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by Karl Keil and Franz Delitzsch
The Book of Job
1. The Problem of the Book of Job
Why do afflictions upon afflictions befall the righteous man? This is the question, the answering of which is made the theme of the book of Job. Looking to the conclusion of the book, the answer stands: that afflictions are for the righteous man the way to a twofold blessedness. But in itself, this answer cannot satisfy; so much the less, as the twofold blessedness to which Job finally attains is just as earthly and of this world as that which he has lost by affliction. This answer is inadequate, since on the one hand such losses as those of beloved children cannot, as the loss of sheep and camels, really be made good by double the number of other children; on the other hand, it may be objected that many a righteous man deprived of his former prosperity dies in outward poverty. There are numerous deathbeds which protest against this answer. There are many pious sufferers to whom this present material issue of the book of Job could not yield any solace; whom, when in conflict at least, it might the rather bring into danger of despair. With reference to this conclusion, the book of Job is an insufficient theodicy, as in general the truth taught in the Old Testament, that the end, אהרית , of the righteous, as of the unrighteous, would reveal the hidden divine recompense, could afford no true consolation so long as this אהרית flowed on with death into the night of Hades, שׁאול , and had no prospect of eternal life.
But the issue of the history, regarded externally, is by no means the proper answer to the great question of the book. The principal thing is not that Job is doubly blessed, but that God acknowledges him as His servant, which He is able to do, after Job in all his afflictions has remained true to God. Therein lies the important truth, that there is a suffering of the righteous which is not a decree of wrath, into which the love of God has been changed, but a dispensation of that love itself. In fact, this truth is the heart of the book of Job. It has therefore been said - particularly by Hirzel, and recently by Renan - that it aims at destroying the old Mosaic doctrine of retribution. But this old Mosaic doctrine of retribution is a modern phantom. That all suffering is a divine retribution, the Mosaic Thora does not teach. Renan calls this doctrine la vielle conception patriarcale . But the patriarchal history, and especially the history of Joseph, gives decided proof against it. The distinction between the suffering of the righteous and the retributive justice of God, brought out in the book of Job, is nothing new. The history before the time of Israel, and the history of Israel even, exhibit it in facts; and the words of the law, as Deuteronomy 8:16, expressly show that there are sufferings which are the result of God's love; though the book of Job certainly presents this truth, which otherwise had but a scattered and presageful utterance, in a unique manner, and causes it to come forth before us from a calamitous and terrible conflict, as pure gold from a fierce furnace. It comes forth as the result of the controversy with the false doctrine of retribution advanced by the friends; a doctrine which is indeed not Mosaic, for the Mosaic Thora in the whole course of the history of revelation is nowhere impugned and corrected, but ever only augmented, and, consistently with its inherent character, rendered more complete.
To this question the book furnishes, as it appears to us, two answers: (1.) The afflictions of the righteous are a means of discipline and purification; they certainly arise from the sins of the righteous man, but still are not the workings of God's wrath, but of His love, which is directed to his purifying and advancement. Such is the view Elihu in the book of Job represents. The writer of the introductory portion of Proverbs has expressed this briefly but beautifully Proverbs 3:11; cf. Heb 12). Oehler, in order that one may perceive its distinction from the view of the three friends, rightly refers to the various theories of punishment. Discipline designed for improvement is properly no punishment, since punishment, according to its true idea, is only satisfaction rendered for the violation of moral order. In how far the speeches of Elihu succeed in conveying this view clear and distinct from the original standpoint of the friends, especially of Eliphaz, matters not to us here; at all events, it is in the mind of the poet as the characteristic of these speeches. (2.) The afflictions of the righteous man are means of proving and testing, which, like chastisements, come from the love of God. Their object is not, however, the purging away of sin which may still cling to the righteous man, but, on the contrary, the manifestation and testing of his righteousness. This is the point of view from which, apart from Elihu's speeches, the book of Job presents Job's afflictions. Only by this relation of things is the chagrin with which Job takes up the words of Eliphaz, and so begins the controversy, explained and justified or excused. And, indeed, if it should be even impossible for the Christian, especially with regard to his own sufferings, to draw the line between disciplinary and testing sufferings so clearly as it is drawn in the book of Job, there is also for the deeper and more acute New Testament perception of sin, a suffering of the righteous which exists without any causal connection with his sin, viz., confession by suffering, or martyrdom, which the righteous man undergoes, not for his own sake, but for the sake of God.
If we, then, keep in mind these two further answers which the book of Job gives us to the question, “Why through suffering to blessedness?” it is not to be denied that practically they are perfectly sufficient. If I know that God sends afflictions to me because, since sin and evil are come into the world, they are the indispensable means of purifying and testing me, and by both purifying and testing of perfecting me, - these are explanations with which I can and must console myself. But this is still not the final answer of the book of Job to its great question. And its unparalleled magnitude, its high significance in the historical development of revelation, its typical character already recognised in the Old Testament, consists just in its going beyond this answer, and giving us an answer which, going back to the extreme roots of evil, and being deduced from the most intimate connections of the individual life of man with the history and plan of the world in the most comprehensive sense, not only practically, but speculatively, satisfies.
2. The Chokma-Character of the Book
But before we go so far into this final and highest answer as the province of the Introduction permits and requires, in order to assign to the reader the position necessary to be taken for understanding the book, we ask, How comes it that the book of Job presents such a universal and absolute solution of the problem, otherwise unheard of in the Old Testament Scriptures? The reason of it is in the peculiar mental tendency ( Geistesrichtung) of the Israelitish race from which it proceeded. There was in Israel a bias of a universalistic, humanic, philosophical kind, which, starting from the fear or worship (religion) of Jehovah, was turned to the final causes of things, - the cosmical connections of the earthly, the common human foundations of the Israelitish, the invisible roots of the visible, the universal actual truth of the individual and national historical. The common character of the few works of his Chokma which have been preserved to us is the humanic standpoint, stripped of everything peculiarly Israelitish. In the whole book of Proverbs, which treats of the relations of human life in its most general aspects, the name of the covenant people, ישׁראל , does not once occur. In Ecclesiastes, which treats of the nothingness of all earthly things, and with greater right than the book of Job may be called the canticle of Inquiry,
Ἐκ σφετέρου καμάτοιο γεωπονίης τέ μ ̓ ἔδειμεν .
Bassos, beaming eye of the honourable city of his birth,
Has built me out of the produce of his own tillage.
Similar testimonies are to be found in the inscriptions of Burckhardt.
After a long sojourn on the hill, which was occasioned by the investigation of some interesting plants in the crater of the mound, we set out for Sa'dîje, which is built on the slope of a hill. After a good hour's journey we arrived at the Makâm Êjûb, “the favoured tomb of Job,” situated at the southern base of the hill, and rendered conspicuous by two white domes, and there we dismounted. The six attendants and alumni of the Makâm, or, as the Arabs thoughtfully call them, “the servants of our master Job” ( châdimîn sêjidna Êjûb), received us, with some other pilgrims, at the door of the courtyard, and led us to the basin of the fountain of Job, by the side of which they spread out their mantles for us to rest upon under the shade of walnut tree and a willow. While the rest were negated in the duties of hospitality, the superior of the Makâm, the Sheikh Sa'îd el-Darfûri (from Darfûr) did not leave us, and made himself in every way obliging. Like him, all the rest of the inhabitants of the place were black, and all unmarried; their celibacy, however, I imagine, was only caused by the want of opportunity of marrying, and the limited accommodation of the place. Sheikh Sa'îd believed himself to be fifty years of age; he left his home twenty years before to go on pilgrimage to Mekka, where he “studied” four years; the same length of time he sojourned in Medîna, and had held his present office ten years. Besides his mother tongue, he spoke Arabic and a little Turkish, having been in Constantinople a few years before. His judgment of the inhabitants of that city is rather harsh: he charges them with immorality, drunkenness, and avarice. In one year, said he, I could hardly save enough to travel by the steamer to Chôdscha Bêk (Odessa). How different was my experience to the inhabitants of this city! I was there three months, during which time I had nothing to provide for, and left with ninety Mânôt (imperials), which just sufficed to set up these dilapidated relics again. A Russian ship brought me to Smyrna, whence I travelled by the Nemsâwi (Austrian Lloyd steamer) to Syria.
According to the account given by the inhabitants of Sa'dîje, the Makâm has been from ancient times a negro hospice. These Africans, commonly called 'Abîd in Damascus, and in the country Tekârine, come chiefly from Tekrûr in Sûdân; they first visit Mekka and Medîna, then Damascus, and finally the Makâm of Job. Here they sojourn from twenty to thirty days, during which time they wash themselves daily in Job's fountain, and pray upon Job's stone; and the rest of the day they either read or assist the dwellers in the Makâm in their tillage of the soil. When they are about to leave, they received a testimonial, and often return home on foot across the Isthmus of Suez, often by water, chiefly from Jâfâ, by the Austrian Lloyd ship to Egypt, and thence to their native country. These pilgrims, so far as the requirements of their own country are concerned, are literati; and it appears as though by this journey they obtained their highest degree. I have frequently met them in my travels. They are known by their clean white turban, and the white broad-sleeved shirt, which reaches to the ankles, their only garment. They carry a small bundle over the shoulder upon a strong staff, which may serve as a weapon of defence in case of need. In this bundle they carry a few books and other effects, and above this their cloak. They are modest, taciturn men, who go nimbly onward on their way, and to whom one always gladly gives a supper and a night's lodging.
We visited the holy places in the company of the Sheikh Sa'îd. The Makâm, and the reservoir, which lies fifty paces to the front of it, are surrounded by a wall. This reservoir is filled by a strong, rapid, and cold stream of water, which comes from the fountain of Job, about 400 paces distant. The fountain itself springs up by the basalt hill on which the village and the Job's stone are situated; and it is covered in as far as the reservoir (called birke), in order to keep the water fresh, and to guard against pollution. Between the fountain and the Makâm stand a half-dozen acacias and a pomegranate, which were just then in full bloom. The Makâm itself, on which the wretched habitations for the attendants and pilgrims adjoin, is a one-storey stone building, of old material and moderate circumference. The first thing shown us was the stone trough, called gurn, in which Job bathed at the end of his trial. The small space in which this relic stands, and over which, so far as I remember, one of the two domes is raised, is called wadjet sêjidnâ Êjûb, “the lavatory of our lord Job.” Adjoining this is the part with the tomb, the oblong mound of which is covered with an old torn green cloth. The tomb of Sa'd was more carefully tended. Our Damascene travelling companions were divided in their opinions as to the person whose tomb was near that of Job, as in Syria it is hardly possible to find and distinguish the makâms of the many men of God ( rigâl Allâh) or favoured ones of God ( auliâ) who bear the same names; but a small white flag standing upon the grave informed us, for it bore the inscription: “This is the military emblem ( râje) of our lord Sa'd abû Merzûka.”
