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the hope of being able to illustrate any obscurities. My sole intention is to collect, from such passages as appear the least intricate, the most probable conjectures: and what I conceive to have any tolerable foundation in fact, that I mean to propose, not as demonstration, but as opinion only. I proceed in this manner upon the principle, that, considering the great discordance of sentiments upon this subject, it would be impossible for any man to discourse with a sufficient degree of accuracy and perspicuity upon the structure and parts of this poem, unless he previously explained his own ideas concerning the scope and purport of the work in general.
The book of Job appears to me to stand single and unparalleled in the sacred volume. It seems to bave little connexion with the other writings of the Hebrews, and no relation whatever to the affairs of the Israelites. The scene is laid in Idumaa;* the history of an inhabitant of that
* The information which the learned have endeavoured to collect, from the writings and geography of the Greeks, concerning the country and residence of Job and his friends, appears to me so very inconclusive, that I am inclined to take a quite different method for the solution of this question, by applying solely to the sacred writings : The hints with which they have furnished me towards the illustration of this subject, I shall explain as briefly as possible.
The land of Uz or Gnutz, is evidently Idumea, as appears from Lam. iv. 21. Uz was the grandson of Seir, the Horite; Gen. xxxvi. 20, 21. 28. ; 1 Chron. i. 38. 42. Seir inhabited that mountainous tract which was called by his name antecedent to the time of Abraham, but his posterity being expelled, it was occupied by the Idumæans; Gen. xiv. 6. ; Deut. ii. 12. Two other men are mentioned of the name Uz; one the grandson of Shem, the other the son of Nachor, the brother of Abraham : but whether any district was called after their name is not clear. . Idumaa is a part of Arabia Petræa, situated on the southern extremity of the tribe of Judah ; Numb. xxxiv. 3. ; Josh. xv. 1. 21. : the land of Uz therefore appears to have been between Egypt and Philistia, Jer. xxv. 20. where the order of the places seems to have been accurately observed in reviewing the different nations from Egypt to Babylon ; and the same people seem again to be described, in exactly the same situations, Jer. xlvi.-1.
Children of the East, or Eastern people, seems to have been the general appellation for that mingled race of people (as they are called, Jer. xxv. 20.) who inhabited between Egypt and the Euphrates, bordering upon Judea from the south to the east; the Idumeans, the Amalekites, the Midianites, the Moabites, the Ammonites : See Judg. vi. 3. and Isa. xi. 14. Of these the Idumæans and Amalekites certainly possessed the southern parts : see Numb. xxxiv. 3. ; xiii. 29. ; 1 Sam. xxvii. 8. 10. This appears to be the true state of the case : The whole region between Egypt and the Euphrates was called the East, at first in respect to Egypt, (where the learned Jos. Mede thinks the Israelites acquired this mode of speaking ; Mede's Works, p. 580.), and afterwards absolutely, and without any relation to situation or circumstances. Abraham is said to have sent the sons of his concubines, Hagar and Keturah, ** eastward, to the country which is commonly called the East,” Gen.
country is the basis of the narrative; the characters who speak are Idumæans, or at least Arabians of the adjacent
where the name of the region seems to have been derived from the same situation. Solomon is reported “ to have excelled in wisdom all the Eastern perple, and all Egypt,” | Kings iv. 30. that is, all the neighbouring people on that quarter; for there were people beyond the boundaries of Egypt, and bordering on the south of Judea, who were famous for wisdom, namely, the Idumæans, (see Jer. xlix. 7.; Obad. 8.), to whom we may well believe this passage might have some relation. Thus JEHOVAH addresses the Babylonians, “ Arise, ascend unto Kedar, and lay waste the children of the East," Jer. xlix. 28. notwithstanding these were really situated to the west of Babylon. Although Job, therefore, be accounted one of the orientals, it by no means follows that his residence must be in Arabia Deserta.
Eliphaz the Temanile : Eliphaz was the son of Esau, and Teman the son of Eliphaz, Gen. xxxvi. 10, 11. The Eliphaz of Job was without a doubt of this race. Teman is certainly a city of Idumæa, Jer. xlix. 7. 20.; Ezek. xxv. 13. ; Amos i. 11, 12. ; Obad. 8, 9.
Billad the Shuhite : Shuah was one of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, whose posterity were numbered among the people of the East, and his situation was probably contiguous to that of his brother Midian, and of his nephews Shebah and Dedan ; see Gen. xxv. 2, 3. Dedan is a city of Idumæa, Jer. xlix. 8. and seems to have been situated on the eastern side, as Teman was on the west, Ezek. xxv. 13. From Sheba originated the Sabæans in the passage from Arabia Felix to the Red Sea : Sheba is united to Midian, Isa. Ix. 6. ; it is in the same region however with Midian, and not far from Mount Horeb, Exod. ii. 15. iii. .
