Job 2:9
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
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(9) Then said his wife.—Thus it is that a man’s foes are they of his own household (Micah 7:6; Matthew 10:36, &c.). The worst trial of all is when those nearest to us, instead of strengthening our hand in God and confirming our faith, conspire to destroy it.

Job 2:9. Then said his wife — Whom Satan had spared, that she might be a troubler and tempter to him. For it is his policy to send his temptations by those that are dear to us. We ought, therefore, carefully to watch, that we be not drawn to any evil by them whom we love and value the most. Dost thou still retain thine integrity? — Art thou so weak as still to persist in the practice of righteousness, when it is not only unprofitable to thee, but the chief occasion of all these thy insupportable miseries, and when God himself not only forsakes and leaves thee in this helpless and hopeless condition, but is turned to be thy greatest enemy? This is evidently the meaning of the expression, holding fast his integrity, when used by God, speaking of Job, Job 2:3, and, it seems, must be its meaning here; and not, as some commentators have supposed, the maintaining that he was innocent of those secret sins with which his friends appeared to have charged him; a sense of the words which would not at all suit the connection in which this, or the third verse, stands with the verses following. Curse God and die — Seeing thy blessing and praising God avail thee so little, it is time for thee to change thy language. Reproach him to his face, and tell him of his injustice and unkindness to thee; and that he loves his enemies and hates his friends, and that will provoke him to take away thy life, and so end thy torments. Or, Curse God, though thou die for it. This is the sense in which the same Hebrew word is evidently used by Satan, (Job 1:11,) and, as it appears from the next verse, that Job’s wife was now under Satan’s influence, and was an instrument employed by him to tempt her husband, and so to forward his design, which certainly was to prevail with Job to curse or reproach God; this seems to be her meaning. Inasmuch, however, as the original word, although it sometimes evidently signifies to curse, yet generally means to bless, it may be so interpreted here if we consider Job’s wife as speaking ironically, as many, even pious, persons, are represented in the Scriptures to have spoken. The meaning then will be, Bless God and die — That is, I see thou art set upon blessing God; thou blessest him for giving, and thou blessest him for taking away: and thou art even blessing him for thy loathsome and tormenting diseases, and he rewards thee accordingly, giving thee more and more of that kind of mercy for which thou blessest him. Go on, therefore, in this thy generous course, and die as a fool dieth. And, this being her meaning, it is not strange that he reproves her so sharply for it in the next words.

2:7-10 The devil tempts his own children, and draws them to sin, and afterwards torments, when he has brought them to ruin; but this child of God he tormented with affliction, and then tempted to make a bad use of his affliction. He provoked Job to curse God. The disease was very grievous. If at any time we are tried with sore and grievous distempers, let us not think ourselves dealt with otherwise than as God sometimes deals with the best of his saints and servants. Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, and brought his mind to his condition. His wife was spared to him, to be a troubler and tempter to him. Satan still endeavours to draw men from God, as he did our first parents, by suggesting hard thoughts of Him, than which nothing is more false. But Job resisted and overcame the temptation. Shall we, guilty, polluted, worthless creatures, receive so many unmerited blessings from a just and holy God, and shall we refuse to accept the punishment of our sins, when we suffer so much less than we deserve? Let murmuring, as well as boasting, be for ever done away. Thus far Job stood the trial, and appeared brightest in the furnace of affliction. There might be risings of corruption in his heart, but grace had the upper hand.Then said his wife unto him - Some remarkable additions are made by the ancient versions to this passage. The Chaldee renders it, "and "Dinah" (דינה dı̂ynâh), his wife, said to him." The author of that paraphrase seems to have supposed that Job 54ed in the time of Jacob, and had married his daughter Dinah; Genesis 30:21. Drusius says, that this was the opinion of the Hebrews, and quotes a declaration from the Gemara to this effect: "Job lived in the days of Jacob, and was born when the children of Israel went down into Egypt; and when they departed thence he died. He lived therefore 210 years, as long as they were into Egypt." This is mere tradition, but it shows the ancient impression as to the time when Job 54ed. The Septuagint has introduced a remarkable passage here, of which the following is a translation. "After much time had elapsed, his wife said unto him, How long wilt thou persevere, saying, Behold, I will wait a little longer, cherishing the trope of my recovery? Behold, the memorial of thee has disappeared from the earth - those sons and daughters, the pangs and sorrows of my womb, for whom I toiled laboriously in vain. Even thou sittest among loathsome worms, passing the night in the open air, whilst I, a wanderer and a drudge, from place to place, and from house to house, watch the sun until his going down, that I may rest from the toils and sorrows that now oppress me. But speak some word toward the Lord (τι ῥῆμα εἰς κύριον ti rēma eis kurion) and die."

