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    Did Job really exist? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Did Job really exist?

    Job, as portrayed by French painter Léon Bonnat

    Job, as portrayed by French painter Léon Bonnat

    A. When rabbis debated the authorship of the Book of Job, opinions ranged from the time of Jacob to the time of Achashverosh (Bava Batra 14b/15a).

    They also debated whether there was an actual person called Job. Some claimed that “Job never was and never existed, but was merely an allegorical figure or a parable”, though this probably means that he was an exemplar of human experience.

    There are times when we are all Job, plunged from prosperity into undeserved suffering. Yes, we argue with the Almighty, but we end up by reaffirming our belief that “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15), and, like Job, we confidently assert, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).

    Some of the rabbis claimed that Job was a non-Jewish adviser to Pharaoh at the time of the Israelite enslavement in Egypt.

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