Wife of Job: Bible

by Ilana Pardes

In the well-known biblical story dealing with the problem of undeserved suffering, Job loses his children, his possessions, and his health. Job’s nameless wife turns up after the final blow, after Job has been struck with boils. Seeing her husband sitting in the dust, scraping his sores silently, she bursts out, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die” (2:9). She cannot bear her husband’s blind acceptance of the tragedies that befall them. Indeed, the attention to Job’s suffering usually ignores the fact that she too, after all, is a victim of these divine tests in addition to being pained by exposure to his afflictions (19:17). To cling to a model of perfect devotion to a supposedly perfect God when reality is so far from perfection seems to Job’s wife to be not exemplary strength, but an act of cowardice. Such “integrity,” she seems to be saying, lacks a deeper value. What Job must do is to challenge the God who has afflicted him so, even if the consequence is death.

Much has been written about the unusual challenge the Book of Job offers in its audacious questioning of the ways of God, but one never hears of the contribution of Job’s wife to the antidogmatic bent of the text. Job’s wife prefigures or perhaps even generates the impatience of the dialogues. She opens the possibility of suspending belief, of speaking against God. Job’s initial response to his wife’s provocative suggestion is harsh: “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (2:10). When the dialogues begin, however, Job comes close to doing what his wife had suggested. He does not curse God directly, but by cursing his birth he implicitly curses the creator who gave him life. Much like Eve, Job’s wife spurs her husband to doubt God’s use of divine powers. In doing so she does him much good, for this turns out to be the royal road to deepening one’s knowledge, to opening one’s eyes.

Job’s wife disappears after her bold statement. She is mentioned in passing only once more in the course of Job’s debate with his friends. In protesting his innocence of various wrongdoings, Job insists that if his “heart was enticed by [the wife of his neighbor]/… then let my wife grind for another,/and let other men kneel over her” (31:9–10). He regards his wife’s fate as a mere extension of his own lot.

Job’s wife is conspicuously absent from the happy ending in which Job’s world is restored. Job’s dead children spring back to life, as it were, because he ends up having, as in the beginning, seven sons and three daughters. Yet his wife, who actually escaped death, is excluded from this scene of familial bliss. The challenge of the outsider—and woman is something of an outsider in divine-human matters—seems far more threatening than a critique voiced from within.

Bibliography

Greenberg, Moshe. “Job.” In The Literary Guide to the Bible, edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, 283–304. Cambridge, MA: 1987.

Kahn, Jack. Job’s Illness: Loss, Grief, and Integration: A Psychological Interpretation. Oxford: 1975.

Meyers, Carol, General Editor. Women in Scripture. New York: 2000.

Pardes, Ilana. Countertraditions in the Bible: A Feminist Approach. Cambridge, MA: 1992.

50 Comments

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If Job's wife desapeared then did the marry another wife?

I see Job as a marvellous person, beloved by all and blameless as God said. No doubt the death of his children left his wife in shock and her words were those of a faithful person who is suffering (My God, my God .....). I see Job deserted by his servants, friends and family but not his wife because obviously he was being cared for by his wife (Job.19:13-17) which shows that not only was she tenderly caring for Job, but more than one child was born during his suffering - that is a high degree of love and care. The suffering may have lasted a number of years for "children" to be born. I cannot believe that a man in his condition would have remarried, but Job did have a wife (31:10). All of his brothers, relatives, friends, servants left Job - except his wife who was at his side. What an amazing love story this seems to me. In Job 42 Job was not told to pray for his wife - she had been blessed by God with the children and would be further blessed. Job lived another 140 years - seems he and his wife were young enough to have had the second family of 10 children. Knowing how devastating the death of a child is to a mother (different than the father I believe), in my eyes, the wife of Job was a pretty marvellous woman.

I was interested if indeed Job had remarried because of her denial. that was her answer to her misery in this situation. My email address. Murielb033@gmail.com. Thank you.

Looking at Job's life, I see John 15:1-17 and 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. Job was the light of his home, and faithfully remained with his wife to show her that God is good even if God takes him out. She witnessed God's goodness as they both underwent the pruning stages of life just as John 15 describes they'll be able to produce even more fruit, and God Almighty allowed her the opportunity to witness that.

