Job’s Speech & Job

Talk about tough love, now Job’s in pain, he’s ugly, and his wife wants him to kill himself or she figures that if he cursed You then You’d kill him. 

You going to fix this?

The Land of Uz
The faithful man Job lived in the “land of Uz” (Job 1:1). But where was the land of Uz? It’s tricky to identify as the name “Uz” seems to be an informal name applied by the Israelites to a region and not the formal name of a country. Job 1:3 says that Job was, “the greatest of all the people of the East.” But east of where?

One of the documents found along with the Dead Sea Scrolls is a non-Biblical document known as the “War Scroll”. It identifies Uz as being, “beyond the Euphrates.” But that document was written at least 1,000 years after Moses wrote the book of Job and locating Uz that far east does not match with the information the Bible gives us.

The first clues have to do with the raiders who destroy or steal Job’s herds and livestock. The first raiding party are “Sabeans” (Job 1:15). The Sabeans came from Saba, also known in the Bible as “Sheba”(see Post 14). Saba was located in southern Arabia, in what is now known as Yemen. The second raiding party are “Chaldeans” (Job 1:17), coming from Chaldea in southern Mesopotamia. The Chaldean tribes would later be absorbed into the Babylonian empire. So the land of Uz had to be somewhere within range of the raiding parties of both the Sabeans and the Chaldeans.

Lamentations 4:21 places Edom in the land of Uz, indicating that Edomite territory had grown or expanded into the land of Uz. This is supported by the fact that one of Job’s false comforters named Eliphaz, was a Temanite. Teman was a city in Edom not far from the spectacular city of Petra. (Although some scholars place Eliphaz in Tema, in northern Arabia). Another false comforter, Zophar is designated a “Naamathite”, which some suggest refers to a mountain in north-western Arabia. The third false comforter named Bildad is called a “Shuhite”. However that refers to his ancestry, not his place of residence. Bildad is a descendant of Shuah, a son of Abraham. Similarly, the younger, wiser companion Elihu is called a “Buzite” as he is descended from Buz, probably also a relative of Abraham.

Finally, Jeremiah 25: 20,21 refers to “all the kings of the land of Uz” and includes among them, the kings of Ammon, Moab, Edom even Philistia. Moses probably first became acquainted with the story of Job while he was dwelling for 40 years in the land of Midian (Top photo). The Midianites were nomadic and their borders were fluid but it seems that they dwelt just south of Edom and for at least a time Midian extended into Edom.

All the clues point to the land of Uz being to the south and east of the promised land of Israel. During the lifetime of Job, Uz seems to have initially occupied the north-western part of Arabia, probably near the shores of the gulf of Aqaba. Over the years, the expression, “land of Uz” was applied to a broader area of land to the south and east of Israel including Edom, Moab and Ammon.

“After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

And Job spake, and said,

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?

For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,

With kings and counselors of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves;

Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.

There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.

The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.

Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;

Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came” (Job 3:1-26).

It appears that Job is very close to cursing God, but he doesn’t cross that line.

Job

Job was a God-fearing man who avoided evil, had seven sons and three daughters, and was immensely wealthy.  God calls Job “Hast though considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). 

Job is a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. He is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil.

Satan scoffs, “Doth Job fear God for naught?  Hast not thou made a hedge about him…put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath and he will curse thee to thy face” (Job 1:9-11).  God then allows Satan to do anything he likes with Job’s wealth, but not to harm him physically.

A series of misfortunes strikes Job.  Three friends visit him, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, and each try to explain Job’s misery in a different way.  There are three speeches by each of the three friends.

A fourth man Elihu, tries to summarize the situation, offering yet another explanation of why Job is suffering.  Finally the Lord Himself speaks to Job, and Job recognizes that we do not always need answers to life’s problems but that we always need God Himself. 

The life and times of Job are contained in the book of Job, in the Old Testament.  The theme of this book is that mankind simply does not have enough knowledge to explain why things happen the way they do. 

It is possible to rise above our limitations by faith in God, however, because God does know why everything happens and will work good for those who love him.  We may thus learn the profound truth that when we have nothing left but God, God is enough.

Job is mentioned, along with Noah and Daniel, in Ezekiel 14:14, as the only ones to be saved by their righteousness.  In James 5:11 Job is mentioned as a man who continued to trust the Lord even in sorrow.