Job’s Wife – a poem by Jennifer Reek

Job’s Wife

There was once a woman in the land of Uz whose name was
Job’s Wife.
What do we know about her?
Not much.
She bears Job seven sons and three daughters,
the story goes.
Do the math: pregnant for seven and a half years,
raises those babies to successful adulthood.
That’s at least twenty years.
And mostly alone,
as Job spends his days with God and ‘friends’.
A great wind comes across the desert,
knocks a son’s house down, killing all the offspring,
who are never called hers,
though she carries them in her womb,
brings them into the world,
cradles, feeds, comforts, teaches, challenges, loves them.
She is remembered only as a scold, with that one mysterious line:
‘Curse/bless God, and die,’ she tells Job,
perhaps tired of his neglect
as if she is not there,
of the endless focus on his problems,
great though they are,
she is there
suffering as much or more.
For her only recorded words,
Job calls her foolish,
and we hear no more of her.
Job’s fortunes are restored,
including another seven sons and three daughters.
Where did they come from?
Do the math: pregnant for seven and a half years,
raises those babies to successful adulthood.
That’s at least twenty years
raising the new children of Job,
who died old and full of days.
Where is Job’s Wife?
What is her name?
Is her heart not broken a thousand fold?

Jennifer Reek holds a PhD from the Centre for Literature, Theology and the Arts, University of Glasgow. She is author of A Poetics of Church: Reading and Writing Sacred Spaces of Poetic Dwelling (2018) and co-editor of the forthcoming Thresholds of Wonder: Poetry, Philosophy and Theology in Conversation.

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