Job’s Wife

There are many women of the bible that I find fascinating. Some have little written about them and I wish I had the ability to see more of their stories. Job’s wife is one of those women.

Most are familiar with the general history of Job. A God fearing man that maintains his integrity when God allows Satan to test him. There is only one reference to his wife.

jobs wife

From scripture, we can see she is the wife of a blameless and upright man that feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1). His wealth was measured in livestock and servants. He was the greatest man among all of all the people of the East. (Job 1:3) He acted as a priest to his family (Job 1:5).

Job’s prosperity meant his wife likely lived comfortably. She probably managed her home well and was afforded her own servants. It was the honor of a woman, in that period, to provide her husband with children. The book does not suggest Job had more than one wife, so she likely bore his ten children. Seven sons and three daughters. I want to believe she loved her husband and family.

The testing of Job began when God allowed Satan to take his possessions and the lives of his children. He received four separate reports in a single day; word that his oxen and donkeys were carried off and servants killed, fire from the sky burned up sheep and servants, raiders took the camels and killed servants, and finally, his ten children were all dead when the house they were in collapsed.

Job responds in mourning and fell to the ground in worship.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe, and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship. Job 1:20

As if this was not enough suffering, Satan was later allowed to further afflict Job with painful sores. Job scraped himself with a piece of broken pottery and sat among ashes. The action was symbolic of mourning during that period.

It was at this point that Job’s wife spoke up.

His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:9-10

I have heard various teachings about this woman. Most suggest she was foolish and lacked faith in God. Yet, Job did not call his wife foolish. He said, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” Further, I wonder what tone they each spoke in. Was she spiteful and angry, or crying out in fear and desperation? Did he rebuke her harshly, or speak in tenderness?

I cannot help to think how many times I have witnessed someone being harsh and angry for what appears to be no reason I can see. The fact is, I do not have full knowledge of their life experience or hurts that could be spurring their actions. Although little is directly known about Job’s wife, we can see some of what she was going through.

In a single day, Job’s wife lost almost everything. All of her children were dead. Not one child, but ten. I know the heartache of losing a child. I cannot imagine what she suffered. Additionally, she heard the reports of herds lost and servants killed. Her family’s livelihood. Servants she had worked alongside and provided for. She likely wanted to comfort her husband, as well as be comforted, and may have felt helpless watching him mourn.

Job is believed to have lived in the second millennium. His wife did not have a living hope that is available through the new birth in Jesus. She did not have the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Old Testament believers would have been taught that the departed from this life went to a place of conscious existence. At the resurrection, they would continue either to enteral life or everlasting contempt.

I expect Job’s wife was emotionally exhausted. I would have been. When her husband was inflicted with painful sores, I think she was overcome with hopelessness. It’s a devastating thing to witness someone in pain and be helpless to aid them. I would not want anyone to curse God, but I recall my son’s battle with cancer. I remember praying for the Lord to take him quickly if he felt pain. Maybe she lashed out in desperation, wanting to end his suffering.

As Job was a man that was blameless and upright, I do not want to believe he spoke harshly to his wife. I hope he cared for her and spoke truth in love. In doing so she received needed comfort, and a reminder to trust in God. That is what I would have wanted if I had been her.

Although Job’s wife is not mentioned again, I think she was there. Tending to her husband the best she could. Managing what was left of their home. Watching her husband walk through the remainder of the events written.

jobs wife

The book concludes with the Lord causing Job to be prosperous again. All of his herds double in numbers as compared to those in the first chapter. His family was restored with ten more children. Again, seven sons and three daughters.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

Despite scripture stating he was given twice as much, the number of living children did not double. I wonder if that was the Lord’s way to comfort the heart of a grieving mother. Would she have thought her first ten were waiting for the resurrection to eternal life? Would she take comfort in knowing she would see them again? Oh, what a joyous reunion to look forward to.

I do not believe Job’s wife was a foolish woman, but she did speak like one. She had to have been experiencing her own pain as she grieved the loss of her children and helplessly watched her husband suffer. Don’t we similarly feel burdened when our spouses go through trials?

I am encouraged by Job’s wife. When trials feel too great I sometimes take my eyes off the Lord and “talk like” a foolish woman. I am reminded that it is better to be quiet and wait. Although scripture does not provide more information, I believe she received Job’s rebuke and was quietly restored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.