Article -

The Book of Job


Authors: Jo Milgrom and Yoel Duman

Introduction      






Introduction

The enigma of the book of Job is expressed in the satirical cartoon series Southpark, in which Kyle (aka Job), recovering from hemorrhoid surgery, gets a visit from Rabbi and Rebbetzin Schwartz. They try to cheer Kyle up by telling him the story of Job. In the Rabbi’s version, Job is a wonderful man, has many children, a great wife and much livestock and praises God. God gets a terrible idea from Satan, who says that Job only praises God because he is so well off: “Take away all his goods and see what happens.” Everything is lost and Job gets deathly sick, but still praises God. Kyle says, “That’s it? Why would God do such a thing to a good person?” The Rabbi, perplexed, answers: “I don’t know.” Kyle’s closing remarks are: “There is no God.”

This is Bible study in our own day. It’s true and it’s not true. It’s partial and like anything partial, a lot is left out and some is added, just as in the world of midrash

Missing from the Southpark version of the story of Job are Job’s wife's problematic response to Job's disaster, Job’s extended discussion with his companions, God’s awesome revelation to Job and the detailed account of Job’s restoration. Both written and visual commentary on the book of Job have highlighted some of these figures and scenes, often well beyond their importance in the book. These commentaries reread and revisualize Job, through associations with the issues of their own times and in accordance with local, religious and individual agendas.

In our essay, we will go back to the 4th century and examine the art of that painful book throughout the centuries in order to track how Job and his story metamorphosed in the eyes of artists and why.



Article Sources:

Job 1

 

1 There was a man in the land of Uz named Job. That man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him; 3 his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred she-asses, and a very large household. That man was wealthier than anyone in the East.

4 It was the custom of his sons to hold feasts, each on his set day in his own home. They would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a round of feast days was over, Job would send word to them to sanctify themselves, and, rising early in the morning, he would make burnt offerings, one for each of them; for Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned and blasphemed God in their thoughts.” This is what Job always used to do.

6 One day the divine beings presented themselves before the Lord, and the Adversary came along with them. 7 The Lord said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?” The Adversary answered the Lord, “I have been roaming all over the earth.” 8 The Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil!” 9 The Adversary answered the Lord, “Does Job not have good reason to fear God? 10 Why, it is You who have fenced him round, him and his household and all that he has. You have blessed his efforts so that his possessions spread out in the land. 11 But lay Your hand upon all that he has and he will surely blaspheme You to Your face.” 12 The Lord replied to the Adversary, “See, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” The Adversary departed from the presence of the Lord.

13 One day, as his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the she-asses were grazing alongside them 15 when Sabeans attacked them and carried them off, and put the boys to the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 This one was still speaking when another came and said, “God’s fire fell from heaven, took hold of the sheep and the boys, and burned them up; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 This one was still speaking when another came and said, “A Chaldean formation of three columns made a raid on the camels and carried them off and put the boys to the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 This one was still speaking when another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother 19 when suddenly a mighty wind came from the wilderness. It struck the four corners of the house so that it collapsed upon the young people and they died; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, cut off his hair, and threw himself on the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 For all that, Job did not sin nor did he cast reproach on God.

 

Job 2

 

1 One day the divine beings presented themselves before the Lord. The Adversary came along with them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?” The Adversary answered the Lord, “I have been roaming all over the earth.” 3 The Lord said to the Adversary, “Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil. He still keeps his integrity; so you have incited Me against him to destroy him for no good reason.” 4 The Adversary answered the Lord, “Skin for skin—all that a man has he will give up for his life. 5 But lay a hand on his bones and his flesh, and he will surely blaspheme You to Your face.” 6 So the Lord said to the Adversary, “See, he is in your power; only spare his life.” 7 The Adversary departed from the presence of the Lord and inflicted a severe inflammation on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 He took a potsherd to scratch himself as he sat in ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “You still keep your integrity! Blaspheme God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You talk as any shameless woman might talk! Should we accept only good from God and not accept evil?” For all that, Job said nothing sinful.

