Uz

UZ (ŭz, Heb. ‘ûts, meaning uncertain)



UZ uz (ע֥וּץ; LXX Αὐσίτις) was the name of three men mentioned in the Bible: (1) the son of Aram and grandson of Shem (Gen 10:22, 23); (2) the son of Nahor and Milcah and brother of Buz (22:21), where the KJV reads “Huz”; and (3) one of the sons of Dishan the Horite of the land of Edom (36:28). One of these settled in a district or a section of the country E of Pal., and on the border of Arabia, which became known as “The land of Uz.” In time it became famous as the home of Job.

The country is nowhere specifically located either in sacred or secular history or geography, yet Biblical and traditional references provide several clues to its location:

(1) It was a land of plentiful pastures (Job 1:3).

(2) Portions of it were suitable for plowed crops (Job 1:14).

(3) It was near the desert or “wilderness” (Job 1:19).

(4) It was sufficiently extensive to have a number of kings or “Sheikhs” over as many tribes or people (Jer 25:20).

(5) It was so situated as to be in more or less proximity to the tribes of the Temanites, the Shuhites, the Naamathites (Job 2:11), the Buzites (32:2), and to Dedan (Jer 25:23).

(6) There was a colony of Edom (called “daughter of Edom”) in the Land of Uz (Lam 4:21).

(7) It was within raiding distance of the Sabeans and Chaldeans (Job 1:15, 17).

(8) Ancient tradition, as found in the “Syriac book,” affirmed that the Land of Uz lay “on the borders of Idumea (Edom) Arabia.”

(9) The LXX, in some vv. at the end of the Book of Job, says that contemporary tradition located the Land of Uz “on the borders of Edom and Arabia.” Job was “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3, 13-19). And “the east,” from the Biblical writer’s point of view, almost always meant those countries on the rim of the Arabian desert, E and SE of the lower Jordan River and the Dead Sea, but a bit beyond Ammon, Moab, and Edom.

Wadi Sirhan, SE of Jebel ed Druz, is the one land area that fits the Biblical description of the “land of Uz,” and falls into place and harmonizes with the setting in the Book of Job as no other area in the lands of the Bible. Wadi Sirhan is a great shallow plain-like depression some 210 m. long and averaging 20 m. wide. It begins at the present inland town of Azraq, a typical oasis with many palm groves, some fifty m. E of Amman, and continues in a southeasterly direction to within ten m. of Jauf, an important caravan junction of central Arabia. Many localities in the northwestern portion of Wadi Sirhan—(the general area where Job prob. lived)—are only 40 to 100 m. from the eastern borders of Edom.

Much of Wadi Sirhan is a vast, flat pasture land, fairly well suited to the raising of camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats. And to this day it sustains wild life such as gazelle, oryx, ostrich, and the wild ass, though in smaller numbers than in Job’s day. The chief wealth of the plain lies in its abundant water supply. From the southern slopes of Jebel Druz, from the ranges of hills N and NE, and from the hundred m. long wadi-cut plateau stretching along its southwestern border, the water from winter and spring rains flow, either on the surface or subterraneously, into this depression. It becomes somewhat of a catchment basin for rain and run-off water, which means that such a reservoir of underground water is built up that in many places the water table is high enough to afford an abundance of water when a thin limestone sheet has been penetrated some eighteen to twenty-four inches below the ground surface. In other places there are wells and water holes where at times many thousands of camels and smaller cattle may be seen in the area at the same time. In some parts, however, they depend on rain water caught in cisterns and reservoirs.

In 1925, during the Druse rebellion against the Fr. rule in Syria, many Druse chiefs with their people fled for refuge to Wadi Sirhan, where they pastured their vast herds and lived in their tents until the trouble was over. In ancient times the district lay near the caravan route from Sheba and Tema, and was exposed to the people of this area, and to the bands of Sabeans and Chaldeans as they came along the caravan route from the E. The residence of Job was in, or near a city, at the gate of which he sat with the elders, to administer justice.

