This is the second in Peter Davey’s series on The Life of Job. His introduction can be found here.
A perfect man and his wife!
I continue to find myself excited and inspired by the story of Job although some of its statements are quite challenging.
What about Job’s wife?
Over the years I have heard some derogatory statements made about this dear woman based on Job’s statement – ‘you are talking like a foolish woman’ (2.10) The term ‘foolish relates to ‘moral deficiency’ (MSG)
Job had just suffered the loss of his children, his servants, his livestock and now his health! (1.13-19; 2.7-9)
Alongside this he lost his status and respect, becoming an object of ridicule, abuse and disgust. (4.3-4; 12.4; 16.10; 17.6; 19.13-20; 30.1,9-10).
It is all too easy to forget that Job’s wife would have also suffered a total reversal of her status amongst their society and, let us not forget that they were her children too! Her carefree, settled affluent lifestyle was shattered and as a mother she grieved!
On top of this she had to watch as Job’s health disintegrated and his body became covered in oozing smelly sores from ‘his feet to the crown of his head’ (2.7; 19.13-17).
As Job suffered the anguish of painful (burning (MSG) ulcers all over his body she could only stand helplessly by whilst he scraped his sores with a piece of pottery! (2.8)
What desperation she must have felt as she could offer no solace, provide no balm and bring no release, until she cries out – “… Curse (or bless) God and die!” Her desire was for an end to his suffering!
Job’s response is “You speak as one of the foolish ones speak.’ (2.10) (YLT)
Job is not castigating her for being a ‘foolish woman’ but saying she is talking ‘like one of the foolish women’. I hear this as a husband saying to his wife – “This is not like you! That’s not how you would usually speak” – whilst his conclusion more closely represents her normal contribution and their shared perception; “shall we not receive good … and not receive evil?”
“When he has tested me I shall come forth as gold” (23.10) applies equally to Job and his wife.
They benefitted together from the multiplied blessing and restored status at the end of the story – although every mother must grimace, if only a little, at the thought of a second brood of 7 sons and 3 daughters!! (42.13)
Next time: Job’s Innocence
Peter has used the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Message (MSG) and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
Peter is married to Jill and together they have been in Christian ministry since the early days of their marriage. They have four grown up children and dozens of grandchildren and are a great addition to the Jubilee family in their example and wisdom of years.