Whence this addition had its origin, it is impossible now to say. Dr. Good says it is found in Theodotion, in the Syriac, and the Arabic (in this he errs, for it is not in the Syriac and Arabic in Waltoh's Polyglott), and in the Latin of Ambrose. Dathe suggests that it was probably added by some person who thought it incredible that an angry woman could be content with saying so "little" as is ascribed in the Hebrew to the wife of Job. It may have been originally written by some one in the margin of his Bible by way of paraphrase, and the transcriber, seeing it there, may have supposed it was omitted accidentally from the text, and so inserted it in the place where it now stands. It is one of the many instances, at all events, which show that implicit confidence is not to be placed in the Septuagint. There is not the slightest evidence that this was ever in the Hebrew text. It is not wholly unnatural, and as an exercise of the fancy is not without ingenuity and plausibility, and yet the simple but abrupt statement in the Hebrew seems best to accord with nature. The evident distress of the wife of Job, according to the whole narrative, is not so much that she was subjected to trials, and that she was compelled to wander about without a home, as that Job should be so patient, and that he did not yield to the temptation.

Dost thou still retain thine integrity? - Notes Job 2:3. The question implies that, in her view, he ought not to be expected to mantles, patience and resignation in these circumstances. He had endured evils which showed that confidence ought not to be reposed in a God who would thus inflict them. This is all that we know of the wife of Job. Whether this was her general character, or whether "she" yielded to the temptation of Satan and cursed God, and thus heightened the sorrows of Job by her unexpected impropriety of conduct, is unknown. It is not conclusive evidence that her general character was bad; and it may be that the strength of her usual virtue and piety was overcome by accumulated calamities. She expressed, however, the feelings of corrupt human nature everywhere when sorely afflicted. The suggestion "will" cross the mind, often with almost irresistible force, that a God who thus afflicts his creatures is not worthy of confidence; and many a time a child of God is "tempted" to give vent to feelings of rebellion and complaining like this, and to renounce all his religion.

Curse God - See the notes at Job 1:11. The Hebrew word is the same. Dr. Good renders it, "And yet dost thou hold fast thine integrity, blessing God and dying?" Noyes translates it, "Renounce God, and die," Rosenmuller and Umbreit, "Bid farewell to God, and die." Castellio renders it, "Give thanks to God and die." The response of Job, however Job 2:10, shows that he understood her as exciting him to reject, renounce, or curse God. The sense is, that she regarded him as unworthy of confidence, and submission as unreasonable, and she wished Job to express this and be relieved from his misery. Roberts supposes that this was a pagan sentiment, and says that nothing is more common than for the pagan, under certain circumstances, to curse their gods. "That the man who has made expensive offerings to his deity, in hope of gaining some great blessing, and who has been disappointed, will pour out all his imprecations on the god whose good offices have (as he believes) been prevented by some superior deity. A man in reduced circumstances says, 'Yes, yes, my god has lost his eyes; they are put out; he cannot look after my affairs.' 'Yes, ' said an extremely rich devotee of the supreme god Siva, after he had lost his property, 'Shall I serve him any more? What, make offerings to him! No, no. He is the lowest of all gods? '"

And die - Probably she regarded God as a stern and severe Being, and supposed that by indulging in blasphemy Job would provoke him to cut him off at once. She did not expect him to lay wicked hands on himself. She expected that God would at once interpose and destroy him. The sense is, that nothing but death was to be expected, and the sooner he provoked God to cut him off from the land of the living, the better.

Job 2:9-13. Job Reproves His Wife.

