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THE TESTAMENT OF JOB

 

 

The book of the words of Job, the one called Jobab.

Now on the day of having fallen ill, he began to settle his affairs, he called his seven sons and his three daughters, whose names are Tersi, Choros, Hyon, Nike, Phoros, Phiphe, Phrouon, Hemera, Kasia, and Amaltheia's Horn. And when he called his children he said, Gather round, my children. Gather round me so that I may show you the things which the Lord did with me and all things which have happened to me.

I am your father Job, fully engaged in endurance. But you are chisen and honored from the seed of Jacob, the father of your mother. For I am from the sons of Esau, the brother of Jacob, of whom is your mother Dinah, from whom I begot you. (My other wife died with the other children in a bitter death.)

So hear me, children, and I will show you the things which have befallen me.

Job and the Revealing Angel

Job's perplexity over idolatry

Now I used to be Jobab before the Lord named me Job. When I was called Jobab, I lived quite near a venerated idol's temple. As I constantly saw whole-burnt offerings being offered up there, I began reasoning with myself saying, "Is this really the God who made heaven and earth, the sea too, and our very selves? How shall I know?"

One night as I was in bed a loud voice came to me in a very bright light saying,

"Jobab, Jobab!" And I said, "Yes? Here I am." And he said, "Arise, and I will show you who this is whom you wish to know. This one whose whole-burnt offerings they bring and whose drink offerings they pour in not God. Rather, his is the power of the devil, by whom human nature is deceived."

When I heard these things, I fell on my bed worshiping and saying, "My Lord, who came for the salvation of my soul, I beg you-if this is indeed the place of Satan by whom men are deceived- grant me authority to go and purge his place so that I may put an end to the drink offerings being poured for him. Who is there to forbid me, since I rule the region?

The angel's disclosure of impending calamities

The light answered me and said, "You shall be able to purge this place. But I am going to show you all the things which the Lord charged me to tell you."

And I said, "Whatever he has charged me, his servant, I will hear and do."

Again he said, "Thus says the Lord: If you attempt to purge the place of Satan, he will rise up against you with wrath for battle. But he will be unable to bring death upon you. He will bring upon you many plagues, he will take away for himself your goods, he will carry off your children. But if you are patient, I will make your name renowned in all generations of the earth till the consummation of the age. And I will turn you again to your goods. It will be repaid to your doubly, so that you may know that the Lord is impartial - rendering good things to each one who obeys. And you shall be raised up at the resurrection. For you will be like a sparring athlete, both enduring pains and winning the crown. Then will you know that the Lord is just, true and strong, giving strength to his elect ones."

Job's destruction of the idol's shrine

And I, my little children, replied to him, "Till death I will endure: I will not step back at all." After I had been sealed by the angel when he left me, my little children, then-having arisen the next night-I took fifty youths with me, struck off for the temple of the idol, and leveled it to the ground. And so I withdrew into my house, having ordered the doors to be secured.

Job and Satan

Satan's attack and Job's tragedy

Satan disguised as a beggar

Listen, little children, and marvel. For as soon as I entered into my house and secured my doors, I charged my doormen thus, "If anyone should seek me today, give no report; but say, 'He has no time, for he is inside concerned with an urgent matter.' "

So while I was inside Satan knocked at the door, having disguised himself as a beggar. And he said to the doormaid, "Tell Job I wish to meet with him." When the doormaid came and told me these things, she heard me say to report that I had no time just now.

When he heard that, Satan departed and put a yoke on his shoulders. And when he arrived, he spoke to the doormaid saying, "Say to Job, 'Give me a loaf of bread from your hands, so I may eat.' " So I gave a burnt loaf of bread to the girl to give to him and said to him, "Expect to eat my loaves no longer, for you are estranged from me."

Then the doormaid, ashamed to give him the burnt ashen loaf of bread (for she did not know he was Satan), took the good loaf of her own and gave it to him. And when he received it and knew what had occurred he said to the girl, "Off with you, evil servant. Bring the loaf of bread given you to be given to me."

