Job & Adam

The opening of Job resonates interestingly with the book of Genesis.

After an initial test—Job loses his property and family, but nevertheless blesses God—God brags to the satan that Job “still holds fast his integrity” (2:3). But the satan replies that if God would “touch his bone and his flesh…he will curse [God] to [God’s] face” (v. 5). This happens in a quite literal sense in what immediately follows: Job is struck with sores from head to foot (vv. 7-8).

But then follows an interaction (v. 9) between Job and his wife—the one who is “bone of [his] bone and flesh of [his] flesh” (cf. Gen. 2:23)—in which she (1) ridicules him for doing what God just celebrated (“Do you still hold fast your integrity?”), and (2) tells him to do the thing that the satan predicts (“Curse God and die!”).

The intertextual echo of Genesis 2:23 (“this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”), coupled with how the words of Job’s wife echo the preceding dialogue between God and the satan, helps us discover an added layer of significance to the story: Job is “touched” with calamity and temptation via his “bone and flesh” (his wife), and becomes a kind of new Adam, faced (like the first Adam) with the satan’s temptation by the same means. Unlike the first Adam, however, he does not listen to her voice. Rather, he fears God and turns away from evil (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3; 28:28).

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