Job’s wife gets a bum deal from most people.
Don’t raise your eyebrows at me. Seriously, she faced all the same trials as Job and people don’t cut her any slack.
Why is that?
Mrs. Job had a bad day. A very bad day. She might have been sewing or cooking or sweeping out the house when the messengers came bearing tidings of distress.
The beasts of burden? All stolen. Fire from the sky burned up all the sheep? Wait. It’s almost shearing season. What about wool and mutton this year?
Those camels? Stolen! They carried trading goods to the nearest city. All of those things were gone and now no way to transport anything else. What else is left to trade?
Her jaw dropped. She dug at her ears. She couldn’t have heard the servant right.
Job turned away from the last messenger, tears streaming down his face. It was true! Her strong sons and beautiful daughters had all been killed by a freak wind storm.
Job tore his clothes. All the while his lips moved. Words of prayer floated upward.
Mrs. Job fell across her husband’s feet. Shoulders heaving, she could hardly breathe. Maybe she didn’t want to breathe.
Her babies. Gone. All of them dead.
Perhaps Job held her while she sobbed. The Bible doesn’t say.
And it doesn’t say this is what broke her. After all, she still had her faithful husband to love and comfort her. He shared her deepest grief.
Why Marriage takes Two
Mrs. Job was coping with all of the loss. Somehow.
A few days, weeks or months later, illness struck. It crippled her pious husband. Struck him from his head to his toe.
His pain riddled her own. How could this be happening to him? He prayed all the time, made sacrifices to the Lord and praised God in the midst of all the pain and loss.
Now he could hardly move. Nothing helped ease his agony. The smell assaulted every corner of the house. Any move caused him to groan. She didn’t think he even realized the moaning came from him.
It was too much. Why would God do this to them? She didn’t understand. From the hollow that used to contain her heart, anger swelled.
“Dost thou still retain thine integrity?” He didn’t even look like the stalwart man she’d married so many years ago. “Curse God, and die.” Death would be sweet relief from the sorrow of life.
And Job called her words foolish.
Notice he didn’t put her down. I don’t even imagine him speaking in anger. He looked into her eyes and saw the emptiness. She wasn’t able to see beyond the horror of life into the perfection of eternity.
Her faith wasn’t as strong as his.
My experience with marriage (and grief) is that God never gives both husband and wife more than they can bear at the same moment in time. Although Job suffered the same heartache and loss as his wife, his faith remained strong. For the moment.
She needed him to share that strength with her.
God’s View of Mrs. Job
Nothing in the book of Job condemns Mrs. Job. God never says to Job, “Since your wife mouthed off, I’m going to kill her.”
In fact, all the blessings showered on Job in chapter 42 were showered on Mrs. Job, too. She didn’t get a rebuke from God. No, she got a gentle reminder from her husband.
“How can we accept good from God without expecting bad, too?” He understood that bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people.
The point he made with his lifestyle and words: God is trustworthy no matter what the situation.
It’s hard for us to swallow. We think that if we’ve been good, only good things should come our way. And if we’re bad, well, we’re not as bad as so-and-so. And we are sorry for messing up.
I declare that Mrs. Job was a godly woman who stumbled during the hardest test of her life. She had a faithful man beside her, and he helped her find her footing of faith again.
Maybe you’re the strong one in your marriage right now. Stay close to God. One day, it will be your spouse who is holding the line and you’ll be weeping at his feet, ready to quit.
“Two are better than one…for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with a godly husband who is strong when I am weak. I praise You for keeping me strong when my strong man has a moment of weakness. I don’t want to be like Mrs. Job, but when I am, I’m doubly thankful for the Mr. Job I married.
What about you? Are you like Job’s wife? Can you see her through eyes of compassion now?
Next Week: Job’s Diatribe on Christianity