Perhaps the preservation of the Makâm of Job is due to the tomb of Sa'd, as its endowments have long since disappeared, while the tomb of Sa'd still has its revenues. From 'Aglûn it receives tribute of oil and olives yearly. And several large vegetable gardens, which lie round about the Makâm, and are cultivated by its attendants, must also contribute something considerable towards its maintenance. In these gardens they grow dura (maize), tobacco, turnips, onions, and other things, for their own use and for sale. The plants, which can be freely watered from the fountain of Job, are highly esteemed. The government levies no taxes on the Makâm, and the Arabs no tribute; and since, according to the popular belief, that Beduin horse that is watered from the birke dies, the Beduins do not even claim the rights of hospitality, - a fortunate circumstance, the removal of which would speedily cause the ruin of the hospice. From nightly thieves, who not unfrequently break through the walls of the stables in the villages of the plain, and carry off the smaller cattle, both the Makâm and the village are secure; for if the night thieves come, they see, as every one in Hauran testifies, a surging sea around the place, which prevents their approach.
From the Makâm we ascended the hill of the village, on the highest part of which is the stone of Job ( Sachrat Êjûb). It is inside a small Mussulman hall of prayer, which in its present form is of more modern origin, but is undoubtedly built from the material of a Christian chapel, which stood here in the pre-Muhammedan age. It is an unartistic structure, in the usual Hauranitish style, with six or eight arches and a small dome, which is just above the stone of Job. My Mussulman attendants, and a Hauranite Christina from the village of Shemiskîn, who had joined us as we were visiting the Sachra, trod the sacred spot with bare feet, and kissed the rock, the basaltic formation of which is unmistakeable. Against this rock, our guide told us, Job leaned “when he was afflicted by his Lord” ( hı̂n ibtelâ min rabbuh ).
(Note: As is generally known, the black stone in Mekka and the Sachra in Jerusalem are more celebrated than the stone of Job; but less revered are the Mebrak en-nâka in Bosrâ, the thievish stone of Moses in the great mosque at Damascus, the doset en-nebî on the mountain of el-Hîgâne, and others.)
While these people were offering up their 'Asr (afternoon) prayer in this place, Sa'îd brought me a handful of small long round stones and slag, which the tradition declares to be the worms that fell to the ground out of Job's sores, petrified. “Take them with thee,” said he, “as a memento of this place; let them teach thee not to forget God in prosperity, and in misfortune not to contend with Him.” The frequent use of these words in the mouth of the man might have weakened them to a set phrase: they were, however, appropriate to the occasion, and were not without their effect. After my attendants had provided themselves with Job's worms, we left the Sachra. These worms form a substantial part of the Hauranitish tradition of Job, and they are known and revered generally in the country. Our Christian attendant from Shemiskîn bound them carefully in the broad sleeve of his shirt, and recited to us a few verses from a kasîde, in which they are mentioned. The poem, which a member of our company, the dervish Regeb, wrote down, is by a Hauranite Christian, who in it describes his unhappy love in colours as strong as the bad taste it displays. The lines that are appropriate here are as follows: -
Min ‛azma nârı̂ nâra jôm el - qijâma ,
Tûfâna Nûha 'dmû‛ a 'ênı̂ ‛anuh zôd .
Ja‛ qûba min hoznı̂ hizânuh qisâma
Min belwetı̂ Ejûba jerta‛ bihe ‛d - dûd .
(Note: The metre forms two spondeo-iambics and trochaeo-spondaics.)
The fire of hell at the last day will kindle itself from the glow of my pain,
And stronger than the flood of Noah are the tear-streams of mine eyes.
The grief of Jacob for his son was but a small part of my grief;
And, visited with my misery, Job was once the prey of worms.
(Note: Comp. p. 576 of the foregoing Commentary.)
The village, which the peasants call Shêch Sa'd, and the nomads Sa'dîje, is, as the name implies, of later origin, and perhaps was founded by people who fled hither when oppressed elsewhere, for the sake of being able to live more peacefully under the protection of the two tombs. That the place is not called Êjûbîje, is perhaps in order to distinguish it from the Monastery of Job.
In less than a quarter of an hour we rode up to the Dêr Êjûb, a square building, standing entirely alone, and not surrounded by ruins. When the Arabian geographers call it a village, they reckon to it the neighbouring Sa'dîje with the Makâm. It is very extensive, and built of fine square blocks of dolerite. While my fellow-traveller, M. Dörgens, was engaged in making a ground-plan of the shattered building, which seemed to us on the whole to have had a very simple construction, I took some measurements of its sides and angles, and then searched for inscriptions. Although the ground-floor is now in part hidden in a mezbele ,
(Note: On the word and subject, vid., p. 573 of the foregoing Commentary.)
which has been heaped up directly against the walls, on the east side, upon the architrave, not of the chief doorway, which is on the south, but of a door of the church, is found a large Greek inscription in a remarkable state of preservation. The architrave consists of a single carefully-worked block of dolerite, and at present rests almost upon the ground, since the rubbish has filled the whole doorway. The writing and sculpture are hollowed out.
In the center is a circle, and the characters inscribed at each side of this circle are still undeciphered; the rest of the inscription is easy to be read: αὕτη ἡ πύλη κ ( υρίο ) υ δίκαιοι εἰσελεύσοντε ἐν αὐτῇ· τοῦτο τὸ ὑπέρθυρον ἐτέθη ἐν χρόνοις Ἠελίου εὐλαβεστ ( άτου ) ἡγουμ ( ένου ) μ ( ηνί ) Ἰουλίῳ κε ἰνδ ( ι ) κ ( τίωνος ) ιε τοῦ ἔτους πηντακοσιοστοῦ τρικοστοῦ ἕκτου κ ( υρί ) ου Ἰ ( ης ) οῦ Χ ( ριστ ) οῦ Βασιλεύοντος . The passage of Scripture, Psalms 118:20, with which this inscription beings, is frequently found in these districts in the inscriptions on church portals.
This inscription was an interesting discovery; for, so far as I know, it is the oldest that we possess which reckons according to the Christian era, and in the Roman indiction ( indictio )
(Note: Vid., Gibbon, ed. Smith, ii. 333. - Tr.)
we have an important authority for determining its date. Now, since there might be a difference of opinion as to the beginning of the “kingdom of Christ,” I was anxious to have the judgment of an authority in chronology on the point; and I referred to Prof. Piper of Berlin, who kindly furnished me with the following communication: - “...The inscription therefore furnishes the following data: July 25, indict. xv., year 536, κυρίου Ιοῦ Χοῦ βασιλεύοντος . To begin with the last, the Dionysian era, which was only just introduced into the West, is certainly not to be assumed here. But it is also by no means the birth of Christ that is intended. Everything turns upon the expression βασιλεύοντος . The same expression occurs once in an inscription from Syria, Corp. Inscr. Graec. 8651: βασιλεύοντος Ιουστινιανοῦ τῷ ια ἔτει . The following expression, however, occurs later concerning Christ on Byzantine coins: Rex regnantium and βασιλεὺς βασιλέων (after Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), the latter under John Zimiszes (died 975), in De Saulcy, Pl. xxii. 4. But if the βασιλεία of Christ is employed as the era, we manifestly cannot refer to the epoch of the birth of Christ, but must take the epoch of His ascension as our basis: for with this His βασιλεία first began; just as in the West we sometimes find the calculation begins a passione . Now the fathers of the Western Church indeed place the death (and therefore also the ascension) of Christ in the consulate of the two Gemini, 29 a.d. Not so with the Greek fathers. Eusebius takes the year of His death, according to one supposition, to be the 18th year of Tiberius, i.e., 785 a.u.c. = 32 a.d. Supposing we take this as the first year regnante Jesu Christo , then the year 536, of the inscription of the Monastery of Job, is reduced to our era, after the birth of Christ, by adding 31. Thus we have the number of the year 567, to which the accompanying xv. indictio corresponds, for 567 + 3 = 570; and 570/15 has no remainder. XV is therefore the indiction of the year 567, which more accurately belongs to the year from 1st Sept. 566 to 31st Aug. 567. And since the day of the month is mentioned in the inscription, it is the 25th July 567 that is indicated. For it appears to me undoubted that the indictions, according to the usual mode of computation among the Greeks, begin with the 1st Sept. 312. Thus a Sidonian inscription of dec. 642 a.d. has the I indiction ( Corp. Inscr. Gr. 9153)....”
Thus far Prof. Piper's communication. According to this satisfactory explanation of its date, this inscription is perhaps not unqualified to furnish a contribution worth notice, even for the chronology of the life of Jesus, since the Ghassinides, under whom not only the inscription, but the Monastery itself 300 years earlier, had its origin, dwelt in Palestine, the land of Christ; and their kings were perhaps the first who professed Christianity.
The “festival of the Monastery of Job,” which, according to Kazwînî's Syrian Calendar,
(Note: Calendarium Syriacum Cazwinii, ed. Guil. Volck, Lips. 1859, p. 15.)
the Christians of the country celebrated annually on the 23rd April, favours the pre-Muhammedan importance of the Monastery. This festival in Kazwînî's time, appearing only by name inf the calendar, had undoubtedly ceased with the early decline of Christianity in the plain of Hauran, for the historically remarkable exodus of a large portion of the Ghassinides out of the cities of Hauran to the north of Georgia had taken place even under the chalifate of Omar. The Syrian Christians of the present day celebrate the festival of Mâr Gorgius (St. George), who slew the dragon ( tennîn) near Beirût, on the 23rd April. A week later (the 1st May, oriental era) the Jews of Damascus have the sôm Êjûb (the fast of Job), which lasts twenty-four hours. In Kazwînî's calendar it is erroneously set down to the 3rd May.
Moreover, with reference to the Monastery, it must be mentioned that, according to the history of Ibn Kethîr,
(Note: Comp. A. v. Kremer, Mittelsyrien, etc., Vienna 1853, S. 10.)
the great Greco-Ghassinide army, which, under the leadership of Theodoric, a brother of the Emperor Heraclius, was to have repulsed the attack of the Mussulmans on Syria, revolted in its neighbourhood in the 13th year of the Hegira ( Higra), while the enemy was encamped on the south bank of the Meddân, and was drawn up near Edre'ât. After several months had passed came the battle known as the “battle of the Jarmûk, ” the issue of which cost the Byzantines Syria. The volcanic hollows of the ground, which for miles form a complex network of gorges, for the most part inaccessible, offer great advantages in defensive warfare; and here the battle near Edre'î, in which 'Og king of Bashan lost his kingdom, was probably fought.
According to the present division of the country, the Monastery of Job and the Makâm are in the southern part of Gêdûr, an administrative district, which is bounded on the north by the Wâdî Bêrût, on the east by the W. el-Horêr and the high road, on the south by the Jarmûk, and on the west by the W. Hit and by a range of volcanic mounds, which stretch to the south-east corner of the Snow-mountain ( el-Hermôn); this district, however, has only a nominal existence, for it has no administration of its own. Either it is added to Haurân, or its revenues, together with those of Gôlân, are let out to the highest bidder for a number of years. Gêdûr is the natural north-western continuation of the plain of Haurân; and the flat bed of the Horêr, which does not form a gorge until it comes to the bridge of Sîra, forms no boundary proper. Moreover, the word is not found in ancient geography; and the Arabian geographers, even the later ones, who recognised the idea of Gêdûr, always so define the position of a locality situated in Gêdûr, that they say it is situated in the Haurân. Thus Jâkût describes the town of el-Gâbia, situated in western Gêdûr, and in like manner, as we have seen above, Nawâ and the Monastery of Job, etc.
