Online Bible Commentary
A Godly Example
Job 1:1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. (NIV)
The book of Job may be the oldest book in the Bible. It is believed to have been written by Moses, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If so, he likely wrote it while he lived in the desert of Midian. Moses lived in Midian from the time he was forty years old until he left to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt at the age of eighty. Moses was born at Goshen, in Egypt, in 1571 B.C. The book, then, would have been written in 1531-1491 B.C.
Midian, the home of Moses, bordered the eastern side of the Red Sea. Uz, the home of Job, was adjacent to Midian to the north, in Edom (Lam. 4:21). Midian was located in what is now Saudi Arabia. Uz was located in what is now southern Jordan. Due to the proximity of the two lands, it makes it even more likely that Moses wrote the book after hearing the stories coming out of Uz.
The events of the book of Job were believed to have occurred prior to the Mosaic Law, during the time of the Patriarchs. During this time the family Patriarch acted as “priest” and offered the sacrifices for his family, just as Job was doing (v.5). Therefore, the events described in the book are believed to have occurred in the latter part of the book of Genesis 11, in the Patriarchal era. The Patriarchal era occurred in 2100-1900 B.C.
The book of Job is a beautiful piece of Hebrew poetry. It serves as an example of how God allows hardship to fall even on the righteous, so as to refine and purify them. Moses, himself, was enduring hardship while he lived in the desert of Midian. The hardship refined and purified him for the coming challenge that God had in store for him in Egypt. God brought this story to Moses as part of that refining.
Job was a man of God. He was “blameless and upright” in the eyes of God (v.1a). He was obedient to God and always sought to avoid sin (v.1b). He had been greatly blessed by God with seven sons and three daughters (v.2). He had also been blessed with great material riches (v. 3a). Job was the “greatest man”, the richest and most powerful man, in the “East” (v.3b). The word “East” could have meant the entire Ancient East, or it could have referred to the areas including Uz and Midian, which were east of Moses’ home, Egypt.
Job’s children would often have “feasts” of food and drink at the home of one of the sons (v.4). After these periods of feasting Job would offer sacrifices for his children, in the event that they had sinned in the midst of their partying (v.5a). It was his custom to watch after his children, having them purified, making sure they had been forgiven of their sins (v.5b). Job led his family in serving the God of the Patriarchs, the God of the Bible. He was a good man, and a good father.
Job was the kind of father that all of us Christian fathers strive to be. He was a good provider for his family. He was the spiritual leader of the family. He protected his family, both physically and spiritually. He also allowed his children the freedom to express themselves, without being overbearing. He allowed them their parties, without interfering. He trusted his children, instilling the ability to trust within them. Even though he trusted them, he knew of the mistakes of youth. So he blessed them spiritually after the parties, offering up sacrifices so that God would forgive them in the event there was any wrongdoing during the parties.
Job was a man of God, and he wanted his family to serve God. He had his priorities straight. He put God first. He was a man to be admired, and copied. He was an example for Christian men to follow. He was a Godly example for us all.