Victor Sasson, «The Literary and Theological Function of Job’s Wife in the Book of Job», Vol. 79 (1998) 86-90
Against a background of her family situation, the negative role of Job’s wife in her husband’s trial is analysed here. It should be noted that there is no mention of her in the Epilogue that would correspond to her being mentioned in the Prologue. Apart from never being mentioned by name, she is altogether overlooked when Job is restored to good fortune.
In the Prologue to the Book of Job, Job is depicted as notorious for his great wealth, and famous for his exceptional piety. God, presiding over an angelic convention, draws Satan's attention to this perfect man. He asks an innocent, rhetorical question regarding Job's commendable piety. Satan exploits this occasion to brand Job a hypocrite, accusing him of having some ulterior motive for his piety. Job he says must be giving only lip service in return for the great material prosperity God has showered upon him. Once he is deprived of this prosperity and struck with disease, Job will certainly blaspheme. Eventually, God is induced to put Job to the test as suggested by Satan with all manner of disease, having first destroyed all his wealth and eliminated all his ten children. But Job still does not blaspheme. For one reason or another, Job's wife is left untouched. At some point she intimates to her husband that he is something of a fool for sticking to his blind faith in God. She tells him to curse God and die. He rebukes her:
You talk as any wicked fool of a woman might talk. If we accept good from God, shall we not accept evil? (2,10; NEB)
It is not clear why Job's wife is spared the fate of the children. In the Epilogue to the story although she remains nameless she serves as a necessary vehicle for the continuation of Job's line.
In a recent essay on the Book of Job, David Clines makes some statements about Job and his wife from an unconventional stance. He discusses such issues as patriarchy, the suffering of Job's wife, gender dominance, and makes biased and unfair allegations against Job the man and his author 1.
He defines patriarchy as "a social system in which men have unproblematic power over women" and views Job's verbal rebuke of his sacrilegious wife as an example of such power over women. Job it is alleged lumps all women as "foolish chatterers"! There is no evidence, however, that Job lumps all women as such. It is also not clear how one can dismiss Job's wife's terrible blasphemy so lightly, while at the same time magnifying and condemning Job's well-deserved verbal reprimand.