This book, in the Hebrew copies, generally goes by this name, from
Job, who is however the subject, if not the writer of it. In the
Vulgate Latin version it is called "the Book of Job"; in the Syriac
version, the Writing of Job; and in the Arabic, the Writing or Book
of Job the Just. In some Hebrew Bibles it stands between the Book of
Proverbs and the Song of Solomon; but, according to the Talmudists
{a}, it should stand between the Psalms of David and the Proverbs of
Solomon. Some have made a question of it, whether there ever was such
a man as Job, and suppose this book not to be a real history, or to
contain matters of fact, but to be written under fictitious names,
and to be parabolical, and that it is designed to set forth an
example of patience in suffering affliction; and some of the Jewish
writers {b} affirm, that Job never was in being, and that this book
is a parable, apologue, or fable; and to this Maimonides {c} himself
inclines; but this opinion is justly rejected by Aben Ezra, Peritsol,
and others; for that there was such a man is as certain as that there
were such men as Noah and Daniel, with whom he is mentioned by the
Prophet Ezekiel, \\#Eze 14:14\\ and the testimony of the Apostle
James is full to this purpose, who speaks of him as a person well
known, and not to be doubted of; of whom, and of whose patience, the
Jews he writes to had heard much, \\#Jas 5:11\\ besides, the names of
the countries where he and his friends lived, the account given of
his family, and of his substance, both before and after his
afflictions, show it to be a real history. Learned men are not agreed
about the signification of his name; according to Jerom {d}, it
signifies a magician, taking it to be the same with \^bwa\^, "ob": and
some Jewish writers {e} place him with Balaam and Jethro, as the
counsellors of Pharaoh against the Israelites, for which he was
afflicted: the same ancient fathers render the word grieving and
howling; others, as Spanheim {f}, derive it from \^bay\^, to "love" or
"desire", and so it signifies desire or delight, and is the same with
Desiderius or Erasmus; hence Job is called by Suidas {g}
\~tripoyhtov\~, exceeding desirable; but Hillerus {h}, deriving it
from the same root, makes it to signify just the reverse, "without
desire"; or not desirable; and supposes it to be a compound of
\^bway\^, "desire", and \^ya\^, "not"; but the generality of writers
derive it from \^bya\^, "to be at enmity", and so it signifies one
that is exposed to the hatred and enmity of men, or one that is a
hater and enemy of wicked men; or, as Schmidtt {i} interprets it, a
man zealous for God, and showing hatred to wickedness and wicked men
on his account. Who Job was, it is not easy to say; not the same with
Jobab, of the race of Esau, as some, \\#Ge 36:33\\. Aristeas {k} says
he was a son of Esau himself, by his wife Bessare, and was first
called Jobam; nor the same with Job a son of Issachar, \\#Ge 46:13\\,
nor was he a descendant of Abraham by Keturah; but rather sprung from
Uz, the firstborn of Nahor, brother of Abraham, \\#Ge 22:21\\, who
gave name to the country where Job lived, as Buz his brother did to
that of which Elihu was, and as Chesed, another brother of Uz, did to
the Chasdim or Chaldeans, who were both near to Job. It is also not
agreed in what time Job lived; Maimonides {l} says, of their writers
some place him in the times of the patriarchs, some in the times of
Moses, others in the times of David, and others say that he was of
the wise men of Babylon; and some add, that he was of them that came
out of the captivity there, and had a school at Tiberias, as say the
Talmudists {m} who give very different accounts of him: some say he
was in the times of the judges; others in the times of the queen of
Sheba; and others in the times of Ahasuerus; but the more general
opinion is, and indeed the more probable, that he was born when the
Israelites went down into Egypt, and that he was dead when they came
from thence {n}: in short, they place him almost in all the ages from
Abraham to the Babylonish captivity, and after it; and even Luther
{o} was of opinion that he lived in the times of Solomon, for which
there is no more reason than for the rest: it seems most probable
that he lived before Moses {p}, at least before the giving of the law
to him, since no mention is made of it in this book, nor any
reference to it; whereas there is to things more ancient, as the
general deluge, the burning of Sodom the law concerning
sacrifices only to be offered by priests was not as yet given; for
Job offered sacrifices as being the head of his family, and so did
his three friends, \\#Job 1:5 42:8\\. The length of his life best
agrees with the times before Moses, for in his time the age of man
was reduced to seventy years; whereas Job must live two hundred years
or more, since he lived one hundred and forty after his restoration:
add to this, that this book seems to have been written before any
idolatry was in the world but the worship of the sun and moon,
\\#Job 31:25,26\\ and before there were any writings divinely inspired,
since there is no appeal to any in the whole controversy between Job
and his friends; but the appeal is made to men of years and wisdom,
and to traditions of former times, \\#Job 5:1 8:8-10 15:18 21:29\\.
