Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:3

His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Camel;   Job;   Rich, the;   Scofield Reference Index - Satan;   Thompson Chain Reference - Animals;   Camels;   Poverty-Riches;   Riches, Earthly;   Sheep;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ass, the Domestic;   Camel, the;   Ox, the;   Riches;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Camel;   Shepherd;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ass;   Cattle;   Ox;   Yoke;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - East;   Ishmael;   Job;   Uz;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Ass;   Cattle;   Job, the Book of;   Kadmonite;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Cattle;   East, Children of the;   Uz;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Yoke;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ass;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ara'bia;   Bene-Ke'dem;   Camel;   Ut;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Camel;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Children of the East;   East, Children of the;   Job, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Camel;   Job;   Sheep;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

His substance also was seven thousand sheep - A thousand, says the Chaldee, for each of his sons. Three thousand camels: a thousand for each of his daughters. Five hundred yoke of oxen for himself. And five hundred she-asses for his wife. Thus the Targum divides the substance of this eminent man.

A very great household - מאד רבה עבדה abuddah rabbah meod, "a very great estate." The word עבדה abuddah refers chiefly to husbandry, including all manner of labor in the field, with cattle, and every description of servants.

The greatest of all the men of the East - He was more eminent than any other person in that region in wisdom, wealth, and piety. He was the chief emir of that district.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

His substance - Margin, or “cattle.” The word used here מקנה mı̂qneh is derived from קנה qânâh to gain or acquire, to buy or purchase, and properly means anything acquired or purchased - property, possessions, riches. The wealth of nomadic tribes, however, consisted mostly in flocks and herds, and hence the word in the Scripture signifies, almost exclusively, property in cattle. The word, says Gesenius, is used “strictly” to denote sheep, goats, and neat cattle, excluding beasts of burden (compare Greek κτῆνος ktēnos herd, used here by the Septuagint), though sometimes the word includes asses and camels, as in this place.

Seven thousand sheep - In this verse we have a description of the wealth of an Arab ruler or chief, similar to that of those who are at this day called “Emirs.” Indeed the whole description in the book is that which is applicable to the chief of a tribe. The possessions referred to in this verse would constitute no inconsiderable wealth anywhere, and particularly in the nomadic tribes of the East. Land is not mentioned as a part of this wealth; for among nomadic tribes living by pasturage, the right to the soil in fee simple is not claimed by individuals, the right of pasturage or a temporary possession being all that is needed. For the same reason, and from the fact that their circumstances require them to live in movable tents, houses are not mentioned as a part; of the wealth of this Emir. To understand this book, as well as most of the books of the Old Testament, it is necessary for us to lay aside our notions of living, and transfer ourselves in imagination to the very dissimilar customs of the East. The Chaldee has made a very singular explanation of this verse, which must be regarded as the work of fancy, but which shows the character of that version: “And his possessions were seven thousand sheep - a thousand for each of his sons; and three thousand camels - a thousand for each of his daughters; and five hundred yoke of oxen - for himself; and five hundred she-asses - for his wife.”

And three thousand camels - Camels are well-known beasts of burden, extensively used still in Arabia. The Arabs employed these animals anciently in war, in their caravans, and for food. They are not unfrequently called “ships of the desert,” particularly valuable in arid plains because they go many days without water. They carry from three to five hundred pounds, in proportion to the distance which they have to travel. Providence has adapted the camel with wonderful wisdom to sandy deserts, and in all ages the camel must be an invaluable possession there. The driest thistle and the barest thorn is all the food that he requires, and this he eats while advancing on his journey without stopping or causing a moment‘s delay. As it is his lot to cross immense deserts where no water is found, and where no dews fall, he is endowed with the power of laying in a store of water that will suffice him for days - Bruce says for thirty days.