11 When Job’s three friends heard about all these calamities that had befallen him, each came from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could not recognize him, and they broke into loud weeping; each one tore his robe and threw dust into the air onto his head. 13 They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights. None spoke a word to him for they saw how very great was his suffering.

 

Job 3

 

1 Afterward, Job began to speak and cursed the day of his birth. 2 Job spoke up and said:

3 Perish the day on which I was born,
And the night it was announced,
“A male has been conceived!”

4 May that day be darkness;
May God above have no concern for it;
May light not shine on it;

5 May darkness and deep gloom reclaim it;
May a pall lie over it;
May what blackens the day terrify it.

6 May obscurity carry off that night;
May it not be counted among the days of the year;
May it not appear in any of its months;

7 May that night be desolate;
May no sound of joy be heard in it;

8 May those who cast spells upon the day damn it,
Those prepared to disable Leviathan;

9 May its twilight stars remain dark;
May it hope for light and have none;
May it not see the glimmerings of the dawn—

10 Because it did not block my mother’s womb,
And hide trouble from my eyes.

11 Why did I not die at birth,
Expire as I came forth from the womb?

12 Why were there knees to receive me,
Or breasts for me to suck?

13 For now would I be lying in repose, asleep and at rest,

14 With the world’s kings and counselors who rebuild ruins for themselves,

15 Or with nobles who possess gold and who fill their houses with silver.

16 Or why was I not like a buried stillbirth,
Like babies who never saw the light?

17 There the wicked cease from troubling;
There rest those whose strength is spent.

18 Prisoners are wholly at ease;
They do not hear the taskmaster’s voice.

19 Small and great alike are there,
And the slave is free of his master.

20 Why does He give light to the sufferer
And life to the bitter in spirit;

21 To those who wait for death but it does not come,
Who search for it more than for treasure,

22 Who rejoice to exultation,
And are glad to reach the grave;

23 To the man who has lost his way,
Whom God has hedged about?

24 My groaning serves as my bread;
My roaring pours forth as water.

25 For what I feared has overtaken me;
What I dreaded has come upon me.

26 I had no repose, no quiet, no rest,
And trouble came.

 

Job 4

 

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite said in reply:

2 If one ventures a word with you, will it be too much?
But who can hold back his words?

3 See, you have encouraged many;
You have strengthened failing hands.

4 Your words have kept him who stumbled from falling;
You have braced knees that gave way.

5 But now that it overtakes you, it is too much;
It reaches you, and you are unnerved.

6 Is not your piety your confidence,
Your integrity your hope?

7 Think now, what innocent man ever perished?
Where have the upright been destroyed?

8 As I have seen, those who plow evil
And sow mischief reap them.

9 They perish by a blast from God,
Are gone at the breath of His nostrils.

10 The lion may roar, the cub may howl,
But the teeth of the king of beasts are broken.

11 The lion perishes for lack of prey,
And its whelps are scattered.

12 A word came to me in stealth;
My ear caught a whisper of it.

13 In thought-filled visions of the night,
When deep sleep falls on men,

14 Fear and trembling came upon me,
Causing all my bones to quake with fright.

15 A wind passed by me,
Making the hair of my flesh bristle.

16 It halted; its appearance was strange to me;
A form loomed before my eyes;
I heard a murmur, a voice,

17 “Can mortals be acquitted by God?
Can man be cleared by his Maker?

18 If He cannot trust His own servants,
And casts reproach on His angels,

19 How much less those who dwell in houses of clay,
Whose origin is dust,
Who are crushed like the moth,

20 Shattered between daybreak and evening,
Perishing forever, unnoticed.

21 Their cord is pulled up
And they die, and not with wisdom.”

 

Job 38

 

1 Then the Lord replied to Job out of the tempest and said:

2 Who is this who darkens counsel,
Speaking without knowledge?

3 Gird your loins like a man;
I will ask and you will inform Me.

4 Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Speak if you have understanding.

5 Do you know who fixed its dimensions
Or who measured it with a line?

6 Onto what were its bases sunk?
Who set its cornerstone

7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the divine beings shouted for joy?

