I think most people who read the book of Job, specifically the second chapter, see Mrs. Job’s outburst and immediately label her as some shrew or heathen.
His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” – Job 2:9
How quick we are to forget what she had just endured.
Women were prized for two things in that culture, beauty and their ability to bear children. Their righteousness was measured by the amount of children God blessed them with. Just look at the two passages below.
Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.” – Genesis 30:1
After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” – Luke 1:24-25
Notice the passion regarding children “or else I die!”, “my disgrace among men”. Having children was vital to the existence of a middle-eastern woman.
Unless she was some sort of monster, Mrs. Job loved the 10 children she gave birth to, 10 children she’d just buried. So, put yourself in Mrs. Job’s sandals for a moment. Nearly everything your husband owned has either been stolen or destroyed – you’re broke. Your children are all dead, meaning that you have no future security since poor older women were taken care of by their children once their husband died. Your husband is very sick, not to mention pretty repulsive looking with all of the oozing sores, and is likely to die soon. And since you are an older woman, you’re probably not given much of a second glance by the men of the area. Meaning you have very little prospect for remarriage. Therefore, when Job dies, she may as well have them bury her with him.
Notice however, that Job does not call her a Godless woman. Even in his own distress and pain he speaks carefully selected words.
But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. – Job 2:10
He said she is speaking like, not that she is, a Godless woman. This is a key distinction. I like how the Rotherham translation worded the verse above.
And he said unto her, As one of the base women speaketh, speakest thou? Blessing shall we accept from God, and, misfortune, shall we not accept? In all this, Job sinned not with his lips. – Job 2:10 (Rotherham Emphasized Version)
The translator phrased it as a question. In modern parlance I’d phrase it, “Are you going to speak like a woman who doesn’t know God?” It wasn’t a slap in the face. It was a reminder of who she was, a Godly woman.
She was not unrighteous. I challenge you to look up God rebuking her, or Job needing to sacrifice to atone for her sin. It isn’t there. In fact God blesses her in the end. Job doesn’t get a new wife, he still has the same one when the following is written.
So the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no other women as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. – Job 42:12-15
Remember how women were prized? Job’s daughters had a triple-blessing; they were beautiful, rich (put them into his will), and they bore him grandchildren. And yes, Mrs. Job was there to enjoy all of the restored blessings too.
Father, may I not be quick to judge. There is often much more going on than meets the eye. Thank you for lessons from Mrs. Job. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A blessing, not a curse. Jan