Job – Chapter 18

Family Matters

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Job’s friend Bildad is the next to speak up. “How long will you drag this out?” he asks. “Just zip it and try to wrap your brain around what we’ve been telling you. Why do you have to put us down and call us dumb? You’re letting your emotions cloud your judgment. After all, you can’t expect G-d to change the way the world is run just to accommodate you!”

“What we told you before is accurate: evil people may prosper in the here and now, but their light is destined to be snuffed out. Their plots and schemes will ultimately be thwarted and prove their undoing. They will be trapped and G-d will give them over to the ones they oppressed. The wicked will know terrors and their families will suffer because of them. They will lead to their families’ ruin until death consumes them. The wicked man will be separated from his wife, who relied on him, as he is sent to the grave. She will remain behind as a widow as his legacy crumbles. He will have no heirs and his name will be eradicated from the world. People who live later will be amazed when they hear how that mighty person was toppled; his contemporaries will tremble that the same fate might befall them. This is the fate of those who refuse to recognize G-d.”

Regarding the families of the wicked, verse 12 literally says “his strength” and “his rib,” which Rashi explains as “his son” and “his wife,” respectively. These interpretations are precedented; Deuteronomy 21:17 refers to a person’s first-born son as the “first fruits of his strength.” And, of course, Eve was crafted from her husband’s rib in Genesis chapter 2.

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