8 Who closed the sea behind doors
When it gushed forth out of the womb,

9 When I clothed it in clouds,
Swaddled it in dense clouds,

10 When I made breakers My limit for it,
And set up its bar and doors,

11 And said, “You may come so far and no farther;
Here your surging waves will stop”?

 

Job 40

 

15 Take now behemoth, whom I made as I did you;
He eats grass, like the cattle.

16 His strength is in his loins,
His might in the muscles of his belly.

17 He makes his tail stand up like a cedar;
The sinews of his thighs are knit together.

18 His bones are like tubes of bronze,
His limbs like iron rods.

19 He is the first of God’s works;
Only his Maker can draw the sword against him.

20 The mountains yield him produce,
Where all the beasts of the field play.

21 He lies down beneath the lotuses,
In the cover of the swamp reeds.

22 The lotuses embower him with shade;
The willows of the brook surround him.

23 He can restrain the river from its rushing;
He is confident the stream will gush at his command.

24 Can he be taken by his eyes?
Can his nose be pierced by hooks?

25 Can you draw out Leviathan by a fishhook?
Can you press down his tongue by a rope?

26 Can you put a ring through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a barb?

 

Job 41

 

10 His sneezings flash lightning,
And his eyes are like the glimmerings of dawn.

11 Firebrands stream from his mouth;
Fiery sparks escape.

12 Out of his nostrils comes smoke
As from a steaming, boiling cauldron.

13 His breath ignites coals;
Flames blaze from his mouth.

14 Strength resides in his neck;
Power leaps before him.

15 The layers of his flesh stick together;
He is as though cast hard; he does not totter.

 

Job 42

 

1 Job said in reply to the Lord:

2 I know that You can do everything,
That nothing you propose is impossible for You.

3 Who is this who obscures counsel without knowledge?
Indeed, I spoke without understanding
Of things beyond me, which I did not know.

4 Hear now, and I will speak;
I will ask, and You will inform me.

5 I had heard You with my ears,
But now I see You with my eyes;

6 Therefore, I recant and relent,
Being but dust and ashes.

7 After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am incensed at you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job. 8 Now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. And let Job, My servant, pray for you; for to him I will show favor and not treat you vilely, since you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job.” 9 Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord had told them, and the Lord showed favor to Job. 10 The Lord restored Job’s fortunes when he prayed on behalf of his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice what he had before.

11 All his brothers and sisters and all his former friends came to him and had a meal with him in his house. They consoled and comforted him for all the misfortune that the Lord had brought upon him. Each gave him one kesitah and each one gold ring. 12 Thus the Lord blessed the latter years of Job’s life more than the former. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand she-asses. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first he named Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 Nowhere in the land were women as beautiful as Job’s daughters to be found. Their father gave them estates together with their brothers. 16 Afterward, Job lived one hundred and forty years to see four generations of sons and grandsons. 17 So Job died old and contented.

 

Mekhilta Bahodesh 10

 

You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, [nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold]

R. Ishmael says, You shall not make before me an image of those who serve my servants in heaven: not the image of an image of angels, cherubim or Ophannim.

R. Nathan says, You shall not make…with me: It is so that you will not say, "Lo, I shall make something like an image and bow down to it,' that Scriptures says, 'You shall not make…with me.'

And so Scripture says, You will therefore be very careful, for you saw no form whatsoever (Dt. 4:15).

R. Aqiba says, You shall not do…with me: You will not act with me in the way in which others act with the things that they revere. When some sort of good comes upon them, they honor their gods: Therefore, they sacrifice to their net (Hab. 1:16). While when some sorr of bad comes upon them, they curse their gods: And it shall come to pass that when they are hungry, that they shall fret and curse their king and their gods (Is. 8:21). But as to you, if I bring good upon you, give thanks, and should I bring suffering upon you, give thanks as well. And so David says, I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord…I found trouble and sorrow, but I called upon the name of the Lord (Ps. 116). So does Job say, The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21) That is the case for the measure of goodness. As to the measure of punishment, what does his wife say to him? Do you still hold fast your integrity? Blaspheme God and die. (Job 2:9). And what does he say to her? You speak as one of the impious women speaks. Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil? (Job 2:10)

 

Mishna Yoma, Chapter 1

 

6 If he was a Sage, he would expound; if not, the younger Sages would expound before him. If he was accustomed to read, he would read. If not, they would read to him. And what would they read to him? From Job and from Ezra and from Chronicles. Zechariah ben Kebutal said, Many times I read to him from Daniel.

