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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 15a

and the three sons of Korah.1  Jeremiah wrote the book which bears his name, the Book of Kings, and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his colleagues wrote (Mnemonic YMSHK)2  Isaiah,3  Proverbs,4  the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The Men of the Great Assembly wrote (Mnemonic KNDG)5  Ezekiel,6  the Twelve Minor Prophets,7  Daniel and the Scroll of Esther. Ezra wrote the book that bears his name8  and the genealogies of the Book of Chronicles up to his own time. This confirms the opinion of Rab, since Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: Ezra did not leave Babylon to go up to Eretz Yisrael until he had written his own genealogy. Who then finished it [the Book of Chronicles]? — Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

The Master has said: Joshua wrote the book which bears his name and the last eight verses of the Pentateuch. This statement is in agreement with the authority who says that eight verses in the Torah were written by Joshua, as it has been taught: [It is written], So Moses the servant of the Lord died there.9  Now is it possible that Moses being dead could have written the words, 'Moses died there'? The truth is, however, that up to this point Moses wrote, from this point Joshua wrote. This is the opinion of R. Judah, or, according to others, of R. Nehemiah. Said R. Simeon to him: Can [we imagine the] scroll of the Law being short of one word, and is it not written, Take this book of the Law?10  No; what we must say is that up to this point the Holy One, blessed be He, dictated and Moses repeated and wrote, and from this point God dictated and Moses wrote with tears, as it says of another occasion, Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words to me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.11  Which of these two authorities is followed in the rule laid down by R. Joshua b. Abba which he said in the name of R. Giddal who said it in the name of Rab: The last eight verses of the Torah must be read [in the Synagogue service] by one person alone?12  — It follows R. Judah and not R. Simeon. I may even say, however, that it follows R. Simeon, [who would say that] since they differ [from the rest of the Torah] in one way, they differ in another.

[You say that] Joshua wrote his book. But is it not written, And Joshua son of Nun the servant of the Lord died?13  — It was completed by Eleazar. But it is also written in it, And Eleazar the son of Aaron died?14  — Phineas finished it. [You say that] Samuel wrote the book that bears his name. But is it not written in it, Now Samuel was dead?15  — It was completed by Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet. [You say that] David wrote the Psalms, including work of the ten elders. Why is not Ethan the Ezrahite also reckoned with? — Ethan the Ezrahite is Abraham. [The proof is that] it is written in the Psalms, Ethan the Ezrahite,16  and it is written elsewhere, Who hath raised up righteousness from the East.17

[The passage above] reckons both Moses and Heman. But has not Rab said that Moses is Heman, [the proof being] that the name Heman is found here [in the Psalms] and it is written elsewhere [of Moses], In all my house he is faithful?18  — There were two Hemans.

You say that Moses wrote his book and the section19  of Balaam and Job. This supports the opinion of R. Joshua b. Levi b. Lahma who said that Job was contemporary with Moses — [The proof is that] it is written here [in connection with Job], O that my words were now [efo] written,20  and it is written elsewhere [in connection with Moses], For wherein now [efo] shall it be known.21  But on that ground I might say that he was contemporary with Isaac, in connection with whom it is written, Who now [efo] is he that took venison?22  Or I might say that he was contemporary with Jacob, in connection with whom it is written, If so now [efo] do this?23  or with Joseph, in connection with whom it is written, Where [efo] they are pasturing?24  — This cannot be maintained; [The proof that Job was contemporary with Moses is that] it is written [in continuation of the above words of Job], Would that they were inscribed in a book, and it is Moses who is called 'inscriber', as it is written, And he chose the first part for himself, for there was the lawgiver's [mehokek, lit. 'inscriber's'] portion reserved.25  Raba said that Job was in the time of the spies. [The proof is that] it is written here [in connection with Job], There was a man in the land of Uz, Job was his name,26  and it is written elsewhere [in connection with the spies], Whether there be wood [ez] therein.27  Where is the parallel? In one place it is Uz, in the other EZ? — What Moses said to Israel was this: [See] if that man is there whose years are as the years of a tree and who shelters his generation like a tree.

A certain Rabbi was sitting before R. Samuel b. Nahmani and in the course of his expositions remarked, Job never was and never existed, but is only a typical figure.28  He replied: To confute such as you the text says, There was a man in the land of Uz, Job was his name. But, he retorted, if that is so, what of the verse, The poor man had nothing save one poor ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up etc.29  Is that anything but a parable? So this too is a parable. If so, said the other, why are his name and the name of his town mentioned?

