As we are growing in the spirits of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge, I have been having personal book and chapter studies of Scripture. I have been reading book by book, making notes, and listening to sermons. While I was reading Job in the Cepher, something caught my eye...
The biblical story of Job is one that has captivated and challenged readers for centuries. When we are taken through the story of Job, we traverse the testimony of a pious man put through the ultimate tests of faith.
The narrative of Job's suffering and his unwavering faith in the face of adversity is often revered. However, there is one character in the story whose alleged words have placed her in an unfavorable light amongst Biblical readers—Job’s wife. Her statement, "Curse God and die," has stamped her legacy as another woman in the Bible (similar to Eve) that attempts to bring about the destruction of man. But, what if she never said those words? What if she said the exact opposite? Let’s dissect.
The Story of Job
To understand the context of Job's wife's words, let us briefly recap the story. When we are taken through the story of Job, we traverse the testimony of a pious man put through the ultimate tests of faith. Due to a bet on Job’s righteousness between Satan & The Most High, Job went through a series of trials (loss of his wealth and possessions, death of his servants and family, false judgment and accusations by friends, and decline in physical, emotional, and mental health).
Although tried to the extremes, Job remained faithful by continuously honoring The Most High, his commandments, and his nature.
Then Iyov 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: Yahuah gave, and Yahuah has taken away; blessed be the name of Yahuah. In all this Iyov sinned not, nor charged Elohiym foolishly. IYOV (JOB) 1:20-22 את CEPHER
The Possible Misinterpretation:
In the midst of Job's sufferings, his wife is often portrayed as an evil figure who urges him to curse God and die. This interpretation suggests that she had abandoned her heritage and faith and wanted Job to abandon his own. However, this portrayal may stem from a mistranslation of the original Hebrew text.
Discovering the Hebraic Translations:
The key to understanding Job's wife lies in translating her words from Hebrew. In the original text, her statement is "Barak Elohim va-mut" which can translate to "Bless God and die." According to Strong’s Concordance, the word "Barak" (1288 e.) means "to bless, to kneel, or to curse.” Barak has 330 occurrences with over 300 translations relating to Barak being used as a verbal form of bless.
With 63 occurrences, the common Hebrew word used for the verbal form of curse is arar (779) meaning to curse. It can be found throughout Torah and Tanakh relating to cursing through disobedience.
Could Jobs wife have been misinterpreted?
Exploring an Alternate Meaning:
Job's wife, along her husband, was facing immense suffering and despair. Her words, when translated, reflect her emotional turmoil rather than her desire to lead Job astray. Her statement can be understood as a plea for Job to release his pain and find solace in the presence of God. By blessing God and embracing death, she encourages Job to transition to the afterlife.
Job's wife may have recognized the futility of their situation and acknowledged that death may bring relief and peace. We see a similar notion in the story of Samson when he sacrifices his life to destroy the Philistines. Read the story of Samson in Judges 13-16.
Implications and Lessons:
Although still not received well by Job, the possible misinterpretation of Job's wife's words has perpetuated a negative portrayal of her character and her intentions. However, an alternate understanding of her statement could reveal a complex and deeply human response to her husband’s extreme suffering.
If this is the accurate translation of the text, the revised interpretation also underscores the importance of accurate translation and understanding when it comes to ancient texts. This weighty disparity reminds us of the limitations and potential biases that can arise when translating from one language to another, especially when dealing with nuanced expressions, misogyny, and inaccurate representation of cultural context.
It is important for us to use Biblical Study Tools (i.e Scripture4All, Open Bible Tools, Bible Hub) and the Holy Spirit to guide us into understanding the Biblical Text.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Job’s wife uttered Bless or Curse? Be sure to leave your comments below:
Zhateyah contributed this article. Follow on www.zhateyah.life/