Job and the Land of Uz: A Biblical Mystery? Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
September 16, 2003

Last Updated :
January 3, 2009

Bildad The Shuhite, Genealogy Of Shuah, Job And Rich Friends
Three Shuah's, Zophar the Naamathite, Naamah And Inheritance
Of Judah, Naamah - Daughter Of Lamech, Naamah - Ammonite Wife
Of King Solomon, History Of Moab And Ammon, Final Conclusions

Having now discovered the ancestry of Eliphaz the Temanite,
let's take a brief look at Job's second friend, Bildad the
Shuhite. According to the Hebrew lexicon, and as confirmed
by the Bible, Bildad is the only person in the Old Testament
who is assigned this descriptive name. The appellative
"Shuhite" is derived from the name "Shuah", which signifies
wealth. Exactly who was Shuah? Again, we see another piece of
our puzzle falling perfectly into place. He was another one
of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, who, as we have already
seen, settled to the east of Israel after Abraham sent them
on their way, so that Isaac could receive the inheritance.
Here again are the verses I shared earlier:

"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian,
and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan.
And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and
Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and
Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children
of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But
unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham
gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he
yet lived, eastward, unto the east country."
Genesis 25:1-6, KJV

The fact that Shuah means "wealth" is also interesting, as
it further adds to our picture of Job being a wealthy man,
blessed by the Lord, who was surrounded by wealthy friends,
as he lived his leisurely life in the land situated to the
east of Israel; that is, in the land of Uz, or Edom. Job's
wealthy friends coming to visit him when the Lord began to
test him, reminds me of the old adage "birds of a feather,
flock together". Due to their rich status, they apparently
had enough free time on their hands to sit around and share
their personal philosophies with poor Job, who argued his
personal righteousness before God and his friends. As I
briefly mentioned earlier, my suspicion is that the reason
why Job and his friends may have settled in that area, is
because the famous spice trade route passed right through
there, and they were simply wise enough to take advantage of
that fact, and became rich as a result of it. This is not
Biblical fact, but merely a personal speculation on my part.

The Bible does mention two other men by the name of Shuah.
The first of these was a Canaanite whose daughter became the
wife of Judah. She bore Judah two sons: Er and Onan. The
other Shuah was a distant descendant of Judah by quite a few
generations. Given the time frame which we are discussing
here, the first Shuah, that is, the father of Judah's wife,
may possibly have been the ancestor of Bildad the Shuhite,
but personally, I tend to think that Shuah, Abraham's son by
Keturah, better fits into all of the other evidence we have
already discovered; but, I could be wrong. I think the last
Shuah, that is the descendant of Judah, lived too far into
the future to really fit into our story. So again, the idea
of Abraham's others sons settling to the east of the Jordan
River in what is now the two countries of Jordan and Saudi
Arabia, and becoming rich there, seems to offer considerable
support for my theory concerning where and when the story of
Job took place.

Finally, let's see what we can discover about Job's third
friend; that is, Zophar the Naamathite. Considering the fact
that Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite lived in
this region, apparently not very far from where Job resided,
it seemed relatively safe to assume that Zophar did as well.
The Hebrew lexicon states that a Naamathite was a person
from the land or city of Naamah; but it also adds that the
exact location of that place is unknown. However, this isn't
quite a dead end. Not satisfied with that answer, I got out
my trusty little Scriptural shovel and started digging away;
and what I discovered, buried in the Book of Joshua, is the
following information:

Following the Israelites' conquest of Canaan, in determining
the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, we are informed that
their jurisdiction stretched as far as certain cities and
villages which the Bible describes as "the uttermost cities
of the tribe of the children of Judah toward the coast of
Edom southward". That word "coast" actually means "border".
In other words, the furthest extreme of the territory which
was claimed by the tribe of Judah, included a string of
cities which possibly ran parallel to the western border of
Edom and to points southward. Included in the long list of
distant cities found in Joshua chapter fifteen, is a place
called Naamah. Bingo!

Again, this fact fits in perfectly with the picture we have
been developing concerning the location of the land of Uz,
where Job lived, and the surrounding region where his fellow
rich friends lived. So if the land of Uz is Edom as it seems
to be, then what we see is that Zophar the Naamathite would
have come from Naamah in the west to join Job; Eliphaz would
have come from the east/southeast in Teman to join Job, and
Bildad the Shuhite may have possibly resided in Edom itself.
This point is a bit blurry, because we are not exactly sure
where Shuah's descendants settled "in the east country". I am
assuming that it is Edom itself. Even if it isn't, we know
that Bildad must have lived rather close to Job in that same
general region.

