Are Job and Jobab the Same Person?

questions, comments, and Barry's responses

In Genesis 10: 26-29, Joktan's thirteen sons are listed. Joktan was Peleg's brother, and it was in Peleg's time the continents were divided. Joktan's thirteenth son was Jobab. Later on, in the Bible, we have the earliest completed book of the Bible, Job. Is Job Jobab? The evidence we have found in the Bible says that yes, he is. In the ancient Alexandrian Septuagint, from 300 years before Christ, there is a part of the book of Job that later translators left out. It states that Job lived a total of about 248 years. Although other Jobs and Jobabs are mentioned in the Bible, only someone who lived at approximately the time of Peleg or a little after would have this age expected. Before Peleg (and after Noah's Flood) the age expectancy was more like 400 or 450 years. After the time of Peleg we see a fairly rapid drop in life expectancy from over 400 years (Peleg's father and grandfather, in Genesis 11) to Peleg, 239 years, then Reu at 239 years, then 230 years for Serug, 148 years for Abraham's father, then Abraham's 175 years and finally to Moses' 120 years, which is the maximum life expectancy today.

Read something Bildad said about these lifespans in Job 8:8-9:

    “For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?”

In other words, many older people were still around who had very long lifespans, but Bildad knew their own lifespans were not going to be that long.

The book of Job states that Job lived in the land of Uz. We find Uz mentioned in Genesis 10:23. He was the son of Aram, and thus a great great uncle to Jobab. There are other Uz's mentioned in the Bible, so let's look at more evidence.

If Job lived during the couple of hundred years when the continents were 'unzipping' along the Atlantic rift and other places, there would have been mammoth tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain building and overturning, and other disasters. When we look at the book of Job, we find exactly that mentioned. Here are some examples:

Job 9:5-6 (KJV)
"God removes the mountains and overturns them in His anger;
 He shakes the earth out of its place and its core trembles;"

 Job 1:16, 19 (KJV)
 "Fire has fallen from heaven  and burned up the sheep and servants and consumed them… and suddenly a great wind from the wilderness struck the four corners of the house,  and it fell on the young men...

During Eliphaz's first answer, he says something interesting:

"By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. the old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad." (Job 4:9-11 KJV)

We can understand an old lion dying because he cannot catch prey, but when this blast of God also causes the young lions to be scattered away from the pride or the mother, we have to wonder what kind of thing was going on.

The fact that the earth was undergoing a number of startling changes, even in the weather systems, is hinted at in Job 6 and is much more explicit later on. Here is the Job 6:15-18

My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; which are blackish by reason of the ice, wherein the snow is hid: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.

Many modern translations insert the word 'thawing' before 'ice.' But that word is not there in any of the old manuscripts. What would cause streams to ice over in the Middle East and then not only thaw, but disappear in the heat of summer? There is evidence of an axis tilt of the earth at the time of the splitting of the continents, a tilt even further than what happened at the time of Noah's Flood. The tilt at the time of Peleg (in atomic dating about 65 million years ago, a little more than three thousand years before Christ in terms of orbital years), caused the ice age which crept down over Europe and into the Middle East. This appears to be what Peleg and his contemporaries witnessed.

Later, when God answers Job in 38:29-30, God Himself seems to be referring to the advancing ice:

Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

In one of Job's earlier responses to his friends, in chapter 9, he refers to something God can do and evidently has done in their lifetimes (verses 5-7)

Who removeth the mountains, and they know not; who overturneth them in his anger. Who shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Who commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars?

Pillars of the earth? Each of our continents is formed around a large granite mass called a craton, or shield area. They extend to depths of ten miles or more. Thus, calling them 'pillars' is not a bad picture. And the fact that whatever is happening is so violent that the cratons themselves are trembling means some kind of massive series of earth movements is taking place. The sun not rising? When the earth wobbles, there are records of very long days in some parts of the world in the past and very long nights in others. Sealing up the stars? Volcanic ash in the air will do that. It is wise to remember that these are not scientific explanations, but descriptions of what had been observed.

In 12:15, Job refers to what appears to be tsunami activity:

Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

If we look back to chapter 7, verse 12, suddenly that has new meaning in light of this:

Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

Why a watch on the sea, or a sea monster (a more literal translation)? Because before the tsunami hits, the sea first draws far back, exposing the sea floor. Then the wave hits. If Job/Jobab were living at the time the continents were dividing, during those hundred or two hundred years, the tsunami activity would have been massive and repeated. Men would have to keep watch over the sea; and the evidence of the rapid withdrawal of the water could easily leave some very large creatures stranded, and thus easily seen.

In 14:11, there is another reference which may well be to this kind of wave activity:

As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up...

When Job begins what we have as chapter three, look at what he says:

Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.

Job and his friends were eyewitnesses not only to the working of the Lord in the lives of men, which is the primary topic of their discussion, but of the catastrophes they were witnessing in their time.

In 14:18-19, we read

And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.

In 18:15, Bildad makes reference to brimstone being scattered upon the habitation of a man. That is a direct reference to volcanism.

In chapter 27 there is another interesting comparison Job makes. Look at verses 20-21:

Terrors take hold on him [the rich man] as waters, a tempest stealesth him away in the night. The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

In Job 28:5-6, then 29, we read

As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

28:9: He puttest forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. He cuttest out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and that which is hid bringeth he forth to the light.

