This morning a friend commented that he had heard that in Job 2:9 the word “curse” (“Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”) actually means “to bless”. My friend said that made no sense to him and asked what did I think?
Here is what I found:
This word “curse” in the Hebrew when it was written, is barak (pronounced baw-rak’) and is used in the Bible, interchangeably as
- bless (302 times),
- salute (5 time),
- curse (4 time),
- blaspheme (2 times),
- blessing (2 times),
- praised (2 times),
- kneel down (2 times),
- congratulate (1 time),
- kneel (1 time),
- make to kneel (1 time),
- miscellaneous (8 times); for a total of 330 times
A cultural understanding of the word literally means “a sandy mixture” or “both”. In other words, it can mean either “bless” or “curse” depending on the context.
CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING
Job 2: 1 ¶ Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.
2 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
3 The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
4 Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
5 “However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.”
6 So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”
7 ¶ Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
8 And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”
- the context of Job’s condition,
- Satan’s access to and cursing of Job,
- God’s permission for Satan to test Job,
- the condemning remarks of Job’s friend,
- Job’s wife’s remark,
- Job’s response to his wife and
- the fact that “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
It is easy to see that a better translation would be that Job’s wife’s remark was in the context of sarcasm and mocking. She was saying, in essence, “What’s the point, Job? Look at you, covered with boils and sores! God isn’t hearing you, so just go ahead and “Bless your God, you foolish man – and you are still going to die”!
Job replies to his wife in verse 10, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
She has, in essence, called Job a fool, but Job replies that she is the one sounding like a fool.
1. For you and I to “get it right” we must know and understand God’s Word – in the context it was written so we get the right understanding.
2. It is already decided. It has been written. Read to the end of the book of Job:
Job 42:10 ¶ The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.
16 After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations.
17 And Job died, an old man and full of days.
3. Don’t fall into the trap of despair. It is a trick of the devil. Remember with me…
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
Be assured. God has the whole world, including you and me, in His Hands!
Your Brother and Friend,