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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The Book of Job

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1.1–2.13 : The prologue.

Job, a devout and prosperous man, is tested for his integrity by calamity and disaster.

1 :

Uz probably means Edom, although northern Transjordan is possible (see Gen. 36.28 and Jer. 25.20 for the former and Gen. 10.23; 22.21 , and 1 Chr. 1.17 for the latter). Blameless: lit. whole; the import is not sinless perfection. The name Job occurs widely in the ancient world meaning “Where is my father?” It may also mean “inveterate foe” or else the “penitent one,” thus indicating the role of Job and the content of the book.

2 :

A family consisting of seven sons and three daughters (see Ruth 4.15 ) was deemed ideal.

3 :

The wealth described is that of a seasonally nomadic sheikh (note the absence of such items as precious stones or metal).

4 :

The banquet is possibly to be understood as an annual festival celebration.

5 :

Sanctity: a ceremonial removal of ritual uncleanness in preparation for worship; see Exod. 19.15; Lev. 11.39–47; Num. 11.18 .

6 :

For the ancients, human events were decided in divine councils; see 1 Kgs. 22.19–22; Isa. 6.8 . Adversary: Heb. “the satan,” accuser, apparently a legal term (Ps. 109.6 ), and not yet the proper name for an evil being it was to become later. This title and function possibly derive from the Persian secret police, and the duties would compare to those of a district attorney in the United States. The Adversary is the enemy of human beings, not of God.

10 :

Hedged him round: the barrier of thorns would keep adversity away from Job's territory (see Hos. 2.6 for the figure).

15 :

Sabaeans: nomads from Arabia.

16 :

The author makes skillful use of a refrain, “Only I have escaped…” here and in the following verses. God's fire: lightning.

17 :

Chaldaeans: the biblical word for Babylonians. The import here is wandering marauders, not invaders.

19 :

Whirlwind: a wind much more violent than the sirocco (hamsin).

21 :

The womb is likened to mother earth. Whence I came: lit. there, a euphemism for Sheol, the netherworld.

2.4 :

Skin for skin: a proverbial expression meaning “value for value.”

7 :

It is impossible to determine the illness; some sort of skin boil is suggested.

9 :

Death was not an immediate result of cursing God: the hope here is that death may soon follow.

11 :

Teman: see Jer. 49.7 n. Shuah: perhaps Edom or Arabia (see Gen. 25.2; 1 Chr. 1.32 ). Naamah: an unknown place (but see Josh. 15.41 ).

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