(Note: Jâkût says under Gêdûr, “It is a Damascene district, it has villages, and lies in the north of Haurân; according to others, it is reckoned together with Haurân as one district.” The last words do not signify that Gêdûr and Haurân are words to be used without any distinction; on the contrary, that Gêdûr is a district belonging to Haurân, and comprehended in it.)
There is no doubt that, as the Gêdûr of the present day is reckoned in the Nukra, so this country also in ancient days, at least as far as its northern watershed, has belonged to the tetrarchy of Batanaea.
The Monastery of Job is at present inhabited. A certain sheikh, Ahmed el-Kâdirî, has settled down here since the autumn of 1859, as partner of the senior of the Damascene 'Omarîje (the successors of the Chalif 'Omar), to whose family endowments ( waqf ) the Monastery belongs, and with his family he inhabits a number of rooms in the inner court, which have escaped destruction. He showed us the decree of his partner appointing him to his position, in which he is styled Sheikh of the Dêr Êjûb, Dêr el-Lebwe, and 'Ashtarâ. Dêr el-Lebwe, “the monastery of the lion,”
(Note: The name of this monastery, which is about a mile and a half north-east of the Dêr Ejûb, is erroneously called D. el-lebû in Burckhardt's Travels in Syria (ed. Gesenius, S. 449). The same may be said of D. en-nubuwwe in Annales Hamzae, ed. Gottwaldt, p. 118.)
was built by the Gefnide Eihem ibn el-Hârith; and we shall have occasion to refer to 'Ashtarâ, in which Newbold,
(Note: C. Ritter, Geogr. v. Syr. u. Pal. ii. 821 [ Erdk. xv. Pt. 2, p. 821].)
in the year 1846, believed he had found the ancient capital of Basan, 'Ashtarôt, further on. But the possessor of all these grand things was a very unhappy man. While we were drinking coffee with him, he related to us how the inhabitants of Nawâ had left him only two yoke ( feddân ) of arable land from the territory assigned to him, and taken all the rest to themselves. The harvest of that year, after the deduction of the bedhâr (the new seed-corn), would hardly suffice to meet the demands of his family, and of hospitality; and for his partner, how had advanced money to him, there would be nothing left. In Damascus he found no redress; and the Sheikh of Nawâ, Dhiâb el-Medhjeb, had answered his last representation with the words, “He who desires Job's inheritance must look for trials.” Here also, as in Arabia generally, I found that intelligence and energy was on the side of the wife. During our conversation, his wife, with one of her children, had drawn near; and while the child kissed my hand, according to custom, she said: “To-morrow thou wilt arrive at Muzêrîb; Dhiâb will also be going thither with contributions for the pilgrims. We put our cause in thy hands, arrange it as seems thee best; this old man will accompany thee.” And as we were riding, the Sheikh Ahmed was also obliged to mount, and his knowledge of the places did us good service on Tell Ashtarâ and Tell el-Ash'arî. In Muzêrîb, where the pilgrim fair and the arriving caravans for Mekka occupied our attention for five days, we met Dhiâb and the Ichtiârîje (elders of the community) of Nawâ; and, after some opposition, the sheikh of the Monastery of Job obtained four feddân of land under letter and seal, and returned home satisfied.
The case of this man is no standard of the state of the Hauranites, for there are so many desolated villages that there is no lack of land; only round about Nawâ it is insufficient, since this place is obliged to take possession of far outlying fields, by reason of its exceedingly numerous agricultural population.
(Note: That the Sheikh Ahmed was permitted to take up his abode in the Monastery, was owing to a religious dread of his ancestor ( gidd ), 'Abdel-Kâdir el-Gîlâni, and out of courteousness towards his partner.)
The more desolate a land exposed to plunder becomes, the more populous must its separate towns become, since the inhabitants of the smaller defenceless villages crowd into them. Thus the inhabitants of the large town of Kenâkir at the present time till the fields of twelve neighbouring deserted villages; and Salt, the only inhabited place in the Belkâ, has its corn-fields even at a distance of fifteen miles away. The poet may also have conceived of Job's domain similarly, for there were five hundred ploughmen employed on it; so that it could not come under the category of ordinary villages, which in Syria rarely have above, mostly under, fifty yoke of oxen. According to the tradition, which speaks of “Job's villages” ( diâ' Êjûb), these ploughmen would be distributed over several districts; but the poet, who makes them to be overwhelmed by one ghazwe, therefore as ploughing in one district, will have conceived of them only as dwelling in one locality.
It might not be out of place here to give some illustration of the picture which the poet draws of Job's circumstances and position as a wealthy husbandman. Haurân, the scene of the drama (as we here assume), must at that period, as at present, have been without protection from the government of the country, and therefore exposed to the marauding attacks of the tribes of the desert. In such a country there is no private possession; but each person is at liberty to take up his abode in it, and to cultivate the land and rear cattle at his own risk, where and to what extent he may choose. Whoever intends doing so much first of all have a family, or as the Arabs say, “men” ( rigâl ), i.e., grown-up sons, cousins, nephews, sons-in-law; for one who stands alone, “the cut off one” ( maktû‛ ), as he is called, can attain no position of eminence among the Semites, nor undertake any important enterprise.
(Note: In the present day the household is called ‛ashı̂ra , and all families of important in Haurân are and call themselves ‛ashâir (Arab. ‛šâ'r ); but the ancient word batn does also occur, and among the Semitic tribes that have migrated to Mauritania it is still in use instead of the Syrian ‛ashı̂ra . Batn , collect. butûn , is the fellowship of all those who are traced back to the בּטן of one ancestral mother. Thus even in Damascus they say: nahn ferd batn , we belong to one family; in like manner in the whole of Syria: this foal is the batn of that mare, i.e., its young one; or: I sold my mare without batn , or with one, two, three-fourths of her batn , i.e., without her descendants, or so that the buyer has only 6 or 12 or 18 kı̂rât right of possession in the foals she will bear. In all these applications, batn is the progenies uteri , not the uterus itself; and, according to this, בני בטני , Job 19:17, ought to be explained by “all my relations by blood.”)
Then he has to make treaties with all the nomad tribes from which he has reason to fear any attack, i.e., to pledge himself to pay a yearly tribute, which is given in native produce (in corn and garments). Thus the community of el-Hîgâne, ten years since, had compacts with 101 tribes; and that Job also did this, seems evident from the fact that the poet represents him as surprised not by neighbouring, but by far distant tribes (Chaldaeans and Sabaeans), with whom he could have no compact.
(Note: These sudden attacks, at any rate, do not say anything in favour of the more southernly position of Ausitis. If the Beduin is but once on his horse or delûl , it is all the same to him whether a journey is ten days longer or shorter, if he can only find water for himself and his beast. This, however, both bands of marauders found, since the poet distinctly represents the attacks as having been made in the winter. The general ploughing of the fallow-lying wâgiha of a community (it is called shiqâq el - wâgiha ), ready for the sowing in the following autumn, always takes place during January and February, because at this time of the year the earth is softened by the winter rains, and easy to plough. While engaged in this work, the poet represents Job's ploughmen as being surprised and slain. Hence, for the destruction of 500 armed ploughmen - and they were armed, because they could only have been slain with their weapons in their hands in consequence of their resistance - at least 2000 horsemen were necessary. So large a ghazwe is, however, not possible in the summer, but only in the winter, because they could not water at a draw-well, only at the pools ( ghudrân ) formed by the winter rains. For one of these raids of the Chaldaeans, Haurân, whither marauding bands come even now during the winter from the neighbourhood of Babylon in six or seven days, lay far more convenient than the country around Ma'ân and 'Akaba, which is only reached from the Euphrates, even in winter, by going a long way round, since the Nufûd (sandy plains) in the east, and their western continuation the Hâlât, suck in the rain without forming any pools. On the other hand, however, this southern region lay nearer and more convenient for the incursions of the Sabaeans, viz., the Keturaean (Genesis 25:3), i.e., Petraean tribe of this name. The greater or less distance, however, is of little consequence here. Thus, as the Shemmar of Negd from time to time make raids into the neighbourhood of Damascus, so even the tribes of Wâdi el-Korâ might also do the same. Moreover, as we observed above, the poet represents the sudden attacks as perpetrated by the Sabaeans and Chaldaeans, probably because they only, as being foreign and distant races which never had anything to do with Job and his men, and therefore were without any consideration, could practise such unwonted barbarities as the robbery of ploughing heifers, which a ghazwe rarely takes, and the murder of the ploughmen.)
Next he proceeds to erect a chirbe , i.e., a village that has been forsaken (for a longer or shorter period), in connection with which, excepting the relations, slaves, and servants of the master, all those whom interest, their calling, and confidence in the good fortune of the master, have drawn thither, set about the work. Perhaps Job 15:28 has reference to Job's settlement.
(Note: Verbally, Job 3:14, which we, however, have interpreted differently, accords with this. - Del.)
With reference to the relation of the lord of a village ( ustâd beled , or sâhib dê‛a ) to his work-people, there are among the dependents two classes. The one is called zurrâ‛ , “sowers,” also fellâhin kism , “participating husbandmen,” because they share the produce of the harvest with the ustâd thus: he receives a fourth while they retain three-fourths, from which they live, take the seed for the following season, give their quota towards the demands of the Arabs, the village shepherds, the field watchmen, and the scribe of the community ( chatı̂b ); they have also to provide the farming implements and the yoke-oxen. On the other hand, the ustâd has to provide for the dwellings of the people, to pay the land-tax to the government, and, in the event of a failure of the crops, murrain, etc., to make the necessary advances, either in money or in kind at the market price, and without any compensation. This relation, which guarantees the maintenance of the family, and is according to the practice of a patriarchal equity, is greatly esteemed in the country; and one might unhesitatingly consider it therefore to be that which existed between Job and his ploughmen, because it may with ease exist between a single ustâd and hundreds, indeed thousands, of country people, if Job 1:3 did not necessitate our thinking of another class of country people, viz., the murâbi‛ı̂n , the “quarterers.” They take their name from their receiving a fourth part of the harvest for their labour, while they have to give up the other three-fourths to the ustâd , who must provide for their shelter and board, and in like manner everything that is required in agriculture. As Job, according to Job 1:3 (comp. on Job 42:12), provided the yoke-oxen and means of transport (asses and camels), so he also provided the farming implements, and the seed for sowing. We must not here think of the paid day-labourer of the Syrian towns, or the servants of our landed proprietors; they are unknown on the borders of the desert. The hand that toils has there a direct share in the gain; the workers belong to the aulâd , “children of the house,” and are so called; in the hour of danger they will risk their life for their lord.
This rustic labour is always undertaken simultaneously by all the murâbi‛ı̂n (it is so also in the villages of the zurrâ‛ ) for the sake of order, since the ustâd , or in his absence the village sheikh, has the general work of the following day announced from the roof of his house every evening. Thus it is explained how the 500 ploughmen could be together in one and the same district, and be slain all together.
