Job meaning | Job etymology

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Job in Biblical Hebrew
Biblical male character
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The name Job in the Bible

Job was a man from Uz, whose unfortunate test by satan became fuel for the greater discussion of what sin is and does (Job 1:1).

Sin (literally: to miss your mark/goal) is whatever makes a person deviate from perfection. How God manages the universe is hard to guess at, and also why some of us lose our children to violent people or natural forces. Why do some of us get cancer, plunge into insanity or bankruptcy or any kind of destructive temptation? Has it all to do with God choosing the least of evils? The consequences of sin are inescapable, and sadly the consequences of our neighbor's sin may easily affect us.

Some of us die, and we don't know why. But we have the promise that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

The story of Job is among the oldest of the Bible and plays at the time of the patriarchs. We know this because of certain very clear hints. Job's children were old enough to be eating and drinking in the house of the oldest. Since there were ten of them, and Job lived another 140 years after his ordeal (42:16), his total life span would fit in neatly the patriarchal record. Furthermore, his wealth was measured in life stock, rather than precious metals, as was the custom in later times. Other hints comes from word usage, such as Shaddai, and other customs, such as patriarchal priesthood.

After his ordeal Job has seven sons, who remain unnamed, and three daughters of astonishing pulchritude. "And in all the land no women were found so fair as Job's daughters"—Job 42:15. Their names are Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-happuch (v14).

Job is mentioned only once in the New Testament. The epistler James refers to Job (spelled Ιωβ, Iob) as an example of endurance (James 5:11).

Etymology and meaning of the name Job

The origin of the name Job is unclear (unknown says BDB Theological Dictionary). Some (NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Returning) derive it from an Arabic noun meaning 'he who turns (to God)'. Others (HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) see similarities with the verb איב (ayap), meaning to be an enemy:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names derives the name Job from this verb and is convinced that the name Job is a passive form and thus means The Persecuted. Renowned theologian Gesenius agrees with Jones and reads "object of enmity"

Then there are occurrences of this same name in related languages, and mean there No Father or Where Is My Father?

A Hebrew audience would probably hear Enemy for the name Job, and perhaps indeed a passive form of the verb, so that the name-bearer becomes the object of hostilities, specifically those imposed on Job by God. Others understand perhaps that God is never an enemy to a righteous man and righteous Job, as much as he loved God, was His enemy by nature, and that got the ball rolling.

Also read our article on Romans 7: The Skinny On Sin.

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