God is sovereign and knows what kind of heart Job's wife had and nowhere in the book of Job does it disclose that he re-married or that his wife that used harsh terms against God Almighty was ever struck down dead. God showed her mercy as He has done it for the people in Psalm 107 who rebelled against Him, but once they cried out Lord rescue me, they were saved by Him. God's word is amazing in that when God Almighty strikes someone down all would see it written in the scriptures or if He removes a woman like King Xerxes ex-wife to re-marry him to Esther all would see what happened. Some assume such things of Job's wife, but since it was never written we can only believe that God gave her a chance to see where she fell in error just as many of us today. We have grace and mercy to see where we've fallen short and need a faith lift.

Job’s wife is one of the most incredible people of the Bible. Her statement to Job was was ironically inspired by God to provoke thought and realization. God knows our heart and the dross within . The fire of testing brings this evil to the surface. Job’s wife withstood the heat and stirred the silver allowing the impurity to more quickly rise and be removed. She stuck by him, didn’t nag him and most assuredly cared for him. Then after God calls him out on his self righteousness and he repented, she incredibly bore him 10 more children ! What an amazing an unsung hero !!

Jobs kids died and his wife also died.
In the end he has a new wife and new kids. Check the testament of job. It fills in a lot of gaps. The devil was after him because Job tore down a synagogue of idols and satan worship, where animals were being sacrificed to satan.

There is no indication that his children are resurrected. He has more children...in effect doubling his children as well as his belongings...a double blessing of both.

Thus, his wife is still with him in the end.

The Book of Job doesn't mention his wife much, because it isn't called the Book of Job's Wife. It is apparent that once she makes the choice to curse God, she is not going to be of a benefit to Job during the trial.

Job was tested, proved and succeeded. Learn from this great man of God

This what every believer must expecpt that one day he/ she will be tested.

Having lost a child and experienced the nightly weeping and grief of my wife (not that I wasn’t grieving) I sympathize with Jobs wife. How do you console a mom that’s lost a child let alone ten children? It doesn’t excuse her lack of faith or challenge towards Job (and ultimately God) but it makes sense. Couple of comments from the article....
1. There are no replacement kids. My wife and I have other children but we still miss our son. God restored everything to Job double what he took away yet at the end of the story Job still has ten kids not twenty. Obviously there is the hope of eternity with the first set of ten.
2. I don’t see anywhere in the text that Job got a new wife? The story is not focused on Jobs wife but on Job himself. However, I think some basic things can be said about his wife and their marriage. Clearly there was, prior to the events in the story, a time when they shared marital bliss evidence by the ten children. To me this demonstrates that Jobs wife had a heart for their home. Clearly her heart was broken at having lost their children since prior to her telling Job to curse God and die she had not said anything that is recorded after their livelihood was destroyed and taken from them. The loss of their children elicited the response not the loss of material possessions. And lastly at the conclusion of the story Job is found with ten more children implying that after all of the bitterness and grief some sort of restoration in their marriage occurred. I doubt there are too many wife’s who want to have sex with their husbands when their marriage is on the rocks. I cringe when I hear jokes about Satan taken everything from Job except a bitter and angry wife as if having his wife still present was some sort of punishment. I know my wife has been able to verbalize things that candidly I was afraid to say towards God that has driven me to my knees in prayer with unanswerable questions. We must recall that Job is never privy to the cosmic forces at play behind the scenes. What I do see is a man who held onto his faith and marriage even in the face of impossible circumstances. God blessed their marriage and restored it which I think is the greater testimony than having wealth restored.

It wasn't what Job lost that made him great. Satan took his servants kids and possessions. We think that was the real test but Satan left friends that told him he was in sin and questioned his faith. He left a wife who told him to curse God and die. His true greatness was overcoming what he was left with not what he lost. The result? His latter years were greater than his former.

I used to think that God allowed the devil to try Job just because he was a perfect and upright man and and that God knew Job would not do anything to hurt God because he loved God but I realized that Job trial wasn't to test his Faith in God but Job trial was supposed to open his eyes so that he can see the hearts of the people that surrounded him ....his wife his kids and his friends

Actually Job Remarry, He Took Daina The Daughter Of Jacob As His Wife.

In reply to by Aikoye Jeremiah

Where did you get this information?

Ok but did he get his original family back ??

