Search Related Sites

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Does Job 1:4 indicate that Job’s children celebrated their birthdays?

Job 1:4 does not apply to birthdays.

Job 1:4 reads: “And [Job’s] sons went and held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day; and they sent and invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them.”

“Day” in Job 1:4 translates the Hebrew word yohm and refers to a period of time from sunrise to sunset. On the other hand, “birthday” is a compound of the two Hebrew words yohm (day) and hul·le´dheth. The distinction between “day” and one’s birthday may be noted in Genesis 40:20, where both expressions appear: “Now on the third day [yohm] it turned out to be Pharaoh’s birthday [literally, “the day (yohm) of the birth (hul·le´dheth) of Pharaoh”].”

At Job 1:4, hullédeth does not appear; only yowm is used in the Hebrew text. So it speaks of Job’s sons’ doing something “each one on his own day,” not ‘each one on his own birthday.’

So it is certain that Job 1:4 does not refer to a birthday, as is unquestionably the case at Genesis 40:20. It would seem that Job’s seven sons held a family gathering (possibly a spring or harvest festival) and as the feasting made the week-long circuit, each son hosted the banquet in his own house “on his own day.”

The Bible makes direct reference to only two birthday celebrations, those of Pharaoh of Egypt (18th century B.C.E.) and Herod Antipas (1st century C.E.). These accounts were not depicted in the Bible in a favorable light. These birthdays were celebrated by people who clearly did not worship God and both accounts were marked with great feasting and granting of favors and both are remembered for executions: the hanging of Pharaoh’s chief baker in the first instance, the beheading of John the Baptizer in the latter.

So it would be good to consider that even if the account at Job 1:4 were talking about his son's birthdays, the Scripture does not mention Job attending. In fact, Job prayed for them and said that they had "sinned and have cursed God in their hearts." (Job 1:5) In addition, they all died on one of the occasions, so even if it was a birthday celebration, we would then have three birthday accounts of which were marked by people dying. Hardly a stellar record.

For more, see:

Birthdays (Search For Bible Truths