9. curse God—rather, "renounce" God. (See on [493]Job 1:5) [Umbreit]. However, it was usual among the heathens, when disappointed in their prayers accompanied with offerings to their gods, to reproach and curse them.

and die—that is, take thy farewell of God and so die. For no good is to be got out of religion, either here or hereafter; or, at least, not in this life [Gill]; Nothing makes the ungodly so angry as to see the godly under trial not angry.

The devil spared his wife with cruel intent to be the instrument of his temptations, and the aggravation of Job’s misery, by unnatural unkindness to him, which is declared Job 19:17, and elsewhere.

Dost thou still retain thine integrity? art thou yet so weak to persist in the practice of piety, when it is not only unprofitable to thee, but the chief occasion of all these thy insupportable miseries, and when God himself not only forsakes and leaves thee in this helpless and hopeless condition, but is turned to be thy greatest enemy?

Curse God, and die; seeing thy blessing of God availeth thee so little, it is time to change thy note, Curse God, and die, i.e. reproach him to his face, and tell him of his injustice and unkindness to thee, and that he loves his enemies, and hates his friends; and that will provoke him to take away thy life, and so end thy torments. Or, Curse God, though though die for it. But although this word sometimes signifies cursing, as Job 1:11 1 Kings 21:10, yet most properly and generally it signifies blessing; and so it may very well be understood here as a sarcastical or ironical expression, such as there are many in Scripture, as Ecclesiastes 11:9 Lamentations 4:21, and in all authors. And so the sense may be this, Bless God, and die; i.e. I see thou art set upon blessing of God; thou blessest God for giving, and thou blessest God for taking away, and thou art still blessing of God for thy loathsome and tormenting diseases, and he rewards thee accordingly, giving thee more and more of that kind of mercy for which thou blessest and praisest him. Go on therefore in this thy pious and generous course, and die as a fool dieth, and carry this reputation to thy grave, that thou hadst not common sense in thee to discern between good and evil, between thy friends and thy foes. Or rather, Awake out of this stupidity and lethargy, and give over this absurd and unreasonable practice; and as God gives thee no help nor comfort, let him lose thy praises and service. And this being her sense, it is not strange he reproveth her so sharply for it. And yet it seems hard to think that Job’s wife should arrive at that height of impudence and impiety, as in plain terms to bid him curse God.

Then said his wife to him,.... The Jews (g), who affect to know everything, say, that Job's wife was Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, as the Targum, but this is not very likely; however, we may observe that polygamy had not obtained in these early times; Job had but one wife, and very probably she is the same that after all this bore him ten children more; since we never read of her death, nor of his having any other wife, and might be a good woman for anything that appears to the contrary; and Job himself seems to intimate the same, though she was in the dark about this providence, and under a sore temptation on that account; and therefore says to her husband:

dost thou still retain thine integrity? not as blaming him for insisting and leaning on his integrity, and justifying, and not humbling himself before God, when he should rather confess his sins and prepare for death; for this is contrary to the sense of the phrase used, Job 2:3; where Job is applauded by the Lord himself for holding fast his integrity; nor will Job's answer comport with this sense of her words; nor did she speak as wondering that he should still retain it among so many sore temptations and afflictions; though indeed persevering grace is a marvellous thing; but then he would never have blamed her for such an expression: nor said she this as upbraiding and reproaching him for his religion and continuance in it, and mocking at him, and despising him on that account, as Michal did David; but as suggesting to him there was nothing in religion, and advising him to throw up the profession of it; for he might easily see, by his own case and circumstances, that God had no more regard to good men than to bad men, and therefore it was in vain to serve him; the temptation she laboured under was the same with that good man's, Asaph, Psalm 73:11,

curse God, and die: which is usually interpreted, curse God and then destroy thyself; or utter some such blasphemous words, as will either provoke him to destroy thee, or will make thee liable to be taken notice of by the civil magistrate and put to death for it; or do this in revenge for his hand upon thee, and then die; or, though thou diest; but these are all too harsh and wicked to be said by one that had been trained up in a religious manner, and had been so many years the consort of so holy and good a man: the words may be rendered, "bless God and die" (h); and may be understood either sarcastically, go on blessing God till thou diest; if thou hast not had enough of it, take thy fill of it, and see what will be the issue of it; nothing but death; wilt thou still continue "blessing God and dying?" so some (i) render the words, referring to what he had said in Job 1:21; or else really and sincerely, as advising him to humble himself before God, confess his sins, and "pray" (k) unto him that he would take him out of this world, and free him from all his pains and sorrow; or rather the sense is, "bless God": take thy farewell of him (l); bid adieu to him and all religion, and so die; for there is no good to be hoped for on the score of that, here or hereafter; or at least not in this life: and so it amounts to much the same as before; and this sense is confirmed by Job's answer, which follows.

