by Stuart Gathman

Job the Sheltered

Most people think of Job as someone who endured unusual suffering, yet remained faithful to God. I will argue that Job was someone sheltered from the suffering happening all around him, who then experienced that suffering for himself.

The key question is, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (Job 1:9) The Hebrew word for “nothing” means “gratis”, i.e. without payment. For example, Daniel’s friends loved God regardless of “payment”.
Daniel 3:18

Job’s Residence

In Genesis 10:23 we find that Uz descended from Shem through Aram. Job lived in the land established by Uz. (Job 1:1)

The Family of Job

First let’s look at Jobab, a Hebrew mentioned in Genesis 10. The Hebrews are descended from their namesake, Eber (Genesis 10:24). Eber had two sons, Peleg and Joktan. Jobab, or Job, was the nephew of Peleg, and possibly the Job of “Job”. Some call Jobab the “clanfather and patriarch of the Chou dynasty”, placing his birth at 2206 BC and holding that descendants of Joktan migrated to what is now China.

Was Job the nephew of Peleg the Job of “Job”? There is much debate, but we can place when the Job of “Job” lived thanks to the decreasing lifespans after the flood. Job lived 248 years1, similar to sons of Peleg. If Peleg’s nephew was not the Job, he was a least a contemporary of Reu - and so the point is moot for my argument. Job lived around 1787 AM2, a little over 100 years after the flood3.

Climate Change

Peleg was named after the dividing of the earth. You can deduce quite a bit about the early history of mankind from the names of the kids. This could refer to the dividing of the people following the tower of Babel, as Nimrod was the same generation as Eber. But it could also mean that continental drift was much more recent and rapid than modern geologists believe. Since they are wrong about Noah’s flood, they could be wrong about the drift also. Although not necessarily - there was also the flood of Genesis 1:2 (or 1:9 if you don’t believe 1:2 refers to water), which is not dated.

The book of Job is full of references to the rapid changes in the earth, including Tsunami’s (Job 12:15, 7:12), Vulcanism (18:15), Violent winds (1:19,27:20-21), Rapid Climate Change (6:15-18,38:29-30), Earthquakes (9:5-6) rapidly decreasing lifespans (8:8-9).

History or Fiction

Note that many people, including C.S. Lewis, consider the book of Job to be a work of fiction (I don’t). It is quite obviously written as a stylized play, and real people do not talk like the characters of Job. However, a play can still be about real people. Even if the characters are fictional and the dialog is stylized, the play is set in a time period - and the imagery of the play is taken from the setting.

There is a two source theory which holds that the beginning and ending narrative are a historical backdrop for the play which forms the center. However, God Himself refers to Job as a real person in [Ezekiel 14:14](">Ezekiel 14:14). That establishes Job as a real person on the highest authority.

In my opinion, much of the imagery of Job describes the aftershocks of the upheaval that exposed the earths mantel to release its water to flood the earth. The earths mantel today has enough water dissolved in ringwoodite (under tremendous pressure underground) to fill the oceans at least 3 times. When ringwoodite is brought to the surface, the water escapes as steam. Large amounts of steam would, of course, condense as rain.

Widespread Natural Disaster

Thanks to these upheavals (which may include rapid continental drift), the people of Job’s time were constantly threatened by natural disaster. For instance, Tsunamis were a constant threat, so that a 24hr watch had to be kept on the sea. (Job 7:12) Far from being unusual, Job’s disasters were actually quite common. Many were losing everything to winds, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate change. And just as the Vikings began raiding and pillaging when climate change destroyed their farms, so many in Job’s time resorted to the same. (Job 1:15) Others were reduced to living in caves, and Job despised them. (Job 30) Disaster was falling on the righteous and the wicked alike. (Ecclesiastes 9:3)

What was unusual, was how Job remained unscathed by all this. The reason is given in Job 1:10 - he had special protection. Satan’s accusation was based on truth (as is every effective lie): Job lived a sheltered life. So in Job 1:12, God lifts his hand of protection.

  1. Job received twice the material possessions after his trial. He lived 140 years after the trial, hence Jewish tradition concludes that he was 70 at the beginning of his trial, and lived to be 210.
    But this doesn’t take into account the years of the trial, and another Jewish source says 248. Either way, he is a contemporary of Reu or Serug according to lifespan regression↩︎

  2. Anno Mundi - “In the year of the world”, a dating system counting from the creation of Adam. The founding of Carthage is dated to 3202 AM, which can be dated to 814 BC ±10. This makes the birth of Reu at 1787 AM around 2229 BC. ↩︎

  3. Jewish tradition places Job much later, but this is only possible if his lifespan was 70 years longer than typical of the time - a definite possibility. In that case, the climatic events described in Job would be the cause of the world wide famine that drove all the world to Egypt in the time of Jacob, Job would have lived in Edom, and Uz was a descendant of Seir the Horite already living in the land that Esau made his home. Eliphaz is also mentioned as the firstbon of Esau. Jewish tradition also claims that Job married Jacob’s daughter Dinah after his first wife died. ↩︎

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