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Monday, December 5, 2011

Facing Trials: Mrs. Job [2]

Even though the text clearly lays out the details of Job’s suffering and what his friends say, and what God says, Mrs. Job gets about 10 words. This is not surprising because this is a patriarchal society. Her marriage was probably arranged, but they have been together a long time, and I suspect that she loves and cares for Job a great deal. They have had a prosperous life and 10 children together. When the children are killed, they are partying at one of their own homes; this indicates to me that they were adults.

They lose 10 children in one of the first tragedies to strike Job’s life. She has lost 10 children to whom she has given birth and nurtured to varying degrees of adulthood. Now she has a husband who is sitting on a heap of ashes, helpless, and apparently fighting a hopeless battle against some dreaded disease.
Many times we find it more difficult to watch a loved one suffer than to suffer ourselves. It is very hard to
picture her as an uninvolved bystander. People talk about the great suffering of Job, but few ever talk about the greater suffering of his wife.

She has frequently been portrayed as a tool of Satan and a harpie. What I see, trying to stand for a moment in her shoes, is a woman in despair who

cannot take anymore of the heartache of seeing her husband die a slow and painful death. I think what she is feeling is an agonizing mercy for her husband, and she wants him to do whatever it, whatever it takes, to make it end quickly; to get out from under this weight.

Job clearly admonishes her for her desperate advice, and tells her it is stupid to be angry with God. He goes on to say that we must take the bad with thegood and that is just life. Job has a spirit that handles crisis in a calm philosophical manner, and he stifles his wife's more emotional reaction to grief.

What I see here is a couple in a very common experience. We have two people coping with tragedy with two different perspectives, both of which represent millions of personalities.

When we dig a little deeper, I think we find that that Mrs. Job's reaction is just as common, and just as normal as Job’s.


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