The ustâd is the sole judge, or, by deputy, the sheikh. An appeal to the government of the country would be useless, because it has no influence in Hauran; but the servant who has been treated unjustly by his master, very frequently turns as dachı̂l fi 'l - haqq (a suppliant concerning his right) to his powerful neighbour, who is bound, according to the customs of the country, to obtain redress for him (comp. Job 29:12-Esther :). If he does not obtain this by persuasion, he cries for force, and such a demand lies at the root of many a bloody feud.
Powerful and respected also as the position, described in Job 29:1, of such a man is, it must, according to the nature of its basis, fall in under strokes of misfortune, like those mentioned in Job 1:14-Psalms :, and change to the very opposite, as the poet describes it in Job 30:1.
After these observations concerning the agricultural relations of Hauran, we return to the tradition of Job. As we pursue the track of this tradition further, we first find it again in some of the Christina writers of the middle ages, viz., in Eugesippus ( De distanc. loc. terr. sanct.), in William of Tyre ( Histor. rerum a Francis gest.), and in Marino Sanuto ( De secretis fid. cruc.). The passages that bear upon the point are brought together in Reland ( Palest. pp. 265f.); and we would simply refer to them, if it were possible for the reader to find his way among the fabulous confusion of the localities in Eugesippus and Sanuto.
The oldest of these citations is from Eugesippus, and is as follows: One part of the country is the land of Hus, out of which Job was; it is also called Sueta, after which Bildad the Suhite was named. Sanuto tells us where this locality is to be sought. “ Sueta is the home of Baldad the Suite, Below this city ( civitas), in the direction of the Kedar-tribes, the Saracens are accustomed to assemble out of Aram, Mesopotamia, Ammon, Moab, and the whole Orient, around the fountain of Fiale; and, on account of the charms of the place, to hold a fair there during the whole summer, and to pitch their coloured tents.” In another place he says: fontem Fialen Medan, i.e., aquas Dan, a Saracenis nuncupari .
Now, since according to an erroneous, but previously prevalent etymology, “the water of Dan” ( מי דן יאר דּן ) denoted the Jordan, and since we further know from Josephus ( Bell. iii. 10, 7) that the Phiala is the small lake of Râm, whose subterranean outflow the tetrarch Philip is said to have shown to be the spring of the Jordan, which comes to light deeper below, we should have thought the country round about the lake of Râm, at the south foot of Hermôn, to be the home of Job and Bildad. This discovery would be confirmed by the following statement of Eugesippus (in Reland, loc. cit.): “The river Dan flows under ground from its spring as far as the plain of Meldan, where it comes to light. This plain is named after the fair, which is held there, for the Saracens call such an one Meldan. At the beginning of the summer a large number of men, with wares to sell, congregate there, and several Parthian and Arabian soldiers also, in order to guard the people and their herds, which have a rich pasture there in the summer. The word Meldan is composed of mel and dan.” It is indeed readily seen that the writer has ignorantly jumbled several words together in the expression meldan, as mê Dan, “water of Dan,” and Mêdân or mı̂dân , “market-place;” perhaps even also leddân , the name of the great fountain of the Jordan in the crater of the Tell el-Kâdi. In like manner, the statement that the neighbourhood of Phiala, or that of the large fountain of the Jordan, might formerly have been a fair of the tribes, is false, for the former is broken up into innumerable craters, and the latter is poisoned by the swamp-fevers of the Hûle; but as to the rest, both Eugesippus and Sanuto seem really to speak of a tradition which places Job's or Bildad's home in that region. And yet it is not so: their tradition is no other than the Hauranitish; but ignorance of the language and geography of the country, and some accidental circumstances, so confused their representations, that it is difficult to find out what is right. The first clue is given us by the history of William of Tyre, in which (l. xxii. c. 21) it is said that the crusaders, on their return from a marauding expedition in the Nukra, wished to reconquer a strong position, the Cavea Roob, which they had lost a short time before. “This place,” says the historian, “lies in the province of Suite, a district distinguished by its pleasantness, etc.; and that Baldad, Job's friend, who is on that account called the Suite, is said to have come from it.” This passage removes us at once into the neighbourhood of Muzêrîb and the Monastery of Job, for the province of Suete is nothing but the district of Suwêt (Arab. ṣwı̂t ),
(Note: Reisebericht, S. 46; comp. Ritter, Syr. u. Pal. ii. 1019 [ Erdk. xv. Pt. 2, p. 1019].)
the north-western boundary of which is formed by the gorge of the Wâdî Rahûb. The Cavea Roob, which was first of all again found out by me on my journey in 1862, lies in the middle of the steep bank of that wadi, and is at present called maghâret Rahûb, “the cave of R.,” or more commonly mu'allakat Rahûb, “the swinging cave of R.,” and at the time of the Crusades commanded the dangerous pass which the traveller, on ascending from the south end of the Lake of Galilee to Edre'ât by the nearest way, has to climb on hands and feet. In another passage (xvi. 9), where the unhealthy march to Bosrâ is spoken of, Will. of Tyre says: “After we had come through the gorge of Roob, we reached the plain which is called Medan, and where every year the Arabs and other oriental tribes are accustomed to hold a large fair.” This plain is in the vicinity of Muzêrîb, in which the great pilgrim-fair is held annually. We find something similar in xiii. 18: “After having passed Decapolis
(Note: Here in the more contracted sense, the district of Gadara, Kefârât, and Irbid.)
we came to the pass of Roob, and further on into the plain of Medan, which stretches far and wide in every direction, and is intersected by the river Dan, which falls into the Jordan between ( Tiberias and Scythopolis ( Bîsân).” This river, the same as that which Sanuto means by his aquae Dan ( Mê Dâ n), is none other than the Wâdi el-Meddân, called “the overflowing one,” because in the month of March it overflows its banks eastward of the Gezzâr -bridge. It is extremely strange that the name of this river appears corrupted not only in all three writers mentioned above, but also in Burckhardt; for, deceived by the ear, he calls it Wâdî Om el-Dhan.
(Note: Burckhardt, Travels in Syr. and Pal. (ed. Gesenius, S. 392).)
The Meddân is the boundary river between the Suwêt and Nukra plains; it loses its name where it runs into the Makran; and where it falls into the valley of the Jordan, below the lake of Tiberias, it is called el-Muchêbî.
We have little to add to what has been already said. The Fiale of Sanuto is not the Lake Râm, but the round begge , the lake of springs of Muzêrîb, the rapid outflow of which, over a depth of sixty to eighty feet, forms a magnificent waterfall, the only one in Syria, as it falls into the Meddân near the village of Tell Shihâb.
The unfortunate confusion of the localities was occasioned by two accidental circumstances: first, that both the springs of the Jordan below Bâniâs and the lake of Muzêrîb, have a village called Rahûb ( רחוב ) in their vicinity, of which one is mentioned in Judges 18:28., and the other, about a mile below the Cavea Roob, is situated by a fountain of the same name, from which village, cavern, and wadi derive their names; secondly, that there, as here, there is a village Abil ( אבל ): that near Dan is situated in the “meadow-district of 'Ijôn” ( Merg. 'Ijûn); and that in the Suwêt lies between Rahûb and the Makran, and was visited by Seetzen as well as by myself. Perhaps the circumstance that, just as the environs of Muzêrîb have their Mîdân,
(Note: The word el - mı̂dân and el - mêdân signifies originally the hippodrome, then the arena of the sham-fight, then the place of contest, the battle-field, and finally a wide level place where a large concourse of men are accustomed to meet. In this sense the Damascenes have their el - mı̂dân , the Spanish cities their almeidân , and the Italians their corso.)
so the environs of Bâniâs have their Ard el-Mejâdîn, “region of battle-fields,” may also have contributed to the confusion; thus, for example, the country sloping to the west from the Phiala towards the Hûle, between Gubbâtâ ez-zêt and Za'ûra, is called, perhaps on account of the murderous encounters which took place there, both in the time of the Crusades and also in more ancient times. It is certainly the ground on which the battle narrated in the book of Joshua, Joshua 11:1, took place, and also the battle in which Antiochus the Great slew the Egyptian army about 200 b.c.)
What we have gained for our special purpose from this information (by which not a few statements of Ritter, K. v. Raumer, and others, are substantiated), is not merely the fact that the tradition which places Job's home in the region of Muzêrîb existed even in the middle ages (which the quotation given above from Makdeshî, who lived before the time of the Crusades, also confirms), and even came to the ears of the foreigners who settled in the country as they then passed through the land, but also the certainty that this tradition was then, as now, common to the Christians and the Mussulmans, for the three writers previously mentioned would hardly have recorded it on the testimony of the latter only.
(Note: Estôri ha-Parchi, the most renowned Jewish topographer of Palestine, in his work Caftor wa-ferach, completed in 1322 (newly edited by Edelmann, published by Asher, Berlin, 1852, S. 49), says דאר איוב lies one hour south of נבו , since he identifies Nawâ with the Reubenitish Nebô, Numbers 32:38, as Zora'' with יעזר , Numbers 32:35; so that he explains ארץ עוץ by ארץ יעזר , although he at the same time considers the name, according to Saadia, as one with אלגוטה ( el Ghuta). His statements moreover are exact, as one might expect from a man who had travelled for seven years in all directions in Palestine; and his conclusion, ארץ עוץ היא ארץ קדם לארץ ישׂראל כנגד טבריא , perfectly accords with the above treatise. - Del.)
There can be no doubt as to which of these two religions must be regarded as the original mother of this tradition. The Hauranite Christians, who, from their costume, manners, language, and traditions, undoubtedly inherited the country from the pre-Muhammedan age, venerate the Makâm perhaps even more than the Muhammedans; which would be altogether impossible in connection with the hostile position of the two religious sects towards one another, and in connection with the zealous scorn with which the Syrian Christians regard the religion of Islam, if the Hauranitish tradition of Job and the Makâm were of later, Muhammedan origin. It is also possible that, on a closer examination of the Makâm and the buildings about the Sachra, one might find, besides crosses, Greek inscriptions (since they are nowhere wanting in the Nukra), which could only have their origin in the time before the occupation of Islam (635 a.d.); for after this the Hauranite Christians, who only prolong their existence by wandering from chirbe to chirbe, have not even built a single dwelling-house, much less a building for religious worship, which was forbidden under pain of death in the treaty of Omar. But in connection with the pre-Islam Monastery of Job, which owed its origin only to the sacred tradition that held its ground in that place, are monumental witnesses that this tradition is pre-Islamic, and has been transferred from the Christians to the Mussulmans, required? We may go even further, and assert that Muhammed, in the Sur. xxxviii. 41ff. of the Korân, had the Hauranitish tradition of Job and the localities near Sa'dîje definitely before his mind.