Did Job remarry after he was restored?

I never would of thought of Jobs wife playing an important role, till you hear Jobs words, he’s in agreement with his wife, and yet saying it differently, I never because it’s not normally talked about, how his wife instead of antagonistic as someone like why would you still serve this God who destroys us, then Job mentions like she’s right, I’ve heard of this, and starts mentioning stories, like men have lied and cheated their whole life and got put clean, men and women have prayed for healing and get wrecked. There is something to God that if you just realized what Job saw which no man fully knows, satisfied everything, evety doubt, for I have heard of you, but now I know you.

See women in both Jewish theology and Christian, when women are mentioned they are always praised above men, it’s a beautiful sight. Some people mis out on a women’s true worth, I have seen a pastor say a women’s worth is her virginity, I openly spoke out loud, a women’s worth is her in it of herself.

See if I know God as a Christian and I say you Know God as a Jew, in just mutual brothership, we can understand that something about God trumps all are fears and worries. But it’s not because He controls every detail like a Calvinist, it’s more so that somehow the Heavenly Father is Love.

Extra biblical comment, Job wept the rest of his life, but it wasn’t out of displeasure toward God, but the weeping of a man destroyed and then brought back up.

Some men remain in their integrity actually to protect their wife’s from harm.

It just didn’t mention her, she was the bearer of those children, if I know Jobs heart probabaly understood his wife’s comments, she’s lie God has screwed us over Job give it up, He gave up on us.

She was not mentioned in the need for prayer, because she was pushed past her limit, God spared Jobs wife I know it.

that's an interesting story. Bible to me that account is MUCH more than a story.. it's historical and profound lessons.. one on how Job kept his integrity intact.. Many people don't realize that the account was written by Moses as was Genesis and other books.. Moses crossed paths with Job twice .. before and after his trials.. it also proves scientifically accurate showing the earth as hanging from nothing.. something that was not established until thousands of years later.. recall Christopher Columbus?? haha

Job was the ONLY one worshiping God at that time .. Moses was not meek enough to be used by the Almighty just yet.. Joseph died in Egypt .. Satan the real force behind every lie ever spread is Not happy the entire world is full of people doing his will.. he has to try to bring torment on the one and only Truly Beautiful example of integrity left on earth.. Job..
We would never have needed the Bible if Our first parents would have appreciated what they had.. and not think so much of their selfishness.. and seeing our First human parents sinned before they had children.. well what could they produce now?? Sinful Children.. that's why we die.. that's why we need God's guidance .. of course history needed to be written and accounts needed to be established for OUR benefit.. to see that no human rule was ever going to establish peace and happiness .. let alone God's purpose for humans to live on earth for eternity in paradise conditions..

Has Satan been proved a liar? Yes I say so..
Can Mankind rule over himself Successfully? I'd say Not!

did satan establish selfishness as a way of dominating man over man to his own detriment? Obviously he did..

Job's faithful reward is one we all need to take note of.

Job was rewarded DOUBLE By his God' everything he had was doubled .. but not the children.. he and his wife were given new Children.. not replacing the ones that died .. not springing them back to the life.. NO but eventually Job and his wife died and so did the second group of children.

but in the future when they are all resurrected .. Job and his wife will have 20 children!!! also raised.. CAN YOU IMAGINE that time????

Job asked.. if an able bodied man dies.. can he live again? Yes.. Job knew the answer was YES... He acknowledged that in the Grave he would wait to hear God's Voice .. that time is on earth in the Resurrection ..

Moses Knew it because he himself recorded the History.. not a story.. but the HISTORY of Job..

Did you know Job is a Descendant of Abraham.. not an Israelite but a descendant none the less.. Abraham LIVED in the same Time as Noah's Son Shem who experienced the Materialized angels who put fleshly bodies on and Produced the Nephilim .. bullies.. the badness that filled the earth.. You can see how closely linked all these people were.. and why the Bible is like no other Book on the Planet.. it gives us the same hope it gave Abraham Moses Job.. in the resurrection.. something Abraham knew much about..

God is a God of Love!! he did not scorn Job's wife.. he created us and understood her feelings.. neither her nor Job knew what was really going on in the heavens.. God later revealed that to Moses.. we today can take away Satan wants to turn everyone he can away from God.. and he gloats that to God..

