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Job restored to prosperity by Laurent de la Hyre

Job (pronounced /ˈdʒoʊb/; Hebrew: אִיּוֹב, Modern Iyyov Tiberian ʾIyyôḇ, Arabic: أيّوبʾAyoub), is a gentile man in the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible, as well as a prophet in Islam. In brief, the book begins with an introduction to Job's character — he is described as a blessed man who lives righteously. Satan challenges Job's integrity, proposing to Yahweh (God) that Job serves him simply because of the "hedge" with which God protects him. God progressively removes that protection for a bit, allowing Satan to take his wealth, his children, and his physical health and to thereby tempt Job to curse God to show that Job is a faithful man. Despite his desolation, he does not curse God's name or accuse God of injustice but rather seeks an explanation or an account of his wrongdoing by cursing his birth. The main portion of the text consists of the discourse of Job and his three friends concerning why Job was so tested, after which God steps in to answer Job and his friends. God invites Job to "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me." [1] After God's reply, Job is overwhelmed and says, " I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth." [2] The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning and he lived 140 years [3].

Besides Job, his wife, and his friends, Yahweh and Satan are the only characters, and there is no mention of the patriarchs of the nation of Israel nor any other biblical characters.

In ancient and medieval literature

Job appears in several works of ancient literature:

Job in Judaism

'The Patient Job', by Gerard Seghers

A clear majority of Rabbinical Torah scholars saw Job as having existed; an actual historical figure. He was seen as a real and powerful figure. Some scholars of Orthodox Judaism maintain that Job was in fact one of three advisors that Pharaoh consulted, prior to taking action against the increasingly multiplying "Children of Israel" mentioned in the Book of Exodus during the time of Moses' birth. The episode is mentioned in the Talmud (Tractate Sotah): Balaam gives evil advice urging Pharaoh to kill the Hebrew male new-born babies; Jethro opposes Pharaoh and tells him not to harm the Hebrews at all, and Job keeps silent and does not reveal his mind even though he was personally opposed to Pharaoh's destructive plans. It is for his silence that God subsequently punishes him with his bitter afflictions.[5] However, the book of Job itself contains no indication of this, and to the prophet Ezekiel, Yahweh refers to Job as a righteous man of the same calibre as Noah and Daniel. [6]

There is a minority view among Rabbinical scholars, for instance that of Rabbi Simeon ben Laqish, that says Job never existed (Midrash Genesis Rabbah LXVII). In this view, Job was a literary creation by a prophet who used this form of writing to convey a divine message. On the other hand, the Talmud (in Tractate Baba Batra 15a-16b) goes to great lengths trying to ascertain when Job actually lived, citing many opinions and interpretations by the leading sages. Job is further mentioned in the Talmud as follows [7]:

  • Job's resignation to his fate (in Tractate Pesachim 2b).
  • When Job was prosperous, anyone who associated with him even to buy from him or sell to him, was blessed (in Tractate Pesachim 112a).
  • Job's reward for being generous (in Tractate Megillah 28a).
  • King David, Job and Ezekiel described the Torah's length without putting a number to it (in Tractate Eruvin 21a).

Job in Christianity

Christianity accepts the Book of Job as canon in the Old Testament and thus contains the same information regarding Job as discussed above in the Hebrew Bible. In addition, Job is mentioned in the New Testament: the Epistle of James 5:11 cites Job as an example of perseverance in suffering. The New Testament also quotes and references the Book of Job throughout.

Job's declaration "I know that my Redeemer lives" (Job 19:25) is considered by Christians to be a proto-Christian statement of belief, and is the basis of several Christian hymns.

He is commemorated as a patriarch by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in their Calendar of Saints on May 9, and in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on August 30.

Job in Islam

In the Qur'an, which is written in Arabic, Job is known as Ayoub (Arabic: أيّوب‎) and considered a prophet in Islam. In the Arabic language the name of Job (Ayyūb) is symbolic of the virtue of patience, though it does not mean patience in itself.

There are a number of references to Job in the Qur'an. They include:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "While Job was naked, taking a bath, a swarm of gold locusts fell on him and he started collecting them in his garment. His Lord called him, 'O Job! Have I not made you rich enough to need what you see? He said, 'Yes, O Lord! But I cannot dispense with your Blessing.Volume 4, Book 55, Number 604: Sahih Bukhari

Local traditions regarding Job

An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job

The tomb of Job, outside Salalah, Oman

In Palestinian folk tradition Job's place of trial is Al-Joura, a village outside the town of Al Majdal. It was there God rewarded him with a fountain of youth that removed whatever illnesses he had, and gave him back his youth. The town of Al-Joura was a place of annual festivities (4 days in all) when people of many faiths gathered and bathed in a natural spring.

The Bosnian version of the name is spelt Ejub/Ejup and pronounced Eyub/Eyup.

The tomb of Job is believed to be situated in Jabal Qara outside the city of Salalah in Southern Oman.

Additionally, the Druze community also maintains a tomb for the Prophet Job in the El-Chouf mountain district in Lebanon. (See photo on right) Cultural Heritage

The Turkish city of Urfa (formerly Edessa) claims to be the location at which Job underwent his ordeal, and has a well said to be the one formed when he struck the ground with his foot as described in the Qur'an.

See also


External links

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