We must regard the merchandise caravans which the inhabitants of Tehâma sent continuously into the “north country,” esh - shâm ,
(Note: In Jemen the Higâz, Syria may have been called Shâm in the earliest times. The name was taken into Syria itself by the immigration of the Jemanic tribes of Kudâ'a, and others, because they brought with them the name of Syria that was commonly used in their native land.)
and the return freight of which consisted chiefly of Hauranitish corn, as proof of a regular intercourse between the east Jordanic country and the west of the Arabian peninsula in the period between Christ and Muhammed. Hundreds of men from Mekka and Medina came every year to Bosrâ; indeed, when it has happened that the wandering tribes of Syria, which were, then also as now, bound for Hauran with the kêl , i.e., their want of corn, got before them, and had emptied the granaries of Bosrâ, or when the harvests of the south of Hauran had been destroyed by the locusts, which is not unfrequently the case, they will have come into the Nukra
(Note: The remarkable fair at Muzêrîb can be traced back to the earliest antiquity, although Bosrâ at times injured it; but this latter city, from its more exposed position, has been frequently laid in ruins. It is probable that the merchants of Damascus pitched their tents for their Kasaba, i.e., their moveable fair, twice a year (in spring and in autumn) by the picturesque lake of Muzêrîb. If, with the tradition, we take the Nukra to be the home of Job, of the different ways of interpreting Job 6:19 there is nothing to hinder our deciding upon that which considers it as the greater caravan which acme periodically out of southern Arabia to Hauran (Bosrâ or Muzêrib). Têmâ with its well, Heddâg (comp. Isaiah 21:14), celebrated by the poets of the steppe, from which ninety camels ( sâniât ) by turns raise a constantly flowing stream of clear and cool water for irrigating the palms and the seed, was in ancient times, perhaps, the crossing point of the merchant caravans going from south to north, and from east to west. Even under the Omajad Cahlifs the Mekka pilgrim-route went exclusively by way of Têmâ, just as during the Crusades so long as the Franks kept possession of Kerak and Shôbak. An attempt made in my Reisebericht (S. 93-95) to substitute the Hauranitish Têmâ in the two previously mentioned passages of Scripture, I have there (S. 131) given up as being scarcely probable.)
as far as Nawâ, sometimes even as far as Damascus, in order to obtain their full cargo.
If commerce often has the difficult task of bringing together the most heterogeneous peoples, and of effecting a reciprocal interchange of ideas, it here had the easy work of sustaining the intercourse among tribes that were originally one people, spoke one idiom, and regarded themselves as all related; for the second great Sabaean migration, under 'Amr and his son Ta'labe, had taken possession of Mekka, and left one of their number, Rabî'a ibn Hâritha, with his attendants (the Chuzâ'ites), behind as lord of the city. In the same manner they had become possessed of Jathrib ( el-Medîna), and left this city to their tribes Aus and Chazreg: the remainder of the people passed on to Peraea and took possession of the country, at that time devastated, as far as Damascus, according to Ibn Sa'îd, even including this city. By the reception of Christianity, the Syrian Sabaeans appear to have become but slightly or not at all estranged from their relatives in the Higâz, for Christianity spread even here, so that the Caesars once ventured to appoint a Christian governor even to the city of Mekka. This was during the lifetime of the Gefnite king 'Amr ibn Gebele. At the time of Muhammed there were many Christians in Mekka, who will for the most part have brought their Christianity with the Syrian caravans, so that at the commencement of Islâm the Hauranitish tradition of Job might have been very well known in Mekka, since many men from Mekka may have even visited the Makâm and the Sachra, and there have heard many a legend of Job like that intimated in the Korân xxxviii. 43. Yea, whoever will give himself the trouble to investigate minute commentaries on the Koran, especially such as interpret the Koran from the tradition ( hadı̂th ), e.g., the Kitâb ed-durr el-muchtâr, may easily find that not merely Kazwînî, Ibn el-Wardî, and Jâkût, whose observations concerning the Monastery of Job have been given above, but also much older authorities, identify the Koranish fountain of Job with the Hauranitish.
A statement of Eusebius, of value in connection with this investigation, brings us at one stride about three hundred years further on. It is in the Onomastikon, under Καρναείμ , and is as follows: “ Astaroth Karnaim is at present (about 310 a.d.) a very large village ( κώμη μεγίστη ) beyond the Jordan, in the province of Arabia, which is also called Batanaea. Here, according to tradition ( ἐκ παραδόσεως ), they fix the dwelling ( οἶκος ) of Job.” On the small map which accompanies these pages, the reader will find in the vicinity of the Makâm the low and somewhat precipitous mound, not above forty feet in height, of Tell 'Ashtarâ, the plateau of which forms an almost round surface, which is 425 paces in diameter, and shows the unartistic foundations of buildings, and traces of a ring-wall. Here we have to imagine that 'Astarot Karnaim. Euseb. here makes no mention whatever of the city of Astaroth, the ancient capital of Basan, for this he does under Astaroo'th; the hypothesis of its being the residence of king 'Og, which Newbold
(Note: C. Ritter, Geogr. v. Syr. u. Pal. ii. 819ff. [ Erdk. xv. 2, p. 819ff.] The information of Newbold, which is printed in the Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellschaft, i. 215f., is unfortunately little to be relied on, and is to be corrected according to the topography of the mound given above.)
set up here, consequently falls to the ground. The κώμη μεγίστη of Eusebius must, in connection with the limited character of the ground, certainly be somewhat contracted; but the identity of the localities is not to be doubted in connection with the great nearness of the οἶκος (the Makâm).
(Note: A small, desolated stone village, situated a quarter of an hour's journey from the mound of 'Ashtarâ, which however has not a single house of any importance, has two names among the inhabitants of that region, either Chirbêt 'Ijûn en-Nîle (the ruins near the Nila-springs) or Chirbêt 'Ashtarâ, which can signify the ruins of 'Ashtarâ and the ruins near 'Ashtarâ. Since it is, however, quite insignificant, it will not be the village that has given the name to the mound, but the mound with its buildings, which in ancient days were perhaps a temple to Astarte, surrounded by a wall, has given the name to the village.)
Let us compare another statement that belongs here; it stands under Ἀσταρὼθ Καρναείμ , and is as follows: “There are at the present time two villages of this name in Batanaea, which lie nine miles distant from one another, μεταξὺ ΑΔΑΡΩΝ καὶ ΑΒΙΛΗΞ .” Jerome has duo castella instead of two villages, by which at least the κώμη μεγίστη is somewhat reduced; for that it is one of these two castles
(Note: The meaning of “castle,” as defined by Burckhardt, Travels in Syr. etc. p. 657, should be borne in mind here. “The name of Kal'at or castle is given on the Hadj route, and over the greater part of the desert, to any building walled in and covered, and having, like a Khan, a large courtyard in its enclosure. The walls are sometimes of stone, but more commonly of earth, though even the latter are sufficient to withstand an attack of Arabs.” - Tr.)
can be the less doubtful, since they also regulate the determining of the respective localities. If the reading ΑΒΙΛΗΞ is correct, only Abil ( אבל ) in the north of Suwêt can (since, without doubt, the Arabian names of the places in Hauran existed in Eusebius' day) be intended; and ΑΔΑΡΩΝ ought then to be changed into ΑΛΑΡΩΝ , in order to denote the large village of El-hârâ, on the lofty peak of the same name in the plain of Gêdûr. El-hârâ lies to the north, and Abil to the south of 'Ashtarâ. If, however, as is most highly probable, instead of ΑΒΙΛΗΞ (which form Euseb. does not use elsewhere, for he calls the town of Abil Ἀβέλ , and the inscription in Turra has the form πόλεως Ἀβέλις ), ΑΒΙΔΗΞ is to be read, which corresponds to the Ἀβιδᾶ of Ptolemy ( ed. Wilberg, p. 369) and the modern / Abidîn near Bêtirrâ, thus the name of the other village is to be changed from ΑΔΑΡΩΝ to ΑΡΑΡΩΝ (for which the Cod. Vat. erroneously has ΔΡΑΡΩΝ ), the modern 'Arâr.
(Note: Some, in connection with this word, have erroneously thought of the city of Edre'ât, which Eusebius calls Ἀδρά in the immediately preceding article Ἀδραά , and in the art. Edraei'.)
'Abîdîn, however, lies nine miles west, and 'Arâr nine miles east of 'Ashtarâ.
Now, as to the second village, and its respective castle, which is mentioned in the second citation from the Onomastikon, I believe that both Euseb. and Jerome intend to say there are two villages, of which the one has the byname of the other; consequently the one is called Astarôt ( Karnaim), and the other Karnaim ( Astarôt). Twelve miles west of 'Ashtarâ lies the Golanite village of Kornîje ( קרניּה ), which in old Kanêtra I have taken up in my trigonometrical measurements.
We find also a third passage in the Onomast. which belongs here; it is under Ἰαβώκ in Cod. Vat., under Ἰδουμαία in Cod. Leid. and Vellarsi, and runs: “According to the view of a certain one ( κατά τινος ), this region is the land of Asitis ( Ausitis), the home of Job, while according to others it is Arabia ( ἡ Ἀραβία ); and again, according to others, it is the Land of Sîhôn.” Whether genuine or not, this passage possesses a certain value. If it is genuine, Jerome would have left it accordingly untranslated, because he would not be responsible for its whole contents, for he not unfrequently passes over or alters statements of Eusebius where he believes himself to be better informed; but, taken exactly, he could only have rejected the views of those who seek Job's native country on the Jabbok (if the passage belongs to the art. Ἰαβώκ ) or in Edom (if it belongs to Ἰδουμαία ), or in the Belkâ, the land of Sîhôn; but not the view of those who make Arabia ( Batanaea) to be Ausitis, for the statement of Eusebius with reference to this point under Carnaei'm he translates faithfully. If the passage is not genuine, it at any rate gives the very early testimony of an authority distinct from Eusebius and Jerome in favour of the age of the Hauranitish tradition concerning Job, while it has only a single ( κατά τινος ) authority for the view of those who make Edom to be Ausitis, and even this only when the passage belongs to Ἰδουμαία .
By means of these quotations from the Onomastikon, that passage of Chrysostom ( Homil. V. de Stud. §1, tom. ii. p. 59), in which it is said that many pilgrims from the end of the earth come to Arabia, in order to seek for the dunghill on which Job lay, and with rapture to kiss the ground where he suffered ( - - ἀπὸ περάτων τῆς γῆς εἰς τῆν Ἀραβίαν τρέχοντες, ἵνα τῆν κοπρίαν ἴδωσι, καὶ θεασάμενοι καταφιλήσωσι τῆν γῆν ), appears also to obtain its right local reference. This Arabia is certainly none other than that which Eusebius explains by ἣ καὶ Βαταναία , and that κοπρία or mezbele to be sought nowhere except near the Makâm Êjûb. And should there by any doubts upon the subject, ought they not to be removed by the consideration that the proud structure of the Monastery of Job, with its spring festivals mentioned above, standing like a Pharos casting its light far and wide in that age, did not allow either the Syrian Christians or the pilgrims from foreign parts to mistake the place, which tradition had rendered sacred, as the place of Job's sufferings?