To effect this, nature has provided large reservoirs or stomachs within him, where the water is kept pure, and from which he draws at pleasure as from a fountain. No other animal is endowed with this power, and were it not for this, it would be wholly impracticable to cross those immense plains of sand. The Arabians, the Persians, and others, eat the flesh of camels, and it is served up at the best tables in the country. One of the ancient Arab poets, whose hospitality grew into a proverb, is reported to have killed yearly, in a certain month, ten camels every day for the entertainment of his friends. In regard to the hardihood of camels, and their ability to live on the coarsest fare, Burckhardt has stated a fact which may furnish an illustration. In a journey which he made from the country south of the Dead Sea to Egypt, he says, “During the whole of this journey, the camels had no other provender than the withered shrubs of the desert, my dromedary excepted, to which I gave a few handfuls of barley each evening.” Trav. in Syria, p. 451; compare Bruce‘s Travels, vol. iv. p. 596; Niebuhr, Reise-beschreibung nach Arabien, 1Band, s. 215; Sandys, p. 138; Harmer‘s Obs. 4:415, ed. Lond. 1808,8vo; and Rob. Cal.

And five hundred yoke of oxen - The fact that Job had so many oxen implies that he devoted himself to the cultivation of the soil as well as to keeping flocks and herds; compare Job 1:14. So large a number of oxen would constitute wealth anywhere.

And five hundred she-asses - Bryant remarks (Observations, p. 61) that a great part of the wealth of the inhabitants of the East often consisted of she-asses, the males being few and not held in equal estimation. She-asses are early mentioned as having been in common use to ride on; Numbers 22:25; Judges 5:10. 2 Kings 4:24 (Hebrew). One reason why the ass was chosen in preference to the horse, was that it subsisted on so much less than that animal, there being no animal except the camel that could be so easily kept as the ass. She-asses were also regarded as the most valuable, because, in traversing the deserts of the country they would furnish travelers with milk. It is remarkable that “cows” are not mentioned expressly in this enumeration of the articles of Job‘s wealth, though “butter” is referred to by him subsequently as having been abundant in his family, Job 29:6. It is possible, however, that “cows” were included as a part of the “five hundred yoke of בקר bâqâr here rendered “oxen;” but which would be quite as appropriately rendered “cattle.” The word is in the common gender, and is derived from בקר bâqar in Arabic to cleave, to divide, to lay open, and hence, to plow, to cleave the soil. It denotes properly the animals used in plowing; and it is well known that cows are employed as well as oxen for this purpose in the East; see Judges 14:18; Hosea 4:10; compare Deuteronomy 32:14, where the word בקר bâqâr is used to denote a cow - “milk of kine,” Genesis 33:13 (Hebrew).

And a very great household - Margin, “husbandry.” The Hebrew word here (עבדה ‛ăbûddâh )ambiguous. - It may denote service rendered, that is, work, or the servants who performed it; compare Genesis 26:14, margin. The Septuagint renders it ὑπηρεσία hupēresia Aquila δουλεία douleia and Symmachus, οἰκετία oiketia all denoting “service,” or “servitude,” or that which pertained to the domestic service of a family. The word refers doubtless to those who had charge of his camels, his cattle, and of his husbandry; see Job 1:15. It is not implied by the word here used, nor by that in Job 1:15, that they were “slaves.” They may have been, but there is nothing to indicate this in the narrative. The Septuagint adds to this, as if explanatory of it, “and his works were great in the land.”

So that this man was the greatest - Was possessed of the most wealth, and was held in the highest honor.

Of all the men of the East - Margin as in Hebrew “sons.” The sons of the East denote those who lived in the East. The word “East” קדם qedem is commonly employed in the Scriptures to denote the country which lies east of Palestine. For the places intended here, see the Introduction, Section 2, (3). It is of course impossible to estimate with accuracy the exact amount of the value of the property of Job. Compared with many persons in modern times, indeed, his possessions would not be regarded as constituting very great riches. The Editor of the Pictorial Bible supposes that on a fair estimate his property might be considered as worth from thirty to forty thousand pounds sterling - equivalent to some 200,000 (circa 1880‘s). In this estimate the camel is reckoned as worth about 45.00 dollars, the oxen as worth about five dollars, and the sheep at a little more than one dollar, which it is said are about the average prices now in Western Asia. Prices, however, fluctuate much from one age to another; but at the present day such possessions would be regarded as constituting great wealth in Arabia. The value of the property of Job may be estimated from this fact, that he had almost half as many camels as constituted the wealth of a Persian king in more modern times.

