JOB, TESTAMENT OF:
Greek apocryphal book, containing a haggadic story of Job. It was first published by Angelo Mai in the seventh volume of the "Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio" (pp. 180-191, Rome, 1833), and was translated in Migne's "Dictionnaire des Apocryphes" (ii. 403), but remained unnoticed by critics until Montague Rhodes James, in his notes to the "Testament of Abraham" (in "Texts and Studies," p. 155, Cambridge, 1892), called attention to it. Kohler, in the "Kohut Memorial Volume" (1897, pp. 264-338), republished and translated Mai's text, with introduction and notes, and about the same time M. R. James reedited the work, after a Paris manuscript (which gives a text by no means superior in value to Mai's), in "Apocrypha Anecdota" (pp. 104-137, Cambridge, 1897, with an introduction). The book was condemned as apocryphal by Pope Gelasius I., about 496, in his decree concerning canonical and noncanonical books. In Mai's version it has a double title: "Testament of Job the Blameless, the Conqueror in Many Contests, the Sainted" (which seems to be the older title) and "The Book of Job Called Jobab, and His Life, and the Transcript of His Testament." For the identification of Job with Jobab (Gen. xxxvi. 33) see Septuagint, Job xlii.; also Aristeas, in Eusebius, "Præparatio Evangelica," ix. 25; comp. Kohler, l.c. pp. 267 et seq., and James, l.c. p. lxxxv.).Contents of the Book.
Like the Patriarchs (comp. Test. Patr., Adam, 14, and Tan., Wayeḥi, 8, ed. Buber, and Bo, 2), Job in a farewell address to his children reviews his life, telling them that he is of the generation of Abraham, a descendant of Esau (Gen. l.c.), and was known as "Jobab," a rich ruler of the land of Uz (Ausitis), before God called him "Job" because of his martyrdom (see Job, Critical View); that his second wife, their mother, was Dinah, the daughter of Jacob (comp. B. B. 15b). Like Abraham, he had changed from idolatry to the worship of the true God, the Maker of heaven and earth (comp. Num. R. xiv.); yet as he had set out to destroy the idols of the land, the work of Satan, he had been told by the archangel of God to prepare for a life-long battle with Satan, but at the same time he had been promised lasting renown as a great spiritual athlete and a crown of amaranth in the world to come, after the resurrection. "I shall from love of God endure until the end," Job said, and received from the angel the seal of life (comp. Soṭah v. 5, and Kohler, l.c. pp. 271, 316). Satan, after having first attempted, in the guise of a beggar, to get Job into his power, but without success, secured from God permission (comp. Targ. Job i. 12) to take away all his possessions (ch. i.-ii., ed. Kohler; ch. i.-viii., ed. James).His Wealth and Charity.
Job then relates how he used his great wealth for the benefit of the poor; how of the 130,000 sheep he owned he separated 7,000 for the clothing of orphans and widows, of poor and sick; 800 dogs watched his sheep (comp. Job xxx. 1), and 200 his house. Of his 9,000 camels he caused 3,000 to work for the poor; and he sent out ships laden with goods for the feeble, sick, and unfortunate. Of the 130,000 (340,000, Mai's text) wild asses in his possession he set 500 aside, and the offspring and all the proceeds therefrom were given to the needy.
The four doors of his house were opened to the poor, who came from all parts of the country to enjoy his hospitality (comp. Gen. R. xlviii., lxix.; Ab. R. N., ed. Schechter, i. 7, ii. 14). Thirty tables loaded with all kinds of food were set for the strangers, twelve of them for widows, and none were turned away hungry. Of his 3,500 yokes of oxen, 500 were for the use of the poor. He employed fifty bakeries for the bread of the poor (comp. Ber. 58b; Ḥana b. Ḥanilai) and assigned special slaves to serve them at the tables. Some poor persons were hired for that purpose, so that they might support themselves; he released many poor from their indebtedness. The milk of his cows and ewes flowed in such plenty that passers-by were invited to take a share (comp. Job xxix. 6), and the servants that distributed the meat among the widows and the poor were so overburdened with their task that they broke out into cursings (comp. Job xxxi. 31). At the table slaves played on harps and on other musical instruments, and he himself took the cithara, intoning a song of thanksgiving and praise to God (comp. Gen. R. xlix., liv., and Ab. R. N., ed. Schechter, Text A, vii.; Text B, xiv. 33-34). After each feast held by his children in turn, to atone for any possible offenses committed by them through pride, he not only offered sacrifices (Job i. 5) but also gave gifts of charity to the poor.Satan's Mischief.
