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The Daughters of Job / פרשת בנות איוב

צפרירה בן-ברק and Zafrira Ben-Barak
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. כד‎, AVRAHAM MALAMAT VOLUME / ספר אברהם מלמט‎ (1993 / תשנ"ד), pp. 41-48
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23624584
Page Count: 8
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The Daughters of Job / פרשת בנות איוב
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Abstract

At the close of the book of Job there is a unique sentence: 'And their father (Job) gave them (Job's daughters) inheritance among their brothers' (Job 42:15). This unusual sentence is presented as concrete information, reflecting a real event. It is associated with the broad question of the inheritance by daughters of their fathers' property in Israel and in the ancient Near East. We have no direct laws on inheritance by daughters, and our conclusions derive from sporadic documents of various societies: Sumer, Old Babylon, Alalaḫ, Nuzi, Emar, Ugarit and Israel: 1) In principle, a daughter is not an heir; only male offspring of bēt 'ab are. 2) The custom mentioned most frequently was that in the absence of male offspring the daughter inherits. 3) In very few cases, at Nuzi and Emar, in the absence of male offspring, the father adopts his daughter as a son and heir. The statement in Job is exceptional and indicates a step forward in the conception of society. Here is an example of a bēt 'ab with male heirs, but the daughters are nevertheless given a part of the inheritance, albeit in an inferior way. This verse also contributes to the question of the time and source of the Book of Job, assuming that we recognize it as a development concerning the subject of inheritance by daughters.

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