(g) T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 3.((h) "benedic Deo", Montanus, Piscator, Schmidt, Michaelis. (i) "Benedicendo et moriendo", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Broughton. (k) "Supplica Deo", Tigurine version; so some in Munster. (l) "Valere jubeas numen et morere", Schultens; "valedic Deo", so some in Mercer.

Then said his {k} wife unto him, Dost thou {l} still retain thine integrity? {m} curse God, and die.

(k) Satan uses the same instrument against Job, as he did against Adam.

(l) Meaning, what do you gain from serving God, seeing he thus plagues you, as though he were your enemy? This is the most grievous temptation for the faithful, when their faith is assailed, and when Satan goes about to persuade them that they trust in God in vain.

(m) For death was appointed to the blasphemer and so she meant that he would quickly be rid of his pain.

9. Then said his wife] The incident related of Job’s wife is not introduced for her sake, but for the purpose of exhibiting through it the condition of Job’s mind, around which the drama turns. The author did not indicate the impression which Job’s personal affliction produced upon him. What thoughts he had are concealed; he is represented as sitting silent in his seclusion. The full impression of his miseries is brought home to him reflected from the mind of another, that other being the one fitted to influence him most powerfully. It is probable that the episode of Job’s wife is brought in with a double purpose, first, to shew how all around Job, those nearest to him, gave way under the severity of his trial, and thus by contrast to enhance the strength of his faith and the grandeur of his character; and second, to shew how, though subjected to the keenest trial from the example and representations of his wife, he still remained true.

The name Dinah given to Job’s wife by the Targum or Chaldee Translation most probably rests on no tradition, but is a mere child’s fancy. The Sept. introduces her speech, which it gives in a greatly amplified form, with the words “when a long time had passed.” The amplification is not unsuitable to the circumstances, but the curt phrases of the original are truer to art and nature, for grief is possessed of few words. Much animated dispute has taken place over the character and conduct of the woman. The Ancients were not favourably impressed by her. Augustine calls her roundly Diaboli adjutrix. The Geneva Version discerns a sad and universal principle in her conduct, “Satan useth the same instrument against Job as he did against Adam.” As was to be expected the present age has espoused her cause, and labours hard to put a face upon her words. The only question of importance is, what sense the Author intended her words to convey; and the key to this is found in the way in which her husband takes them up. He does not directly call her a “fool,” that is, a godless person (Psalm 14:1), but with mild circumlocution says that she speaks as one of the foolish women speaks. The Eastern writer lets the woman act in character (Ecclesiastes 7:26 seq.). He would have probably smiled at the elaborate analysing of the female mind to which Westerns devote themselves, thinking it a waste of time. As the weaker Job’s wife fell first into the snare of the Devil, and used her influence, as in the beginning of history, to draw her husband after her. Her story, however, is not told for her sake, but to shew how those around Job fell away, and to set in a strong light the strain to which his faith was put by such an example and the solicitations that accompanied it.

curse God, and die] Rather as before, renounce God and die. From a modern point of view many extenuations may be pleaded for Job’s wife, but her religion is represented here as precisely of the kind which Satan said Job’s was of. She wonders that Job still maintains his pious resignation; and counsels him, as he gets no good from God but only evil, even the extreme evil of death, to renounce an unprofitable service, and die, as he must, for nothing else awaits him. This is probably the meaning of the words “and die.” The words might have a different meaning. When two imperatives come together the second often expresses the consequence of the first, as do this and live. And, “renounce God and die” might mean, renounce Him and bring down His final stroke of death at once. The other is more probable.

