by Lena Arnold
So I was listening to Dr. Tony Evans on the way to work today and don’t get me wrong, I love Dr. Tony Evans. He has great messages and commentary and he is very inspirational. But he did something today that I have heard every preacher, pastor, evangelist, etc. do since I have been old enough to listen to a sermon-that is denigrate Job’s wife for telling Job to “curse God and die.”
I won’t bother to repeat the story verbatim. If you have ever read the Bible or attended church at any time in your life, then you already know the story. In a nutshell it goes something like this:
Job was a righteous man of God who had it all. Literally. A wife, ten kids, lands, servants, thousands of cattle, goats, sheep…you name it he had it. The dude was healthy, wealthy, and famous for his day. Job was the man and he gave God thanks for everything everyday. So one day Satan was running around on the earth seeking to wreak havoc and he happened upon Job, but he couldn’t touch Job because Job belonged to God.
So he goes to God and basically tells God the only reason Job serves you is because you give him everything, but take it all away and he will curse your name. God basically says that he knows Job and Job won’t curse him. So long story short in one day Job lost it all. All ten kids, all his cattle, goats, sheep, virtually all his servants, and even his health. He was basically left with a few servants, his wife, and the roof over his head. In effect he was now broke, childless, and sick.
To top it off, he found out his friends were worthless and were also poor consolers. To the point that Job called them “miserable comforters.”
Enter Job’s wife, who in my opinion has gotten a really bad rap for the last few thousand years. She’s been called a lot of names by people, some of which I will not mention. She told Job to “curse God and die” and has been vilified for it ever since. Maybe it’s because we read the Bible like we read our email? You know how we often misinterpret tone and context? What if we gave her the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming she’s some hateful jezebel?
Think about it. Job must have loved her and she must have loved him because together they had ten children and built a life together. TEN CHILDREN PEOPLE! From her own womb! Like Job, she’d lost all those children and was in terrible emotional pain that she must have desperately wanted out of. She was still reeling from the loss of her children when they lost their servants, who imagine were also friends and maybe even family members. On top of that, day after day she is watching her husband suffer from terrible, painful boils, while listening to Jobs miserable friends telling him he must be a sinner and a liar for God to be doing all this to him. I believe it was an act of love when she spoke those words to Job.
In my world she is holding Job in her arms as she is crying “Job, please curse God and die!” She just wanted to be free from the pain because listen Job’s death would also mean her death as well. Think about it. She lived in a very patriarchal society. All her children were dead and their wealth was gone, so who was going to care for her if Job died? No one. She would have died too. I believe she wanted to die, but didn’t want to leave Job alone. She obviously understood the wrath of God and that if Job cursed this all powerful God that Job put himself into a position to be in His wrath-which in turn could very well lead to Job’s death, which would in turn lead to hers.
Everybody wants to talk about this one sentence and make it the basis of all that she is and that is unfair. I believe she had a group of sista friends hugging her and supporting her while she was watching Job’s friends do the opposite. I believe she wept everytime she went to hug her husband and he cried out in pain. Think about it. She couldn’t even hug her husband or get comfort from him, or give physical comfort to him because of his condition. This is super sad. I can’t even imagine.
So I believe it was with love in her heart when she looked at Job, reaching out to him but not able to touch him when she spoke those fateful words. Words that would be the basis for how men talked about her for thousands of years. Words that would shape how people defined her character-demonizing her for thousands of years.
I believe it was with love that job reached out to her and held her face in his hands when he told her not to speak foolishly, but to rather remember that humans must accept both the bad and the good (paraphrased). To read the ful text read Job 2:9-12 Job held fast to his integrity and faith, while teaching his wife to trust God as well. Even Job did not vilify her the way many preachers have.
In defense of Job’s wife she did not divorce him. She suffered all that good and bad with him, and then to top it all off, when the suffering was over and God turned the tide the woman had TEN MORE CHILDREN with Job! Ten More! That means unless she had multiples, she was pregnant TWENTY times in her lifetime! Seriously, you want to disparage a woman like this! I only have three and I have been tired since I gave birth!
Hey pastors and preachers, when you birth, nurse, diaper, and potty train 20 children, then you can criticize Job’s wife. Until then, please keep your mouth off my nameless sista (Who I personally have nicknamed She-Ra Storm). She-Ra ’cause she’s a princess with power, and Storm because she kicks ass.
Job’s wife is one tough chick who I personally feel deserves way more respect than she has been given. So today I toast to Job’s wife aka She-Ra Storm. You go girl!