Wednesday Evening Bible Study
While Job is one of the most profound books of the Bible, its anonymous author can be known only through reading between its lines. Certainly he can be numbered among “the wise” (cf. Prov. 24:23), given his fondness for proverbs, which he quotes to develop a point: “those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8); “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (5:7); “a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey’s colt is born a man!” (11:12).
Though the story of Job has its setting outside Israel to the east and south (Uz is related to Edom, which may be the setting of the book, cf. 2:11; 6:19; Lam. 4:21), the author of Job is a Hebrew, thoroughly immersed in the Hebrew Scriptures (see below).
The author of Job was a well-traveled individual who could draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience. He knew the constellations (Job 9:9; 38:31), could discuss meteorology (38:22–38) or describe a sophisticated mining operation (28:1–11). He could refer to skiffs of papyrus reed plying the waters (9:26), or the plants that grew in the marshes (8:11–19). He had observed ostriches, eagles, mountain goats, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and war horses (chs. 39–41). As was true of all the wise, he made extensive use of nature analogies to explain and defend moral truths.
Etymologically the name Job could be related to the Hebrew word for “enemy,” with reference to either Job’s attitude to God or his response to suffering. The name might also be a contracted form of “Where is my father?” But it is difficult to know, because its actual meaning was already lost to the earliest rabbinic commentators. However, the name is known outside the Bible. It is the name of the prince of Ashtaroth in Bashan in the Amarna tablets (c. 1350 B.C.), and the name of a Palestinian chief in an Egyptian text (c. 2000 B.C.). At Ugarit a version of the name appears in a list of palace personnel.
Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 869). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.