There is no monastery whose origin, according to an unimpeachable testimony, belongs to such an early date as that of the Monastery of Job. According to the chronicles of the peoples ( ta'rı̂ch el - umem ), or the annals of Hamze el-Isfahâni (died about 360 of the Hegira), it was built by 'Amr I, the second Gefnide. Now, since the first Ghassanitish king ( Gefne I) reigned forty-five years and three months, and 'Amr five years, the Monastery would have been in existence about 200 a.d., if we place the beginning of the Gefnide dynasty in the time 150 a.d. Objections are raised against such an early date, because one is accustomed on good authority to assign the origin of monasteries to about the year 300 a.d. In the face of more certain historical dates, these objections must remain unheeded, for hermit and monastery life ( rahbanı̂ja ) existed in the country east of Jordan among the Essenes and other societies and forms of worship, even before Christianity; so that the latter, on its appearance in that part, which took place long before 200 a.d., received the monasteries as an inheritance: but certainly the chronology of the Gefnide dynasty is not reliable. Hamze fixes the duration of the dynasty at 616 years; Ibn Sa'îd,
(Note: Wetzstein, Catal. Arab. MSS collected in Damascus, No. 1, p. 89.)
in his history of the pre-Islamic Arabs, at 601 years; and to the same period extends the statement of Mejânishi,
(Note: Wetzst. Catal. Arab. MSS collected in Damascus, No. 24, p. 16.)
who, in his topography of the Ka'be, says that between the conquest of Mekka by Ta'lebe and the rule of the Kosî in this city was 500 years. On the contrary, however, Ibn Jusef
(Note: Hamzae Isfahan. Annales, ed. Gottwald, Vorrede, p. xi.)
informs us that this dynasty began “earlier” than 400 years before Islamism. With this statement accord all those numerous accounts, according to which the “rupture of the dyke” ( sêl el - ‛arim ), the supposed cause of the Jemanic emigration, took place rather more than 400 years before Islamism. If therefore, to content ourselves with an approximate calculation, we make Islamism to begin about 615 (the year of the “Mission” was 612 a.d.), and the Gefnide dynasty, with the addition of the “earlier,” 415 years previous, then the commencement of the reign of Gefne I would have been 200 a.d., and the erection of the Monastery shortly before 250.
When the tribe whose king later on built the Monastery migrated from Jemen into Syria, the Trachonitis was in the hands of a powerful race of the Kudâ'ides, which had settled there in the first century of our era, having likewise come out of Jemen, and become tributary to the Romans. This race had embraced Christianity from the natives; and some historians maintain that it permitted the Gefnides to settle and share in the possession of the country, only on the condition that they likewise should embrace Christianity. In those early times, these tribes, of course, with the new religion received the tradition of Job also from the first hand, from the Jews and the Jewish Christians, who, since the battle of the Jewish people with the Romans, will have found refuge and safety to a large extent in Petraea, and especially in the hardly accessible Trachonitis. The Nukra also, as the most favoured region of Syria and Palestina, will have had its native population, among which, in spite of the frequent massacres of Syrians and Jews, there will have been many Jews. Perhaps, moreover, the protection of the new Jemanic population of Hauran again attracted Jewish settlers thither: Nawâ
(Note: If Nawâ is not also of Jewish origin, its name is nevertheless the old Semitic נוה , “a dwelling” (Job 5:3, Job 5:24; Job 8:6; Job 18:15), and not, as Jâkût supposes, the collective form of nawât , “the kernel of a date.”)
at least is a place well known in the Talmud and Midrash, which is mentioned, as a city inhabited by the Jews among those who are not Jews, and as the birth-place of several eminent teachers.
(Note: No less than three renowned teachers from Nawâ appear in the Talmud and Midrash: ר שׁילא דנוה , Schila of Nawa ( jer. Sabbath cap. ii., Wajikra rabba cap. xxxiv., Midrasch Ruth on ii. 19 a), ר פלטיא דנוה ( Midr. Koheleth on i. 4 b) and ר שׁאול דנוה ( ib. on xii. 9 a). נוה is mentioned as an enemy of the neighbouring town of חלמיש in Wajikra rabba c. xxiii., Midr. Echa on i. 17 a, and Midr. Schir on ii. 1. - Del.)
Moreover, in Syria the veneration of a spot consecrated by religious tradition is independent of its being at the time inhabited or desolate. The supposed tombs of Aaron near Petra, of Hud near Gerash, of Jethro ( Su'êb) in the valley of Nimrîn, of Ezekiel in Melîhat Hiskîn, of Elisha on the el-Jesha' mountains, and many other mezâre (tombs of the holy, to which pilgrims resort), are frequently one or more days' journey distant from inhabited places, and yet they are carefully tended. They are preserved from decay and neglect by vows, by the spring processions, and especially by the piety of the Beduins, who frequently deposit articles of value near the mezâre , as property entrusted to the care of the saint. The Makâm of Job may also have been such a consecrated spot many centuries before the erection of the Monastery, and perhaps not merely to the Jews, but also to the Aramaean and Arab population. The superstitious veneration of such places is not confined among the Semites to a particular religious sect, but is the common heritage of the whole race; and the tradition of Job in particular was, originally, certainly not Israelitish, but Aramaean.
Job is not mentioned in the writings of Josephus, but we do find there a remarkable passage concerning Job's native country, the land of the Usites, viz., Ant. i. 6: “ Aram, from whom come the Aramaeans, called by the Greeks Syrians, had four sons, of whom the first was named Οὔσης , and possessed Trachonitis and Damascus.” The first of these two, Trachonitis, has usually been overlooked here, and attention has been fixed only on Damascus. The word el-Ghûta (Arab. 'l - gûṭt ), the proper name of the garden and orchard district around Damascus, has been thought to be connected in sound with 'Us, and they have been treated as identical: this is, however, impossible even in philological grounds. Ghûta would certainly be written עוּטה in Hebrew, because this language has no sign for the sound Gh (Arab. g); but Josephus, who wrote in Greek, ought then to have said Γούσης , not Οὔσης , just as he, and the lxx before him and Eusebius after him, render the city עזה by Γάζα , the mountain עיבל by Γαιβάλ , the village עי by Γαΐ́ , etc. In the same manner the lxx ought to have spoken of a Γαυσῖτις , not Αὐσῖτις , if this were the case. Proper names, also, always receive too definite and lasting an impress for their consonants, as ץ and ט , to be easily interchanged, although this is possible with the roots of verbs. Moreover, if the word עוץ had had the consonant ץ (Arab. ḍ ), Josephus must have reproduced it with τ or θ , not with s, in accordance with the pronunciation (especially if he had intended to identify עוץ and Ghûta). And we see from Ptolemy and Strabo, and likewise from the Greek mode of transcribing the Semitic proper names in the Haurânite inscriptions of the Roman period, e.g., Μάθιος and Νάταρος for Arab. mâḍâ and nḍr , that in the time of Josephus the sound of ץ had already been divided into Arab. ṣ and ḍ ; comp. Abhandl. der Berlin. Acad. d. Wissenschaft, 1863, S. 356f. Hence it is that Josephus manifestly speaks only of one progenitor Οὔσης , therefore of one tribe; while the word Ghûta, often as a synonym of buq'a ( בקעה ), denotes a low well-watered country enclosed by mountains, and in this appellative signification occurs as the proper name of several localities in the most widely separated parts of Arabia (comp. Jâkût, sub voce), which could not be the case if it had been = ארץ עוץ .
(Note: On the name 'Us, as the name of men and people, may be compared the proper names 'As and 'Aus, together with the diminutive 'Owês, taken from the genealogies of the Arabs, since the Old Testament is wanting in words formed from the root עוץ , and none of those so named was a Hebrew. In Hebr. they might be sounded עוץ , and signify the “strong one,” for the verbal stems Arab. ‛ṣṣ , ‛wṣ , ‛ṣy (comp. Arab. ‛ṣb , ‛ṣr , ‛ṣm , and others) have the signif. “to be compressed, firm, to resist.”)
The word Ausitis used by the lxx also has no formation corresponding to the word Ghûta, but shows its connection with עוּץ ארץ by the termination; while the word Ghûta rendered in Greek is Gouthata' (in Theophanes Byzant. Gouthatha'), in analogy e.g., with the form Cheblatha' for Ribla (Jos. Ant. x. 11).
(Note: On this word-formation comp. Reisebericht, S. 76.)
But why are we obliged to think only of Damascus, since Josephus makes Trachonitis also to belong to the land of the Usites? If we take this word in its most limited signification, it is (apart from the eastern Trachon) that lava plateau, about forty miles long and about twenty-eight broad, which is called the Legâ in the present day. This is so certain, that one is not obliged first of all to recall the well-known inscription of the temple of Mismia, which calls this city situated in the Legâ, Μητροκώμη τοῦ Τράχωνος . From the western border of this Trachon, however, the Monastery of Job is not ten miles distant, therefore by no means outside the radius that was at all times tributary to the Trachonites ( Arab el-wa'r), a people unassailable in their habitations in the clefts of the rocks.
(Note: Comp. Jos. Ant. xv. 10, 3; Zeitschr. für allg. Erdkunde, New Series, xiii. 213.)
According to this, the statement of Josephus would at least not stand in open contradiction to the Hauranitish tradition of Job. But we go further and maintain that the Monastery of Job lies exactly in the centre of Trachonitis. This word has, viz., in Josephus and others, a double signification - a more limited and a wider one. It has the more limited where, together with Auranitis, Batanaea, Gamalitica, and Gaulonitis, it denotes the separate provinces of the ancient kingdom of Basan. Then it signifies the Trachonitis kat' exochee'n, i.e., the wildest portion of the volcanic district, viz., the Legâ, the Haurân mountain range, the Safâ and Harra of the Râgil. On the other hand, it has the wider signification when it stands alone; then it embraces the whole volcanic region of Middle Syria, therefore with the more limited Trachonitis the remaining provinces of Basan, but with the exception, as it seems, of the no longer volcanic Galadine (North Gilead). In this sense, therefore, as a geographical notion, Trachonitis is almost synonymous with Basan.
Since it is to the interest of this investigation to make the assertion advanced sure against every objection, we will not withhold the passages in support of it. Josephus says, Ant. xv. 10, 3, the district of Hûle ( Οὐλαθά ) lies between Galilee and Trachonitis. He might have said more accurately, “between Galilee and Gaulonitis,” but he wished to express that the great basaltic region begins on the eastern boundary of the Hûle. The word Trachonitis has therefore the wider signification. In like manner, in Bell. iii. 10 it is said the lake of Phiala lies 120 stadia east of Paneion ( Bâniâs) on the way to the Trachonitis. True, the Phiala is a crater, and therefore itself belongs to Trachonitis, but between it and Bâniâs the lava alternates with the chalk formation of the Hermôn, whereas to the south and east of the Phiala it is everywhere exclusively volcanic; Trachonitis has therefore here also the wider signification. Ant. xvii. 2, it is said Herod had the castle of Βαθύρα built in Batanaea (here, as often in Josephus, in the signification of Basan), in order to protect the Jews who travel from Babylon ( viâ Damascus) to Jerusalem against the Trachonite robbers. Now, since this castle and village (the Bêtirrâ mentioned already), which is situated in the district of Gamalitica on an important ford of the Muchêbi gorge between 'Abidin and Sebbûte, could not be any protection against the robbers of Trachonitis in the more limited sense, but only against those of Golan, it is manifest that by the Trachonites are meant the robbers of Trachonitis in the wider sense. Aurelius Victor ( De Hist. Caes. xxvii.) calls the Emperor M. Julius Philippus, born in Bosrâ, the metropolis of Auranitis, quite correctly Arabs Trachonites; because the plain of Hauran, in which Bosra is situated, is also of a basaltic formation, and therefore is a part of the Trachonitis.
