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Where is the Land of Uz? October 30, 2007

Posted by anagasto in art, Bible, poetry.
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It is an example of a question to which there is no fact-based answer.
The Land of Uz is not in Google and is not on the map.
Maybe all knowledge about it is lost, because the poem is much older than even the oldest maps.

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klee-dromedaries.jpg

The people of Uz lived in tents.

Those tents, some of them, would have been made of blue, purple and scarlet linen spread out and held down by strong pegs.

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From  Byzantine  Bible  manuscripts:  “Job owned large herds”

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Job´s large herds

They seem to have been fairly rich, had lots of cattle and time to talk.

It would be wrong to imagine nothing but silent sand and cactus for miles around. But Job had three thousand camels and seven thousand sheep. He also had a large family.

According to Wikipedia, Job was not Jewish, but a Bedouin sheikh.

>>>  > A sheikh is an Arab chief or a tribal leader, and a Bedouin is a nomadic Arab tribe, both according to WordWeb.
>>>  > Byzantine = from Byzantium, = the Eastern Roman Empire =  the Roman Empire in the Middle East after  395
>>>  > Manuscripts = handwritten documents

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camels.jpg

Nobody knows how old the text is.

The strange thing is to find out that they considered their cities crowded.
It says that even so far back the wild donkey “scorned the multitude of the city and the shouts of the drivers”.

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Map of the World by Tourizm Maps ©2003

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This would likely be the region.

The poet may have lived in Mesopotamia, which means “between the rivers”, now mainly  Iraq, or in the Kingdom of Edom, marked yellow in the drawing below, now famous for Petra and its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system.

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Map of Biblical Israel of about 830 BCE  Published by Briangotts under a GNU Free Document license at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Levant_830.png

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Petra’s Roman aqueduct photographed by Emilio from Germany/Chile and published under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at  P e t r a:  Roman Aqueduct

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It is poetry from the desert and there may have been more than one author writing successively, in stages.

The book is only some 20 pages, but it is difficult to read.

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It begins with God and Satan betting on Job’s integrity, and Job is placed under immense stress.

He suffers and with his friends discusses why God would allow pain to exist. — The drawing is by William Blake and shows Satan bringing pain to Job.

 Job was told that his large possessions had been attacked by hostile tribes.

 in public domain  at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Job_in_Byzantine_illuminated_manuscripts showing the enemy tribes attacking the herds and — on the bottom left — the messenger arriving with the bad news.

And a strange illness befalls him.

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Also by William Blake: Job and his friends.

They accuse him and say that he must have deserved his pain to make up for his sins.

Job  disagrees.

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Job says that the birds in the air and the fish in the sea say the same : that God does not act according to our ideas of justice :

“Ask the cattle and they will tell you,  ask the birds in the sky  or the fish of the sea.”

Nimirum interroga jumenta, et docebunt te;
et volatilia cæli, et indicabunt tibi
et narrabunt pisces maris.

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The photo of the desert flower is from this US travel agency.

The picture with the two camels is a fragment from a Klee painting.

Link to source text  English ……. Greek…….Hebrew……..Latin side by side

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From a Byzantine Bible manuscript:  those on the left are the fierce lions given as an example of how all of the Creation must obey God.

Quoting

Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario:

León de hedionda melena,
meditabundo león
¿sabes de Hércules acaso..?
-Sí. Y de Job.

Lion of the foul-smelling mane,
Deep-thinking lion:
Do you maybe know about Heracles?
Yes. And about Job

http://poema-s.blogspot.com/2009/04/poema-interrogaciones-de-ruben-dario.html.

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Job 39.5 Who set the wild donkey free?

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Comments»

1. Ion Danu - October 30, 2007

Wasn’t Satan the elder son of God? Lucifer? To whom God let a lot of things pass? Jung read all the book of Job and wrote himself one… Quite interesting… pointing out the first moral failure of God against man…

2. cantueso - October 30, 2007

The book of Job is only some 30 pages long, so, indeed, if Jung was going to write a book about it, he had better read it all. And what do you mean with your “quite interesting”? The book or Jung? Or maybe your idea of Jung?

