The Primeval History

I. The Book of Job is obviously connected to ancient history.

A. The period of Job’s life overlaps the 3rd and 4th centuries after the Flood.

1. The events of Babel would have taken place sometime early in the 2nd or 3rd century.

2. The events probably occurred in the years before Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees with his father Terah to go to Haran.

3. The spreading system of pagan pantheism does not yet appear to have infiltrated the culture around Job or his friends.

a. The underlying premise of long ages and evolutionary changes are not discussed in the dialogues.

b. The influence of Nimrod and Babel and the worship of the “host of heaven” is not discussed in the dialogues.

B. The lifespans of the early peoples after the Flood were still significant.

1. Noah lived another 350 years after the Flood.

a. He would have lived during the discernment of languages at Babel.

b. He may well have known Abraham and/or Job – or Abraham and Job would have known of Noah.

2. Shem, the father of the line of Job, lived for 502 years after the Flood.

a. He would have lived during the incidents at Babel.

b. He would have known Abraham and Job.

c. He outlived Abraham.

3. Babel’s events took place sometime during the 5th generation (the generation of Peleg)

a. Uz was one of the sons of Aram and a grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:22-23).

b. Uz would have been alive during that event.

4. The sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, Japheth) all were on the Ark during the Flood.

a. They would have given and recorded firsthand accounts.

b. They would have passed on the events to their heirs.

5. The line of Shem would have most certainly known of these events.

a. The creation itself (from Adam through Seth) was known.

1) Seth was the replacement son for Abel.

2) Seth was the head of the godly line from Adam.

3) Seth was the grandsire of Noah.

b. The fall and expulsion from the Garden was known.

c. The murder of Abel by Cain was known.

d. The rapture of Enoch would have been known.

e. The horrible events of the “sons of God” would have been known.

f. The reason and impact of the global Flood would have been known.

II. The Book of Job cites memories of creation.

A. There is the simple assumption that God is the Creator and that God created the heavens and the earth.

1. Job notes: “He alone spreads out the heavens” (Job 9:8).

2. God notes: “I laid the foundations of the earth” (Job 38:4).

B. There is mention of other matters of creation significance.

1. God speaks to the rotation of earth: “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment” (Job 38:12-14).

2. Job notes the formation of the stars: “He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south” (Job 9:9).

3. Job noted: “By His Spirit He adorned the heavens” (Job 26:13).

4. Job is aware that God designed the creation to display His nature.

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7-10)

C. There is recognition even by the friends that God is the Creator.

1. Elihu notes: “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. If you can answer me, Set your words in order before me; Take your stand. Truly I am as your spokesman before God; I also have been formed out of clay” (Job 33:4-6).

2. Eliphaz speaks of “El Shaddai” in Job 5:17.

3. Bildad also uses “El Shaddai” in Job 8:3-5.

4. Zophar further uses “El Shaddai” in Job 11:7.

5. “El Shaddai” is used a total of 31 times in the book of Job.

III. The Book of Job cites memories of the Flood.

A. Many references to the Flood are couched in the language of those who had personal knowledge of the event.

1. They bear no resemblance to later legends and stories.

2. Job 9:5-9 – “He removes the mountains, and they do not know when He overturns them in His anger; He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea.”

B. Many word choices appear to describe the planet being shaken to the core.

1. The earth is “trembling” at the force of the awful judgment that was released on it.

2. The earth itself was moved “out of its place.”

a. Job 12:14-15 – “If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt; If He imprisons a man, there can be no release. If He withholds the waters, they dry up; If He sends them out, they overwhelm the earth.”

b. Job 26:11-14 – “The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

3. The men commenting on these events were living during the lifetime of Noah and his sons.

4. The friends of Job were direct descendants of the sons of Noah.

C. Many references in Genesis describe a horribly evil world prior to the flood (Genesis 6:1-5; 1 Peter 3:19-20; Jude 1:6).

1. The Creator offered 120 years of opportunity (Genesis 6:3).

2. Job 22:15-17 – “Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod, who were cut down before their time, whose foundations were swept away by a flood? They said to God, ‘Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?’”

IV. The Book of Job cites memories of the Fall of Man.

A. The evidence of God’s anger at sin was still fresh in the minds and memories of everybody.

1. These men, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite were not born past the 7th generation after the Flood.

2. Their families had spoken to the original occupants of the Ark and they knew!

B. The evidence of the horrible consequences as a result of Adam and Eve who sinned against the Creator was “modern” history to them.

1. They were convinced that Job’s awful sickness and tragic losses must be the result of some secret sin.

2. They were convinced that if the “pillars of heaven” were shaken by God’s judgment, Job ought to “come clean” before God destroyed him like He did the 1st world before the Flood.

V. The Book of Job cites memories of the disbursement of nations at Babel.

A. The text of Genesis 10 and 11 is somewhat limited, but it does insist that the whole earth was impacted – at least as far as language was concerned.

1. The confusion of language could not have happened without widespread knowledge.

2. The rule of Nimrod would have been widely known well beyond the borders of Babel-Nineveh.

B. The worship of the “host of heaven” that dominated Babel does not appear in the text of the book of Job.

1. There does not appear any trace that either Job nor any of his friends give any allegiance to “mystical” powers, but freely acknowledge the sovereign power of the Creator.

2. There is no hint of polytheism or pantheism, but only a somewhat confused idea about God’s justice.

C. The possibility exists that Job (and maybe his friends) had survived the trek from Babel after the confusion of languages.

1. The stories and memories of those awful days were still fresh.

2. The summary from Job to his friends cites experiences many had to find new places to live.

3. Job 12:20-25 – “He deprives the trusted ones of speech, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and disarms the mighty. He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, and He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”

D. The confusion and subsequent disbursement of families from the lush fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers would have required the weaker and smaller families to live off the land as they traveled.

1. They would be forced to live as the so-called “hunter-gatherers” of ancient history.

2. They brought to Job’s memory those who were driven out from Nimrod’s empire into the caves and wild lands where none had gone before.

3. They left remnants for modern archeologists to find of such an existence.

a. Cave men really did exist.

b. Cave men were not the beetle-browed savages of evolutionary development.

c. Cave men were merely the rejects and refugees of a savage ruler who drove out from his domain those who could not understand his language!

4. “They are gaunt from want and famine, fleeing late to the wilderness, desolate and waste, who pluck mallow by the bushes, and broom tree roots for their food.”

5. “They were driven out from among men, they shouted at them as at a thief.”

6. “They had to live in the clefts of the valleys, in caves of the earth and the rocks.  Among the bushes they brayed, under the nettles they nestled.”

7. “They were sons of fools, Yes, sons of vile men; they were scourged from the land.” (Job 30:3-8)

NOTE: This was recent history to Job and his friends. They knew those who had made the journey. They were aware of some of the families who had died out as a result of that terrible judgment. This was not rumor or legend. This was as vivid to them as the memories of parents and grandparents.

Series: The Remarkable Record of the Ancient World

Lesson: #2

Book: Job

Verses: Overview

Download the PDF of this outline here: The Primeval History