In the Tanakh, the Jewish Biblical Canon, there are three categories of works: the Torah of Moses, and what are know as the 'Prophets' and 'Writings'. This categorization is outlined and mentioned in the Talmud.

Maimonides says in Guide for the Perplexed and in Mishnah Torah that Moses' level of prophecy had a clarity that surpased all subsequent prophecies, which understandably sets his book works apart. This stance is endorsed by God in Numbers 12. According to an opinion in Bava Bathra, (cited above), Job was written by Moses. Psalms 90 is also attributed to Moses. Why then are these works absent from the Pentateuch?

Please source your answers!

  • 4
    Just a comment, but I suppose the question could also be phrased inversely: Why, given that Job wasn't included in the Torah, did R' Yehoshua suppose that it was authored by Moses?
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 23:49
  • The gemara (BB 15) answers that " [The proof that Job was contemporary with Moses is that] it is written, Would that they were inscribed in a book, and it is Moses who is called 'inscriber', as it is written, And he chose the first part for himself, for there was the lawgiver's [mehokek, lit. 'inscriber's'] portion reserved."
    – Shmuel
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 1:14

3 Answers 3


The reason is that Job was not dictated to Moses by Hashem for the purpose of being put into the Torah. The words of the Torah were specifically for the history, halachos, and hashkafa of Bnei Yisrael. Thus Moshe wrote it at the lower level of nevua set up for Kesuvim.

The Chumash is like the Neviim in that they were given as a message by Hashem to the Navi with instructions to repeat them to Bnei Yisrael. They were then written down (also as instructed by Hashem. That is why we see Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe Laimor constantly. Just as Moshe was given the prophecy, he was explicitly commanded to tell everyone. This is from a shiur that I attended on the Rambam. and part of a discussion on the concept of "navi sheker"

If someone repeats the nevua without being commanded, he is a "false prophet".

The talmud in Bava Basrah 14b gives who wrote the actual books that the Anshei Kneses Hag'dolah compiled into the permanent books of the Navi that we have.

Something written on his own or for his own purpose is in Kesuvim as I state in What is the Difference Between Prophets and Writings? I point to the meforshim in Yirmiyahu that discuss the matter as part of the discussion of Hananiah ben Azur.

Since Hashem did not dictate Iyov to Moshe (nor the Psalms that Moshe wrote) and command him to put them in the Torah, then they are not found in the Torah. I realize that this is somewhat circular reasoning, but in this case we have to say that not finding them in the Torah is the evidence that they were not commanded to be there, since only those things that were explicitly commanded (and dictated) are to be found in the Torah.

Similarly, only those things that are told by Hashem to a navi (such as Shmuel, Nasan, Gad, Yechezkel, Yirmiyahu, etc) and commanded to be passed on to Bnei Yisrael (and written) as nevua can be part of Neviim. Anything else, even if written with Ruach Hakodesh, can only rise to the level of Kesuvim. Note that Kesuvim are only those things that Anshei Knesses Hagedolah accepted as part of Kesuvim. There were other writing that were not accepted and nothing written after Anshei Knesses Hagedolah (that is after Megillas Esther) closed the canon can be accepted as such. The 120 members of Anshei Knesses Hagedolah included the last of the neviim. That is why the books of the Maccabees are not part of Kesuvim. For example, David Hamelech compiled all the songs of praise that had been sung since Adam and put them into a single document (Tehillim), or the wisdom of Solomon was compiled and put into a volume for future study (Mishlei) - and accepted by Anshei Knesses Hagedolah as part of Kesuvim.


The Gemara actually records several opinions as to who wrote Job, and when (or whether) he lived. Therefore, it isn't part of Torah because it isn't clear if it was written by Moses.

Bava Bathra 15

  • You say that Moses wrote... Job. This supports the opinion of R. Joshua b. Levi b. Lahma who said that Job was contemporary with Moses...

  • A certain Rabbi was sitting before R. Samuel b. Nahmani and in the course of his expositions remarked, Job never was and never existed... [it] is a parable...

  • R. Johanan and R. Eleazar both stated that Job was among those who returned from the [Babylonian] Exile, and that his house of study was in Tiberias.

  • R. Eliezer says that Job was in the days 'of the judging of the judges,'

  • R. Joshua b. Korhah says: Job was in the time of Ahasuerus

  • R. Nathan says that Job was in the time of the kingdom of Sheba

  • Seven prophets prophesied to the heathen, namely, Balaam, Job... (ie, Job wasn't Jewish.)

The Gemara also offers an explanation for why, even if it was written by Moses, it wasn't included in the Torah:

Their prophecies were addressed primarily to Israel, but these addressed themselves primarily to the heathen.

In addition, I agree with @sabbahillel. Job simply does not fit in Torah, not based on content, genre, style, or purpose.

  • 1
    So according to R Joshua, it is part of the Torah?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 2:12
  • @DoubleAA the answer is saying that they weren't sure it should be, so they left it out. From Shmuel's most recent comment, though, the question arises again acc. To R Joshua, but he does attempt to address that point toward the end, by drawing on saba hillel's answer.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 4:55
  • What does the quote about prophesying to gentiles have to do with anything? Yoel, Obadiah, and Jonah, are basically all about Ninveh and Edom. That had no bearing on their location.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 4:57
  • "it isn't part of Torah because it isn't clear if it was written by Moses" >> You might as well flip it around and say that it's not clear if Moshe wrote it because it's not in the Torah. And then, you also might as well ask why the tehillim that Moshe wrote aren't in the Torah.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 5:31
  • @Scimonster - Correct, but I think that's more of a critique of the question than this answer.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 7:49

Abarbanel comments on the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim (2:45) that the Rambam has to say that Tehillim was not written in actual prophecy, and that David was not a prophet. The reason for the redundancy, explains the Abarbanel, is that David could have still been a prophet (had reached the requisite level and have been shown visions of prophecy), but while writing Tehilim, could merely be writing through 'inspiration', ruach hakodesh. Thus, Moshe could have been the greatest of all prophets, but written Job with only divine inspiration, not divine instruction.

However, your question is certainly a valid one; it was among the reasons why the Meiri (intro to Tehillim) rejected the position of the Rambam that the categorization of books depends on the level of prophecy with which they were written.

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