Job’s wife usually gets a bad rap. As we read through the story of suffering, we’re tempted to view her as an evil character, undermining the faith of her husband. Augustine even named her “the devil’s accomplice.”
I wonder if this is a misunderstanding that begins with Job himself. Perhaps we’ve misinterpreted the communication between the couple. The picture presented is that Job coldly rebukes his silly wife for spilling out the natural emotions of a heart broken by the loss of all her children. I think the Bible gives us a different picture; one of a loving relationship that God believed could withstand the severity of the enemy’s attacks. Here are the reasons:
- God called Job a perfect man. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that happening if he had a bad relationship with his wife (Ephesians 5:25-33).
- God knew they could be severely tested (Job 1:8).
- Job loved his children. One of the best ways to love your wife is to love her children (Ephesians 6:4).
- Job was willing to rebuke his wife. Rebuke is an action of love rather than cold indifference (Revelation 3:19; Leviticus 19:17).
- The Bible says that Job “did not sin with his lips” in this conversation with his wife (Job 2:10). That would not be possible if he had just delivered a cold tongue-lashing.
- The story ends with all Job’s brethren and acquaintances returning to him (Job 42:11). The text doesn’t say anything about his wife returning. That’s because she never left. She was by Job’s side the entire time.
- The couple had 10 more children together. You don’t do that without love glue.
- Like Job, Christ called His disciples fools, yet He loved them all the while (Luke 24:25).
This is why I believe the Bible gives us a different perspective of Job’s marriage. It was a beautiful union that God hoped could withstand the severity of the trials they were facing. Simply put, the story of Job is a tale of two people’s united love for God and for each other.
Picture the scene. Job’s wife, in utter brokenness, mourns out the words, “Curse God and die.” Job tenderly pulls her close and wraps his sore, aching arms around her. Then he whispers in her ear, “You’re speaking like the foolish women speak. Shall we receive good from the Lord and not also evil?” Then, in the utter agony of their shared loss, they simply weep together. Amen.