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The Book of Job.

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BY J. B. SHEARER, D. D., LL. D., The Book of Job has been a great puzzle to the critics and commentators. They have discussed such questions as these : Who was the author ? Was Job a real person? Where did he live? Who were his three friends? Who was Elihu? When was the book writ- ten? What is its object and scope? Why written mainly in poetic form? What is the value of the several discussions? How far were the several speakers in- spired? Why do we consider the book canonical?
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  The Book of Job. BY J. B. SHEARER, D. D., LL. D., The Book of Job has been a great puzzle to the critics and commentators. They have discussed such questions as these : Who was the author ? Was Job a real person? Where did he live? Who were his three friends? Who was Elihu? When was the book writ- ten? What is its object and scope? Why written mainly in poetic form? What is the value of the several discussions? How far were the several speakers in- spired? Why do we consider the book canonical? Is it not a mere epic poem ? How did it get into the Hebrew scriptures? Why does it contain no references to other books of Scripture ? ' Was the production of such a book possible from a literary point of view at an early period? and other similar questions. It is not our purpose to discuss all these questions categorically in one short chapter. It were not possible to do so. Aside from the destructive critics, some of the ablest investigators and expounders of the Scriptures have wrestled with these questions and advocated a great variety of views. The sole aim of this discussion is to present the sur- face and -common sense claims of the book for the confir- mation of our faith which is mayhap disturbed by so many variant views avouched by such an array of learn- ing. There is an oldfashioned childlike faith which ac- cepts this book just as it does all the other books of Scrip- ture without question or hesitation. This simple faith 138 Selected Old Testament Studies  is our starting point and the point to which we return from all our incursions into the realm of learned specula- tion. Call you this prejudice, or credulity, or traditional- ism, it still remains that faith is closely allied to com- mon sense. The claims of Scripture are so simple that they are easily grasped by the unlearned and the ignorant, and they are so expansive as to satisfy the highest in- telligence because they all meet on the common ground of common sense. I. Was Job a real person? ot, was he probably, but was he actually a real person? The destructive critic who is unable to dissect this book into several srcinal units ingeniously dovetailed into its present form by one or more redactors, is obliged to recognize it as itself an srcinal unit, coherent in its several parts, and true in its setting, and besides, a work of rare genius, and the very inspiration of genius, worthy of one of the greatest poets and authors. He calls loudly for facts here as in other cases and then proceeds to build up theories of his own, based on mere assumption and unproven hypotheses, as if there were no facts except his own fallacies. ow was Job a real historic person or a great East- ern ideal, the central figure and hero of the world's greatest epic? There was a man in the Land of Uz, whose name was Job ? This literal statement has been accepted by Jews and Christians for several thousand years, unquestioned and unquestionable, and has the right of way against mere suppositions and assumptions. Such acceptance can only be set aside by facts. A few corroborative facts make it impregnable. There are two or perhaps three references to Job in the Scriptures out- side the Book of Job. I. In Ezck. xiv. 14 we read, Though these three men.  Selected Old Testament Studies 139 oah, Daniel and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God. If one of these was a man they were all men, so says common sense. Job is named by God himself as one of the three great men of the ages most likely to pre- vail with him. There is then no reason to question the intimate relations between Job and his God as recorded in this book. The only escape for the critic is to say, I do not believe in Ezekiel, nor in Ezekiel's God. We shall not follow him there. 2. In James v. 10, 11 we read, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering, affliction and patience. Be- hold, we count them happy who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. Common sense would find it as easy to deny the personality of the prophets and of the Lord himself in this passage, as to deny that Job is cited as a real per- son — a most notable example of suffering, affliction and endurance. 3. The name Jobab is found in Gen. x. 29, one of the thirteen sons of Joktan, literally Job father or father Job. Many commentators identify this Jobab and Job. His long life would seem to indicate that he belonged to the long-lived patriarchs and that he lived partly con- temporary with ahor and grandfather of Abraham. This puts him too early as we shall see. Besides there is reason to believe (as we shall see) that his life was doubled after his trials. If so he belonged to the period in which the ages of the patriarchs somewhat exceeded one hundred and forty years. If then he was a Joktanite Arab he was a lineal descendant of Jobab and named for him just as there are two ahors.  I40 Selected Old Testament Stltdies II. We may now determine to what people he be- longed. The genealogies of the tenth and eleventh chap- ters of Genesis present some difficulties. Some adopt the theory that they are all personal, others say that they are entirely tribal or national, and that they are named according to the order of their geographical location as distributed in Moses' day. The true theory is a happy combination of these two. They are both personal and national. Many of the names are patronymic — the name of the father given to his descendants. Thus Canaanites were descendants of Canaan, Arvadites, descendants of Arvad, just as Levites were descendants of Levi later on. Then some are plural nouns as Ludim, Caphtorim i. e. Luds and Caphtors, just as we say the Joneses or the Smiths. Thus we see that sons became families and fam- ilies became tribes and nations, all named for their fathers. We may note further that Aram and Joktan were not only near of kin but their descendants were located near each other in the Arabian peninsula. Whether Aram's son Uz gave name to the land of Uz we may not certainly say, but we do know that Jeremiah identi- fies Edom and Uz, the border land between Aram (Syria) and Joktan (Arabia). An ordinary antiquarian would now be prepared to say that Job lived in the land of Uz before its name was changed to Edom, and that he was either a Syrian or a Joktanite, or a Horite, or a prominent patriarch of some over lapping peoples of sim- ilar language, social life and religion. III. We are now prepared for a farther indentifica- tion of this man by identifying his three friends and Elihu the fourth. Another branch of the children of Eber, the descendants of Terah and ahor, settled in Aram of Syria. ahor had eight sons. The name of
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