Background

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Job's Wife "Curse God and Die!"

What was it like to have been Job’s wife? And do we give her a harder time than is necessary? Consider this. Every single one of Job's trials was also born by his wife. And yet we hardly stop to offer her compassion.

She is introduced after Job, one of the richest and most faithful men of his time, has had all of his cattle, flocks, camels and children taken from him. Moreover, he is suffering from a horrible disease. As he sat on an ash heap outside the city walls, Job still did not blame God. His wife, out of bitterness, discouragement or perhaps empathy for his sufferings tells Job” Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! (Job 2:9-10). Whatever her reasons or motivations for saying this, we are unsure. However, we do know the following facts.

She experienced the death of every single one of her children. One day her seven sons and three daughters were all gathered together for a feast in the house of her firstborn. A mighty storm came and the house collapsed, killing all of her children at once. I wonder were there grandchildren in that house too? This must have been the worst day of her life. Everything that she had hoped for and drew joy from was now ripped from her life forever.

 She experienced dramatic financial loss. Job was an incredibly rich man who went from living a privileged life to an impoverished one. He must have had many servants and been well respected in his community. I cannot imagine how hard it was for his wife to see her husband so defeated and to suffer the loss of her children all at the same time. 

She became the caretaker for her disease-ravaged husband. 
Job was stricken with boils from the soles of his foot to the crown of his head. This means that Job likely could not walk, sit or even sleep without being in pain. His appearance became so distorted that even his closest friends didn’t recognize him. When they approached, they fell down in anguish and pity. Job’s wife had to endure that every day and she was the one who cared for him. They had little or no money for a physician. She had no children to relieve her from nursing him.

When everyone else had deserted Job, her love was constant. When Job was finally restored to health and wealth, she was still there. God Blessed Job with twice as much as he had before but he also blessed Job’s wife, as she became mother again to seven sons and three daughters. She was also reinstated as a great lady in the household of Job.

    I once went through a sixth month period in my life where I could somewhat relate to Job’s wife. In the Month of June, My Father-in-Law died from unexpected complications after a surgery. Soon after, my husband got very ill with phenomena. My car was stolen on Thanksgiving Day and on December 5th my own father had a heart attack and passed away. During all that time, I was pregnant with my second child and was trying to “keep it together” at my job. One day an associate called me up on the phone and told me how horrible my performance had recently been. I just sobbed on the phone and said nothing. That night I commented to my husband “I don’t understand why God is allowing this to happen to us. I just don’t think I can take it anymore!” I remember him looking at me and saying, “Don’t ever say that.”
    This reminds me of Job’s reaction when his wife was at her wits end and told him to” Curse God and die.” Job then said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). In a sense, this was the same loving counsel my own husband gave me. He reminded me of who I was and what I believed. That “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”(Job 1:21)

     Job's and his wife’s experiences can explain why good people may go through discouraging and traumatic times and be tempted to resent God for not obviously and quickly intervening on their behalf. Like Job's wife, we can fail to understand that God sees far more than we see.
     Looking back on my own trials, I understand how much I grew spiritually. I know that God was still there and that he loved me deeply. Like Job’s wife I had my moments of weakness, but also like her, I did persevere.
    We need always to remember some excellent advice from King David: "Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!" (Psalm 27:14). We should learn from Job and his wife’s experience to maintain patient respect and trust in God even in the midst of our sufferings (James 5:10-11).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interpretation, gives great insight from a woman's perspective on such an interesting character. Very powerful and affecting stuff you've authored, and this is from a non-christian male.

Patty's Page said...

Thank you so much. She is an amazing woman and inspires me through my moments of weekness. Warmest Regards, Patty

Heather Rose Designs said...

Thanks for the reminder that even when we lose sight of what God has for us, that He doesn't get angry and strike us dead. I read this book where the author said that He has thick skin and won't fall apart if we tell Him how we feel at least then He can work on us.

Anonymous said...

I love this example of honesty in the book of Job. After such adversity hit Job's family, beyond the physical losses, what Job lost the most was his secret pride of being considered the most righteous man on earth. Little did he know that God must have called Job this—the most righteous man on earth—with a hint of sarcasm. Such righteousness of man. Job's self defense was evident through the first 37 chapters, and increasingly so as Job's friends also escalate their accusation and questioning of Job's integrity.

But buried in this huge amount of noise generated by Job and his friends, one single utterance by Job's wife—or perhaps by God himself through her—that he should be honest, be a man, and stop trying to be God, to face the depth of his depravity and ... curse God and die.

So after Job got tired of hearing the reasoning among these great men of faith, God must have brought what his wife said to the fore to let Job stew on it for a while, then He began to bombard Job with 4 chapters full of questions to help him get a reality check on his self perception.

Throughout all this, Job's wife was never reprimanded by God for speaking about Him with such irreverance, but instead, the Lord blessed her in wonderful ways.

I'm sorry to intrude in your space as I'm not a woman. But God had used my wife, one who like Job's wife, to help me be real, and I must say, thanks to an experience similar to that of Job, I now relate to God in a very real way.

The journey God took me to this place where I understood the beauty of this utterance of Job's wife took a long time, more than a decade, would take a large book to write it down, but I hope this little note is sufficient for now.

Thank you for posting this.

Nghi Nguyen