Concerning the origin of the word Naamah, the Bible mentions
two people who had this name. The first of these was the
daughter of Lamech by his wife Zillah. This is not the same
Lamech who fathered Noah, but rather the great, great, great
grandson of Cain. Naamah's brother was Tubal-cain in the
days before the Flood. The second Naamah mentioned in the
Bible was the Ammonite wife of King Solomon, and the mother
of Rehoboam. As you will recall, Rehoboam was the foolish
son of Solomon who snubbed the wise counsel of the Elders of
Israel; and it was during his reign, that the Lord divided
David's kingdom into north and south; that is, Judah and
Samaria; or Ephraim, as Samaria was also known.

The fact that Naamah was an Ammonite woman adds one other
possibility to our equation; and that is that there may have
also been a city or village in Ammon by the name of Naamah
as well, but I found no Scriptural evidence to support this
view. As I have already pointed out, Edom, Ammon and Moab
were the three ancient nations which roughly correspond to
modern Jordan. If such a place did exist in Ammon, then it
is possible that Zophar the Naamathite could have been from
there as well. In either case, it still puts him relatively
close to Job in Edom, except he would have been to the north
of Job, instead of to the west of him. Personally, I prefer
to accept the first possibility, being as the town of Naamah
is specifically mentioned in the Book of Joshua.

Incidentally, as I point out in a few of my other articles,
Ammon and Moab were populated by the descendants of Moab and
his half-brother Benammi, who were the sons born to the two
daughters of Lot, who was Abraham's nephew. Very briefly,
following the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot
and his two daughters were forced to flee to a cave in the
mountains. Lot was getting old, and his two daughters were
concerned that they might be left without children, being as
they had no husbands. So, after getting Lot their father
drunk, they engaged in sex with him; which resulted in the
birth of Moab and Benammi. Following is the story taken from
the Book of Genesis:

"And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the
plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the
midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the
which Lot dwelt. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in
the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared
to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two
daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our
father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come
in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us
make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that
we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their
father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and
lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down,
nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that
the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay
yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this
night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may
preserve seed of our father. And they made their father
drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay
with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when
she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by
their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his
name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this
day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his
name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of
Ammon unto this day." Genesis 19:29-38, KJV

Returning to our main topic of discussion, looking at all of
these various Biblical hints and clues as a whole, in my
opinion, it seems then that there is quite a bit of evidence
which suggests that the events described in the Book of Job
may have occurred in this very same region, most probably in
Edom, (or the land of Uz, as it was also known), and that
they may have occurred during the same time that Jacob and
Esau and their immediate families were alive. So, to answer
the question regarding which is older, the Book of Job, or
the Book of Genesis, it seems fit to me to respond in the
following manner:

If we consider the actual events described in each of these
two books, then obviously, Genesis is older in a strictly
chronological sense, being as it describes Creation itself.
But, if on the other hand, we are questioning which of the
two books was actually written first, my conclusion at this
current time would be that it is simply too difficult to
say with any degree of certainty; at least for me.

While the events described in the Book of Job occurred after
the story of Creation, based on the evidence I have provided
here, they do appear to have occurred at the same time as
the stories of Jacob and Esau and their families. This would
in fact place Job's story at least a few hundred years prior
to the time when Moses was born.

So the key question which arises is this: Was the Book of Job
really written prior to the time of Moses, or was it written
considerably later after-the-fact? Obviously, if Moses was
the author of the Pentateuch, (or five books of the Law), as
it is commonly believed, then it would stand to reason that
Genesis must have been written after-the-fact, because Moses
certainly was not an actual witness to the Creation Event.
Is it possible then, that the Book of Job may also have been
written some time after the actual events had occurred? I
honestly do not know. I am not a trained scholar. Neither do
I have access to any parchment fragments; and even if I did,
I do not possess the scientific background required to make
such a qualified determination.

Regardless of what the answers might be to these questions,
I for one have found this study to be quite interesting and
enjoyable. It always excites me to go digging through the
Scriptures, searching for these facts like hidden jewels. I
hope that you have enjoyed it as well, and that you have
learned a few new things along the way. I know that I have.
Until the next time!

BBB Tools And Services

Please avail yourself of other areas of the Bill's Bible Basics website. There are many treasures for you to discover.