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Apparent Contradiction of Words and Numbers

Four Witnesses to a 430-year Sojourn in Egypt

Abraham’s Witness to a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Jacob’s Life Requires a 430-Year Egyptian Sojourn

Elasticity of Hebrew Genealogical Terms

Abbreviated/Condensed Genealogies

Shem’s List: The Ultimate Example of Condensing

Shem’s Genealogy—Which Bible?

Evidence from the Lifespan of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Message of Job for Missing Generations

Evidence from the Times of Job for Missing Generations

Biblical Earth Movements After the Flood

Peleg, Joktan and the Table of Nations

Historical Errors Obscuring the Condensing of Shem’s Line

Interpretative Errors Supporting Ussher View

The Missing World between the Flood and Peleg

Recent Scholarship Improves Biblical Understanding

Summary of Biblical Findings

Secular Evidence—Those Many Documents Unavailable to Ussher


Evidence from the Lifespan of Job for Missing Generations


Scripture does not give Job’s genealogy, but such lists are only one way to date an individual.  The goal of this and the next two chapters is to showcase the many ways that do date Job.  As a consequence, his life and times demand an earlier Flood date.  The following ideas will be developed in these three chapters:

1.  Job lived 280 years which fixes his birth around 2690 BC and places him in the 40-50 generation gap between Eber and Peleg.

2.  Job lived when dinosaurs dwelt without fear of humans in the Jordan Valley.

3.  Job lived in the declining years of the Great Ice Age.  The book contains 15 distinct kinds of ice age phenomena.

4.  God orchestrated Job’s ordeal to show mankind how malicious and dangerous Satan is.  This message was needed early in God’s revelation to man.

5.  Job descended from Shem through Aram and Uz.  Knowledge of God was still abundant in his land.  A far different picture is seen in that same land in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, half a millennium later. 

6.  Peleg’s name means “divided by water” and most likely refers to the closing days of the Ice Age when glacial melt and subsequent rising sea level covered land bridges between continents. 

280-Year Lifespan (c. 2690-2410 BC)

We must start with Job’s lifespan found at the end of the book.  In his extreme pain Job had said regrettable things about God.  After he repented and prayed for his friends the book concludes by reporting that God doubled all he had (Job 42:10).  This doubling included ten more children, the same number that perished at the time of Satan’s attack.  Why not 20 more after his trial?  Job only needed ten more to double the original ten because 20 would end up with him in heaven forever. 

His years followed the same pattern as God’s doubling of his children.  Since Scripture is clear that he lived 140 years after his ordeal (Job 42:16), he had to have lived 140 years before his ordeal.  Why not 70 years before his testing?  The trial had not erased from his mind the memories of those former years of walking with God and building a ranching empire.  So like the doubling of his children, his years were doubled by giving him an equal number after his trial.  He lived 140 years before his ordeal and 140 years after his ordeal, giving him a total lifespan of 280 years.  On this high note, the Book of Job concludes.  In the end Job lived a full lifetime for his day.    

Doubling Job’s Animals

The above is our conclusion, but how did we get there?  The doubling at the end of the book begins with the doubling of his animals, not his children or his years.  Verse 12 says “he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.”  These numbers are exactly twice as many animals as he had just before his ordeal, for Job 1:3 states, “He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys.”  Then came the attack of the enemy.  Fire from heaven took the sheep.  Chaldeans stole the camels and Sabeans plundered the oxen and donkeys.  Job never saw them again. 

After his ordeal relatives showed him sympathy and gave him money and gold (Job 42:11).  With this start he began to rebuild his stock.  By the end of his life, 140 years later, Scripture reports that he had exactly twice as many animals as before Satan’s attack.   Indeed, God did double his livestock. 

Doubling Job’s Children

Next, Scripture speaks of his children.  After Job’s ordeal, Scripture states that “He had also seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:13).   To do this God obviously restored his health.  Ten is the same number that he originally had for Job 1:2 reported “There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.”  Satan killed them all by sending a wind that collapsed the house of the oldest brother where they were feasting.  But there is an apparent problem.  On the one hand “The LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42: 10).  On the other hand, the LORD gave him only ten more children, not twenty.   Why only ten more?  Wouldn’t it take twenty to double them? 

The answer is that there is a fundamental difference between Job’s animals and his children.  Those first animals were lost to Job forever.  But those first seven sons and three daughters were not lost forever when the great wind took them.  Job’s family believed in the true God, the Creator.  When they were killed, they went to glory and are there with Job today along with the second set of ten.  Job has twenty sons and daughters with him forever.  God did double his children even though doubling them would only take giving him ten more whereas doubling his animals would require heaven to stock his land with twice the number he had before his ordeal.  Heaven’s math is flawless. 