These things, however, Satan begrudged Job, so he destroyed his sheep and camels and herds by fire, or had them taken by marauders. Finding that Job in his piety still gave praise to God, instead of blaspheming, he came in the guise of the King of Persia and besieged his city, capturing all the goods thereof; then he overthrew the house of Job andkilled all his children, and everything he possessed was taken. Yet under all these sad happenings Job bravely spoke the words: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job i. 21). While Job sat on his throne mourning over his children, Satan came in the form of a great hurricane (comp. "ruaḥ ḳozmiḳon," Gen. R. xxiv.; Yer. Ber. ix. 13d; Mek., Beshallaḥ, to Ex. xiv. 24), threw him upon the ground, and smote him from head to foot with leprosy, so that his whole body was covered with sores and worms (comp. Ab. R. N. l.c.; Tischendorf, "Apocalypses, Apocrypha," p. 67). For seven years (48 years; Paris MS.) he sat on a dunghill outside of the city, while his wife, Sitis, who had been brought up in royal luxury, served as water-carrier to win bread for herself and him. Afterward (after 15 years; Paris MS.), when she was no longer allowed to take him bread, Satan, disguised as a bread-seller, went to meet her, asking, as the price of three loaves of bread for her starving husband, for the hair on her head; to save her husband from famishing, she consented (comp. Shab. 59a; Akiba's wife). At last, when under the influence of Satan, her patience gave way, and in an impassioned appeal, full of pathos (contrasting her former riches and glory with her present state of gloom and poverty) and poetic grandeur, she called upon Job to curse God and die (comp. LXX. Job ii. 9). Job, however, indignantly rebuked her and challenged Satan, who had been hidden behind her all this while, saying: "Only a coward fights with frail woman; come forth and wage war with me!" Then Satan broke forth into tears, and said, "I yield to thee who art the great wrestler," and left him, abashed (ch. iii.-vi., ed. Kohler; ix.-xxvii., ed. James; comp. B. B. 16a: "The grief of Satan was greater than that of Job"). As to Job, the great "athlete" or "wrestler," see IV Macc. vi. 10, xvii. 15-16; and Philo [where Job is frequently characterized as such; comp. Heb. x. 32.The Three Friends of Job.
The three friends of Job, kings like himself, Eliphaz, King of Teman (comp. Targ. to Gen. xxxvi. 12; "Ma'yan Gannim," ed. Buber, p. 9), Bildad of Shuah (Gen. xxv. 2), and Zophar (B. B. 15b; Yalḳ. i. 766), who had come with their body-guards to see him, were dumfounded at finding Job, who had excelled them all in wealth, in such a state; Eliphaz offered a song of lamentation, in which all joined, recalling all Job's former splendor, each strophe ending with the refrain "Whither has thy glory gone?" Job in his reply pointed to "the splendor and glory that will be mine at the right hand of the Savior in heaven among the Holy Ones in the imperishable world. Kings perish and their glory vanishes like the shadow in a mirror, but God's kingdom lasts forever, and its glory is in the chariot of my Father" (ch. vii., ed. Kohler; xxviii.-xxxiii., ed. James). The whole chapter is a most powerful effusion of Ḥasidean sentiment, and has its exact parallel in the penitential prayer of Asenath (see
Eliphaz, on hearing Job in his abject state speak thus contemptuously of his friends and their glory, became furious, and said, "Let us go hence!" but Bildad, pacifying him, said, "Instead of upbraiding a man thus afflicted, let us see whether his mind has not given way under his great ordeal." Bildad accordingly began arguing with Job concerning God and destiny. Job, however, proved to be his superior in wisdom, and showed that he was initiated into the mysteries of God which he (like the Essenes) would not betray. Finally, Zophar, stepping forth, said: "We have brought our physicians with us to cure you"; but Job declined, saying, "My cure cometh from God, the Maker of physicians." Here follows a remarkable scene. While the friends were thus conversing Sitis appeared, dressed