R. Johanan and R. Eleazar both stated that Job was among those who returned from the [Babylonian] Exile, and that his house of study was in Tiberias. An objection [to this view] was raised from the following: 'The span of Job's life was from the time that Israel entered Egypt till they left it.' —

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. To Adam are ascribed the verses, Thine eyes did see mine imperfect substance etc. (Ps. CXXXIX, 16); to Melchizedek Ps. CX; to Moses, Ps. XC. Abraham is identified with Ethan the Ezrahite (Ps. LXXXIX).
  2. [H] = Yeshaiah (Isaiah); [H] = Mishle (Proverbs); [H] = Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs); [H] = Koheleth (Ecclesiastes). The word 'wrote' here seems to have the meaning of 'edited' or 'published'.
  3. According to Rashi, Isaiah was executed by Manasseh before he could reduce his own prophecies to writing.
  4. V. Prov. XXV, 1.
  5. [H] = Ezekiel; [H] = Shenem 'Asar (Twelve minor prophets); [H] = Daniel; [H] = Megillath Esther (The Scroll of Esther).
  6. Rashi supposes that the reason why Ezekiel did not write his own book was that he lived out of Eretz Yisrael. The same reason applies to Daniel.
  7. Who apparently did not publish their prophecies themselves because they were too small.
  8. This includes Nehemiah.
  9. Deut. XXXIV, 5.
  10. Deut. XXXI, 26. And this was said by Moses before he died.
  11. Jer. XXXVI, 18.
  12. Apparently this means that it is not requisite that another person should stand by him, as in the case of the rest of the Torah. Or it may mean that these eight verses must always be read to (or by) one person only.
  13. Josh. XXIV, 29.
  14. Ibid. 33.
  15. I Sam. XXVIII, 3.
  16. Ps. LXXXIX, I.
  17. Isa. XLI, 2. The word 'ezrahi' is also taken to mean 'eastern', while 'Ethan' (strong) is regarded as equivalent to 'righteous'.
  18. The word 'heman' is also taken to mean 'faithful'.
  19. [Var. lec., rpx 'the book'.]
  20. Job XIX, 23.
  21. Ex. XXXIII, 16.
  22. Gen. XXVII, 33.
  23. Gen. XLIII, II.
  24. Ibid. XXXVII, 16.
  25. Deut. XXXIII, 21.
  26. Job 1, 1.
  27. Num. XIII, 20.
  28. To teach men the virtue of resignation.
  29. II Sam. XII, 3. This was Nathan's parable to David.
Tractate List

Baba Bathra 15b

Say, As long as from the time they entered Egypt till they left it.1  An objection was further raised2  [from the following]: Seven prophets prophesied to the heathen, namely, Balaam and his father, Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, and Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite.3  He replied:4  Granted as you say [that Job was one of these], was not Elihu the son of Barachel from Israel, seeing that the Scripture mentions that he was from the family of Ram?5  Evidently [the reason why he is included] is because he prophesied to the heathen. So too Job [is included because] he prophesied to the heathen.6  But did not all the prophets prophesy to the heathen? — Their prophecies were addressed primarily to Israel, but these addressed themselves primarily to the heathen.

An objection was raised [from the following]: There was a certain pious man among the heathen named Job, but he [thought that he had] come into this world only to receive [here] his reward, and when the Holy One, blessed be He, brought chastisements upon him, he began to curse and blaspheme, so the Holy One, blessed be He, doubled his reward in this world so as to expel him from the world to come. There is a difference on this point between Tannaim, as it has been taught: R. Eliezer says that Job was in the days 'of the judging of the judges,'7  as it says [in the book of Job], Behold all of you together have seen it; why then are ye become altogether vain?8  What generation is it that is altogether vain? You must say, the generation where there is a 'judging of the judges'.9  R. Joshua b. Korhah says: Job was in the time of Ahasuerus, for it says, And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job.10  What was the generation in which fair women were sought out? You must say that this was the generation of Ahasuerus. But perhaps he was in the time of David [in connection with whom] it is written, So they sought for a fair damsel?11  — In the case of David [the search was only] in all the border of Israel, in the case of Ahasuerus, in all the land. R. Nathan says that Job was in the time of the kingdom of Sheba, since it says, The Sabaeans fell on them and took them away.12  The Sages say that he was in the time of the Chaldeans, as it says, The Chaldeans made three bands.13  Some say that Job lived in the time of Jacob and married Dinah the daughter of Jacob. [The proof is that] it is written here [in the book of Job], Thou speakest as one of the impious women [nebaloth] speaketh,14  and it is written in another place [in connection with Dinah], Because he had wrought folly [nebelah] it, Israel.15  All these Tannaim agree that Job was from Israel, except those who say [that he lived in the days of Jacob]. [This must be so,] for if you suppose that [they regarded him as] a heathen, [the question would arise,] after the death of Moses how could the Divine Presence rest upon a heathen,16  seeing that a Master has said, Moses prayed that the Divine Presence should not rest on heathens, and God granted his request as it says, That we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.17