Doubling Job’s Years

Finally, the last verse of Job states that he lived 140 years after his ordeal.  We understand those years matched the years before his ordeal.  But 280 years places his birth before that of Abraham, Terah, Serug, Reu and even Peleg.  No known commentator views Job to have lived 280 years.  Invariably Job is given a shorter lifespan.  Why?  Where do they go astray?  Job 42:9 says “The LORD restored the fortunes of Job.”  Job 42:12 says “the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,” while 42:10 is more specific: “The LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”   Then Scripture gives specific numbers in three categories—his animals, his children and his years. 

Many students of Scripture conclude the doubling only applied to his cattle.  They reason that while he received twice as many animals but only the same number of children as before, the doubling only applied to his material possessions.  They conclude that only ten more would contradict the statement that God doubled all he had so the doubling only applied to his animals.  Yet others do include his children but not his years.  Some even include his years but state that he lived 70 years before his ordeal and God doubled that number after his ordeal, so that he lived 140 years after his ordeal for a total lifespan of 210 years (70 + 140 = 210). 

It is true that Job involves much mystery, especially about when he lived and when the book was written; the ideas and form of poetry are so advanced—how could the events have taken place so early?  Some find the time of the Patriarchs to be a good fit because Jacob’s twin brother Esau had a son named Eliphaz (Genesis 36:4, 10, 11).  They suggest he was the leader of the three friends who came to comfort Job.  The Eliphaz in the book of Job was from Teman and a town by that name existed in Edom, the nation Esau founded.  Others notice that Issachar’s third son was Yob (Job) and suggest that he might have decided to go out on his own after Jacob moved his family to Egypt, settling in the Sinai Peninsula where they say Job lived.  They strengthen this argument by adding that Moses may have known him during the forty years Moses lived in the Sinai with Jethro, the priest of Midian.  They suggest this was how Moses learned Job’s story.  (Jewish tradition holds Moses to be the author of Job.) 

But people weren’t living to the age of 280 or even 210 in Esau’s day.  Esau’s brother Jacob lived 147 years, Levi lived 137 years and Moses lived 120 years.  Further, names are often repeated in Scripture.  Most tellingly, the city of Teman existed before it was taken over by the Edomites.  The whole idea of Issachar’s son leaving Jacob’s extended family in Egypt is unlikely.  Finally, Job knowing Moses is impossible since the Eliphaz who was Esau’s son would have lived when Jacob moved his people to Egypt, hundreds of years before Moses was born. 

Still others disregard the length of Job’s life entirely and suggest he lived during or shortly before the days of David because the poetry of Job is like that of Psalms and Solomon’s books.  But by that time the average lifespan was 70, only half as long as Job lived after his ordeal.  In the discourses Eliphaz refutes Job’s position by asking if Job was so old that he possessed all knowledge.  “Are you the first man who was born?  Or were you brought forth before the hills?  Have you listened in the council of God?  And do you limit wisdom to yourself?” Job 15:8-9.  Eliphaz next answers his question with “Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, older than your father” 15:10. 

Job was not near the end of his life when Satan struck.  His father was still alive and people even older than his father described as “the gray-haired and the aged” were living in his day.   Nevertheless, in chapter 42 God says that Job spoke correctly about Him while his three comforters did not which indicates he already had to have lived many years to gain his knowledge of God.  Therefore, Job had already lived many years at the time of his ordeal and others were considerably older. 

So, the usual practice is to focus on the animals but not dwell on his children or years.  What does Scripture do?  His animals are mentioned first; they were the least important, the most superficial; there is no elaboration.  His children were far more important so Scripture not only reports their number but elaborates significantly on them.  Lastly, his years were the most important of all.  Scripture reports their number and elaborates on them with unusual detail as well.  This structuring reinforces the idea that the doubling applied to his children and his lifespan as well as his animals.  When they are viewed in this light, only one conclusion remains—Job’s children set the pattern for the doubling of his years.  Job lived a total of 280 years. 

