Moses and Job

Joseph, Moses and Pharaoh's advisers.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

"Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation".

Moses wrote his book and the section of Balaam and Job.

The Israelites lived 210 years in Egypt, from Jacob coming down to Egypt until God bringing us out from Egypt. In the midrash Job lived these same 210 years.  The Egyptians didn’t start slavery until Levi, the longest living of the Tribes of the Lord, died. Levi was 43 when he came down to Egypt and Levi died at 137.  The Israelites lived royally for 94 (137-43=94) years.  Job was one of Pharaoh’s councilors when Then Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live” (Ex. 1:22). 

Job taught Torah, largely to the heathen. Moses wrote the monumental Book of Job before he fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian.  Moses was 20 when he killed the Egyptian and 80 when he stood before Pharaoh proclaiming: Let My people go (Ex. 5:1).

A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.” (Ex. 1:8-10)

Sotah 11a explains:
“A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph  Rab and Samuel [differ in their interpretation]; one said that he was really new, while the other said that his decrees were made new. He who said that he was really new did so because it is written new; and he who said that his decrees were made new did so because it is not stated that [the former king] died and he reigned [in his stead]. who did not know Joseph he was like one who did not know [Joseph] at all.  And he said to his people, 'Look, the Israelite people'...

A Tanna taught: He [Pharaoh] originated the plan first, and therefore was punished first. He originated the plan first, as it is written: And he said to his people; therefore he was punished first, as it is written: The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your courtiers (Ex.7:29)….      

R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Simai: There were three in that plan, viz. Balaam, Job and Jethro. Balaam who devised it was slain; Job who silently acquiesced was afflicted with sufferings; Jethro, who fled, merited that his descendants should sit in the Chamber of Hewn Stone (in the Temple where the Sanhedrin met), as it is said: The families of the scribes that dwelt at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites the Sucathites; these are the Kenites who came from Hammath, father of the house of Rechab (I Chron. 2:55). [The various names are understood in the sense that they were eminent scholars.] And it is written: The descendants of the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses, went up with the Judites from the City of Palms to the wilderness of Judah; and they went and settled among the people in the Negeb of Arad (Judges 1:16).”

Rashi on the verse: These are the names of Levi’s sons by their lineage: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and the span of Levi’s life was 137 years (Exodus 6:16). “Why number the years of Levi? To make known the days of slavery, for as long as one of the tribes lived there was no slavery…and Levi lived the longest.”

A view in the Talmud says that Job was an advisor to Pharaoh.  There is a view that God punished Job for not trying to stop Pharaoh. A midrash says that Job had the skin inflammation of Lev. 13:2 When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling, a rash, or a discoloration, and it develops into a scaly affection on the skin of his body, it shall be reported [brought to] to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons, the priests.

Pesikta Zutra 7:16 states:

“These are the names of Levi’s sons by their lineage: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and the span of Levi’s life was 137 years (Exodus 6:16). Levi was 43 when he went down to Egypt.  It was the 3rd year of Leah’s marriage Levi was born….Levi was 4 years older than Joseph, for Joseph was born in the 7th year of Leah’s marriage as written After Rachel had borne Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Give me leave to go back to my own homeland (Gen. 30:25). Written Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.—Leaving Pharaoh’s presence, Joseph traveled through all the land of Egypt… (Gen. 41:46). 7 years of fullness then 2 years of famine as written It is now two years that there has been famine in the land, and there are still five years to come in which there shall be no yield from tilling (Gen. 45:6) shows that Levi was 43 when he went down to Egypt [4+30+7+2=43]… So Joseph and his father’s household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived one hundred and ten years (Gen. 50:22)…

Seder Olam says that Levi  lived the longest of the brothers.  While Levi lived our forefathers in Egypt were not enslaved, as written Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation (Ex. 1:6)…Jacob our father saw Amram…Birth of Amram was during the 17 years Jacob lived in Egypt. Amram lived 137 years…Moses was 80 when he stood before Pharaoh...”

In the Talmud Baba Bathra one view is that Moses wrote the Book of Job.  Commentators say that Pharaoh was referring to the Book of Job that Moses was teaching the Israelites to give them hope: Let heavier work be laid upon the men; let them keep at it and not pay attention to deceitful promises.” (Exodus 5:9).

The midrash Sekel Tov Exodus 2:11 states on Some time after that, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his kinsfolk and witnessed their labors. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen(Ex. 2:11).

“Some time after that, that is to say, he was in the king’s palace. Moses had grown up. He was 20 years old. he went out to his kinsfolk and witnessed their labors teaches that Moses put his shoulders under the burden his brothers were bearing to help them.”

Moses could well have written the Book of Job, and the section on Balaam as the opinion in the Talmud.  According to the midrash there was a yeshiva learning Torah in Goshen in Egypt throughout the 210 years. The first Rosh Yeshiva was Levi, then Kohath, then Amram. Moses studied Torah in that yeshiva until the age of 20.

The Book of Job was a monumental work of 42 chapters, sophisticated Hebrew, many speakers, deep philosophy, similar phrasing found in the Siddur, Psalms, Proverbs and widely quoted in the Talmud and in Rashi.  That the Book of Job is part of the Bible today attests that Job, a prophet of God and a learned genius, lived and had devoted followers throughout history.

Baba Bathra 15a-b:
“The span of Job's life was from the time that Israel entered Egypt till they left it. An objection was further raised [from the following]: Seven prophets prophesied to the heathen, namely, Balaam and his father, Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, and Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite. He replied: Granted as you say [that Job was one of these], was not Elihu the son of Barachel from Israel, seeing that the Scripture mentions that he was from the family of Ram? Evidently [the reason why he is included] is because he prophesied to the heathen. So too Job [is included because] he prophesied to the heathen. But did not all the prophets prophesy to the heathen? Their prophecies were addressed primarily to Israel, but these addressed themselves primarily to the heathen.”

The Malbim says that Job’s 10 children did not die, but were captured and then released unharmed at the end. In the Malbim’s view the Book of Job had a happy ending with his children returning and Job’s wealth doubling: Afterward, Job lived one hundred and forty years to see four generations of sons and grandsons. So Job died old and contented (Job 42:16-17).   

God sent brilliant, eloquent, genius God fearing prophets such as Moses and Job then.  May God grant us today miracles and leaders as He has done for our forefathers.
 





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