Proverbs 27:11 God says Be wise my son and make my heart rejoice that I may make a reply to HIM (SATAN) the one who taunts me day and night..

God's universal Sovereignty was called into question by Satan.. can MAN really rule himself.. Myriads of Angels were listening.. MANY MANY of them choose to leave their positions in heaven and in Noah's time Genesis 6 clearly tells you what happened.. Rebellion may have started on the earth.. but Satan's aim was to involve mighty spirit persons as well... Humans are involved in the Universal court case that will never be repeated again..

What YOU choose to do will prove what side you want to be on.. it's really simple..
but the reward of faithfulness is like nothing you've ever experienced..
Proverbs 27:11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice,So that I can make a reply to him who taunts me.

Had the bible memorized as a kid. Mom took us from Judaism to a Christian cult, and i always had to be the star. Id like to know ur thoughts on Lott and his wife even though ur writing sounds like a college paper u make great points..

The truth that Job’s wife stuck by him is a testimony to her faith. As she served in love of her husband so Job was a strong servant in his faith in god. But Job lost his children forever. A newborn can not replace the death of a child. To say that Job got his family back is a horrible untruth. What is done is done and the loss of a loved one can never be replaced

In reply to by Steve

Steve, I agree with you 100%. "Job's children spring back to life???" What a ridiculous statement!

Wife of Job?

An intriguing thought, with apparently no definitive answer.

It is interesting to note that the Targum translates thus:

"Thou speakest like one of those women who have wrought folly in the house of their father", which eludes to an old Rabbinical "opinion" that Job may have lived in the time of Jacob. Jacob's only daughter, born of Leah, was Dinah.

Some believe, that Dinah, may have been Job's wife (nothing definitive).

The great thing about the story of Job, is that "... God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends..." Job 42:10 and, " ... God blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning..." verse 12

Whoever Job's wife really was, seems to dissipate in the light of this thought: ".. he died being old and FULL OF DAYS." verse 17

He lived a long and happy life, knowing the richness of God's Love and Mercy.

Peace, my friends

ugh, women... job's wife was a keeper. end of discussion. :D

In reply to by Noel Pastrana

EXACTLY

I don't believe Job remarried - because the book of Job doesn't say he remarried.I also don't believe his 7 children were resurrected - because the book doesn't say they were resurrected.I believe his wife repented when Job repented, and her womb was once again blessed, to bear 7 more children.Nothing is impossible with God.We must not add to the scripture nor say what it does not say.

In reply to by speedster16

We must deduce with common sense that one of two things happens, He does remarry and has children through her OR the former children are brought back. because he receives what he had before and double the portion due to his faithfulness.

In reply to by Paul Revere

Does not say they were 'brought back'. It names the new children he has and the women are beautiful. His first lot was taken, and then he was blessed with a new lot. The first lot reside in heaven and he was blessed with new beautiful children, assumably by his original wife as it does not say he remarried or she left/died whatever. This was a extremely severe test, so I believe God was merciful even to his wife in the matter.

In reply to by Paul Revere

i believe they did not resurrect but Job had 7 new children. In heaven, he is enjoying the 14 kids -double of what he had before

In reply to by speedster16

Correct, you are right

In reply to by speedster16

I AGREE WITH YOU 100% IF JOB'S WIFE WAS NOT PLEASING BEFORE GOD SHE WOULD HAVE DIED AS WELL IT WOULD HAVE SAID GOD GAVE JOB ANOTHER WIFE AND FROM THAT WIFE HE HAD SEVEN MORE CHILDREN... BUT GOD'S WORD DOES NOT SAY THIS.. JOB'S WIFE WAS ONE GOD ACCEPTED AND HIS CHILDREN FOR THE SECOND TIME CAME FROM HIS WIFE SEVEN MORE CHILDREN. ONE CAN LIVE IN TO HAVE A VERY HAPPY/JOYFUL LIFE I KNOW A WOMEN WHO COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHY GOD ALLOW HER CHILD TO DIE YEARS LATER SHE WAS BLESS WITH ANOTHER CHILD AND SHE WAS WHOLE AGAIN AND CONSIDER GOD WITH HER SAME HUSBAND HAD GIVEN HER THEM ANOTHER CHILD AS HE DID WITH JOB..