Four Generations in Job’s Second Family

What Scripture says about those years after his ordeal reinforces our view.  The sequence begins with “After this Job lived 140 years.”  Job 42:16.  For perspective, Abraham lived a total of 175 years so 140 is just 35 years short of Abraham’s entire lifetime.  Jacob lived 147 years or just seven years longer than Job’s years following his ordeal.  Next it says “[He] saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations.”  Job 42:16.  The first generation would be those seven sons and three daughters.  If Job recovered his health over the next ten years, he would have begun fathering/begetting children ten years into the second 140 years.  At the standard rate of gaining maturity at the age of 32, the second generations would have begun 42 years into Job’s 2nd 140 years.  The third generation would have begun when he was 74 years into the second 140.  Finally, the fourth generation would have begun when he was 106 years into the second 140 years.  This is about right mathematically because at 140, the first of the fifth generation would have just been born. 

Wouldn’t this also have been true before his ordeal?  If so, the first generation would be 32-50 years younger than him making him begin the first generation when he was 32, the second when he was 64, the third when he was 96 and the fourth when he was 128.  Being 140 years old at the time of his ordeal fits while being 70 does not. 

Furthermore, the only activity mentioned of his first batch of ten children is “eating and drinking,” and “feasting.”  They held feasts in the house of each one on his day and their sisters would join them (Job 1:4).  The feasts lasted for multiple days and Job was not present because the text says “When the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them….  Thus Job did continually.”  Job 1:5.  This lifestyle sounds more geared to retired or semi-retired people.   Yet if he was only 70, the oldest would have been 38 while the youngest would have been 20 meaning that most of them had not even reached adulthood.  But if he were 140 when they were killed, the oldest would have been 108 and the youngest 90. 

The servant who brought the terrible news called them young people: “their oldest brother’s house … fell on the young people and they are dead.”  Job 1:18-19.  “Young people” is a relative term, frequently used by an older generation for the next generation regardless of age.  If they were 90-108 and Job was 140, “young people” would be appropriate.  Further, they were not living with their parents any longer.  Each owned his own home and ran his own life.  Thus, his children’s easy lifestyle adds further support to the idea that Job had lived many more than 70 years and his first ten children were far older than 20-38 when Satan struck. 

Some will dismiss this line of reasoning as speculative but it logically applies the pattern given by Scripture and it is such specific patterns as found in all the numbers in the lines of Adam and Shem that make the Scripture believable, not mythical. 

Support for 280 Years from the Circumstances of His Death

Finally, Scripture concludes its elaboration on his years by stating the circumstances of his death: “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”  Job 42:17.  These words are the standard scriptural statement for living a full life rather than a life cut short prematurely or unusually extended.  His 140 years were not miracle years other than being restored to health so he could live the standard lifetime of his day.  Abraham’s death received the same Scriptural notice:  

7These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years.  8Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years.  Genesis 25:7-8. 

An entirely separate line of reasoning involves the hints of many years before his ordeal.  The book shows he knew much about God.  He also was careful in his worship of God, always consecrating his sons and daughters after each round of their feasting (Job 1:4-5).  Of all people alive at that time, God chose him to expose the unseen enemy of mankind.  All this suggests many years of spiritual growth.  The size of his ranch suggests he had been at it for a long time.  His position of highest respect in the nearby town suggests the passing of many years.  The discourses ask if he were so old he knew all things.  The very fact that the spiritual leaders of his area came to comfort him suggests that he had been around a long time.  Job’s 280-year lifespan is but the first of many reasons to place his birth half a millennium before Abraham’s.  (See Appendix 11.1 for a list of fourteen reasons for dating Job early.) 

Job’s Character and World

1There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.  2There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.  3He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.  Job 1:1-3.

This opening paragraph introduces Job as a man without blame.  Not that he was sinless, but as people looked at his life, they recognized qualities like honesty, justice and compassion.  Upright comes from straight or correct.  It answers to righteousness.  Job had a high regard for God and walked according to His standards. 

The words describing Job’s character are in the very first verse of this sixth longest Old Testament book.  But they are repeated and they come from the very mouth of God when God says to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Job 1:8.  This time God adds that Job is at the top of the ladder, in a class all by himself, that there was none like him on the earth.  Job was the most righteous man alive in his day. 

That is not all.  After Satan had destroyed all of Job’s wealth and caused all ten of his children to perish, God repeated the phrase: “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?   He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”  Job 2:3.  In the face of losing all his animals, many servants and ten kids, he retained his integrity.  In spite of this crushing blow, he was still in a class all of his own.  None was like him in living the way God intended man to live. 

The suffering Job endured is so horrible that some feel his account is more of an allegory, a story designed to teach God’s children to trust Him in the worst that could be imagined.  No human could possible survive that, goes this thinking.  Yet he is mentioned as a real person in both the Old and New Testaments.  James 5:11 speaks of his exemplary patience. 

