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of the people of Judah and troubled them in building. And hired counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus, king of Persia." But we are told that "in the reign of Ahasuerus in the beginning of his reign," they wrote to him, and this writing is called a satan or accusation. The term satan then, so far from being the appropriate name of a fallen angel, is applied to men's evil passions, the angel of Jehovah, human beings, and here to a piece of writing. But not as yet, do we find it once used to designate an angel who fell from heaven.
Job 1: 6-13. and 2: 1–11. comes next to be considered. To save room, I forbear transcribing these two passages. The reader can easily turn to his Bible and read them. The term satan occurs here fourteen times, but is uniformly left untranslated. It is rendered in the Seventy's version by the word diabolos, devil. Here, say many good people, satan must mean a fallen angel-" for the name, the things said to be done, and all the circumstances mentioned, go to prove his existence and wicked character." We frankly admit, that these two passages have more the appearance of teaching this doctrine, than all the other texts usually adduced as proof of it. We even admit, that if the devil of Christians is taught in the Bible, this is the place. We hope then, that our friends are willing to abide by the result, whatever devil or satan this turns out to be.
I have examined these two chapters, with all the care and attention I could command, and shall submit the result for candid consideration, by stating and answering the following questions.
1st. Who wrote the book of Job? Answer; about this there are various opinions. Some have ascribed it to Job himself. Others to Elihu or one of the prophets. The general opinion has been, that it was written by Moses, and composed from materials left
by Job or his friends in the Syriac or Arabic language. See Gray's Key.
2d. When was the book of Job written? Answer; It is generally agreed that it was written sometime between the death of Joseph and the delivery of the law at Sinai. It is perhaps impossible for us to fix its precise date. Nor is this at all important as to the object of our present investigation. Those who wish to see the various opinions entertained concerning this, may consult Gray's Key, pp. 229-258.
3d. Was Job a real, or only a fictitious person? Answer; Some have held the latter opinion. I am strongly inclined to think that Job was a real person, for in after parts of scripture his afflictions are represented as real afflictions, and his patience under them as real patience, and as an example to us. He is spoken of just as Noah and Daniel are. One of the sons of Issachar is called Job, Gen. 46: 13. and was one of Jacob's grand-children, who went down with him into Egypt. If this was the person who forms the subject of the book of Job, it fixes, generally the period in which he lived.
4th. Is every thing in the book of Job to be understood literally, or is any allowance to be made for embellishment or allegorical representation? Answer; Although I think Job was a real person, yet many things are set forth in the way of allegory. For example, God is not only represented as talking with satan, but as influenced by him to bring accumulated sufferings on a just man without cause. These are brought in such rapid succession too, as seldom occurs among men. Besides; there seems something studied and artificial, that only one servant should make his escape to tell Job what had happened, and before he is well done, only one more makes his escape to bring additional evil tidings. And just as he closes his speech, a third also in like manner, and a
fourth in the same way arrives, and closes the first scene of Job's calamities. Besides; throughout the whole book, there is something very studied and artificial in the set speeches of Job and his friends, and even of God himself at the close. The writer gives Job just double the number of camels, oxen, sheep, and asses, without one more or less, which he had at the beginning. And he gives him precisely the same number of sons, and the same number of daughters, as at the first. And finally leaves Job in a more prosperous condition than before his afflictions came upon him, with a long life of enjoying his prosperity. The book concludes without any notice of the removal of Job's disease, which by some is called elephantiasis, and was deemed by physicians incurable. Had the whole been matter of fact, and nothing in it allegorical, we hardly think such artificial statements could have been given.
5th. In what part of the world, were the scenes of the book of Job laid? Answer; we are told chap. 1: 1. that "there was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job." That this was in Chaldea or its neighborhood, is almost certain, for the Chaldean robbers or freebooters are said to have carried away Job's flocks, chap. 1: 17. Dr. Parish in his Sacred Geography, says-"Bochart and the authors of the Universal History, and some others place the land of Uz far south from Damascus, and almost directly east from the tribe of Reuben, and west from Chaldea, in Arabia Deserta." But see his work on the word Uz for other opinions about this. See also Gray's Key, as referred to above. It is not of essential importance, to determine the precise spot where Job lived. It is sufficient for our purpose that he lived in the east. See Job 1: 3.
6th. What were the religious opinions of the people where the scenes of the book are laid? Answer;
This is a point of very great importance to ascertain. Orthodox men who certainly did not write to favor my opinions shall furnish us with all necessary information about this: Prideaux in his Connexions, vol. 1. pp. 185-6. thus writes: "Directly opposite to these were the Magians, another sect, who had their original in the same eastern countries; for they, abominating all images, worshipped God only by fire. They began first in Persia, and there, and in India, were the only places where this sect was propagated; and there they remain even to this day. Their chief doctrine was, that there were two principles, one which was the cause of all good, and the other the cause of all evil, that is to say, God and the devil; that the former is represented by light, and the other by darkness, as their truest symbols; and that, of the composition of these two, all things in the world are made the good god they name Yazdan, and also Ormudz, and the evil god, Ahraman: the former is by the Greeks called Oramasdez, and the latter Arimanius. And therefore, when Xerxes prayed for that evil upon his enemies, that it might be put into the minds of all of them to drive their best and bravest men from them, as the Athenians had Themistocles, he addressed his prayer to Arimanius the evil god of the Persians, and not to Oramasdez their good god. And concerning these two gods there was this difference of opinion among them, that whereas some held both of them to have been from all eternity, there were others that contended, that the good god only was eternal, and that the other was created. But they both agreed in this, that there will be a continual opposition between these two till the end of the world; that then the good god shall overcome the evil god, and that from thenceforward each of them shall have his world to himself, that is, the good god his world with all good men with him, and the evil
god his world with all evil men with him; that darkness is the truest symbol of the evil god, and light the truest symbol, of the good god. And therefore they always worshipped him before fire, as being the cause of light, and especially before the sun, as being in their opinion the perfectest fire, and causing the perfectest light. And for this reason, in all their temples, they had fire continually burning on altars erected in them for that purpose. And before these sacred fires they offered up all their public devotions, as likewise they did all their private devotions before their private fires in their own houses. Thus did they pay the highest honor to light, as being in their opinion the truest representative of the good god; but always hated darkness, as being, what they thought, the trucst representative of the evil god, whom they ever
ad in the utmost detestation, as we now have the devil: and, for an instance hereof, whenever they had an occasion in any of their writings to mention his name, they always wrote it backward, and inversed, as thus, ueweyy."
That such were the religious opinions of the people where Job lived, cannot well be doubted. This fact we should think indisputable to whatever result it may lead. Ahraman or Arimanius, the evil principle deified, was the evil god of the people. The only objection which will be stated against this is" That Job lived at too early a period for the opinions advanced in this quotation." But in answer I would remark first, that Job's day was not too early for Sabianism or the worship of idols, for this existed in Abraham's day: and when Israel entered Canaan the worship of idols prevailed among the inhabitants. Why then should his day be too early for the Magian religion? Prideaux, speaks of Sabianism, as opposite to Magianism, but does not intimate that the former was of a more ancient date. On the contrary, we shall