Master's thesis or not, Job's experience with his wife has been similar to my own. We have been struck repeatedly time after time through the decades with health problems both mine and my son's. Thankfully my son seems to have recovered. However, the nature of my own health issues are chronic and enduring. Because of my health, my wife's plan to retire at 50 while I worked on indefinitely has been waylaid. No one wss more willing than me to work on so my wife could have her wish and she knows that. Nevertheless, unlike Job and his wife who knew that God was the ultimate cause of Job's terrible misfortunes, I've just recently understood that my own wife has over the last 15 years blamed me for the misfortune which my health has visited upon the two of us. This realization has been devastating. I don't know now what to do.

In reply to by brucealan

Bruce,

Just like Job, hang on, your later shall be greater. It may seen devastating now and terrible to bear, but remember he said through our storm he will be there for us. He is right there beside you, hold on tight to him. Also, the bible is your best companion now, chew the word, and through that he will give you grace and wisdom to forgive your wife.

In reply to by brucealan

Maintain your faith my friend. It has been hard on her too! Just love her and forgive her.

In reply to by brucealan

I feel for Job. I too had severe medical issues. I started out with an appendix operation and now as of 2016 have had 5 bowel surgeries losing a total of 15 feet of small bowel and 2 feet of large. Drs. have stated I should be dead. I can just smile and Thank the LORD for his massive mercies and given me life where I shouldn't have it. My wife fortunately has stuck by my side through all of this. Many women would have found the door and never came back.

In reply to by brucealan

how are things now. Are you doing better? ajc

In reply to by brucealan

The fact you want things to be better, you care about her, love her, and are still with her to this day, shows that you value your marriage and want things to be better.

That's awesome. So many give up man on their marriage quickly. Your still fighting, and growing. That's just about all you can ask. Life is tough, but there is a victory ahead. Marriage is tough, but you can grow a little here and there and one day have a better marriage for it.

I would like this character called job I study on Tuesday and I thought I like to act it out in bethel chapel with his words in the holy bible what can I do

Job's children didn't "spring back to life" they were in heaven so when he and his 7 sons and 3 daughters die he will be in heaven with double the amount of children.

Was Job's wife the one who bore him the latter children?

In reply to by Jacob

Yes it could be her because there is no mention that his wife left him She could not have been near him but i think she did help him by cooking for him, helped him with water to wash the boils over his body etc I get lost when mention is of the children without Job was too righteous to an extent that he would not pervert from God's ways He would rather choose to forgive than to divorce her

In reply to by Jacob

Abraham had many children after sarahs death. We read before Job and see things how they took place. I personally believe Job had children by either concubines or another wife. Seeing they had many back then.

This is so true...I have written a paper about Job's wife.... she's always seen as Satan's handmaiden..but the Islamic tradition and even the Testament of Job portrayed Job's wife as the channel of God's blessing... more so, the hebrew word "barak" in verse 10 can be translated as "bless or curse"....it is clear that the two tradition I mentioned above followed the translation "bless" rather than "curse" which the Christian bible uses,....:)....

In reply to by chelle

I based my Masters Thesis in 1997 on that very idea, that she was portrayed in such a negative light because "barak" has always been translated as "curse" rather than "bless". It was titled "Bless God and Die..." and focused on her telling her husband to be thankful and bless God, not hateful and curse him. I enjoyed researching and writing it very much.

In reply to by SS

JOB-42-7 God is angry with Jobs friends because they did not speak right of God.There is no mention of God being angry with his wife.May be Job prayed for her forgiveness and she also realised and accepted God's will.

In reply to by devarasam

I considered writing a book about Job’s wife and her grief. She lost everything Job lost plus him for a period of time. I agree with so many if the comments above. And I will add that I believe Satan wasn’t allowed to destroy Job’s wife because she was one with Job. In GOD’s eyes, they were the same, so if Job couldn’t be destroyed, then neither could his wife.

In reply to by Sheila

Shelia , write the book. In Jesus name.

In reply to by Anonymous

yes, Sheila, write the book. Your comments resonate with me. Great insight. Thanks.

How to cite this page

Pardes, Ilana. "Wife of Job: Bible." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 21, 2020) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/wife-of-job-bible>.

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