 

Testament of Job Chapter 6

 

1 And immediately my wife came near me and crying aloud and weeping she said: "Job! Job! How long wilt thou sit upon the dung-hill outside of the city, pondering yet for a while and expecting to obtain your hoped-for salvation!" 2 And I have been wandering from place to place, roaming about as a hired servant, behold they memory has already died away from earth. 3 And my sons and the daughters that I carried on my bosom and the labors and pains that I sustained have been for nothing 4 And thou sittest in the malodorous state of soreness and worms, passing the nights in the cold air. 5 And I have undergone all trials and troubles and pains, day and night until I succeeded in bringing bread to thee. 6 For your surplus of bread is no longer allowed to me; and as I can scarcely take my own food and divide it between us, I pondered in my heart that it was not right that thou shouldst be in pain and hunger for bread. 7 And so I ventured to go to the market without bashfulness. and when the bread-seller told me: "Give me money. and thou shalt have bread’’. I disclosed to him our state of distress. 8 Then I heard him say : "If thou hast no money, hand me the hair of thy head, and take three loaves of bread in order that ye may live on these for three days’’. 9 And I yielded to the wrong and said to him "Rise and cut off my hair !‘‘ and he rose and in disgrace cut off with the scissors the hair of my head on the market place while the crowd stood by and wondered.

16 In short then, Job, after the many things that have been said to me, I now say in one word to thee : 17 "Since the feebleness of my heart has crushed my bones, rise then and take these loaves of bread and enjoy them, and then speak some word against the Lord and die!

18 For I too, would exchange the torpor of death for the sustenance of my body".

19 But I replied to her "Behold I have been for these seven years plague-stricken, and I have stood the worms of my body, and I was not weighed down in my soul by all these pains. 20 And as to the word which thou sayest: ‘Speak some word against God and die!‘, together with thee I will sustain the evil which thou seest. and let us endure the ruin of all that we have. 21 Yet thou desirest that we should say some word against God and that He should be exchanged for the great Pluto [the god of the nether world.] 22 Why dost thou not remember those great goods which we possessed If these goods come from the lands of the Lord, should not we also endure evils and be high-minded in everything until the Lord will have mercy again and show pity to us 23 Dost thou not see the Seducer stand behind thee and confound thy thoughts in order that thou shouldst beguile me

 

Babylonian Talmud Baba Bathra 15a – 16b

 

R. Joshua b. Levi b. Lahma who said that Job was contemporary with Moses — [The proof is that] it is written here [in connection with Job], O that my words were now [efo] written, and it is written elsewhere [in connection with Moses], For wherein now [efo] shall it be known. But on that ground I might say that he was contemporary with Isaac, in connection with whom it is written, Who now [efo] is he that took venison? Or I might say that he was contemporary with Jacob, in connection with whom it is written, If so now [efo] do this? or with Joseph, in connection with whom it is written, Where [efo] they are pasturing? — This cannot be maintained; [The proof that Job was contemporary with Moses is that] it is written [in continuation of the above words of Job], Would that they were inscribed in a book, and it is Moses who is called 'inscriber', as it is written, And he chose the first part for himself, for there was the lawgiver's [mehokek, lit. 'inscriber's'] portion reserved. Raba said that Job was in the time of the spies. [The proof is that] it is written here [in connection with Job], There was a man in the land of Uz, Job was his name, and it is written elsewhere [in connection with the spies], Whether there be wood [ez] therein. Where is the parallel? In one place it is Uz, in the other ez? — What Moses said to Israel was this: [See] if that man is there whose years are as the years of a tree and who shelters his generation like a tree.

