Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919
SCHOLTZ, Roger. "I had heard of you . . . but now my eye sees you": Re-visioning Job's wife. Old testam. essays [online]. 2013, vol.26, n.3, pp.819-839. ISSN 2312-3621.
Job's wife has suffered a long history of unjust marginalisation. The few words she utters in her brief appearance in the book of Job have largely been heard negatively by many commentators of the text, who have either vilified or simply ignored her as a result. Accordingly, she has come to be seen as a minor character who is mostly irrelevant to the interpretation of the book as a whole. By contrast, William Blake's artistic exposition of the book of Job imaginatively sees Job's wife in a radical new light. His re-visioning of her invites a fresh consideration of her presence and influence within the book as a whole. The references to Job's wealth, social status, children, daughters and his agonised outburst at the start of the poetry section all point to the pervasive influence of Job's wife within the book. The picture that emerges is of a woman of strength and insight who shaped the lives of her husband and children in significant ways, drawing them into a transformed perspective of the world in which the beauties and ambiguities of life can be celebrated. Such a re-visioning of Job's wife enables a fresh hearing of her words, in which she emerges as a key character in the interpretation of the book. Indeed, she can be seen as none other than the forerunner of God as she courageously sows the seeds of a bold new understanding of faith that will be fleshed out in the divine speeches in all its vibrant, stirring glory, and will finally lead to Job's transformation.