Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

Job as Jobab: The Interpretation of Job in LXX Job 42:17b-E

Academic journal article Journal of Biblical Literature

Job as Jobab: The Interpretation of Job in LXX Job 42:17b-E

Article excerpt

Bell & Howell Information and Learning: foreign text omitted

After the end of the story of Job (42:17), LXX Job contains two additions with no equivalent in the MT, Peshitta, Qumran Targum (11QTgjob), or Rabbinic Targum of Job.1 The first augments the canonical account of Job's death (Job 42:17) with a brief affirmation that he will be resurrected (LXX Job 42:17a). This addition seems to respond to questions raised by the denial of resurrection within the book of Job (e.g., Job 7:9; 14:7-12; see b. B. Bat. 16a). Consequently, it is generally thought to be a later gloss and to be independent from the lines that follow.2

While the first addition is brief and its motivation relatively transparent, the second addition (subsequently termed "the LXX Job appendix") proves more intriguing. This addition begins by referencing an unnamed "Syrian" or Aramaic source. It then locates Job's land of origin "on the border of Idumea and Arabia" and identifies him with Jobab, the Edomite king of Gen 36:33 (LXX Job 42:17b). Subsequently, the passage combines information from Gen 36 and LXX Job in order to trace Job's heritage through Esau to Abraham (42:17c) and to locate him chronologically within a list of Edomite kings (42:17d). Lastly, his three friends are listed, along with the lands over which they reigned (42:17e). The text of the appendix reads as follows:3 IMAGE FORMULA7

This passage proves significant both as a Septuagintal addition to the book of Job and as a Hellenistic Jewish interpretation of Job. On the one hand, it represents one of several additions in LXX Job, including the speech of Job's wife in 2:9, the identification of his friends as kings in 2:11, and the assertion of his resurrection in 49:17a.4 The fact that this passage was appended to the Greek translation of Job may point to an attitude toward this text as not completely fixed in its written form.5 On the other hand, the appendix presupposes the necessity of locating the figure of Job within biblical history, consonant with the emerging conception of biblical texts as "Scripture" in Second Temple Judaism and the resultant proliferation of biblical interpretation. This harmonizing mode of exegesis assumes the unity and authority of a group of biblical texts, insofar as it uses the Edomite king list of Gen 36 to answer the silence of the book of Job on the issues of Job's identity, ethnicity, and relation to the nation Israel.6

The LAX job appendix thus is best examined in two contexts: (1) the text history of LXX Job and (2) the history of Jewish interpretation about Job. The first section of this inquiry will consider its relationship to various Greek translations and versions of the book of Job, as well as to the fragment about Job from Aristeas the Exegete (Pr. Ev. 9.25.1-4). Here the questions of the original language and approximate date of the appendix will be central. Turning then to the appendix's biblical interpretation, the next section will explore its use of Gen 36 to associate Job with Edom/Idumea and will suggest that some of its extrabiblical details derive from this identification of Job's ethnicity. The final section will aim to locate the LXX Job appendix within the history of interpretation of the book of Job. Comparing the LXX Job appendix to Aristeas the Exegete, the Testament of Job, Pseudo-Philo, and later rabbinic traditions, it will contextualize this approach to Job within the range of postbiblical Jewish traditions about his ethnicity, his connection to the patriarch Abraham, and his place within the chosen nation Israel.

I. The Original Language and Date of the LXX Job Appendix

Although it is present in all catalogued LXX manuscripts, there is some question as to the provenance of this addition. Much of the confusion arises from the complex text history of LXX Job itself. As currently extant, LXX Job reflects two discernible stages of composition: the Old Greek translation (OG), composed around 150 B. …

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