The Historical Setting of Job

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There is limited information in the book of Job about its geographical and historical background. However, it can be helpful to understand general information about the geography and history of the area to give you a context for reading and studying the book of Job. The author of the book of Job was a Hebrew poet who had an extensive vocabulary. Being uncertain about history and geography is good because the message is timeless.


I. Geographical Overview

II. Historical Overview

A. Sumerians and Egyptians (3rd Millenium BC)

B. Early Assyrian (2350-2050)

C. Early Babylonia (1800-1700)

D. Egypt

E. Elam (2700-540)

F. Middle Assyrian (1392-1056)

G. Hittites (1600-1200)

H. Mitanni (1500-1300)

I. Syria and Damascus (1000-730)

J. Arabia

K. Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-609)

L. Neo-Babylonian (612-539)

M. Media and Persia (600-331)

N. Israel

III. Job Does Not Locate Its Story Geographically or Historically

IV. The Raiders Who Attacked Job Were Sabeans and Chaldeans

A. Sabeans

B. Chaldeans

V. Major Characters in the Book of Job

A. Job [don’t try to transliterate the Hebrew phrase at 19:55…Just say something like, “a Hebrew phrase that means…”]

B. Eliphaz

C. Bildad

D. Zophar

E. Elihu

VI. Being Uncertain of the Geographical and Historical Background of Job Does Not Affect the Message

VII. Language of Job

A. The Hebrew is difficult to interpret

B. Possible explanations

1. Possibly a dialect

2. Artificially literary language

3. Influenced by other languages

4. Job was translated from Arabic or Aramaic

5. Summary about the language of Job

C. The language of the book of Job gives some clues about when it was written

D. Some scholars think that the text is corrupted

E. Ancient translations of Job

F. Septuagint version is shorter than the Hebrew version

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