 In Ezekiel 14:14 and 20 God emphasizes how certain was the coming judgment by saying to Ezekiel, “Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it [the land God was judging], they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.”  In verse 20 God repeats this statement with an oath: “As I live declares the Lord God.  They would deliver neither son nor daughter.  They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.”  Both Noah and Daniel are regarded as men who really lived.  In fact Daniel was alive when God gave this prophecy to Ezekiel.  This certainly argues that like Noah and Daniel, Job was a real person.  The experience of Job is more than a moral lesson.  It is a record of events that actually happened. 

Job’s Family Business

The next verses describe his enormous ranch, large family and active worship of the true God.  Verse three mentions 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, very many servants and summarizes: “This man was the greatest of all the people of the east.”  The numbers are impressive.  For instance if his 3000 camels were roped at 25’ intervals, the caravan would stretch over 14 miles.  More seriously, not many today are familiar with how such animals could be employed to make Job the wealthiest man “in the east.”   So let us look at the operation and size of such a ranch on the basis of general standards of production for these animals. 

Essentially Job owned an enormous family business complex consisting of three major divisions: farming, manufacturing and trading.  Each complimented the other and made maximum use of his work force.  The work year began with spring planting.  One ox can pull a plow.  A yoke of two provide both power and endurance.  The man wrestling with the plow would wear out long before two oxen.  But someone needed to make sure the oxen stayed on course, so one man would lead them while the other muscled the plow.  When the plow man became exhausted, they would trade jobs.  Following them would be people to break up clods and smooth the dirt.  Last of all would come the planters.

Division One: Farming

During planting season most of Job’s available community chipped in, essentially moving into the field.  Each yoke involved a family or two, possibly a total of ten people including women and older children.  Thus 5000 people would make the greatest use of Job’s 500 yoke of oxen.  Being a godly man, Job would make sure his workers had a day of rest.  Then time was needed to set up field camps where the oxen plowed.  Most of the area was composed of rather narrow valleys or bands of fertile soil broken up by numerous rocky hills, plateaus, mountainous regions and wilderness. 

Now it becomes obvious why the donkeys were needed.  They brought both provisions to the field camp(s), sometimes as far as 20 miles from headquarters and supplies for planting.  The various crops were planted at different times.  Possibly the planting season extended over ten weeks which allowed for about 50 plowing days after subtracting the days for moving, rest and bad weather.  If each yoke plowed two acres a day, 500 yoke would plow 1000 acres a day or 50,000 in 50 days.  A square mile contains 640 acres, so 50,000 acres amounts to 78 square miles. 

When the Sabeans stole Job’s oxen (Job 1:15), the donkeys were feeding beside them.  Apparently, Job practiced crop rotation, leaving a portion of the fertile land to rest each year.  The oxen fed on this resting land at night and during the non-plowing season as well.  Manure from the animals further enriched the fallowing soil for its next cycle of planting.  Because the area was becoming more arid, possibly one-third of Job’s total arable land rested each year.  Adding this land to the land being plowed brings the total land that could be cultivated to 100 plus square miles. 

Crops matured for harvest at different times as well, so harvesting also lasted for about two months.  Again, all available personnel were needed for the harvest.  During the harvest season donkeys carried loads in both directions—taking provisions out to the field workers and returning with the harvested crops. 

Division Two: Manufacturing

Wool from Job’s 7000 sheep would supply his manufacturing division as well as provide meat for his employees and sacrifices for worshiping the LORD.  Possibly ten garments could be made from the spring shearing of each animal.  While keeping the sheep involved about 300 men and older boys, more help would be needed at shearing time.  When the women weren’t in the field for planting or harvesting, they would be making garments (70,000 a year from 7000 sheep).  Many would clothe Job’s community; the rest would be available for trade. 

Division Three: Trading

Job’s 3000 camels explain his great wealth.  They formed his trading division, carrying his farming surplus and manufacturing products throughout the region.  They would have been resting during planting and harvesting while all available hands were involved in those efforts.  During the trading season each caravan might involve ten to twenty camels, 150-300 caravans.  Each twenty-camel caravan consisted of camel drivers, skilled traders and guards, possibly ten men.  While camels can walk all day at four miles per hour, to save their energy for carrying products, the men with them did not ride; they walked except, per chance, for a few elderly, highly skilled traders.  Those walking limited the caravan to 20-25 miles a day. 