Chardin says, “as the king of Persia in the year 1676 was in Mesandera, the Tartars fell upon the camels of the king and took away three thousand of them which was to him a great loss, for he had only seven thousand.” - Rosenmuller, Morgenland, “in loc.” The condition of Job we are to regard as that of a rich Arabic Emir, and his mode of life as between the nomadic pastoral life, and the settled manner of living in communities like ours. He was a princely shepherd, and yet he was devoted to the cultivation of the soil. It does not appear, however, that he claimed the right of the soil in “fee simple,” nor is his condition inconsistent with the supposition that his residence in any place was regarded as temporary, and that all his property might be easily removed. “He belonged to that condition of life which fluctuated between that of the wandering shepherd, and that of a people settled in towns. That he resided, or had a residence, in a town is obvious; but his flocks and herds evidently pastured in the deserts, between which and the town his own time was probably divided. He differed from the Hebrew patriarchs chiefly in this, that he did not so much wander about “without any certain dwelling place.”

This mixed condition of life, which is still frequently exhibited in Western Asia, will, we apprehend, account sufficiently for the diversified character of the allusions and pictures which the book contains - to the pastoral life and the scenes and products of the wilderness; to the scenes and circumstances of agriculture; to the arts and sciences of settled life and of advancing civilization.” - Pict. Bib. It may serve somewhat to illustrate the different ideas in regard to what constituted wealth in different countries, to compare this statement respecting Job with a remark of Virgil respecting an inhabitant of ancient Italy, whom he calls the most wealthy among the Ausonian farmers:

Seniorque Galaesua.

Dum paci medium se offert; justissimus unus

Qui fuit, Ausoniisque olim ditissimus arvis:

Quinque greges illi balantum. quina redibant

Armenta, et terram centurn vertebat aratris.

Aeneid 7:535-539.

Among the rest, the rich Galaesus lies;

A good old man, while peace he preached in vain,

Amid the madness of the unruly train:

Five herds, five bleating flocks his pasture filled,

His lands a hundred yoke of oxen tilted.

Dryden

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-1.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

His substance also was seven thousand sheep,.... For which he must have a large pasturage to feed them on, as well as these would produce much wool for clothing, and flesh for food; this part of his substance or possessions is mentioned first, as being the largest, and most useful and profitable:

and three thousand camels; creatures fit to carry burdens, and travel with, and were greatly valued on that account, especially in the deserts of Arabia, near to which Job lived; and that not only because they were strong for this purpose, but because they could endure much thirst and want of water for a long time; See Gill on Leviticus 11:4, it seems by this that Job carried on a commerce, and traded in distant parts, whither he sent the produce of his lands and cattle, and trafficked with them: these camels might not only be he, but she camels also, according to the Septuagint version, which might be kept for breeding, and for their milk: Aristotle observesF26Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 50. , some of the inhabitants of the upper Asia used to have camels, to the number of 3000, the exact number here mentioned; and by the number of these creatures the Arabians estimated their riches and possessionsF1Leo African. Descript. Africae, l. 9. p. 745. ; and so sheep are by the Greeks called μηλα, as it is thought, from the Arabic word "mala", to be richF2Hinckelman. Praefat. ad Alkoran. ; the riches of other people, and of particular persons, as of Geryon, Atlas, and Polyphemus, are represented as chiefly consisting of their flocks, and also of their herdsF3Vid. Homer. Odyss. 14. ver. 100, &c. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 7. ver. 537. Justin e Trogo, l. 44. c. 4. Theocrit. Idyll. 11. ver. 34. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 4. Fab. 17. & l. 13. Fab. 8. , as follows:

and five hundred yoke of oxen; to plough his land with, of which he must have a large quantity to employ such a number in, see 1 Kings 19:19

and five hundred she asses; which must be chiefly for their milk; and no doubt but he had a considerable number of he asses also, though not mentioned, which, as well as the others, were used to ride on, and also to plough with, in those countries; it may be rendered only asses as by some, and so may include both: Aristaeus, Philo, and PolyhistorF4Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 25. p. 430. give the same account of Job's substance in the several articles as here:

