews get a hold of Job scriptures? or does it not have an answer and is left to theory?

  • 2
    See here on Hermeneutics.SE. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 19:14

4 Answers 4


As to your question regarding origins, we do not know the author or the means of revelation of the book of Job.

What we do know is that there is an ancient tradition including the book in Hebrew scripture. The book makes no reference to the patriarchs or the law or the prophets but it is consistent with teachings therein and is commonly considered to predate those writings in scripture.

As to your point that none of the characters are Israelites, I would point out that the language and ideas used are very consistent with Hebrew scripture. e.g. the names of God: Yahweh, Adonai, Elohim, El, Eloha, Shadai, Creator; angels, Satan, priestly functions, atonement, integrity, iniquity etc. The idea of self righteousness vs the Righteousness (graciousness) of God; spiritual warfare etc. The writer does not define any of these terms or ideas. He presumes that the reader is familiar and that implies that there was a common tradition, perhaps written, perhaps oral, that predated the writing of the book. The book of Job is a grand introduction, an overture to the revelations that follow in scripture.

As to your question of theorizing about the revelation and preservation of the book of Job, or scripture in general, I would point out that there are many similar questions concerning other scripture. e.g. how did Melchizedek, a contemporary of Abraham, come to know and practice the same priestly functions that Job practiced? And the patriarch, Abraham, honored him; and the New Testament approves them. It appears that A & M & J had a common tradition. Joshua chapter 10:13, and 2 Sam 1:18 references the book of Jasher, which is lost to us. What was Jasher? Where did it come from? Where has it gone?

Your question about 'theorizing' really involves the bigger idea of unanswered questions in scripture. God's answer to Job's numerous questions about 'how...' and 'why...' is not a detailed explanation. God's answer to all of Job's questions is, simply: 'I am Creator! Look around you! You don't think I know what I am doing...?' Implicit is (theory): God's eternal plan, God's faithfulness to Bless his covenant/plan to you, and man's ability to faithfully bless God back; man's ability to 'know that I am LORD...' (numerous references throughout scripture. Search it...e.g. Ezekiel 60 times) Proverbs 25:2 says: 'It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.' Job's place in scripture is a tremendous harmony... It's necessary for each of us to connect the dots in our own attitude of faithfulness and reverence... (...blessed be the name of the LORD... 1:21)


There are suggestions that Uz is in central Syria, north of Israel, because of a genealogy in Genesis 10:23, but hard evidence for its location is not so readily available. Reference to attacks by Chaldeans (Job 1:17) would normally place the location of Uz to the east of Palestine, but reference to the Sabaeans would probably place its location in southern Arabia. One of Job's friends came from Teman in Yemen, while another was a Naamathite, from coastal Palestine, so these widely separated locations do not help. In any case, the location, or supposed location, of Uz would do little to identify where the book was actually written.

R. N. Whybray says, in 'The social world of the wisdom writers', published in The World of Ancient Israel: Sociological, Anthropological and Political Perspectives (edited by R. E. Clements), page 239, the book could not have been written without a wide knowledge of the literary world of the ancient Near East outside Palestine. This fact, together with the unexplained peculiarities of the language of the poetical part of the book, has led some scholars to suppose that the author was either a Jew living outside Palestine, or even a non-Jew.

Although some of the material in Job is undoubtedly quite ancient, from the evidence presented here, the Book of Job is post-exilic in its existing form, probably written in the fifth or fourth century BCE. This suggests the author might have been the descendant of a Jew who had remained behind in or near Babylon. Jerusalem became quite prosperous during the Persian period, so even a Jew living in Jerusalem could have gained a wide knowledge of the world outside Judah, through commerce and travel. Unfortunately, scholars have not been able to ascertain just where the book was written.


There are 5 verses missing from the Masoretic Text that give some more background on Job:

And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over: first, Balac, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba: but after Balac, Jobab, who is called Job: and after him Asom, who was governor out of the country of Thæman: and after him Adad, the son of Barad, who destroyed Madiam in the plain of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. And his friends who came to him were Eliphaz, of the children of Esau, king of the Thæmanites, Baldad sovereign of the Sauchæans, Sophar king of the Minæans [Job 42:17-22 LXX].

Thus, Job was a grandson of Esau. Interestingly, although God charged Abraham to be blameless [Genesis 17:1], Job - a Gentile - is the only person in the entire Old Testament who is actually called blameless, at least in the Septuagint version.

  • My answer was downvoted a couple of times without comment. I am curious why.
    – user22553
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 13:12

The beginning of Job in our Bibles is identical to the Book of Jasher Chapter 22 supposedly transcribed from Greek Hebrew in the 16th century AD lost in time and then again in 1840 now published everywhere. Jasher starts off with the discourse between God and satan such as '' Have you considered my servant Abraham........then God asks satan where did you come from and satan replies '' have been going to and thro on the earth'' This is JOB the first chapter as we know it but appears in Jasher 22 as Abraham. This is where the similarity ends as Jasher then writes about Abraham sacrificing Isaac and the death of Sarah stating she died because of heartache and joy from what Abraham was doing to Isaac. Now just before this paragraph in Jasher 22 which copies our Job or Job copies Jasher but changes name to Abraham we have in Jasher a few paragraphs above a man named Aram son of Zoba son of Terah and his second wife stating Aram was very rich having 3 wives 12 children boys and 3 daughters and cattle and land, this Aram sounds to me like the Job we know...hope this helps you and others

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  • There is no credible text for the Book of Jasher earlier than the middle ages. I assume you're referring to Pseudo-Jasher, which is considered a fraudulent work by almost everyone, and is definitely not the source of Job.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 13:14

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