During the trading season about 2000 of the men of Job’s ranch including most of the strongest men were involved in caravan operations.  Another 300 cared for the sheep, 200 cared for the donkeys and oxen and still hundreds of others provided services for the ranching community and mansions of Job and his seven semi-retired sons.  Possibly 3000 working age men were a part of Job’s operation.  With retirees, women and children, his entire community could have numbered 12,000. 

Job’s operations stretched over 1000 square miles, given all the unusable land within which he found 100 square miles suitable for farming and another 50 for the grazing of sheep and camels.  The area of his land compares favorably with the famous King Ranch of Texas, USA with its 1300 square miles. 

Social Life of Job’s Adult Children

Each of Job’s seven sons had his own house.  With Job at 140, his sons would be around 100 and have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.  “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.”  Job 1:4.  “His day” is commonly understood to be the birthday of each son.  “And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.”  Job 1:5.    “Days of the feast” and “run their course” sounds like multiple days for each feast and cycles of celebrating.  It could be that “his day” was a designated day on the calendar like the first day of each new moon or the first day of each quarter to kick off another cycle of feasting at each brother’s house. 

Priestly Function of Job

Following each cycle, regardless of their frequency, Job diligently performed the service of family priest, consecrating each son and offering a burnt sacrifice for each.  The idea that he was very conscientious in this expression of faith is reinforced with “Thus Job did continually.”  Job 1:5.  So even though his vast business operation undoubtedly kept him very busy, he was not too busy to find time to worship God.  What previous men of faith had learned of God was available in Job’s day and on the basis of this verbal Bible Job had established a strong trust in God. 

The next section will provide numerous further reasons to conclude Job was born nearly 300 years before Peleg rather than 400-1200 years after Peleg.  While it would not seem so, the location of Job’s ranch is a significant element in determining when Job was born.  

Location of Job’s Ranch

That very first verse also tells where he lived: “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job…”  So, who was Uz and where was his land located?  Determining all this takes some detective work but many clues are available to provide a reasonable answer.  One Uz is found among the earliest people in the line of Shem.  Shem had a son named Aram who fathered a son named Uz.  This Uz is found in both the genealogies of the Table of Nations and those in Chronicles. 

The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.  The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.  Genesis 10:22-23. 

The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.  And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech.  I Chronicles 1:17.

Aram was among those born in the first generation after the Flood; thus his son Uz was born in the second.  Further, Uz was Aram’s firstborn.  While these are obvious facts, they are extremely important and must not be overlooked.  They mean he was on the ground floor in obtaining land in the years after the population scattered following the Tower of Babel judgment.  His father must have taken his family west because his descendants, the Aramaeans, came to occupy portions of modern Syria, Jordan and western Arabia.  As the firstborn, Uz received choice land—much of what is today Jordan and western Saudi Arabia.  A substantial population developed across this region and a millennium later Job was born.  He possessed a large amount of land, had incredible business skills, was commendably godly, and attracted thousands of folks to his ranching enterprise.  He exhibited the best qualities of the Shem-Aram-Uz line.

Godliness, Sunrise, Chaldeans, Sabeans and Camels 

Besides the person for whom the land was named, many other clues help locate Job’s ranch.  God says Job was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”  Job 1:1b.  Like his ancestor Noah who lived a thousand years before, Job was a spiritual beacon in his day.  Very possibly Noah’s Shem-Aram-Uz branch remained true to Noah’s God during this entire period.  Each of the five men who spoke in Job came from different people groups yet were descendants of Aram or influenced by Aram’s descendants.  How else to explain their sound knowledge of God?

Another geographical clue is found in Job 1:3: “He was the greatest of all the people of the east.”  The word “east” is “sunrise.”  Directions were in relation to Israel.  But since Abraham did not enter Canaan until half a millennium later, how can this phrase be explained?  The answer lies in the work of the Holy Spirit who led the editor/writer to include this in the book’s final form.  This statement locates Job’s ranch more to the east of Israel rather than to the north as in Syria or to the south as in the Sinai. 

The assaults of the Sabeans for Job’s oxen (Job 1:15) and Chaldeans for Job’s camels (Job 1:17) point to a west to northwest Arabia location.  The Sabeans were famous marauding nomads from the depths of the Arabian wilderness to the east.  As to the Chaldeans the servant was very specific.  Their style was distinctive; they were well organized; they executed their attack military style.  Clearly, they were well known in Job’s day.  In later times they occupied a land north of Mesopotamia so they either migrated north over the centuries from where they lived in this early period or this was a splinter group.  This might place Job’s ranch more to the northern portion of the land of Uz. 

