on Job 2 :9
Then said his wife - To this verse the Septuagint adds the following words: "Much time having elapsed, his wife said unto him, How long dost thou stand steadfast, saying, 'Behold, I wait yet a little longer looking for the hope of my Salvation?' Behold thy memorial is already blotted out from the earth, together with thy sons and thy daughters, the fruits of my pains and labors, for whom with anxiety I have labored in vain. Thyself also sittest in the rottenness of worms night and day, while I am a wanderer from place to place, and from house to house, waiting for the setting of the sun, that I may rest from my labors, and from the griefs which oppress me. Speak therefore some word against God, and die." We translate ברך אלהים ומת barech Elohim vamuth, Curse God, and die. The verb ברך barach is supposed to include in it the ideas of cursing and blessing; but it is not clear that it has the former meaning in any part of the sacred writings, though we sometimes translate it so. Here it seems to be a strong irony. Job was exceedingly afflicted, and apparently dying through sore disease; yet his soul was filled with gratitude to God. His wife, destitute of the salvation which her husband possessed, gave him this ironical reproof. Bless God, and die - What! bless him for his goodness, while he is destroying all that thou hast! bless him for his support, while he is casting thee down and destroying thee! Bless on, and die. The Targum says that Job's wife's name was Dinah, and that the words which she spake to him on this occasion were בריך מימרא דיי ומית berich meymera dayai umith. Bless the word of the Lord, and die. \\\ppar Ovid has such an irony as I suppose this to have been: -
Quid vos sacra juvant? quid nunc Aegyptia prosuntSistra? -
Cum rapiant mala fata bonos, ignoscite fasso,Sollicitor nullos esse putare deos.
Vive plus, moriere pius; cole sacra, colentemMors gravis a templis in cava busta trahet.
Amor. lib. iii., Eleg. ix. ver. 33.
"In vain to gods (if gods there are) we pray,
And needless victims prodigally pay;
Worship their sleeping deities: yet death
Scorns votaries, and stops the praying breath.
To hallow'd shrines intruding fate will come,
And drag you from the altar to the tomb."
on Job 2 :9
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.
on Job 2 :9
2:9 Then said his wife - Whom Satan spared, to be a troubler and tempter to him. It is his policy, to send his temptations by the hands of those that are dear to us. We must therefore carefully watch, that we be not drawn to any evil, by them whom we love and value the most. Die - 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 God for thy loathsome 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 thy generous course, and bless God, and die as a fool dieth.