The passage of Luke's Gospel, Luke 3:1, where it says Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis, also belongs here. That Philip possessed not perhaps merely the Trachonitis (similar to a province assigned to a man as banishment rather than for administration, producing little or no revenue) in the more limited sense, but the whole Basanitis, is shown by Josephus, who informs us, Ant. xvii. 11, 4 and freq., that he possessed Batanaea (in the more restricted sense, therefore the fruitful, densely populated, profitable Nukra), with Auranitis, Trachonitis, etc. We must therefore suppose that in the words τῆς Ἰτουραίας καὶ Τραχωνίτιδος χώρας in Luke, one district is meant, which by Ἰτουραίας is mentioned according to the marauding portion of its population, and by Trachooni'tidos more generally, according to its trachonitic formation.
(Note: Eusebius in his Onomast. also correctly identifies the two words, at one time under Ἰτουραία , and the other time under Τραχωνῖτις . After what we have said elsewhere ( Reisebericht, S. 91ff.) on the subject, surely no one will again maintain that the peaceful villages of the plain of Gêdûr were the abodes of the Ituraeans, the wildest of all people (Cic. Phil. ii. 11; Strabo, xvi. 2). Their principal hiding-places will have been the Trachonitis in the more restricted sense, but one may seek them also on the wooded mountains of Gôlân and in the gorges of the Makran. That Ptolemy and Josephus speak only of the Trachonites and never of the Ituraeans (in the passage Ant. xiii. 11, 3, Ἰδουμαία is to be read instead of Ἰτουραία ), and Strabo, on the other hand, speaks only of the latter, favours the identity of the two; of like import is the circumstance, that Pliny ( H. N. v. 23) makes the inhabitants of the region of Baetarra (Bêtirrâ) Ituraeans, and Josephus ( Ant. xvii. 2) Trachonites. But in spite of the identity of the words Trachonitis and Ituraea, one must not at the same time overlook the following distinction. If the Trachonites are called after the country, it must be the description of all the inhabitants of the country, whereas the Ituraeans, if they gave the name to the country, are not necessarily its exclusive population. The whole of the district of which we speak has a twofold population in keeping with its double character (rugged rock and fruitful plain), viz., cattle-rearing freebooters in the clefts of the rocks, and peaceful husbandmen in the plain; the former dwelling in hair tents (of old also in caves), the latter in stone houses; the former forming the large majority, the latter the minority of the population of the district. If writers speak of the Ituraeans, they mean exclusively that marauding race that hates husbandry; but if they speak of the Trachonites, the connection must determine, whether they speak of both classes of the population, or only of the marauding Trachonites (the Ituraeans), or of the husbandmen of the plain (of the provinces of Batanaea and Auranitis). The latter are rarely intended, since the peaceful peasant rarely furnishes material for the historian.)
Ioannes Malalas ( Chronogr. ed. Dindorf, p. 236), who, as a Syrian born, ought to be well acquainted with the native usage of the language, hence calls Antipas, as a perfectly adequate term, only toparch of Trachonitis; and if, according to his statement (p. 237), the official title of this Herod was the following: Σεβαστὸς Ἡρώδης τοπάρχης καὶ θεσμοδότης Ἰουδαίων τε καὶ Ἑλλήνων, Βασιλεὺς τῆς Τραχωνίτιδος , it is self-evident that “king of Trachonitis” here is synonymous with king of Basan. In perfect harmony with this, Pliny says ( H. N. v. 18) that the ten cities of Decapolis lay within the extensive tetrarchies of Trachonitis, which are divided into separate kingdoms. Undoubtedly Pliny adds to these tetrarchies of Trachonitis in the wider sense, which are already known to us, Galadine also, which indeed belonged also the pre-Mosaic Basan, but at the time of Josephus is mostly reckoned to Peraea (in the more limited sense).
On the ground of this evidence, therefore, the land of the Usites of Josephus, with the exception of the Damascene portion, was Trachonitis in the wider sense; and since the Makâm Êjûb is in the central point of this country, this statement accords most exactly with the Syrian tradition. It is clear that the latter remains untouched by the extension of the geographical notion in Josephus, for without knowing anything more of a “land of the Usites,” it describes only a portion of the same as the “native country of Job;” and again, Josephus had no occasion to speak of Job in his commentary on the genealogies, therefore also none to speak of his special home within the land of the Usites. Eusebius, on the other hand, in his De Originibus (ix. 2, 4), refers to this home, and says, therefore limiting Josephus' definition: Hus, Traconitidis conditor, inter Palaestinam et Coelesyriam tenuit imperium; unde fuit Iob .
With this evidence of agreement between two totally independent witnesses, viz., the Syrian tradition and Josephus, the testimony of the latter in particular has an enhanced value; for, although connected with the Bible, it nevertheless avails as extra-biblical testimony concerning the Usites, it comes from an age when one might still have the historical fact from the seat of the race, and from an authority of the highest order. True, Josephus is not free from disfigurements, where he has the opportunity of magnifying his people, himself, or his Roman patrons, and of depreciating an enemy; but here he had to do with nothing more than the statement of the residence of a people; and since the word Ou'sees also has no similarity in sound with the words Damascus and Trachonitis, that might make a combination with them plausible, we may surely have before us a reliable historical notice here, or at least a tradition which was then general (and therefore also for us important), while we may doubt this in connection with other parts of the genealogies, where Josephus seems only to catch at that which is similar in sound as furnishing an explanation.
But that which might injure the authority of Josephus is the contradiction in which it seems to stand to a far older statement concerning Ausitis, viz., the recognised postscript of the lxx to the book of Job, which makes Job to be the Edomitish king Jobab. The identification, it may be said, can however only have been possible because Ausitis was in or near Edom. But the necessity of this inference must be disputed. It is indeed unmistakeable that that postscript is nothing more than a combination of the Jews beyond Palestine (probably Egytpio-Hellenistic), formed, perhaps, long before the lxx, - such a vagary as many similar ones in the Talmud and Midrash. From the similarity in sound of Ἰωβάβ with Ἰώβ , and the similarity in name of Ζαρά , the father of Jobab, with a son of Re'ûël and grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:13), Job's descent from Esau has been inferred. That Esau's first-born was called Elîphaz and his son Temân, seemed to confirm this combination, since (in accordance with the custom
(Note: From this custom, which is called the grandfather's “living again,” the habit, singular to us, of a father calling his son jâ abı̂ , “my father!” or jâ bêjı̂ , “my little father,” as an endearing form of address, is explained.)
of naming the grandson as a rule after his grandfather) Elîphaz the Temanite might be regarded as grandson of that Elîphaz, therefore like Job as great-grandson of Esau and πέμπτος ἀπὸ Ἀβραάμ . The apparent and certainly designed advantages of this combination were: that Job, who had no pedigree, and therefore was to be thought of as a non-Israelite, was brought into the nearest possible blood-relationship to the people of God, and that, by laying the scene in the time of the patriarchs, all questions which the want of a Mosaic colouring to the book of Job might excite would be met. Now, even if the abode of Job were transferred from the land of 'Us to Edom, it would be only the consequence of his combination with Jobab, and, just as worthless as this latter itself, might lead no one astray. But it does not seem to have gone so far; it is even worthy of observation, that מבצרה (from Bosra, the Edomite city),
(Note: It need hardly be mentioned that one is not to think of the Hauranitish Bosrâ (Arab. bṣrâ ), since this name of a city only came into use some centuries after Christ.)
being attached to the misunderstood υἱὸς Ζαρά ἐκ Βοσόῤῥας , Genesis 36:33, is reproduced in the lxx by μητρὸς Βοσόῤῥας , as also that Job's wife is not called an Edomitess, but a γυνὴ Ἀράβισσα . And it appears still far more important, that Ausitis lies ἐν τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆς Ἰδουμαίας καὶ Ἀραβίας , so far as the central point of Ἰδουμαία is removed by the addition καὶ τῆς Ἀραβίας , and Job's abode is certainly removed from the heart of Idumaea. The Cod. Alex. exchanges that statement of the place, even in a special additional clause, for ἐπὶ τῶν ὁρίων τοῦ Εὐφράτου , therefore transfers Ausitis to the vicinity of the Euphrates, and calls the father of Jobab (= Job) Ζαρὲθ ἐξ ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου ( מבני קדם ). Nevertheless we attach no importance to this variation of the text, but rather offer the suggestion that the postscript gives prominence to the observation: οὗτος (viz., Ἰώβ ) ἑρμεενεύεται ἐκ τῆς Συριακῆς βίβλου .
(Note: It is indeed possible that the Hebrew text is meant here, for Philo usually calls the Hebrew Χαλδαΐστί , and the Talmud describes the Jewish country-dialect as סורסי ; it is possible, and even more probable, that it is a Syrian, i.e., Aramaean Targum - but not less possible that it is a Syrian original document. According to Malalas ( ed. Dindorf, p. 12), Origen understands ἐκ τῆς Συριακῆς βίβλου elsewhere of a Hebrew original, but in c. Celsum iii. 6 he describes the Hebrew language in relation to the Syriac and Phoenician as ἑτέρα παρ ̓ ἀμθοτέρας , and the Homilies on Job in Opp. Origenis, ed. Delaure, ii. 851, say: Beati Iob scriptura primum quidem in Arabia Syriace scripta, ubi et habitabat . - Del.)
If we compare the postscript of the lxx with the legend of Islam, we find in both the Esauitish genealogy of Job; the genealogy of the legend is: Êjûb ibn Zârih ( זרח ) ibn Reû'îl ibn el-'Ais ibn Ishâk ibn Ibrâhîm; and we may suppose that it is borrowed directly from the lxx, and that it reached Arabia and Mekka even in the pre-Islamic times by means of the (Arabian) Christians east of Jordan, who had the Old Testament only in the Greek translation. Even the Arabic orthography of the biblical proper names, which can be explained only on the supposition of their transfer from the Greek, is in favour of this mode of the transmission of the Christian religion and its legends to the people of the Higaz. Certainly there can be no doubt as to an historical connection between the postscript and the legend, and therefore it would be strange if they did not accord respecting the home of Job. The progenitor el-'Ais ( עיץ ), in the genealogy of the legend, is also a remarkable counterpart to the Ausitis ἐν τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆς Ἰδουμ . καὶ Ἀρ ., for it is a blending of עשׂו and עוּץ , and it has to solve the difficult problem, as to how Job can be at the same time an Usite and an Esauite; for that Job as an Aisite no longer belongs to Idumaea, but to the district of the more northern Aramaeans, is shown e.g., from the following passage in Mugîr ed-dîn's History of Jerusalem: “Job belonged to the people of the Romans (i.e., the Aisites),
(Note: We will spare ourselves the ungrateful task of an inquiry into the origin of this 'Ais and his Protean nature. Biblical passages like Lamentations 4:21, or those in which the readings ארם and אדום are doubtful, or the erroneous supposition (Jos. Ant. viii. 7) that the Ben-Hadad dynasty in Damascus is of Edomitish origin, may have contributed to his rise. Moreover, he is altogether one and the same with the Edom of the Jerish tradition: he is called the father of Rûm, Asfar, Sôfar, Sîfûn ( מלך חצפון ), and Nidr ( Hamz. Isfah. Ann. p. 79, l. 18, read Arab. ndr for ntsr, and Zeitschr. d. d. m. Gesellsch. ii. 239, 3, 6, read ennidr for ennefer), i.e., of the Messiah of the Christians (according to Isaiah 11:1))
for he sprang from el-'Ais, and the Damascene province of Batanaea was his property.”