Camels are another clue to where and when Job lived.  While donkeys were used for local transport, camels carried goods long distances.  The camel does not have a hoof.  Instead, it is equipped with a large leathery pad that prevents it from sinking into the sand.  Their long legs distanced them further from the hot earth than the legs of donkeys or horses so they were better fitted for hot desert temperatures.  They could walk for days between watering spots.  As will be seen later, Arabia was covered with vegetation due to hypercyclones until the waning days of the Ice Age.  As the Ice Age came to an end and desert regions increased, camels became the standard pack animals. 

Job spoke of the caravans of Sheba and Tema.  The countries of Sheba, home to the Queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia and Tema which was NW of Sheba were famous for trading all across Arabia.  Job would have been very familiar with them and their countless trading routes.  His 3000 camels would also have been familiar sights across much of Arabia.  This places Job on the fringe of the Arabian desert where he could still farm successfully but also trade in the desert regions to the east. 

Other References to “the Land of Uz”

Very important clues come from the other two times the land of Uz is mentioned in the Old Testament.  Both references are found in the writings of Jeremiah which date two millennia after Job’s ordeal.  By that time nations had formed in parts of the land of Uz so they help to identify the entire region of Uz.  In Jeremiah 25:15-26 God directs the prophet to make the nations drink the cup of His judgment.  This judgment consists of defeat in warfare.  Many nations and kingdoms are in this passage.  The list, however, contains an order.  It begins and ends with the two nations that treated Israel the worst—Egypt and Babylon who were the first and last to be judged by God.  But it also seems to be a listing of nations from closest to Israel to those more distant.  The following is an attempt to pick out the names of the nations without citing the entire content of these twelve verses:

15Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me  “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it:”  18Jerusalem and the cities of Judah; 19Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, all his people, 20and all the mixed tribes among them; all the kings of the land of Uz and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, 21Edom, Moab, and the sons of Ammon; 22all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and all the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23Dedan, Tema, Buz; 24all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert, 25all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world.  After them the king of Babylon shall drink. 

God begins with Jerusalem and Judah, the heart of Israel. Then come the bordering countries of Uz, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon.  Philistia bordered Israel on her southwest; Edom, Moab and Ammon were those small nations that bordered her on her south and east.  Tyre and Sidon were the small people groups immediately to Israel’s northwest.  The list concludes with countries more distant from Israel—the coastlands, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia, the desert, Zimri, Elam and Media.   

Remarkably when this list gets into specific geographical regions bordering Israel, the very first area is Uz.  The next nations were to Israel’s southwest, south, southeast, east and northwest, leaving only her north and northeast for Uz.  Damascus representing Syria to her north is absent from this list which suggests that Damascus had already been conquered by Babylon.  The only region left for Uz is the northeast border of Israel. 

Lamentations 4:21 confirms the above: “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz.”  Jacob’s twin brother Esau founded a nation called Edom and Edom occupied an area SE to SW of the Dead Sea which was at least partly in the area of ancient Uz.  In a similar way Moab and Ammon, the sons of Lot, established nations that occupied portions of ancient Uz on Israel’s eastern border.  The only remaining portion of Uz not specifically occupied by a nation in Jeremiah’s day was the northeast border of Israel.  Thus, the land of Uz in Job’s day occupied an area from northeast to south of the Israel of Jeremiah’s day.  Job’s ranch could have been located anywhere within this large territory. 

Outside of the book of Job, of all the biblical writers Jeremiah alone names ancient Uz as a land.  For Jeremiah to think in terms of that area’s name found in just five words of previous Scripture [“in the land of Uz”] suggests the book of Job was a prominent source of his thinking about God.  It would be a fascinating meditation for someone to dwell on how the book of Job contributed to Jeremiah’s faith. 


In summary Job lived somewhere in Uz, somewhere east of Israel, somewhere that was vulnerable to the Sabeans of the desert and Chaldeans from some distant place, somewhere where his caravans could trade throughout Arabia, somewhere where he could have traveled to the Jordan River to see Behemoth, somewhere where lakes still froze fast, where hail and snow were common, and where windstorms might level the strongest houses. 

Job lived in the transition from the Ice Age to the post Ice Age period, the subject of chapter 11.  He lived before Arabia became unfarmable desert.  Numerous indications point to an area northeast of Israel, somewhere in northern Jordan or northwest Arabia, several hundred miles east of the Mediterranean.  As a descendant of Uz this was the portion of land he received and where he made his home in the waning centuries of the Ice Age.    


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