in rags, and prostrated herself before the kings, asking them for the sake of their former friendship to have the bodies of her children taken out from the ruins of her house in order that they might be given decent burial. But Job interfered, saying, "My children will not be found; they have been taken up to their Master in heaven." "Behold, he raves!" the kings exclaimed; but instantly Job spelled the Ineffable Name, and all beheld the children of Job, with crowns on their heads, near the throne of God. Sitis, overcome with emotion, went back to her master, lay down in the manger of his cattle, and died. The animals and afterward all the people of the city wept and mourned for her, and the dirge that was sung (says the writer) "is found in the Chronicles" (ch. ix., ed. Kohler; xxxiii.-xl., ed. James).Elihu, the Satanic Beast.
These marvelous things, however, did not prevent the friends of Job from contending that he must have sinned terribly to have brought upon himself so much suffering, and when he resented these insinuations, Elihu came forward, imbued with the spirit of Satan, and spoke hard words to Job. God showed Job afterward that Elihu was a wild beast ("serpent"), not a man (comp. Elihu as identified with Baalam in Yer. Soṭah v. 20d). The three friends finally confessed their error, brought to Job animals to be offered as sin-offerings to the Lord, and obtained pardon through Job; Elihu, however, was not pardoned. A peculiar lyric song closes this episode, in which the three friends offer praise that their sin is taken away, while Elihu, "the evil one, the son of darkness, the lover of the Serpent, the Northern One ["Zephoni"], and the hater of the saints," is cast into Sheol.
The story of Job's restoration to health is missing in the narrative. It continues with Job's return to the city, where he held a feast of thanksgiving, asking the people each to give him a lamb for the clothing of the poor and four drachmas of gold or silver for their support. Thus taking up again his former work of charity, he soon became rich, married Dinah, and became the father of ten children, as before. Job finally admonishes his sons, summing up his ethics and his religion in the following precepts: "Forsake not the Lord! Be charitable to the poor and do not disregard the feeble. Take not unto yourselves wives from strangers." This last command proves beyond the possibility of doubt that the book is Jewish in character and conception.Job's Three Daughters.
After having distributed his property among his seven sons, Job gave to each of his three daughters, out of a hidden treasure-box, three-stringed girdles which God had given him that by their magic power he might be cured of his leprosy and be endowed with new physical and spiritual strength, so that he might forecast all the secrets of the future. As soon as his daughters put these girdles around their bodies they were transfigured, and, in the voices of angels, archangels (heavenly archons), and cherubim, sang hymns echoing the mysteries of heaven, all of which were written down by Nahor, the brother of Job.
Job, on seeing death approach, gave a cithara to his first daughter, Day ("Yemimah"), a censer to his second, Kassiah ("Perfume"), and a timbrel to his third, Amaltheas Horn ("Ḳeren ha-Puk"), that they might welcome the holy angels who came to take his soul; and while they played and glorified God in the holy dialect, He who sitteth upon the Great Chariot came and took the soul of Job away with a kiss and carried it eastward, where the Heavenly Throne is erected. Amid the singing of his daughters and the great mourning of the people, particularly the poor and the fatherless, his body was taken to the grave. The dirge is given at the close of the book (ch. xi-xii., ed. Kohler; xli.-lii., ed. James).
James (l.c. Introduction) hesitates to assign the whole book to Jewish sources, but the Midrashic parallels in Kohler (l.c.) sufficiently prove that the work is one of the most remarkable productions of the pre-Christian era, explicable only when viewed in the light of ancient Ḥasidean practise.