4 out of 4 stars
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The Legacy of Job’s Wife: A Story of Love and Forgiveness is an engaging and touching fictionalized life story of the seemingly faithless and openly criticized wife of one of the most remarkable Biblical figures. It is written by Cynthia J. Koelker.
Job and Ix’ises are childhood friends, and so are their families. Job is a kind, compassionate, generous, and God-fearing boy, while Ix’ises is a spirited, passionate, and tenacious girl. Though they grow up very close, Job doesn’t force his and his family’s beliefs on Ix’ises and her family.
Despite their differences and various circumstances, Job and Ix’ises eventually tie the knot, and become husband and wife. They accumulate unequaled fortune, live in wealth and abundance, and are blessed with ten wonderful children. However, all these blessings disappear in just one day.
While Ix’ises is numbed by paralyzing pain, Job still manages to stay faithful to God. Then, he wakes up with his body covered with festering boils from head to toe. As Job lives in agony, Ix’ises stays by his side enduring the horrible sight and stench of his rotting flesh. Job, then, takes himself to the ash heap to die. However, he stays alive, and his wife’s resolve breaks. Pleading for the end of her husband’s suffering, Ix’ises orders Job to curse God and die.
Told in the first-person perspective of Ix’ises, this book has five parts: Beginnings, The Before Part 1, The Before Part 2, The Unraveling, and The After; and is divided into twenty-nine chapters. With the Book of Job in the Bible for reference, and with an apparently creative imagination, combined with a deep understanding of people’s character and personalities, the author is able to present a realistic depiction of Job, his wife, and their life together, before, during, and after Job’s affliction.
By giving Ix’ises a happy childhood marred with loss and tragedy, in addition to her lack of belief and faith in any Supreme Being, the author is able to justify her behavior in the face of her ultimate loss and during her husband’s tribulations. Moreover, the author illustrates how Job has possibly met his three friends, and gives each of them distinct personalities consistent with their reactions to Job’s fate.
All in all, this is a great book. Not only does it realistically portray the possible events that took place in the Book of Job, but it also presents pertinent issues including discrimination against people with deformities, the common behavior towards people who have fallen from grace, and the lack of initiative to help out the less fortunate citizens like orphans.
While the most important part of the book is, naturally, the realistic portrayal of the life of Job’s wife, what I like most is the empowerment of women and handicapped individuals depicted in Zhabella and her music, Ix’ises and her compositions, B’nahram and his accounting skills, and Hannah and her nurturing skills.
However, the book is not an easy read. It requires focus, careful attention to details, and not just familiarity with, but ample knowledge of the story of Job, for better appreciation.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is well-written, touching, moving, and inspiring. I recommend it to readers who enjoy Bible stories and stories about rising above adversity.
The Legacy of Job's Wife
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