R. Johanan said: The generation of Job was given up to lewdness. [The proof is that] it says here [in the book of Job], Behold all of you have seen [hazitem] it; why then are ye become altogether vain? and it is written elsewhere, Return, return, O Shulamite, return, return that we may look upon [nehezeh,] thee.18  But may not the reference be to prophecy, as in the words, The vision [hazon] of Isaiah son of Amoz?19  — If so, why does it say: Why are ye become altogether vain?

R. Johanan further said: What is the import of the words, And it came to pass in the days of the judging of the judges? It was a generation which judged its judges. If the judge said to a man, 'Take the splinter from between your teeth,'20  he would retort, 'Take the beam from between your eyes.' If the judge said, 'Your silver is dross,' he would retort, 'Your liquor is mixed with water.'21

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Whoever says that the malkath [queen] of Sheba was a woman is in error; the word malkath here22  means the kingdom of Sheba.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, whence comest thou? And Satan answered etc.23  He addressed the Holy One, blessed be He, thus: Sovereign of the Universe, I have traversed the whole world and found none so faithful as thy servant Abraham. For Thou didst say to him, Arise, walk through the land to the length and the breadth of it, for to thee I will give it,24  and even so, when he was unable to find any place in which to bury Sarah until he bought one for four hundred shekels of silver, he did not complain against thy ways. Then the Lord said to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for' there is none like him in the earth etc.

Said R. Johanan: Greater praise is accorded to Job than to Abraham. For of Abraham it is written, For now I know that thou fearest God,25  whereas of Job it is written, That man was perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed evil.26  What is the meaning of 'eschewed evil'? — R. Abba b. Samuel said: Job was liberal with his money. Ordinarily, if a man owes half a prutah [to a workman], he spends it in a shop,27  but Job used to make a present of it [to the workman].

And then Satan answered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made at hedge about him and about his house etc.28  What is the meaning of the words, Thou hast blessed the work of his hands?29  — R. Samuel b. R. Isaac said: Whoever took a prutah from Job had luck with it. What is implied by the words, His cattle is increased in the land,30  — R. Jose b. Hanina said: The cattle of Job broke through the general rule. Normally wolves kill goats, but in the cattle of Job the goats killed the wolves. But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he hath, and he will renounce thee to thy face … And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand etc. … And it fell on a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house that there came a messenger unto Job and said, The oxen were plowing etc.31  What is meant by the words, The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding beside them?32  — R. Johanan said: This indicates that the Holy One, blessed be He, gave to Job a taste of the

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Viz. 210 years. Job's years were doubled after his sufferings and he lived on for 140 years. He must therefore have been 70 at the time. This makes a total of 210.
  2. Against the idea that Job was an Israelite.
  3. This seems to show that Job was a heathen prophet.
  4. This is omitted in some texts.
  5. Job XXXII, 2. Had he not been from Israel, his genealogy would not have been given. Or possibly 'Ram' is a name of Abraham (Rashi).
  6. Though he was himself an Israelite.
  7. This is a literal translation of the opening words of the Book of Ruth, rendered in the E.V., 'in the days when the Judges judged.'
  8. Job XXVII, 12.
  9. By the common people, in whom the judges inspire no respect.
  10. Job XLII, is.
  11. I Kings 1-3.
  12. Job 1, 15.
  13. Ibid. 17.
  14. Ibid. 11, 10.
  15. Gen. XXXIV, 7.
  16. And all agree that Job was a prophet.
  17. Ex. XXXIII, 16. This difficulty, however, would not arise if we suppose Job to have been in the days of Jacob.
  18. Cant. VI, 13.
  19. Isa. I, I.
  20. This is the reading in 'En Yakob. In the text of the Talmud the word is 'eyes', which does not seem to make such good sense.
  21. Cf. Isa. 1, 22.
  22. 1 Kings X, 1.
  23. Job 1, 6, 7.
  24. Gen. XIII, 17.
  25. Ibid. XXII, 12.
  26. Job 1, 1.
  27. Since a prutah cannot be divided, if a man owes a workman half a prutah he buys something in a shop with a prutah and gives the workman half.
  28. Job 1, 9, 10.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Ibid. 11-14.
  32. Ibid. 14.
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