The κοπρία of the lxx, at Job 2:8, leads to the same result; that it is also found again as mezbele in the later legend, is a further proof how thoroughly this accords with the lxx, and how it has understood its statement of the position of Ausitis. It may also be maintained here, that it was only possible to translate the words בתוך־חאפר by ἐπὶ τῆς κοπρίας ἔξω τῆς πόλεως when “heap of ashes” and “dunghill” were synonymous notions. This, however, is the case only in Hauran, where the dung, as being useless for agricultural purposes, is burnt from time to time in an appointed place before the town (vid., p. 573),
(Note: Comp. p. 576, note, of the foregoing Commentary. The Arabic version of Walton's Polyglot translates after the Peschito in accordance with the Hebr. text: “on the ashes ( er - remâd ),” whereas the Arabic translation, of which Tischendorf brought back fifteen leaves with him from the East, and which Fleischer, in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. 1864, S. 288ff., has first described as an important memorial in reference to the history of MSS, translates after the Hexapla in accordance with the lxx: “on the dunghill ( mezbele) outside the city.”-Del.)
while in every other part of Syria it is as valuable and as much stored up as among us. If the lxx accordingly placed the kopri'a of Job in Hauran, it could hardly represent Ausitis as Edom.
But how has the Ausitis of the lxx been transferred hither? Certainly not as the “land of ' Us ” (in the sense of the land of Basan, land of Haurân), for without wasting a word about it, there has never been such an one in the country east of the Jordan: but as “the land of the Usites” in the sense of the Arabic diâr 'Us (dwelling-place of the Usites) or ard benî 'Us. A land receives designations of this kind with the settlement of a people in it; they run parallel with the proper name of the country, and in the rule vanish again with that people. These designations belong, indeed, to the geography of the whole earth, but nowhere have they preserved their natural character of transitoriness more faithfully than in the lands where the Semitic tongue is spoken. It is this that makes the geographical knowledge of these countries so extremely difficult to us, because we frequently take them to be the names of the countries, which they are not, and which - so far as they always involve a geological definition of the regions named - can never be displaced and competently substituted by them. In this sense the land of the Usites might, at the time of the decay of both Israelitish kingdoms, when the ארם דמשׂק possessed the whole of Peraea, very easily extend from the borders of Edom to the gates of Damascus, and even further northwards, if the Aramaean race of 'Us numbered many or populous tribes (as it appears to be indicated in כל מלכי ארץ העוץ , Jeremiah 25:20), in perfect analogy with the tribe of Ghassân, which during five hundred years occupied the country from the Aelanitic Gulf to the region of Tedmor, at one time settling down, at another leading a nomadic life, and Hauran was the centre of its power. By such a rendering the Ἀραβία of the postscript would not be different from the later provincia Arabiae, of which the capital was the Trachonitish Bostra, while is was bounded on the south end of the Dead Sea by Edom ( Palaestine tertia).
But should any one feel a difficulty in freeing himself from the idea that Ausitis is to be sought only in the Ard el-Hâlât east of Ma'ân, he must consider that the author of the book of Job could not, like that legend which places the miraculous city of Iram in the country of quicksands, transfer the cornfields of his hero to the desert; for there, with the exception of smaller patches of land capable of culture, which we may not bring into account, there is by no means to be found that husbandman's Eldorado, where a single husbandman might find tillage for five hundred (Job 1:3), yea, for a thousand (Job 42:12) yoke of oxen. Such numbers as these are not to be depreciated; for in connection with the primitive agriculture in Syria and Palestine, - which renders a four years' alternation of crops necessary, so that the fields must be divided into so many portions (called in Hauran wâgihât , and around Damascus auguh , Arab. 'wjh ), from which only one portion is used annually, and the rest left fallow ( bûr ), - Job required several square miles of tillage for the employment of his oxen. It is all the same in this respect whether the book of Job is a history or poem: in no case could the Ausitis be a country, the notorious sterility of which would make the statement of the poet ridiculous.
Our limited space does not admit of our proving the worth which we must acknowledge to the tradition, by illustrating those passages of the Old Testament scriptures which have reference to עוץ and ארץ עוץ . But to any one, who, following the hints they give, wishes again to pursue the investigations, elsewhere useless, concerning the position of the land of the Usites, we might indicate: (1) that עוץ the first-born of Aram (Genesis 10:23) is the tribe sought, while two others of this name - a Nahorite, Job 22:21, and a Horite, Job 36:28 - may be left out of consideration; the former because the twelve sons of Nahor need not be progenitors of tribes, and the latter because he belongs to a tribe exterminated by the Edomites in accordance with Deuteronomy 2:12, Deuteronomy 2:22: (2) that ארץ העוץ , Jeremiah 25:20, is expressly distinguished from אדום in the Jeremiah 25:21, and - if one compares the round of the cup of punishment, Jer. 25, with the detailed prophecies which follow in Jeremiah 46:1, to which it is a prooemium that has been removed from its place - corresponds to דמשׂק (with Hamât and Arpad), Jeremiah 49:23: (3) that therefore Lamentations 4:21, where יושׁבת בארץ עוץ would be devoid of purpose if it described the proper habitable land of Edom, must describe a district extending over that, in which the Edomites had established themselves in consequence of Assyria having led away captive the Israelitish and Aramaean population of the East Jordanic country and Coele-Syria. In connection with Jeremiah 25:20 one must not avoid the question whether עוץ is the name of the ארם דמשׂק that has been missed. Here the migration of the Damascene Aramaeans from Kîr (Amos 9:7) ought to be considered, the value of the Armenian accounts concerning the original abode of the Usites tested, what is erroneous in the combination of קיר with the river Kur shown and well considered, and in what relations both as to time and events that migration might have stood to the overrunning of Middle Syria by the Aramaean Sôbaean tribes (from Mesopotamia) under Hadad-ezer, and to the seizure and possession of the city of Damascus by Rezon the Sôbaean? Finally, one more tradition might be compared, to which some value may perhaps be attached, because it is favoured by the stone monuments, whose testimony we are not accustomed otherwise to despise in Palestine and Syria. The eastern portal of the mosque of Benî Umêja in Damascus, probably of the very temple, the altar of which king Ahaz caused to be copied (2 Kings 16:10), is called Gêrûn or the Gerun gate: the portal in its present form belongs to the Byzantine or Roman period. And before this gate is the Gêrûnîje, a spacious, vaulted structure, mostly very old, which has been used since the Mussulman occupation of the city as a mêda'a , i.e., a place for religious ablutions. The topographical writings on Damascus trace these two names back to a Gêrûn ibn Sa'd ibn 'Ad ibn 'Aus ( עוץ ) ibn Iram ( ארם ) ibn Sâm ( שׁם ) ibn Nûh ( נוח ), who settled in Damascus in the time of Solomon (one version of the tradition identifies him with Hadad, Jos. Ant. viii. 7), and built in the middle of the city a castle named after him, in which a temple to the planet ( kôkeb ) Mushteri, the guardian-god of the city, has been erected. That this temple, which, as is well known, under Theodosius, at the same time with the temple of the sun at Ba'lbek, passed over to the Christians, was actually surrounded with a strong, fortified wall, is capable of proof even in the present day. In this tradition, which has assumed various forms, a more genuine counterpart of the biblical עוץ appears than that 'Ais which we have characterized above as an invention of the schools, viz., an 'Aus (Arab. ‛wṣ ), father of the Adite-tribe which is said to have settled in the Damascene district under that Gêrûn, and also ancestor of the prophet Hûd, lost to the tradition, whose makâm on the mountains of Suêt rises far above Gerash a city of pillars, this true Iram dhât el-'imâd, the valley of the Jabbok and the Sawâd of Gilead.
It is with good reason that we have hitherto omitted to mention the Αἰσῖται of Ptolemy v. 18 (19). The Codd have both Αἰσεῖται and Αἰσῖται ; different Semitic forms (e.g., the name of the Arab. bny hays, which, according to Jâkût, once dwelt in the Harra of the Ragil) may lie at the basis of this name, only not the form עוּץ , which ought to be Οὐσῖται , or at least Αὐσῖται (which no Cod. reads). As to the abodes of the Αἰσῖται , Ptolemy distributes them under nine greater races or groups of races, which in his time inhabited the Syrian steppe. Three of these had their settlements in the eastern half of the Syrian steppe towards the Euphrates of on its western banks: the Καυχαβηνοί in the north, the Αἰσῖται in the middle, and the Ὀρχηνοί in the south. According to this the Αἰσῖται would have been about between Hît and Kûfa, or in that district which is called by the natives Ard el-Wudjan, and in which just that race of the Chaldaeans might have dwelt that plundered Job's camels. There we are certainly not to seek the scene of the drama of Job; and if the Edomites were dispersed there (Lamentations 4:21), they were not to be envied on account of their fortune. But if the Aisi'tai are to be sought there, we may not connect the Καυχαβηνοί with the village of Cochabe (Arab. kawkabâ) on the Hermon (Epiphan. Haer. x. 18), in order then to remove the Aisi'tai, dwelling “below them,” to Batanaea.
And now, in concluding here, I have still to explain, that in writing these pages I was not actuated by an invincible desire of increasing the dull literature respecting the ארץ עוץ by another tractate, but exclusively by the wish of my honoured friend that I should furnish him with a contribution on my visit to the Makâm Êjûb, and concerning the tradition that prevails there, for his commentary on the book of Job.
As to the accompanying map, it is intended to represent the hitherto unknown position of the Makâm, the Monastery, and the country immediately around the, by comparing it with two localities marked on most maps, Nawâ and the castle of Muzêrîb. The latter, the position of which we determined in 1860 as 32 44' north lat. and 35 51' 45” east long. (from Greenwich), lies three hours' journey on horseback south of the Monastery. The Wâdi Jarmûk and Wâdi Hît have the gorge formation in common with all other wadis that unite in the neighbourhood of Zêzûn and from the Makran, which is remarkable from a geological point of view: a phenomenon which is connected with the extreme depression of the valley of the Jordan. For the majority of the geographical names mentioned in this essay I refer the reader to Carl Ritter's Geographic von Syrien und Palästina;
(Note: Translated by W. L. Gage, and published by T. and T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1866, 4 vols.)
others will be explained in my Itinerarien, which will be published shortly.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17