The girl wept with deep grief, saying, "Truly, you well say I am an evil servant. For if I were not, I would have done just as it was assigned to me by my master." And when she returned, she brought him the burnt loaf of bread, saying to him, "Thus says my lord. 'You shall no longer eat from my loaves at all, for I have been estranged from you. Yet I have given you this loaf of bread in order that I may not be accused of providing nothing to a begging enemy.' "

When he heard these things, Satan sent the girl back to me saying, "As this loaf of bread is wholly burnt, so shall I do to your body also. For within the hour, I will depart and devastate you." And I replied to him, "Do what you will. For if you intend to bring anything on me, I am prepared to undergo whatever you inflict."

Satan implores the Lord for power over Job

After he withdrew from me, when he had gone out under the firmament, he implored the Lord that he might receive authority over my goods. And then, when he had received the authority, he came and took away all my wealth.

Job's Generosity and Piety

Job's philanthropy

So listen, for I will show you all the things which have befallen me, my losses. For I used to have 13,000 sheep, of them I designated 7,000 to be sheared for the clothing of orphans and widows, the poor, and the helpless. And I had a pack of 80 dogs guarding my flocks. I also had 200 other dogs guarding the house. And I used to have 9,000 camels; from them I chose 3,000 to work in every city. After I loaded them with good things, I sent them away into the cities and villages, charging them to go and distribute to the helpless, to the destitute, and to all the widows. And I used to have 140,000 grazing she-asses. From these I marked off 500 and gave a standing order for their offspring to be sold and given to the poor and needy.

From all regions people began coming to me for a meeting. The four doors of my house stood open. And I gave a standing order to my house servants that these doors should stand open, having this in view: Possibly, some would come asking alms and, because they might see me sitting at the door, would turn back ashamed, getting nothing. Instead, whenever they would see me sitting at one door, they could leave through another and take as much as they needed.

Job's Hospitality

And I established in my house thirty tables spread at all hours, for strangers only. I also used to maintain twelve other tables set for the widows. When any stranger approached to ask alms, he was required to be fed at my table before he would receive his need. Neither did I allow anyone to go out of my door with an empty pocket.

I used to have 3,500 yoke of oxen. And I chose from them 500 yoke and designated them for plowing, which they could do in any field of those who would use them. And I marked off their produce for the poor, for their table. I also used to have fifty bakeries from which I arranged for the ministry of the table for the poor.

Job's underwritten charities

There were also certain strangers who saw my eagerness, and they too desired to assist in this service. And there were still others, at the time without resources and unable to invest a thing, who came and entreated me, saying, "We beg you, may we also engage in this service. We own nothing, however. Show mercy on us and lend us money so we may leave for distant cities on business and be able to do the poor service. And afterward we shall repay you what is yours."

When I heard these things, I would rejoice that they would take anything at all from me for the care of the poor. And receiving their note eagerly, I would give them as much as they wished, taking no security from them except a written note. So they would go out on my expense.

Sometimes they would succeed in business and give to the poor. But at other times, they would be robbed. And they would come and entreat me saying, "We beg you, be patient with us. Let us find how we might be able to repay you." Without delay, I would bring before them the note and read it granting cancellation as the crowing feature and saying, "Since I trusted you for the benefit of the poor, I will take nothing back from you." Nor would I take anything from my debtor.

On occasion a man of cheerful heart would come to me saying, "I am not wealthy enough to help the destitute. Yet I wish to serve the poor today at your table." When it was agreed, he would serve and eat. At evening, as he was about to leave for home, he would be compelled to take wages from me as I would say, "I know you are a workingman counting on and looking for your wages. You must accept." Nor did I allow the wage earner's pay to remain at home with me at my house.

Job's fabulous wealth in cattle: the buttered mountains

Those who milked the cows grew weary, since milked flowed in the mountains. Butter spread over my roads, and from its abundance my herds bedded down in the rocks and mountains because of the births. So the mountains were washed over with milk and became as congealed butter. And my servants, who prepared the meals for the widows and the poor, grew tired and would curse me in contempt, saying, "Who will give us some of his meat cuts to be satisfied?" Nevertheless, I was quite kind.

Job's musical skill

And I used to have six psalms and a ten-stringed lyre. I would rouse myself daily after the feeding of the widows, take the lyre, and play for them. And they would chant hymns. And with the psaltery I would remind them of God so that they might glorify the Lord. If my maidservants ever began murmuring, I would take up the psaltery and strum as payment in return. And thus I would make them stop murmuring in contempt.

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