A certain Rabbi was sitting before R. Samuel b. Nahmani and in the course of his expositions remarked, Job never was and never existed, but is only a typical figure. He replied: To confute such as you the text says, There was a man in the land of Uz, Job was his name. But, he retorted, if that is so, what of the verse, The poor man had nothing save one poor ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up etc. Is that anything but a parable? So this too is a parable. If so, said the other, why are his name and the name of his town mentioned?

 

On the "conquest" of Yetzer HaRa

 

Yoma 69b

 

And [they] cried with a great [loud] voice unto the Lord, their God. What did they cry? — Woe, woe, it is he [Yetzer hara'] who has destroyed the Sanctuary, burnt the Temple, killed all the righteous, driven all Israel into exile, and is still dancing around among us! Thou hast surely given him to us so that we may receive reward through him. We want neither him, nor reward through him! Thereupon a tablet fell down from heaven for them, whereupon the word ‘truth’ was inscribed. (R. Hanina said: One may learn therefrom that the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is truth).

They ordered a fast of three days and three nights, whereupon he was surrendered to them. He came forth from the Holy of Holies like a young fiery lion. Thereupon the Prophet said to Israel: This is the evil desire of idolatry, as it is said: And he said: This is wickedness. As they took hold of him a hair of his beard fell out, he raised his voice and it went [was audible] four hundred parasangs. Thereupon they said: How shall we act?

Perhaps, God forbid, they might have mercy upon him from heaven! — The prophet said unto them: Cast him into a leaden pot, closing its opening with lead.

Because lead absorbs the voice, as it is said (Zechariah 5): And he said: This is wickedness. And he cast her down into the midst of the measure, and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. They said: Since this is a time of Grace, let us pray for mercy for the Tempter to evil. They prayed for mercy, and he was handed over to them. He said to them: Realize that if you kill him, the world goes down. They imprisoned him for three days, then looked in the whole land of Israel for a fresh egg and could not find it. Thereupon they said: What shall we do now? Shall we kill him? The world would then go down. Shall we beg for half-mercy? They do not grant ‘halves’ in heaven. They put out his eyes and let him go. It helped inasmuch as he no more entices men to commit incest.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XIX

 

12. Thus it is written, Then wouId I speak, and not fear Him; for I am not so with myself (Job IX, 35). Job said: I am not like him [Adam]: he said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, etc.: thus he hearkened to his wife, but I did not hearken to my wife. R. Abba b. Kahana said: Job's wife was Dinah, for he said to her: Thou speakest as one of the vile women (nebaloth) speaketh (ib. 10).5 What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive eviI (Job loc. cit.)? Said R. Abba: It is not written shall I receive, but shall we receive: shall we be upright in prosperity but not upright in times of evil! For all this did not Job sin with his Iips. Said R. Abba: With his lips he did not sin, but with his heart he sinned.

 

Augustine, On the Apostles' Creed

What a testimony, my brethren, did this holy man deserve of the Lord! And yet him a bad woman sought by her persuasion to deceive, she too representing that serpent, who, like as in Paradise he deceived the man whom God first made, so likewise here by suggesting blasphemy thought to be able to deceive a man who pleased God.

 

Quran 21 (The Prophets)

83 And Job, when he cried unto his Lord, (saying): Lo! adversity afflicteth me, and Thou art Most Merciful of all who show mercy. Then We heard his prayer and removed that adversity from which he suffered, and We gave him his household (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them, a mercy from Our store, and a remembrance for the worshippers;

 

Quran 38

 

41 And remember Our servant Job, when he called upon his Lord: The Shaitan has afflicted me with toil and torment. Stamp with your foot; here is a cool washing-place and a drink. And We gave him his family and the like of them with them, as a mercy from Us, and as a reminder to those possessed of understanding. And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with It and do not break your oath; surely We found him patient; most excellent the servant! Surely he was frequent in returning (to Allah).

