Question: "What is the importance of the land of Uz in the Bible?"

Answer: The land of Uz in the Bible is the homeland of Job, the righteous man whose faith was tested through great suffering: “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:1–3).

The exact location of the land of Uz is uncertain. Besides the reference to Uz in the opening verse of the book of Job as the country in which Job lived, the land itself is mentioned only in two other passages of Scripture. Jeremiah 25:20 remarks on the “kings of the land of Uz” as being among many kings and officials being judged in the Lord’s wrath. Here the land of Uz is associated with Edom (verse 21). In Lamentations the connection with Edom recurs: “Rejoice and be glad, Daughter Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. But to you also the cup will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked” (Lamentations 4:21).

The book of Job states that Job lived near the desert (Job 1:19) but that the territory was fertile for farming and raising livestock (Job 1:3, 14; 42:12). These verses also tell us that Job was the greatest of all “the people of the East” who lived in the land of Uz. And in Job 1:17 we read that Job’s homeland was vulnerable to Chaldean raiding parties. If we piece all these details together, the land of Uz appears to have been located to the east of the land of Israel and east of Edom in northern Arabia.

The New American Commentary: Job suggests Wadi Sirhan, a two-hundred-mile-long depression in the northernmost part of Saudi Arabia, as the most likely contender for being the land of Uz: “It is the catchment for the waters that run off Jebel Druz and is capable of supporting large herds of livestock such as Job had. . . . It was close enough to Edom to be occasionally linked with it, yet it was also within striking distance for Chaldean raiders” (vol. 11, p. 47).

Uz is also the name of three Old Testament figures. The first is the son of Aram and grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:22; 1 Chronicles 1:17). The second is Abraham’s nephew, the son of Nahor and Milcah and brother of Buz (Genesis 22:21). Finally, an Edomite living in Seir was named Uz. He was one of the sons of Dishan the Horite (Genesis 36:28; 1 Chronicles 1:42). The connection between Edom and the land of Uz strongly suggests that Uz was inhabited by descendants of this Horite man from Seir. From him, the land of Uz most likely inherited its name.