Thursday, June 27, 2013

What About Job's Wife

The book of Job is a really long read (42 chapters); I've only finished 7 chapters thus far but for those of you who have read Job Chapter 1, you will know from the very first verse that Job owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys and a very large household; in fact, Job was the richest man in the region.

However, by verse 17 you will see that Satan took away all the animals through bandits and fire, and killed almost all of Job's servants bar three who were left alive to bring the bad news to Job. In one fell swoop, from being the richest man in the region, Job was instantly reduced to a penniless man by the devil.

That was not the end of his troubles; Satan also killed all the children of Job, 7 sons and 3 daughters, while they were having a feast at the oldest brother's house which collapsed due to a sudden great wind. This was the straw which broke the camel's back and "Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped." (verse 20)

At this point, I thought that Job effectively lost everything already but I discovered in Job Chapter 2 that there was still one important person in Job's life whom Satan did not touch at all - Job's wife! 

Job's wife was introduced to us in Job 2:9 - 'Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”Pastor Prince preached a sermon on Job in 2009 - "Why Good People Suffer - Answers From Job's Story" in which he explained what Job's real problem was and how God resolved the matter for him but Pastor Prince did not explain why Satan did not kill Job's wife.

Usually, when we talk about Job's story, we have the impression that he lost everything but he still had his wife! Has anyone ever wondered why Job's wife was left alone by Satan?

I am not saying that I can read the devil's mind but I believe Satan left Job's wife alone because he was following a previous formula for success. Right at the beginning of the Bible, the beginning of mankind, we already see the devil employ the strategy of using a woman to bring down a man, and consequently mankind. Yes, I am talking about Eve and Adam and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Genesis 3, we see Satan successfully tempted Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree and she in turn also gave the fruit to Adam, who ate it, thus resulting in the fall of Man. Similarly, Satan left Job's wife alive so that she can tempt Job to curse God.

Do you remember what Satan said to God in Job 1:9-11?
9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!

In verse 11, we see that Satan's "bet" with God was that Job would curse God to his face if he lost all his possessions. I believe that Satan kept Job's wife as his ace in the pack just in case Job refused to curse God despite all his attacks.

Well, as Satan feared, Job did not curse God even though he lost all his possessions, servants and children; so Satan struck Job's body with painful boils from top to toe and when that did not cause Job to curse God either, Satan unleashed his final attack - he let Job's wife speak the words for him:“Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 

As it turned out, Job still did not curse God (albeit under the wrong belief - see my earlier post) but scolded her instead (in verse 10):
10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Ladies, please don't misunderstand that I am blaming you for causing man's troubles. No, what I am trying to say is that your words are monumentally important to a man's well-being, especially when he is in trouble; your words can truly make or break a man... yes, I admit it, men are weak that way ;-)

Therefore, ladies, choose your words wisely... for your man's sake.

Proverbs 31: 10,26-29
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”


Parody said...


I found this observation (about Job's wife) interesting - especially since i've been reading the account in Genesis recently.

I did some further reading and found that the word 'cursed' used is this book (1:5, 1:11, 2:5, 2:9) is actually 'barakh' - in Hebrew it means 'bless'. The YLT also translates it so (i.e. 2:9): "Still thou art keeping hold on thine integrity: bless God and die."

Other interesting observations: When God told Job to make restoration for his friends for their words - his wife was not included as one of those who needed to be restored.

Anyway, looking forward to your part 2!

Highly favored,

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Samuel,
Thanks for your comment. I checked Strong's for a definition:

A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): - X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.

Oftentimes, Hebrew words have several layers of meanings, and the true meaning is dependent on the context.

In this case, I believe that Job's wife is angry with God but at the same time terrified of God because of the disasters which befell them, so instead of directly using the proper term for "curse" (qâbab H6895), she deliberately used an euphemism to avoid incurring punishment upon herself.