Bibliography

N. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (1940), 40-43, 175; J. D. Douglas, New Bible Dictionary (1962), 1306, 1307.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(uts ’erets uts; Os, Ox, Ausitis):

Biblical Data:

(1) In Ge 10:23 Uz is the oldest son of Aram and grandson of Shem, while in 1Ch 1:17 Uz is the son of Shem. Septuagint inserts a passage which supplies this lacking name. As the tables of the nations in Ge 10 are chiefly geographical and ethnographical, Uz seems to have been the name of a district or nation colonized by or descended from Semites of the Aramean tribe or family.

(2) The son of Nahor by Milcah, and older brother of Buz (Ge 2:21). Here the name is doubtless personal and refers to an individual who was head of a clan or tribe kindred to that of Abraham.

(3) A son of Dishan, son of Seir the Horite (Ge 36:28), and personal name of a Horite or perhaps of mixed Horite and Aramean blood.

(4) The native land and home of Job (Job 1:1), and so situated as to be in more or less proximity to the tribe of the Temanites (Job 2:11), the Shuhites (Job 2:11), the Naamathites (Job 2:11), the Buzites (Job 32:2), and open to the inroads of the Chaldeans (Job 1:17), and the Sabeans (Job 1:15 the Revised Version (British and American)), as well as exposed to the great Arabian Desert (1:19). See the next article.

(5) A kingdom of some importance somewhere in Southern Syria and not far from Judea, having a number of kings (Jer 25:20).

(6) A kingdom, doubtless the same as that of Jer 25:20 and inhabited by or in subjection to the Edomites (La 4:21), and hence not far from Edom.

James Josiah Reeve


(’uts; Septuagint Ausitis; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Ausitis): The home of the patriarch Job (Job 1:1; Jer 25:20, "all the kings of the land of Uz"; La 4:21, "daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz"). The land of Uz was, no doubt, the pasturing-ground inhabited by one of the tribes of that name, if indeed there be more than one tribe intended. The following are the determining data occurring in the nodetitle. The country was subject to raids by Chaldeans and Sabeans (1:15,17); Job’s three friends were a Temanite, a Naamathite and a Shuhite (2:11); Elihu was a Buzite (32:2); and Job himself is called one of the children of the East (Qedhem). The Chaldeans (kasdim, descendants of Chesed, son of Nahor, Ge 22:22) inhabited Mesopotamia; a branch of the Sabeans also appears to have taken up its abode in Northern Arabia (see Sheba). Teman (Ge 36:11) is often synonymous with Edom. The meaning of the designation amathite is unknown, but Shuah was a son of Keturah the wife of Abraham (Ge 25:2), and so connected with Nahor. Shuah is identified with Suhu, mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I as lying one day’s journey from Carchemish; and a "land of Uzza" is named by Shalmaneser II as being in the same neighborhood. Buz is a brother of Uz ("Huz," Ge 22:21) and son of Nahor. Esar-haddon, in an expedition toward the West, passed through Bazu and Hazu, no doubt the same tribes. Abraham sent his children, other than Isaac (so including Shuah), "eastward to the land of Qedhem" (Ge 25:6). These factors point to the land of Uz as lying somewhere to the Northeast of Palestine. Tradition supports such a site. Josephus says "Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus" (Ant., I, vi, 4). Arabian tradition places the scene of Job s sufferings in the Hauran at Deir Eiyub (Job’s monastery) near Nawa. There is a spring there, which. he made to flow by striking the rock with his foot (Koran 38 41), and his tomb. The passage in the Koran is, however, also made to refer to Job’s Well.

Compare JERUSALEM.

LITERATURE.

Talmud of Jerusalem (French translation by M. Schwab, VII, 289) contains a discussion of the date of Job; Le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, 220-23, 427, 515.