The "Problem" of Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch?

November 6, 2011

After he had gone through his intense period of testing and trial, God “turned the captivity of Job” (Job 42:10). The book then ends with a lengthy account of how the “Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning (42:12).

To understand how the Lord’s latter blessing was more than his blessing on him at the beginning, we compare the two accounts carefully:

“And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east” (1:2-3).

“The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. . . . So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-Happuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After this lived Job a hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days” (42:10; 12-17)

The latter account thus states and delineates that God gave Job double the material blessings that he had at the beginning. Job’s latter blessing, however, did not include God’s giving him double the number of sons and daughter as he had before his testing. Instead, God gave him seven sons and three daughters, which was the same number of sons and daughters as he had before.

Interesting differences, however, concerning the information provided about Job’s daughters in the two accounts suggest another aspect of God’s blessing Job more in the latter end than before. Whereas Job’s first three daughters were not named or described concerning their appearance, both names and a description of their appearance are given for his second set of three daughters (42:14-15a).

Both the names (Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch) and the description of their appearance highlight their beauty.* Based on this data, the account of God’s greater latter blessing of Job seems to include strong emphasis on the physical attractiveness of his latter set of daughters.

In view of the teaching of Proverbs 31:30, is this aspect of God’s blessing of Job in the latter end “problematic” because it emphasizes that God gave him surpassingly beautiful daughters instead of saying that God gave him daughters whose fear of Him exceeded that of all the women of the land?

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*”Jemimah means ‘dove,’ Keziah means ‘cinnamon perfume’ . . . and Keren-Happuch means ‘horn of eyepaint’ (i.e, an animal-horn bottle for holding a dye used to make the eyelashes, eyelids, and eyebrows more attractive). These names speak of the girls’ striking beauty, for which they were well known.” (BKC: OT, 776).

Rajesh

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