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1550s, in phrase jobbe of worke "piece of work" (contrasted with continuous labor), of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of gobbe "mass, lump" (c.1400; see gob) via sense of "a cart-load." Sense of "work done for pay" first recorded 1650s. Thieves' slang sense of "theft, robbery, a planned crime" is from 1722. Printing sense is from 1795. Slang meaning "specimen, thing, person" is from 1927.
job. (1) A low mean lucrative busy affair. (2) Petty, piddling work; a piece of chance work. [Johnson's Dictionary]On the job "hard at work" is from 1882. Job lot is from obsolete sense of "cartload, lump," which might also ultimately be from gob. Job security attested by 1954; job description by 1920; job-sharing by 1972.
1660s, "to buy and sell as a broker," from job (n.). Meaning "to cheat, betray" is from 1903. Related: Jobbed; jobbing.
Biblical masc. proper name, from Hebrew Iyyobh, which according to some scholars is literally "hated, persecuted," from ayyabh "he was hostile to," related to ebhah "enmity." Others say it means "the penitent one."
In the Old Testament, a man whose faith was severely tested by Satan, with God's permission. Job was the most prosperous and happy of men, who faithfully praised God for God's goodness. In order to get him to curse God, Satan destroyed all that Job owned, killed his children, and struck Job himself with vile sores from head to foot. False friends of Job's suggested that he should abandon his beliefs (see Job's comforters). But even in absolute misery, Job would not curse God, saying instead, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord.” As a reward for his steadfast faith, God healed Job and “gave him twice as much as he had before.”
Note: Figuratively, any long-suffering person can be said to be “as patient as Job.”
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persecuted, an Arabian patriarch who resided in the land of Uz (q.v.). While living in the midst of great prosperity, he was suddenly overwhelmed by a series of sore trials that fell upon him. Amid all his sufferings he maintained his integrity. Once more God visited him with the rich tokens of his goodness and even greater prosperity than he had enjoyed before. He survived the period of trial for one hundred and forty years, and died in a good old age, an example to succeeding generations of integrity (Ezek. 14:14, 20) and of submissive patience under the sorest calamities (James 5:11). His history, so far as it is known, is recorded in his book.