Job’s Wife

JOB’S WIFE

The Woman Who Urged Her Husband to Commit Suicide

Job 2:9, 10; 19:17; 31:10

Strange, is it not, that while we have the names of Job’s three daughters (42:14, 15), we do not have the name of his wife who remained at his side all through his trials and tribulations? She is identified by only ten words which she uttered to her husband as she saw him suffering from so much bodily pain and discomfort. “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die,” or “Curse God and die by your own hand. End your suffering by taking your own life.” She urged him to commit suicide and thus relieve himself of further anguish. There was also the diabolical suggestion that he should relinquish his faith in God, seeing He was permitting him to endure such terrible physical torment and material loss. It is because she allowed Satan to use her as an instrument to grieve rather than comfort her husband, that commentators have spoken ill of her character. Augustine referred to her as “The Devil’s Accomplice,” and Calvin wrote of her as “An Instrument of Satan” and as a “Diabolical Fury.” The little she said to her husband whose heart was at breaking point was enough to crush him altogether. The one closer to him than all others should have encouraged him and offered him human sympathy. Job’s wife, however, was the female foe in his household and reminds us that “the worst trial of all is when those nearest us, instead of strengthening our hand in God and confirming our faith, conspire to destroy it” (Micah 7:6; Matthew 10:36).

Job’s triumphant faith is seen in his most appropriate answer to his wife: “What, emancipate myself from God, and take my own life?” Sitting on his ash-heap he replied: “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.” He was not biting, bitter or condemnatory in his rebuke but gave vent to a question that multitudes of perplexed hearts, all down the ages, have found consolation in: “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

Job was determined not to sin with his lips as his thoughtless wife had done. What a sublime contrast there is between the testing of Job and that of Jesus! (Matthew 26:39-42; Hebrews 5:8). Because God has given woman an affectionate heart, and a large capacity for sympathy and compassion, it is incumbent upon women who profess faith in Christ, to bind their husbands closer to Christ and persist in encouraging them in times of great trial and tragedy. It is only thus that a woman functions as God meant her to, as an “helpmeet.”