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  • Writer's pictureBarbra Davis

Who Was Job's Wife?

We don’t really know anything about her except for the few words she uttered at the lowest point of her life. We are never told her name. Over the centuries she has been considered a bad wife who may not have even believed in God, but I think a fresh look at the book of Job will show us a fairer picture of this elusive lady – Job’s wife.

1) She suffered the same losses as Job

While she is never specifically included in the argument between God and Satan described in the book of Job, his wife clearly suffers every hardship heaped on him. The description of Job’s family in the first verses of the book appears to show Job’s family as tight-knit and very loving. They spend a lot of time together and really enjoy each other’s company.

Now, suddenly, all that is gone. The children she bore, nurtured and was so proud of are all gone in one unbelievable event. Having lost one daughter I can understand the indescribable grief attached to that loss, but I cannot comprehend losing 10 children at one time. She must have been so overwhelmed that it was hard to breathe, let alone function.

2) She also lost her income and means of buying food

The first chapter also tells us that Job was a very wealthy and influential man. His wife must have been a good helper for him to maintain this high position in society, and she must have attended to her household duties faithfully. There had never been a concern about where food and housing would come from. Now, Job and his wife are facing a dramatic financial loss as well as the personal one. All their wealth disappeared the same day their children died. It seems Job’s wife would be forced to beg for food as she had no other means of sustaining herself and her husband.

3) She had to care for Job as well

We don’t know how long Job suffered but, after they heard about his situation, his friends came and sat with him in silence for 3 days. He was scraping his wounds and mourning his life, but his wife was there (as evidenced by her speaking with him) and she had to provide him with food and any care she could. Her children were no longer around to support and help her either.

This was still her husband, the man she had spent her life with, and she was standing by him. It must have been incredibly difficult to see him ravaged by a disease that so distorted Job's appearance that his dearest friends barely recognized him. The Bible says they expressed all the signs of mourning him when they first saw him – they wept, tore their clothes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Job himself said his breath repulsed his wife and family members. Imagine the pain in her heart over all these misfortunes heaped upon her as she attempted to be a helper to Job.

4) She had no one to help relieve her suffering, and no one to offer sacrifices for her sin

At this time, there was no established priesthood. Each man offered sacrifices for his own family, as evidenced in the scripture when Job offered sacrifices for his children. He is obviously incapable of doing that while sitting in ashes, so she is distanced from God. And God is silent all this time. I’m sure she prayed for release and comfort, but the pain continued. She had no one to turn to as, I’m sure, her suffering would have made others keep their distance from her.

4) Now comes the day when she can’t take any more

We don’t know how long this suffering continued. We know it has to be several days at least. By now she had probably given up hope of ever finding a way out of this sea of despair which surrounded her. I think she has just had enough when she utters the words many have used to condemn her: "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die" (Job 2:9, ESV).

I’m sure you can think of a day or time when you were stretched to your limit, seeing no hope and no escape. You may have uttered words you really didn’t mean, words spoken in frustration. I imagine Job’s wife was there. She had suffered for so long it was becoming unbearable. This seemed the only solution in that terrible moment.

These are her only recorded words! How would you like to have the words you spoke at the lowest point in your life recorded for all to see over all time? I certainly wouldn’t. I’m sure she thought about it later and wished she could take them back, but it was too late.

5) Job didn’t condemn her – and neither did God.

Miraculously, Job didn’t condemn his wife for her words. Instead, he warned her, "You speak as one of the foolish women." He didn’t call her wicked, or even say she WAS foolish, just that she sounded like the foolish women of their day. In other words, she didn’t sound like herself at all. He didn’t disown her or send her away, so I think he fully understood where she was coming from.

At the same time, there is no indication that God condemned her, either. He surely rebuked Job’s friends and even told Job to make sacrifices for them as a result of their ill-chosen words. Surely he would have acted accordingly if he was offended by her words. I think God saw her broken heart and made allowances for her uncharacteristic outburst.

6) In the end she was blessed right along with Job

At the end of the whole experience, Job’s health was restored, he had 10 more wonderful children, and his wealth was doubled. Since we are not told that his wife died somewhere along the way, I am sure she was there by his side to share in the joy of this renewal. The book of Job states that he lived long enough to see four generations of his family, and perhaps she did as well.

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