Who are Job's ancestors?

The ancestral lineages presented in the book of Job

Brian Kuehmichel
January 23, 2022


There were five named men given in the book of Job. The introduction in verse one was simple, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job,” as if no lineage was necessary. No lineage was ever given for him in the text of Job but it did mention his father as currently alive in Job 15:10 saying, “With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.” That omission would be the case if Job’s ancestry was clearly laid out already in another portion of the biblical text.

When the next three men were introduced in Job 2:11 their abbreviated ancestry or place of birth was also presented. These men were “Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite [Shuahite], and Zophar the Naamathite.” The fifth man named was “Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram.” Since such contracted ancestries were given it implied one of three things: 1) the presumption of prior knowledge detailing the necessary connecting pieces for the separate ancestry of each of these men was clearly understood, or 2) written information was readily available to any reader, or 3) these men came out of nowhere specific or important and passed again into oblivion.

Holy Scripture was not built upon indefinite starting points and inconsequential facts. Real people or known places were given: the Temanite, the Shuhite, the Naamathite, and the Buzite. These words recorded four men’s real ancestors or places of birth and the background or supporting material for these was readily available to be searched out, both then and now. Scripture was written with distinct, purposeful and necessary information. Sometimes it included little verifiable facts for any contemporary audience to validate the internal integrity of the recorded material.

Remote ancestry

From the hands of the Creator the first man Adam was formed and brought to life. Eve was prepared from Adam to be a procreator with him of the human family. Genesis chapters 4 through 11 detailed that family and a line of descendants leading to and past the great world-wide flood. The lineage list proceeded from Adam and Eve through Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah to Japhtheh, Shem and Ham. These last four men with their wives were the initial start of the post flood population we have today.

Post flood the lineage record was mantained. From Shem proceeded the generations of Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, to Terah. Terah in turn had three sons Haran, Nahor and Abram along with a daughter Sarai (Genesis 11:10-32; 20:11-12). From Genesis chapter twelve the main focus of the biblical record proceeded through Abram and his descendants but it included connections with other named individuals. The ancestry of each of the five named men in the book of Job are detailed in the book of Genesis. Their lineages can be laid out in a relatively simple manner. Let us start with Eliphaz the Temanite and then proceed through Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram and then to Job himself.

Terah and his posterity

Genesis 11:26-34 and 12:1-4 describe the birth of Abram when Terah was 130 years old. When Abraham (Abram was renamed Abraham) was 100 years old Isaac was born (Genesis 21:1-5). From Isaac came fraternal twins Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:20-26) when he was 60 years old. At age 40 Esau (also called Edom) married and had his first son Eliphaz by Adah / Bashemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite (Genesis 26:34-35; 36:12). Genesis 36:11, 15 said Eliphaz had a son named Teman. The man named Eliphaz introduced in Job 2:11 was described as a Temanite which meant he was the son of this Teman (Genesis 36:15). This Eliphaz was a descendant of Abraham through Isaac, through Esau, through Eliphaz, and was the son of Teman. Thus Eliphaz the Temanite was a grandson of the first Eliphaz.

Later in life Abraham remarried after Sarah was dead for three years. This marriage was just after Isaac married Rebekah at age 40 when Abraham was age 140. With this wife Keturah Abraham had six sons born over six to six and one half years. The last was named Shuah with Abraham at a later 146 to just 147 years old. Bildad the Shuhite [Shuahite] was the late born son of this Shuah just like Shuah was the late born son of Abraham.

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. ... All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country (Genesis 25:1-6).

Zophar the Naamathite was not described by lineage since the only proximate Naamah was the small city in southern Judah described in Joshua 15:41. That mean that he was not the son of a Naamah but born at Naamah. That narrowed the field of possibilities of ancestral identity a little. Zophar was acquainted with Eliphaz and Bildad as described in Job 2:11. “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” This meant he was born by Naamah and lived in relationship with Eliphaz, Bildad and Job who was living in southeastern Canaan near to the territory of Edom. That was the same area in which Abraham had lived. He dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord, Genesis 13:18; Abraham planted a grove, Genesis 21:33; Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan, Genesis 23:2; Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan, Genesis 23:19. Beersheba was where Isaac had dug a well (Genesis 26:32-33) by Hebron. This same area (in southeastern Judah) was where Zophar was born.