In other words, these men were witnesses of the fact that magma was producing precious stones and gold. There were places where they could witness large cracks and see the molten, seething, burning rock below.

The evidence mounts. Mentions of cave men in Job 24 and 30 possibly define who they were and places them in this time as well. For all these reasons, and more, we have found ourselves agreeing that Job is indeed the Jobab of Genesis 10.

Comment: When Barry mentioned evidence in the similarity of the names themselves, we received an email disputing that, saying that the two names began with different letters in the Hebrew, so how could they be related except by English translation.

Here is Barry's reply:

There has been a question asked about our comment that the word Job is a contraction or nickname for Jobab in related languages. The questioner doubted this because of the difference the spelling of Jobab and Job in Hebrew. The word Job appears in the Book of Job as well as in Genesis 46:13, Ezekiel 14:14 & 20 and James 5:11. The word Jobab appears in Genesis 10:29; 36:33 & 34; Joshua 11:1 and 1Chronicles 1:44, 45.

In answer to this question, let us first point out that the Alexandrian Septuagint Greek translation, the LXX, gives us a clue here. This translation was made about 280 BC by Jewish scholars who were fluent in both the Hebrew and Greek languages as well as being scholars of the Hebrew Scriptures. Their translation was made from the old paleo-Hebrew text which appeared script-like when compared with the later Hebrew text with is square characters. In all cases where our English word Job is used in the references above, the Greek word “Іωβ” (Iob) appears in the LXX. In all cases where Jobab appears in our English version, the Greek word “Ιωβαβ” (Iobab) is used in the LXX. Remember that the Jewish scholars who translated these verses gave the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew. The result was that the root of both names is “Іωβ” (Iob) in the Greek. As a result, the LXX strongly supports the contention that the word Job is a contraction or nickname of the full name Jobab. If the Jewish translators of the LXX had something different in the paleo-Hebrew text, these two names would certainly have been different in this Greek version.

This leads us to the Hebrew text we call the Masoretic which originated around 100 AD at the Council of Jamnia. This is the text that is usually used for translations into English today. In this version, the word Job appears in the Hebrew as (יו ב ) or (reading from right to left) Yod Vav Bet pronounced “Yowb”. This is also how it appears in Strong’s Concordance under reference number 3102. This concordance comments that this word is a form of Reference 3103 which is Jobab spelt (יובב ) or Yod Vav Bet Bet pronounced “Yowbab”. The root of the word is certainly Yod Vav Bet so the concordance agrees that Jobab and Job are related words. Finally, the other form of Job appears in the Masoretic text as (איו ב ) or Aleph Yod Vav Bet pronounced “Iyowb” as in Strong’s Reference number 347. It can be seen that the root of this word is once more Yod Vav Bet or “Yowb”.

As a consequence, it can be stated that the names Jobab and Job are closely related. Indeed, it was the conviction of Dr. Bernard Northrup, a translator of both Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, that the Jobab of Genesis 10:29 was exactly the same person as the one featured in the Book of Job. We agree with that assessment for both linguistic and scientific reasons.

 

Question: After reading a couple of your pieces on Job/Jobab, I took out my copy of the Septuagint and read that ending which is excluded from the Masoretic MSS.  I was  surprised to see that, in addition to its discussion of Job as being Jobab and Job's living unto the age of two hundred and forty(-eight) years, there was an additional section indicating his being Edomite in origin!

... Is this latter portion, perhaps, not found in the Alexandrian codex?  Is there, perhaps some other consideration I am not taking into account?

From Barry: In answer to your question about the ending of the Book of Job in the Septuagint, we first note that the LXX ends with chapter 42 verses 16 and 17 where we are given Job's age. This is part of the Alexandrian Septuagint. However, there is a rather lengthy paragraph which is NOT numbered that appears separately after the close of verse 17. This is an addition, and we are plainly told where this addition came from. The opening of this additional paragraph reads "This man [Job] is described in the Syriac book [version] as living in the land of Ausis on the borders of Idumea and Arabia..." This, and all that follows, is clearly an editorial comment about the Syriac version of Job.

The first Syriac version of the Old Testament originated about 180 AD, which is well after the Council of Jamnia in 100 AD where the Masoretic Text originated. It therefore has nothing to do with the Alexandrian Septuagint Text which originated about 280 BC or over 450 years earlier. This inclusion therefore originates with the later Septuagints. This term Septuagint has come to mean any Hebrew to Greek translation. That is why we specify the Alexandrian LXX which was the most ancient. The time of 180 AD was about the time of Origen when he produced a number of Greek versions that conformed to the Masoretic text of 100 AD.

It is also possible to knock out this spurious comment another way. They have taken the Jobab of Genesis 36:33-34, from the line of Esau, and made him the Jobab of the book of Job. In doing that, they have acknowledged that the name Jobab and Job are the same name in related languages. However they have chosen the wrong Jobab! They should have chosen the one from Genesis 10:29. You then ask why? The reason is that, at the time of Jacob and Esau, the maximum age that was attained according to Scripture was 147 for Jacob and 175 for Abraham. These numbers are concordant. But the Alexandrian LXX tells us Job died aged 248 years or about 100 years longer than the Scriptural norm for the time of Esau. In fact we have to go back to the days of Peleg before we find people living about 250 years as a typical lifespan. Therefore, the choice of Jobab between the descendant of Esau or the nephew of  Peleg is made plain by the mathematical consideration of their ages.
 

 

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