3. cantueso - October 30, 2007

http://www.junginstitute.org/pdf_files/JungV8N1p1-18.pdf.

That is an account of Jung’s book “An Answer to Job”. I looked into it, and Jung’s own text is quoted extensively. It sounds awful.

I would probably not be able to comb through a mess like that.

4. Ion Danu - October 31, 2007

A, when I said the book of Jung was quite interesting I mean just that… some of the things he says there are intriguing, so = interesting… I didn’t guaranteed neither that you’ll like it not that it’s the best reading material… I couldn’t read it myself more than 3/4… Did seem a bit impious (th/t’s the term?) to me and not very easy reading, that’s for sure… But awful? grrrr? I don’t have feelings that strong about most of the books…

5. Joan M. Weil - January 17, 2008

It is generally assumed that the land of Uz is more or less what now would be western Jordan or southern Syria. However, what could possibly make you think that the people who lived there had \” time to talk\”? Is that to be understood as an oblique reference to modern run rabbit run conditions?

6. cantueso - January 17, 2008

To Joan M. Weil

The reference is not to any rabbit run, but to the way Job and his friends spend their time examining the reasons God may have had to let Job suffer. —

7. Kings (aka Reyes) - August 10, 2008

But the meaning! I have read this ten times and still can’t get the meaning! Can’t have a story like that known the world over and/but devoid of meaning.

8. cantueso - August 11, 2008

A story with a single meaning is an allegory or a fable or a parable. It is a story invented to illustrate a point of ethics or psychology, mostly ideological.

The story of Job is NOT of that kind. It is more like a report or a biography. When you read somebody’s life story, at the end do you ask what it means?

9. A.S.Chartwell - September 9, 2008

Do you actually believe these stories? Unless I am mistaken, and correct me if I am, some of this Job account is God’s own way of talking about Himself. Now what do you think of that? I wonder.

10. Ken Rogers (Roggie) - September 9, 2008

Yours is a junkie’s way of shilling your ware and pull a fast one, bumkin. You know how to peel an onion, don’t you?

11. eldadandmedad - October 30, 2009

Perhaps the land of “Uz” is none other than modern day “Uzbekistan”

12. Paul Arnold - May 16, 2011

“Uz” could be etymologically linked to oz, meaning ‘east’, according to Wikipedia. However, I don’t think that the location is of any importance in the development of the text.

cantueso - July 17, 2011

Sorry I didn’t see this.
Of course the location is not of any importance, since anyway I am not equipped to look for the origins of the text, but maps are colourful….

13. Carl D'Agostino - September 16, 2011

I have always had a problem with the Job story. It influences people a great deal today in that whenever hard times appear they very often express that God is testing them whether they consciously know the story or not. What kind of jealous and cruel God would rain down such horrible conditions on His children to test them? I want nothing to do with that God. I take the story in a different direction. It is Satan that tests us not God and that is indicated in the story. Evil will test our faith but God fortifies us not tests us.

14. cantueso - September 17, 2011

But the text says that Satan obtained God’s permission to test the man. In your view Satan simply would be independent of God and does not have to ask for permission.
So what: is he another god?
…………………………………………………………

By the way, there is a famous verse by Isaiah where God says he is the origin of good as well as evil:

“He forms light and creates darkness
He does good and creates evil
I YHWH do all of these”

Isaia 45:7
The same idea is in Deut 32.39

15. engthj55 - February 22, 2012

According to contemporary sources, the surprise ending of the Book of Job was added later:

“Job protests his guiltlessness, defies the dark power of fate, and even challenges divine justice, but God himself announces at the end that no man can grasp the essence of His plan for the world. A later and more naïve writer, who added the conclusion of the book, reversed Job’s destiny and compensated him by a double share of what he had lost in both wealth and family.”

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