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.
and mind, had also to suffer the estrangement of an unfeeling, self-centered wife (19,17a) the woman he loved and cherished. In his downfall, she added to his humiliation before the eyes of the world. This was the most unkind cut of all. For one can forgive God for an undeserved test. One can even try to understand Satan's difficult position that of a professional Adversary. But how can one forgive the treachery of the wife of one's bosom at a time when one needs her most? And yet Job foregave her and accepted her return, even though he knew she was only thinking of herself. This is what God called perfect faith and what Job's wife considered to be the faith of a simpleton. Seeing that she also offered him the choice of killing himself, and that she blasphemed God, our overall assessment of this person cannot but be negative. We do acknowledge her productive fecundity, but even in that specific area in which she excelled so well, she did not persevere without obvious self-interest. After the death of her first ten children, she must have hoped for the restoration of her husband's fortunes and consequently, of her own. And, indeed, her estrangement from her husband we notice lasted the length of the dialogues and of Job's trials. This was not a matter of days or weeks, but more probably a matter of months. The moment her husband's fortunes were restored, however, she soon found a way of reclaiming her position as Mistress of the House in Job's mansion. As a shrewd, patriarchal, Iron Age feminist, this nameless woman played her cards exceedingly well. No wonder the Epilogue to Job's drama makes no mention of her at all. It ignores her completely.