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Job was famously a rich guy:

"his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yokes of oxen and five hundred she-asses, and a very large household. That man was wealthier than anyone in the East."

However "silver and gold" is not mentioned, as they are with Abraham, for example:

"Now Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold."

"God has greatly blessed my master, who has become rich—giving him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and asses."

Scholars point to the fact that the Book of Job was written before the invention of money around the 8th-7th centuries BCE.

Do our sources provide an explanation?

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  • Maybe Job was only "rich" when it comes to wealth and assets, as the Metzudos Dovid writes on the posuk you mentioned? - גדול. בעושר ובנכסים:
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 7:42
  • There are several sources that mention money by Iyov? Are you asking specifically why it isn't mention in sefer Iyov? His riches specifically with money are mentioned many times in Shas?
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:03
  • @Dov Yes, the book doesn't mention money.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:08
  • Maybe because it wasn't really a blessing? Refer to Bava Basra 15b - sefaria.org/Bava_Batra.15b.4?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en - i.e. Iyov came into this world only to receive his reward. Accordingly, Hashem doubled his reward in This World in order to banish his from the World to Come. And so it is not something to be celebrated or highlighted perhaps?
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:15
  • Keep it simple: the way the story is constructed, he loses his livestock in the blink of an eye. If he did have gold sitting around in his house, it doesn't play a role in the rest of the story. (Now if he'd gone big on crypto ... that also could have gone poof in an instant ...) The livestock are thus the Chekhov's Gun. (I suspect there was a stronger emotional attachment to their loss as well.)
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 9:23

1 Answer 1

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According to the Alshich, this posuk describes to us that there a different ways in which we can see "richness". We speak about richness when we have a lot of money, but we can also speak about richnesss when we are wealthy in other things, especially when we talk about richness in Torah.

As Rashi says:

The wealth of the rich in Torah

The Rabbeinu Bahya, in his commentary on Vayikra 5:6 explains the difference between rich and poor people, in bringing offers:

The Torah distinguishes between the rich, the poor, and the destitute. The former has to bring a sheep or goat, the person who is poor brings either two pigeons or two turtle-doves.

So, the Torah needs a rich person to bring a sheep or goat (to offer). To me, it seems that having a lot of sheep can tell us that a person is rich. The posuk describes Job as having many cattle, hence being rich.

This brings us back to the commentary of the Alshich:

A second fundamental teaching can be learned from these verses. There are two types of wealthy people. Some have material riches and an abundance of possesions. Others are rich in Torah and good deeds, but live frugally, for they have meager funds. [...] Iyyov was rich in both senses of the term. He was rich in character, for he was wholehearted and upright. He was also wealthy materially - as we see from verse 3 - and lacked nothing. Scripturem however, employs the word וְהָיָ֣ה with reference to his righteousness alone (v. 1), as only when one is occupied with Torah and mitzvos, can one experience true joy.

So maybe, the reason why the Torah leaves out the description that Job had a lot of money, I think the Torah teaches us the lesson that Job was rich in other ways.

Please refer to the Metzudos Dovid, who says that he was rich in having many assets:

גדול. בעושר ובנכסים

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    "So maybe, the reason why the Torah leaves out the description that Job had a lot of money, I think the Torah teaches us the lesson that Job was rich in other ways." The question contrasts Job's richness with Abraham, who is said to have had silver and gold (Gen. 13:2). Are you suggesting that Abraham was poorer than Job in those other ways (to the extent that the Torah needed to say that he was rich in silver and gold)?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 9:14
  • Absolutely not. The Alshich says that there are different kinds of wealth and richness. The Torah mentions it this way, to learn us something.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 17:16

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