In Genesis chapter 46 the list of Jacob’s offspring that migrated down into Egypt during the great famine were given. The second son of Jacob by his wife Leah was Simeon. In verse ten Simeon’s own children were listed. Simeon had his fifth son named Zohar (Genesis 46:10; Exodus 6:15). Since many of Abraham’s family had two names it was perfectly reasonable that this Zohar was also known as the Zophar of Job 2:11. Zophar was born in the same area, was of similar age to Job, and would have had the familial basis to be acquainted with the other individuals named in Job 2:11. Zohar became Zophar by the insertion of a letter in the middle of the Hebrew name just like some of those detailed in the following paragraph, marked by an asterisk. Zophar was a descendant of Abraham through Isaac, through Jacob, and the fifth son of Simeon. Zophar would have been born at Naamah after Jacob and family left Shechem and journeyed southward to Isaac’s camp (Genesis 35:21-27).

Abram to *Abraham, Genesis 17:5
Sarai to *Sarah, Genesis 17:5
Jacob to Israel, Genesis 25:25; 32:28
Benoni to Benjamin, Genesis 35:18
Adah — Bashemath, daughter of Elon the Hittite, Genesis 26:34; 36:2
Zohar — *Zophar, Genesis 46:10; Exodus 6:15; Job 2:11
Job — *Jaschub, Genesis 46:13; Job 1:1; 1Chronicles 7:1
Joshua — *Jehoshuah, Exodus 33:11; Numbers 11:28; 14:6; 1Chronicles 7:26-27
Jedidiah — Solomon, 2Sam 12:24-25
Hadassah — Esther, Esther 2:7

Abram’s brother Nahor

In Genesis chapter 22 after Isaac and Abraham came down from mount Moriah their family learned about the birth of children and a specific grand child to Nahor and his wife Milcah. Since Abram and Sarai had left the area of Haran after Terah had died when Abram was age 75 (Sarai was age 65) they would have known of any children born to their brother before they left Haran. Since they learned about these children after their departure to Canaan it implied that Nahor and Milcah also had their children when somewhat older. The text read this way.

And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Because Rebekah was named here it meant that she was already born and was of sufficient age to be named before the news was carried down to Abraham and Sarah and their son Isaac. The second born son to Nahor was Buz. Kemuel, the younger brother to Buz, had a son named Aram. The description of the fifth named man in the book of Job was “Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram.” Aram, also spelled Ram, was known by those men in the book of Job who were visiting Job in the southeastern area of Canaan. Thus Elihu was understandably described as one “of the kindred of Ram.” Elihu’s lineage was from Terah, through Nahor, through Buz, and he was the son of Barachel.

Abraham’s great-greatgrandson

Since Job had no lineage detailed nor had his father’s name been given in the book of Job it was very likely that his lineage was given earlier in Genesis. A quick search showed that Job’s name appeared in Genesis 46:13 in the list of Jacob’s expanding family. Job was listed as the son of Issachar, who was the fifth son of Leah. This was confirmed again in 1 Chronicles 7:1 with his alternate name containing an additional middle letter. That information made Zophar and Job close cousins. Job was a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, and the third son of Issachar (Genesis 46:13; 1Chronicles 7:1).

Here we want to note a very specific and unique pattern. Abraham was delared righteous because he believed God (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3, 9, 13; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). Nothing similar was said of Isaac. When Jacob fled north to Haran from Esau’s anger he was described in the KJV text as “a plain man” in Genesis 25:27 (see Genesis 30:33). That term in Hebrew was תָּמַם (H8552) and described Jacob as one who was undefiled, morally upright, perfect, complete, or ethically pure in conduct. In other words he was “righteous” in his lifestyle. Nothing similar was said of Issachar. But Job 1:1 stated, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Thus of the five generations Abraham, Jacob and Job were directly spoken of as "righteous". The first, third, and fifth generation were described as holy men of God. Job fit quite well as Abraham’s descendant living in the land God promised to Abraham and to his progeny through Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 6:8).

More evidence

The chapter titled, Can the book of Job be placed in time?, from the book "Rethinking Chronology from Abraham to Solomon by Applying Unused Texts" has additional topics that help affirm the time placement for the book of Job. These include: Job’s life span; How old were the men in front of Job?; Connecting Job to that pharaoh; Comparisons of wealth; Notable beauty compared; Who wrote the book of Job?; and Using Job’s own words.

You can look for this insightful book on Amazon.com and at other fine book sellers. Peek at it by using the look-inside feature. Printable supplemental material is provided online, see footnote [S].

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7359782-0-8 (with 260 pages) with a matching eBook ISBN: 978-1-7359782-3-9. "Rethinking Chronology from Abraham to Solomon by Applying Unused Texts" is available at these book sellers and elsewhere:

Paperback: Amazon

eBook: Amazon.

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Extended versions

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7359782-4-6 (extended version with 269 pages) matching EPUB ebook ISBN: 978-1-7359782-1-5 (extended version). These are available at these book sellers and elsewhere:

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In Canada: Chapters—Indigo

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