 

Qisas el anbiya of el-Kisaai

 

When it was Friday sunset, Gabriel descended and greeted him, saying, "I am Gabriel, who brings you glad tidings, Job, of God's forgiveness." Taking him by the right hand, he said, "Rise, with the permission of God!" And Job stood up.

The earth rushed at his feet and suddenly from beneath him there flowed a spring, whiter than snow, sweeter than honey, more fragrant than camphor. When he drank from it, every single worm on his body fell off, and Job was amazed at the great number of worms. The he washed in the spring and his beauty was restored. Gabriel brought him two vestments, and he put on first one and then the other. He gave him also a quince from Paradise, of which he ate half, leaving the other for his wife, Rahmah.

When Rahmah came and did not see Job in his usual place, she turned to the right and the left, but could find no trace of him. Then Job asked her, "What are looking for, woman?"

"Do you know anything of Job, the afflicted?" she asked. "I left him right here, but now I do not see him."

Job smiled and said, "I am Job." And she rushed to him and they embraced.

Then God restored their possessions, children, servants and livestock, as He hath said, And we restored unto him his family and as many more with them, through our mercy. And God showered down upon him locusts of gold which gathered on his robes; and God spoke to him saying, "Job, art thou not satiated?"

 

The Life of Holy Job

 

14.

Syttyng on the Dongehill, this gode and blessed man,

Cam his wyf and to hym seid, "yet in thi simplicite,

Thou here art permanent corset thi god and dye than,

Thou beste what is thi pacience? Nowe in thyn aduersite,

This shalt thou neuer recouer, trust verily me."

Job said, "folysshe woman, I counsel the be styll,

For be that takyth gode thing sumtyme must take ill."

18.

This sore syk man syttyng on this foule Dongehill,

There cam mynstrelles before hym, pleying meryly,

Mony had he none to reward aftyr his will,

But gave theym the brode Scabbes of his sore body,

Whiche turned vnto pure golde, as sayth the story,

The mynstrelles than shewid and tolde to Job his wife,

That he so reward them where fore she gan to stryfe.

19.

Than saying vnto Job in angre this woman,

"To mynstrelles and players thou [y]evyst golde largely,

But thou hidest thi gode from me lyke a false man";

And with many seducious words openly,

There hym rebuked with langage most sharply,

Job all sufferd and thout yt for the best,

To obserue pacience and so live in rest.

La Pacience de Job

See p. 180 on instruments

According to 1971 edition, p. 368, after l. 5971

Adont vont querir les bestez et menent a Job, et sonant les instrumens et dit….

 

Augustine, On the Creed

 

What a testimony, my brethren, did this holy man deserve of the Lord! And yet him a bad woman sought by her persuasion to deceive, she too representing that serpent, who, like as in Paradise he deceived the man whom God first made, so likewise here by suggesting blasphemy thought to be able to deceive a man who pleased God. What things he suffered, my brethren! Who can have so much to suffer in his estate, his house, his sons, his flesh, yea in his very wife who was left to be his tempter! But even her who was left, the devil would have taken away long ago, but that he kept her to be his helper

 

 

John Calvin, Sermon 9 on Job 2

 

And therefore some expound this sentence thus: Bless the Lord, that is to say, provoke God to anger, and then thou diest for it: revenge thy self on him once ere thou die: for thou seest well enough that he hath deceived thee.

 

And it is not to be doubted but this woman here was an instrument of Satan, and therefore it is not to be marveled if she be like a Proserpine, that is to say a she-devil, a fiend of hell, to set Job in such a rage, that he should lift up himself against God, and fall to rushing against his majesty.

 

But if the matter be thoroughly considered, the natural meaning of it is this rather : Bless God and die : that is to say, well mayst thou persist to bless God as much as thou wilt, but when

 

thou hast all done, thou shalt gain nothing by it, it is but lost labor : thou must die notwithstanding, do what thou canst: it is fully determined that it shall be so : for thou seest that God hath not heard thy prayers, whether thou glorify him or not : it is all one.