Job 19:23-24, Carved With Iron and Lead

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

//These are the words of Job, written … well, we don’t know when. There are precious few clues in the book of Job about its authorship and dating. Scholars generally conclude the book of Job was written between the third and fifth centuries BCE, and continue to argue about where it came from and how the story became part of Hebrew literature.

One possible clue to the dating of Job is today’s verse. It sounds like it was inspired by the famous Behistun Inscription, authored by Darius the Great toward the end of the sixth century BCE, when it was carved in a limestone cliff face. It’s a giant autobiography of Darius, including a description of his military victories, written using lead and iron pins. The inscription measures 15 by 25 meters, and sits about 100 meters up the cliff.

Does Job dream of his own story being preserved in like manner? Graven in rock with lead and iron? Does this give evidence, at the very least, that the book of Job postdates this famous rock inscription?

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