and a very great household: this must be understood of his servants only, since his children are before taken notice of; and the same phrase is rendered "great store of servants", Genesis 26:14 and in the margin, "husbandry" or "tillage", large fields and farms; and the sense comes to much the same, whether it is taken the one way or the other; if great store of servants, he must have large farms and many fields to employ them in; and if a large husbandry, and much ground for tillage, he must have many servants to manure and cultivate them: now these several articles are mentioned, because, in those times and countries, as has been observed, the substance of men chiefly lay in them, and according to them they were reckoned more or less rich; not but that they had gold and silver also, as Abraham had, Genesis 13:1, and so had Job, Job 31:24, but these were the principal things:

so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east; that lived in Arabia, Chaldea, and other eastern countries; that is, he was a man of the greatest wealth and riches, and of the greatest power and authority, and was had in the greatest honour and esteem: now these temporal blessings are observed, to show that grace and earthly riches are compatible, that they may, and sometimes do, meet in the same person; as also to point at the goodness of God, in bestowing such blessings on this good man, thereby fulfilling the promise made to godliness and godly men, which respects this life, and that which is to come; and they are mentioned chiefly for the sake of the loss of these things after related, whereby the greatness of his loss and of his afflictions would be the more easily perceived, and his patience in bearing them appear the more illustrious; for by how much the greater was his substance, by so much the greater were his losses and trials, and the more remarkable his patience under them.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

His d substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of e the east.

(d) His children and riches are declared, to commend his virtue in his prosperity and his patience and constancy when God took them from him.

(e) Meaning, the Arabians, Chaldeans, Idumeans etc.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

she-asses — prized on account of their milk, and for riding (Judges 5:10). Houses and lands are not mentioned among the emir‘s wealth, as nomadic tribes dwell in movable tents and live chiefly by pasture, the right to the soil not being appropriated by individuals. The “five hundred yoke of oxen” imply, however, that Job tilled the soil. He seems also to have had a dwelling in a town, in which respect he differed from the patriarchs. Camels are well called “ships of the desert,” especially valuable for caravans, as being able to lay in a store of water that suffices them for days, and to sustain life on a very few thistles or thorns.

household — (Genesis 26:14). The other rendering which the Hebrew admits, “husbandry,” is not so probable.

men of the east — denoting in Scripture those living east of Palestine; as the people of North Arabia-Deserta (Judges 6:3; Ezekiel 25:4).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Camels - Camels in these parts were very numerous, and very useful, both for carrying burdens in these hot and dry countries, as being able to endure thirst much better than other creatures, and for service in war.

Asses — He-asses also may be included in this expression, because the greatest part of them (from which the denomination is usually taken) were she asses.

The greatest — That lived in those parts. The account of his piety and prosperity comes before the account of his afflictions, to shew that neither of these will secure us from the common, no, nor from the uncommon calamities of human life.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Ver. 3. His substance also] Heb. His possession or acquisition, that stock and store which he had gotten, and was rightly possessed of, consisting very much in cattle, great and small ( Possessio maxime pecuaria. Nomen dictum est ab acquirendo, Merc.), his possessions were mostly in sheep. His name was said from acquiring. for money in was not then in so great request as now, when it is become the monarch, and bears the mastery, Regina pecunia, Queen of money, as he saith; In precio precium nunc est, saith another. We read not of Job’s gold, silver, tapestry, rich furniture (saith Origen), and other accoutrements, now much used and valued, but not so of old. Heretofore in this island of ours (saith Hollingshed) in a good farmer’s house it was rare to find four pieces of pewter; and it was accounted a great matter that a farmer could show five shillings or a noble together in silver; and if the goodman of the house had a mattress or flock bed, and a sack of chaff to rest his head on, he thought himself as well lodged as the lord of the town, &c. Hollingshed further saith, that some old men he knew who told of such times in England, no longer ago.

Was seven thousand sheep] He had most of that most profitable creature, good both ad esum and ad usum; for eating and using; therefore also in sacrifices was no creature so frequently offered.