Zophar the Naamathite : among the cities which by lot fell to the tribe of Judah, in the neighbourhood of Iduniæa, Naama is enumerated Josh. xv. 21. 41. Nor does this name elsewhere occur : this probably was the country of Zophar.
Elihu the Buzite : Buz occurs but once as the name of a place or country, Jer. xxv. 23. where it is mentioned along with Dedan and Thema: Dedan, as was just now demonstrated, is a city of Idumæa; Thema belonged to the children of Ishmael, who are said to bave inhabited from Havilah even to Shur, which is in the district of Egypt, Gen. xxv. 15. 18. Saul, however, is said to have smitten the Amalekites from Havilah even to Shur, which is in the district of Egypt, 1 Sam. xv. 7. Havilah cannot, therefore, be very far from the boundaries of the Amalekites; but the Amalekites never exceeded the boundaries of Arabia Petræa. (See Reland, Palæstin. lib. i. c. 14.) Thema therefore lay somewhere between Havilah and the Desert of Shur, to the southward of Judea. Thema is also inentioned in connexion with Sheba, Job vi. 19.
Upon a fair review of these facts I think we may venture to conclude, still with that modesty which such a question demands, that Job was an inhabitant of Arabia Petræa, as well as his friends, or at least of that neighbourhood. To this solution one objection may be raised : it may be asked, how the Chaldeans, who lived on the borders of the Euphrates, could make depredations on the camels of Job, who lived in Idumæa at so great a distance ? This, too, is thought a sufficient cause for assigning Job a situation in Arabia Deserta, and not far from the Euphrates. But what should prevent the Chaldeans, as well as the Sabæans, a people addicted to rapine, and roving about at immense distances for the sake of plunder, from wandering through these defenceless regions, which were divided into tribes and families rather than into nations, and pervading from Euphrates even to Egypt? Further, I would ask, on the other hand, whether it be probable that all the friends of Joh,
country, all originally of the race of Abraham. The language is pure Hebrew, although the author appears to be an Idumæan; for it is not improbable that all the posterity of Abraham, Israelites, Idumæans, and Arabians, whether of the family of Keturah or Ishmael, spoke for a considerable length of time one common language. That the Idumæans, however, and the Temanites in particular, were eminent for the reputation of wisdom, appears by the testimony of the prophets Jeremiah and Obadiah :* Baruch also particularly mentions them amongst “ the authors (or expounders) of fables, and searchers out of understanding.”+ The learned are very much divided in their sentiments concerning the author of this book. Our Lightfoot conjectures, that it is the production of Elihu; and this conjecture seems at first sight rather countenanced by the exordium to the first speech of Elihu, in which he seems to assume the character of the author, by continuing the narrative in. his own person. That passage, however, which appears to interrupt the speech of Elihu, and to be a part of the narrative, is, I apprehend, nothing more than an apostrophe to Job, or possibly to himself; for it manifestly consists of two distichs; while, on the contrary, it is well known that all the narrative parts, all in which the author himself appears, are certainly written in prose. Another opinion, which has been still more generally received, attributes the work to Moses. This conjecture, however, for I cannot dignify it with any higher appellation, will be found to rest altogether upon another, namely, that this poem was originally a consolatory address to the Israelites, and an allegorical representation of their situation : And I must confess I can scarcely conceive any thing more futile than such an hypothesis, since it is impossible to trace, throughout the whole book, the slightest allu
who lived in Idumaa and its neighbourhood, should instantly be informed of all that could bappen to Job in the Desert of Arabia and on the confines of Chaldea, and immediately repair thither? Or whether it be reasonable to think, that, some of them being inhabitants of Arabia Deserta, it should be concerted among them to meet at the residence of Job; since it is evident that Eliphaz lived at Theman, in the extreme parts of Idumæa? With respect to the Aisitas of Ptolemy (for so it is written, and not Ausitas), it has no agreement, not so much as in a single letter, with the Hebrew Gnutz. The LXX indeed call that country by the name Ausitida, but they describe it as situated in Idumæa; and they account Job himself an Idumæan, and a descendant of Esau. See the Appendix of the LXX to the book of Job, and Hyde, Not. in Perilzol. chap. xi. - Author's Note.
