How old was Job?

June 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm (Uncategorized)

The Bible never gives an actual numerical count of years concerning Job‘s age. It only says he lived at least 140 years and that he died of old age (Job 42:16-17). Near the end of the Book of Job, God is confronted by Job, who wishes to know to why he had been put through such pain. God answers Job monologically condescending by asking him if he knows the secrets (or complexities if you will) of the universe.

My hypothesis is that Job was present in the early days after the Biblical creation of the earth (after the 6 days or at least after the flood). In Job 38:16-21, God is questioning how much of the earth Job knows about or has seen. One might interpret Job 38:21 (as I have) that Job was there in the beginning, and that he should have this knowledge of the earth. But he doesn’t. God says that only he should know that information, and scorns Job for questioning his motives.

A quick Google search linked me to an article that gave Job’s birthdate as 500 BC. But since it has his death date as being 500 BC as well, this cannot be logically accepted. Instead, let’s look at the Ussher chronology for a Biblical calendar of events. A timeline is available on AnswersInGenesis.org (mirror). This timeline depiction places Job as living somewhere between 1700 BC to 1650 BC.

Another point of interest was that of the historian Aristeas. He concludes that Job’s initial name was Jobab. From Genesis 36:33, we know that Jobab was the son of Zerah of Bozrah. By now I will have revised my hypothesis that Job was born in the early Biblical days and replace it with a (satisfactory for now) hypothesis that Job was around since approximately between 1800 BC to 1750 BC. So now I will adopt a moderate 1775 BC (but still keep an open-ended/closed-ended mindset for flexibility) as the birthdate of Job. But what about his deathdate? If we are to believe that his deathdate is approximated at 500 BC, that would make him anywhere from 1250 to 1300 years old. This would indeed make him the oldest Biblical character beating Methuselah.

In conclusion, there is no certainty about his age, but we do know that he lived more than 140 years. There is minor evidence to suggest that he was in fact the oldest living Biblical character. Surpassing Methuselah by at least 281 years, he indeed died “being old and full of days.”

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