And three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen] sc. To carry his servants and his baggage, to export and import commodities; for

Nec vero terrae ferre omnes omnia possunt.

And truly, the lands are not able to bear all his possessions.

And five hundred she asses] To plough his ground with, for great men were anciently much addicted to husbandry (as Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:10), which Socrates called Amaltheae cornu, the horn of plenty; and the Romans reckoned, that grain was with them never so cheap as when men were fetched from the plough tail to govern the Commonwealth, quasi gauderet terra laureato vomere, et aratro triumphali (Plin.). But now the case is otherwise, as Beza upon this text complaineth; that husbandry and shepherdy are left for the basest and simplest men, and for such as all others might prey upon. And this bringeth into my mind, saith he, that which once I saw painted in a table, where the nobleman had this posy, By my sword I defend you all; the clergyman, By my prayers I preserve you all; the countryman, I feed you all, lastly, the lawyer, I devour you all. Pellican noteth here, that Job had no horses, because he lived lovingly with his neighbours, not warring upon any: the horse is a warlike creature, prepared for the day of battle. But Beza noteth, that in that country they had little use of horses, as using camels to bear burdens, and asses to ride on. See 5:10; 10:4.

And a very great household] Great store of servants he had about him, and himself was the greatest, according to that of the Greek poet (wherewith Luther was so taken, that he translated it in certain rhythms),

Eις εστι δουλος οικιας ο δεσποτης.

Some render it, He had very much husbandry; others, He had great doings in the world; the more was his trouble (it is not the great cage that maketh the bird sing; and abroad, she singeth not on the ground, but when got in the air, or on the top of trees; so is it with the saints), and the greater was his praise, that he could handle his thorns and not prick his fingers; have so much to do with the world, and yet not grow worldly-minded.

Difficile est opibus non tradere mores,

Et cum tot Croesos viceris, esse Numam.

It is difficult is not to surrender morals for wealth, and when so many Croesos’ excel, to be a Numa. (Second king of Rome who reformed their society and religion.)

So that this man was the greatest, &c.] A king; some say, the first king of Edom, but that’s uncertain; he might be a private man, and yet a very rich man; such as was Pythias, who was once able to entertain Xerxes and his two millions of men for three days, and yet died a beggar, and was famished. He was impoverished by his own folly and prodigality; but Job, by the immediate hand and good pleasure of God, for his trial, and for exercise of his patience. This commendeth unto us Job’s constancy and magnanimity, which is so much the more wonderful, by how much this change was not only not self acquired, but altogether unexpected; his sun went down suddenly, at high noon; and when he doubted least he was made a mirror of misfortune; as if God and men, heaven and earth, were set against him. In him it appeared that mortality was but the stage of mutability, and that,

Omnia sunt hominum tenui pendentia filo;

Et subito casu, quae valuere, ruunt.

All things of men are hanging down on a feeble string; and suddenly overthrown, which to value is their ruin.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 1:3. The greatest of all the men of the east Grotius and others observe, that Job's being here called the greatest of all the men of the east, is an argument that the book must have been written by some Israelite, or inhabitant of the land of Canaan; Job's country lying eastward from thence, and it being usual with the Hebrews to call Arabia the east. But if it was usual with any other people beside the Hebrews to call Arabia the east, then this can be no argument that the writer of the book was a Hebrew; and here, therefore, I must borrow a conjecture from Mr. Mede, that the Israelites learned this language while they sojourned among the Egyptians. It appears probable from this circumstance, that Arabia lay due east from Egypt, but not from Canaan; moreover, it was hither chiefly that the commerce of the eastern countries flowed. The spices of Arabia, in particular, were carried in great quantities to Egypt, and that as anciently as Jacob's days, as we learn from Genesis 37:25. Now an intercourse of commerce, carried on from Arabia to Egypt, that is, from east to west, might make it as customary for the Arabians to call themselves, with respect to these western parts, the east, as for the Egyptians, or any other people, to call Arabia so: I think we have a plain example of this, Matthew 2:2 where the wise men, supposed by Grotius himself to be inhabitants of Arabia, call their own country the east; Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east; which cannot be meant of the place or site of the star, for that, probably, stood west from them, but of the country from whence they came. If an Arabian, therefore, in our Saviour's time, might call his country the east, why not an Arabian in Job's time? See Peters. Bishop Lowth observes, that all those different nations, and mingled people, as they are called Jeremiah 25:20 who dwelt between Egypt and the Euphrates, bordering upon Judea to the south and east, particularly the Edomites, Amalekites, Midianites, Moabites, and Ammonites, were styled easterns, (see Judges 6:3 and Isaiah 11:14.) and of these, certainly, the Edomites and Amalekites were situated to the south of Judea. See Numbers 34:3; Numbers 13:29. 1 Samuel 8:10. The case seems to be this: the whole country between Egypt and the Euphrates was called the east, first with respect to Egypt, and then absolutely, without any reference to the situation of the speaker. See 1 Kings 4:30.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 1:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Camels in these parts were very numerous, as is manifest from Jude 7:12 1 Chronicles 5:21, and from the plain testimonies of Aristotle and Pliny, and very useful, and proper both for carrying of burdens in these hot and dry countries, as being able to endure thirst much better than other creatures, and for service in war.