According to Dr. Owen {q} Job lived three hundred and fifty years
after the dispersion at Babel, about A. M. 2100. It is also greatly
controverted who was the writer of this book; some ascribe the
writing of it to Isaiah the prophet; others to Solomon, as Luther
{r}; others to one of the prophets who was an Idumaean; but most to
Moses, so the Jews {s} say, that he wrote his own book, the section
of Balaam, and Job. Some think that he wrote it when in Midian, for
the comfort and encouragement of the Hebrews afflicted in Egypt at
that time, and who might hope to be delivered out of their
afflictions, as this good man was delivered out of his; and this, it
is supposed, accounts for the use of many Arabic words in it; Midian
being in Arabia, where Moses, having lived some years, had mixed
their language with his own. Some are of opinion that he met with
this book when in those parts, which he found either in the Arabic or
Syriac language, and translated it into Hebrew {t} for the use of the
Israelites; and others think it was written by Job's friends, and
particularly by Elihu, which is concluded from \\#Job 32:15,16\\, but
it is most probable that it was written by Job himself, or at least
compiled from his diary or "adversaria" kept by him, or from those of
his friends, or from both, and that it was written in the language it
is now in: but be it written by whom it may, there is no doubt to be
made of the divine authority of it; as appears from the sublimity of
the style, the subject matter of it, its agreement with other parts
of the sacred writings, and particularly from a quotation of a
passage out of \\#Job 5:13\\ by the Apostle Paul, \\#1Co 3:19\\ see
also \\#Job 5:17\\, compared with \\#Heb 12:5\\. The design of it is
not only in general to assert and explain the doctrine of Providence,
as Maimonides observes; but in particular to show, that, though good
men are afflicted, yet sooner or later they are delivered out of
their afflictions; and that it becomes them to bear them patiently,
and not murmur at them; nor complain of God on account of them, whose
ways and works are unsearchable, and who gives no account of his
matters to men, but is sovereign, wise, and just, in all he does; and
whatsoever is done by him issues in the good of his people, as well
as in his own glory, as the event shows. This book may be considered
either as an history of the life of Job, in which an account is given
of him in his prosperity; of his afflictions, and how they came upon
him; of a visit paid him by his friends, and of the discourses that
pass between him and them, and of his restoration to greater
affluence than he enjoyed before: or as a drama or dialogue
consisting of divers parts, and in which various speakers are
introduced, as God, Satan, Job, his wife, and friends; or as a
dispute, in which Job's three friends are the opponents, himself the
respondent, Elihu the moderator, and God the umpire, who settled and
determined the point in question. It contains many useful things in
it concerning the Divine Being, and the perfections of his nature,
his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and sovereignty; concerning the
works of creation and providence; concerning original sin, and the
corruption of mankind; concerning redemption by Christ, and good
works to be done by men; and concerning the resurrection of the dead,
and eternal life. Some think Job was a type of Christ in his
afflictions and sufferings; in his patience under them, and
deliverance out of them; in his exaltation to an high pitch of
happiness and prosperity; and in his intercession for his friends. He
is in many things worthy of imitation, though in others to be blamed,
and not followed; and, on the whole, this book of his may be read
with great pleasure and profit.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2.
{b} Ibid. fol. 15. 1.
{c} Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 22.
{d} Prooem. in Job, Quaest. Heb. in Lib. Paralipom. fol. 82.
{e} T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 11. 1. & Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 1.
{f} Hist. Job, p. 61.
{g} In voce \~iwb\~.
{h} Onomastic. Sacr. p. 293, 852.
{i} Comment. in Job, i. 1. p. 6.
{k} Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 25. p. 430.
{l} Ut supra. (Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 22.)
{m} T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 3, 4. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 2.
{n} T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 3, 4. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 2.
Bereshit Rabba, sect. 57. fol. 50. 4. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 3. p. 8.
Juchasin, fol. 9. 2. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 7. 1.
{o} Mensal. Colloqu. c. 32. p. 361.
{p} Origen contr. Cels. l. 6. p. 305.
{q} Theologoumen. l. 3. c. 4. p. 188.
{r} Ut supra, (Mensal. Colloqu.) c. 31. p. 359.
{s} T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 4. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. &
15. 1. Jarchi in Job, 31. 35.
{t} Vid. Origen. in Job, fol. 1. & Dickinson. Physic. vet. & vera, c.
19. sect. 27. p. 303.


In this chapter, Job, the subject of the whole book, is described by
his native country, by his name, by his religious character, and by
his family and his substance, \\#Job 1:1-3\\ a particular relation is
given of his children feasting together, and of Job's conduct during
that time, \\#Job 1:4,5\\ of a discourse which passed between God and
Satan concerning him, the issue of which was that Satan obtained leave
of God to afflict Job in his outward affairs, \\#Job 1:6-12\\ then
follows an account of his several losses, of his oxen, sheep, camels,
asses, and servants, by the Sabeans, Chaldeans, and fire from heaven,
and of his sons and daughters by the fall of the house in which they
were through a violent wind, \\#Job 1:13-19\\, and the chapter is
concluded with the agreeable behaviour of Job in the midst of all this,
\\#Job 1:20-22\\.