Jer. xlix. 7.; Obad. 8. + Baruch iii. 22, 23. Job xxxii, 15, 16.
sion to the manners, customs, ceremonies, or history of the Israelites. I will add, moreover, that the style of Job appears to me materially different from the poetical style of Moses; for it is much more compact, concise, or condensed, more accurate in the poetical conformation of the sentences: as may be observed also in the prophecies of Balaam the Mesopotamian—a foreigner indeed with respect to the Israelites, but neither unacquainted with their language, nor with the worship of the true God. I confess myself, therefore, on the whole, more inclined to favour the opinion of those who suppose Job himself, or some contemporary, to be the author of this poem: for that it is the most ancient of all the sacred books, is I think manifest from the subject, the language, the general character, and even from the obscurity of the work.* Concerning the time also in which Job lived,
* In opposition to the antiquity of the poem, and to what I have urged above, that it appears to have no connexion with, or relation to, the affairs of the Israelites, appeals have been made to Job xxxi. 28. See A free and candid Eramination of the Bishop of London's Sermon, Anonymous, p. 165. in which the author inquires, “ In what nation upon earth idolatry was ever accounted a crime but under the Jewish economy? His argument is proposed as unanswerable, and is thought to be sufficiently confirmed by the authority of Mr Locke. I will however appeal to a higher authority than that of Locke, namely, that of reason and the sacred writings; and will answer the question in a few words: Under the Patriarchal economy, in every tribe and family under Abraham, Melchizedec, Job, and the rest. On the increase of idolatry Abralam was called by the divine command from Chaldea, to the end that from him should proceed a nation separate from all others, who should worship the true God, should afford a perfect example of pure religion, and bear testimony against the worship of vain gods. Was it not, therefore, the duty of Abraham, who in his own tribe or family possessed all the attributes of sovereignty, to punish idolatry as well as homicide, adultery, or other heinous crimes? Was it not the duty of Melchizedec, of Job, of all those patriarchal princes who regarded the worship of the true God, sedulously to prevent every defection from it; to restrain those who were disposed to forsake it, and to punish the obscinate and the rebellious? In fact, in this allusion to the exertion of the judicial authority against idolatry, and against the particular species which is mentioned here, namely, the worship of the Sun and Moon, (the earliest species of idolatry), consists the most complete proof of the antiquity of the poem, and the decisive mark of the patriarchal age. But if it should be suspected, that the ingenuity of the poet might lead him to imitate with accuracy the manners of the age 1 which he describes, this indeed would be more to the purpose, and a more plausible argument against the antiquity of the poem : but I cannot possibly attribute such address and refinement to a poet in a barbarous age, and after the Babylonish captivity. Further than this, the style of the poem savours altogether of the antique ; insomuch, that whoe ver could suppose it written after the Babylonish captivity, would fall little short of the error of Hardouin, who ascribed the golden verses of Virgil, Horace, &c. to the iron age of monkish pedantry and ignorance.
With regard to the other difficulty, the solution of which appears so embar
although not directly specified, I see no great room for doubt. The length of his life evinces that he was before Moses, and probably contemporary with the patriarchs. Not, however, to dwell upon the innumerable hypotheses of the learned on this subject, I will only mention, that there is the utmost probability of his having lived prior to the promulgation of the Law, from the nature of the sacrifice which he institutes conformably to the command of God, namely, seven oxen and seven rams; for it is plain, from the example of Balaam, that a respect for that number prevailed in those countries and at that period, from the traditional accounts which were still preserved among them of the seven days of creation.* The truth of the narrative would never, I am persuaded, have been called in question, but from the immoderate affection of some allegorizing mystics for their own fictions, which run to such excess as to prevent them from acceding to any thing but what was visionary and typical. When I speak of the poem as founded in fact, I would be understood no further than concerns the general subject of the narrative; for, I apprehend, all the dialogue, and most likely some other parts, have partaken largely of the embellishments of poetry; but I cannot allow that this has by any means extended so far as to convert the whole into an allegory. Indeed, I have not been able to trace any vestige of an allegorical meaning throughout the entire poem. And should even the exordium be suspected to be of this nature,t we must recollect, that the historical books are not destitute of similar narratives. The exor
rassing, namely, how any person not acquainted with the Jewish economy could assert that “ God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children," Job xxi. 19. let the candid observer for the present content himself with this verse of Horace:
“ Delicta majorum immeritus lues,
Roman, 'tis thine, to latest times,
The vengeance of the gods to bear.” Francis. - Author's Note. Job xlii. 8. Compare Numb. xxiji. I, &c. • There seems to be but little weight in this reasoning, because Job, as an Idumæan, might have been a worshipper of the true God, like Balaam the Mesopotamian; and therefore, though the law had been given to the Israelites, continued, notwithstanding, to offer sacrifice according to the traditionary mode of his progenitors.-S. H.
+ Job i. 6, &c. ii. 1, &c. Compare 1 Kings xxii. 19–22.
# It has long been a dispute among the learned, whether the poem of Job consists of fable or a true history: this question, if authority alone be applied