She-asses were preferred before he-asses, as serving for the same uses as they did, and for breeding and milk also; but he-asses also may be included in this expression, which is of the feminine gender, because the greatest part of them (from which the denomination is usually taken) were she-asses.

The greatest, i.e. one of the richest.

Of all the men of the east, to wit, that lived in those parts; such general expressions being commonly understood with such limitations.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-1.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. The close and tender relationship of God, as Jehovah, to Israel, will help us to a proper conception of the word. It not only embraced all the moral attributes of God, but those relationships which among men are most endearing — those of father, husband, and Saviour. Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalms 103:13; Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 60:16; Hosea 2:16. According to Havernick, “it denoted the essence of the Godhead in its concrete relation to mankind, the revelation of the living God himself, which is as much unique as its object is unique.” It is, then, not without the deepest reason that Job passes by the olden divine names of power, El, Eloah, Elohim, Shaddai, and in the unshaken affection of the soul addresses God as Jehovah. His stricken heart seeks the heart of God. His appeal rises in sublimity as we contemplate him spontaneously, and at once, casting himself upon the eternal God (Jehovah) who is the Saviour and life of the soul. Upon the very issue that the adversary had made — that Job, stripped of his possessions, would renounce God — faith strikes its key-note of triumph. He blesses God, but not according to the Satanic form of blessing. The jubilant cry of Job is a remarkable and unconscious rejoinder to the dark insinuation that he served God for what he could get. The withdrawing of the goods or blessings of life is one of the modes God takes to remind us that all we have belongs to him. “Just as in some places on one day in the year the way or path is closed in order to remind the public that they pass by sufferance and not by right, in order that no lapse of time may establish ‘adverse possession,’ so does God give warning to us.” — F.W. ROBERTSON, Ser. 2:65. etc.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-1.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 1:3. His substance also was seven thousand sheep — Namely, seven thousand small cattle, whether sheep or goats, in opposition to the larger cattle next mentioned. And three thousand camels — Camels in these parts were very numerous, as is manifest from 7:12; 1 Chronicles 5:21, and the testimonies of Aristotle and Pliny; and very useful, both for carrying burdens in those hot and dry countries, being able to endure thirst much better than other creatures, and for service in war. And five hundred she-asses — Which were preferred before he-asses, as serving for the same uses of carrying burdens, riding on, and different kinds of labour; and likewise for breeding and giving milk: but he-asses also may perhaps be included in the expression, the denomination being, as usual, taken from the greater part, which were she-asses. This man was the greatest of all the men of the East — Hebrew, magnus præ omnibus filiis Orientis, great in comparison, in respect, or before all the children of the East. Grotius and others have observed, that the phraseology here used is an argument that the book must have been written by some Israelite, or inhabitant of the land of Canaan, Job’s country lying eastward from thence, and it being usual with the Hebrews to call Arabia the East. The expression probably only means that he was the greatest, or one of the greatest, that lived in those parts; such general expressions being commonly understood with such limitations. The account of his piety and prosperity comes before the account of his afflictions, to show that neither of these will secure us from the common, no, nor from the uncommon calamities of human life.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sheep. Hebrew including "goats," which are equally valuable in that country for milk. --- Camels. These animals were used for riding in those barren sands, where they can travel for four days without water; and that which is muddy is best for them. --- East, in the desert Arabia. Septuagint add at the end of the book, that Job was king; and he seems to have been independent, (Calmet) and to have had other kings who acknowledged his authority. (Pineda) (Chap. xxix. 7., &c.) --- Each city had its own king in the days of Abraham and of Josue. Job, or Jobab, resided at Denaba, Genesis xxxvi. 32. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants": Here is a description of Job"s prosperity. Such a large estate of livestock obviously necessitated much land and many servants. This is the property that a semi-nomadic potentate would possess. The sheep would provide clothing and good, the camels and donkeys would provide transportation, and the oxen provided food and the power for plowing. "And that man was the greatest of all the men of the east": He was the wealthiest of a group of very prosperous men in the east, possibly men from northern Arabia. Compare with Jeremiah 49:28. Job was both extremely rich and godly, a combination that is at times rare (Luke 12:16ff). Yet men like Abraham and Job demonstrate that prosperity and piety are not necessarily mutually exclusive, yet wealth can be a great danger to the unspiritual (Matthew 19:23-24; 1 Timothy 6:6-10,17; Proverbs 30:8).