Verse 9. - Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Job's wife had said nothing when the other calamities had taken place - then she had "refrained her tongue, and kept silence," though probably with some difficulty. Now she can endure no longer. To see her husband so afflicted, and so patient under his afflictions, is more than she can bear. Her mind is weak and ill regulated, and she suffers herself to become Satan's ally and her husband's worst enemy. It is noticeable that she urges her husband to do exactly that which Satan had suggested that he would do (Job 1:11; Job 2:5), and had evidently wished him to do, thus fighting on his side, and increasing her husband's difficulties The only other mention of her (Job 19:17) implies that she was rather a hindrance than a help to Job. Curse God, and die; i.e. "renounce God, put all regard for him away from thee, even though he kill thee for so doing." Job's wife implies that death is preferable to such a life as Job now leads and must expect to lead henceforward. Job 2:9First Job's Wife (who is only mentioned in one other passage (Job 19:17), where Job complains that his breath is offensive to her) Comes to Him:

9 Then his wife said to him, Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? renounce God, and die.

In the lxx the words of his wife are unskilfully extended. The few words as they stand are sufficiently characteristic. They are not to be explained, Call on God for the last time, and then die (von Gerl.); or, Call on Him that thou die (according to Ges. 130, 2); but בּרך signifies, as Job's answer shows, to take leave of. She therefore counsels Job to do that which Satan has boasted to accomplish. And notwithstanding, Hengstenberg, in his Lecture on the Book of Job (1860),

(Note: Clark's Foreign Theological Library.)

defends her against the too severe judgment of expositors. Her desperation, says he, proceeds from her strong love for her husband; and if she had to suffer the same herself, she would probably have struggled against despair. But love hopeth all things; love keeps its despondency hidden even when it desponds; love has no such godless utterance, as to say, Renounce God; and none so unloving, as to say, Die. No, indeed! this woman is truly diaboli adjutrix (August.); a tool of the temper (Ebrard); impiae carnis praeco (Brentius). And though Calvin goes too far when he calls her not only organum Satanae, but even Proserpinam et Furiam infernalem, the title of another Xantippe, against which Hengstenberg defends her, is indeed rather flattery than slander. Tobias' Anna is her copy.

(Note: She says to the blind Tobias, when she is obliged to work for the support of the family, and does not act straightforwardly towards him: ποῦ εἰσὶν αἱ ἐλεημοσύναι σου καὶ αἱ δικαιοσύναι σου, ἰδοὺ γνωστὰ πάντα μετὰ σοῦ, i.e., (as Sengelmann, Book of Tobit, 1857, and O. F. Fritzsche, Handbuch zu d. Apokr. Lief. ii. S. 36, correctly explain) one sees from thy misfortunes that thy virtue is not of much avail to thee. She appears still more like Job in the revised text: manifeste vana facta est spes tua et eleemosynae tuae modo apparuerunt, i.e., thy benevolence has obviously brought us to poverty. In the text of Jerome a parallel between Tobias and Job precedes this utterance of Tobias' wife.)

What experience of life and insight the writer manifests in introducing Job's wife as the mocking opposer of his constant piety! Job has lost his children, but this wife he has retained, for he needed not to be tried by losing her: he was proved sufficiently by having her. She is further on once referred to, but even then not to her advantage. Why, asks Chrysostom, did the devil leave him this wife? Because he thought her a good scourge, by which to plague him more acutely than by any other means. Moreover, the thought is not far distant, that God left her to him in order that when, in the glorious issue of his sufferings, he receives everything doubled, he might not have this thorn in the flesh also doubled.

(Note: The delicate design of the writer here must not be overlooked: it has something of the tragi-comic about it, and has furnished acceptable material for epigrammatic writers not first from Kstner, but from early times (vid., das Epigramm vom J. 1696, in Serpilius' Personalia Iobi). Vid., a Jewish proverb relating thereto in Tendlau, Sprchw. u. Redensarten deutsch-jd. Vorzeit (1860), S. 11.)

What enmity towards God, what uncharitableness towards her husband, is there in her sarcastic words, which, if they are more than mockery, counsel him to suicide! (Ebrard). But he repels them in a manner becoming himself.

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