Job's Wife

You may recall Job's story from reading about his daughter Jemima in Chapter 10. Here, you will learn about Nahrela, Job's wife. The Old Testament Book of Job begins by establishing that Job is exceedingly wealthy. Although pious, the same could not be said of his children. Job was so virtuous that each day he burned offerings and prayed to God for his children, in the event that they had “…cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5). One day, God spoke to Satan, asking him, “Whence cometh thou?” Satan answered, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7). That exchange set the stage for God's next question.

Satan told God that it was easy for Job to show loyalty and love to God when God gave him such bounty and protection; but what if God were to test Job's loyalty by causing a complete reversal of Job's fortune? Would Job not curse God? Thus, the story of God's testing of Job begins.

All was good in the lives of Nahrela and Job. They lived East of Palestine near the desert border. He garnered the respect of the people in the Land of Uz, his homeland, because he was devout, moral, and ethical in his dealings with others. But suddenly, his fortunes began to erode.

How did Job's fortunes erode?

His massive herds of oxen and asses were taken away. His sheep were burnt, along with the shepherds guarding them, and the camels were stolen. Finally, Job's ten children were killed when a windstorm caused the house to collapse on them as they were eating and drinking wine.

The Book of Job states, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20–22). God intensified the testing of Job by inflicting disease upon his body. Job's friends saw that his grief was great, but Nahrela comes across in the biblical narrative as fickle and unsupportive of Job as each new affliction takes its toll on her husband. During Job's trials, his wife distances herself from him, so much so that Job begins to believe that she loathes him. She may blame him for some transgressions against God to which he does not repent. During his darkest moments, when he longs for death and deplores his birth, she seems to take sides with Satan. As Job is covered with boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, she encourages him to speak out against God.

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:8–10)

Unlike Job, Nahrela sought the easy way out. She did not understand that the suffering her husband was experiencing was God's test of Job's fidelity and love. If Job cursed God and died, it would end the test, but it would not bring back her children. However, if Job remained loyal and accepting of his fate, he would live to be blessed; God would (and did) increase Job's wealth by doubling it.

Job eventually emerged from his trials, and was restored to good health. He must have forgiven his wife her shortcomings, and Nahrela found it in her heart to be a loving wife again, because she became pregnant, eventually giving birth to ten new children. So, once again Job was father to ten children, owner of many herds of animals, and a pious and well-respected man in Uz.

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