From the rest of the book we will also learn that Job was highly respected (); a fair and honest judge (29:7, 12-17); a wise counselor (29:21-24); a honest employer (31:13-15, 38-39); hospitable and generous (31:16-21,32), and a farmer of crops (31:38-40).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton. App-6.

men = sons.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

She-asses - prized on account of their milk, and for riding (Judges 5:10). Houses and lands are not mentioned among the emir's wealth, as nomadic tribes dwell in moveable tents, and live chiefly by pasture, the right to the soil not being appropriated by individuals. The "five hundred yoke of oxen" imply, however, that Job tilled the soil. He seems also to have had a dwelling in a town (Job 29:7), in which respect he differed from the patriachs. Camels are well called ships of the desert, especially valuable for caravans, as being able to lay in a store of water that satisfies them for days, and sustain life on a very few thistles or thorns.

Household - (Genesis 26:14, margin) The other rendering, which the Hebrew admits, husbandry, is not so probable.

Men of the east - denoting in Scripture those living east of Palestine; as the people of North Arabia Deserta (Judges 6:3; Ezekiel 25:4).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) The men of the east.—This term is indefinite with regard to the three districts above mentioned, and might include them all. The Arabs still call the Hauran, or the district east of Jordan, the land of Job. It is said to be a lovely and fertile region, fulfilling the conditions of the poem.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
substance
or, cattle.
Genesis 12:5; 13:6; 34:23; 2 Chronicles 32:29
seven
42:12; Genesis 12:16; Numbers 31:32-34; Judges 6:5; 1 Samuel 25:2; 2 Kings 3:4; Proverbs 10:22
household
or, husbandry.
2 Chronicles 26:10
greatest
29:9,10,25
men
Heb. sons.
Judges 6:3; 7:12; 8:10; 1 Kings 4:30
of the east
Genesis 25:6; 29:1; Numbers 23:7
Reciprocal: Genesis 13:2 - GeneralGenesis 24:35 - flocks;  Genesis 26:14 - had possession;  Genesis 32:14 - GeneralGenesis 41:49 - GeneralDeuteronomy 8:13 - GeneralJudges 6:33 - children;  Ruth 2:1 - a mighty;  1 Samuel 9:1 - power;  2 Samuel 12:2 - exceeding;  2 Samuel 19:32 - for he was;  2 Kings 4:8 - a great woman;  2 Kings 15:20 - the mighty;  1 Chronicles 27:30 - the camels;  Job 16:12 - at ease;  Job 36:7 - with;  Ecclesiastes 2:7 - also;  Jeremiah 49:28 - spoil;  Jeremiah 49:29 - camels;  Daniel 2:48 - a great;  Matthew 2:1 - from;  Matthew 5:48 - ye

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.