23rd February 2018

Ahead of His Time 

And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers
Job 42:13-15 (NIVUK)

At the end of the book of Job, Job acknowledges the sovereignty and will of God. It is within this context that Job makes some decisions, including granting his daughters an inheritance with their brothers.

This might seem a given to us in our day and age, but at the time of Job women were often excluded unfairly from inheritance laws. In Numbers 27:1-11 a test case was brought before Moses. The question was: if no sons were available, should daughters inherit from the father? The conclusion was that yes, in such exceptional cases it was possible. Job’s situation was different because in this instance male heirs were available: Job’s noteworthy decision was that the inheritance was not just to go to the male heirs alone, but also to the female heirs. This was remarkable in a society where most of the customs and laws benefitted men more than women, often to the neglect of women altogether.

It’s interesting that his daughters are noted as being beautiful. Jeminah means “dove”, Keziah “cassia” or “cinnamon” thus linked to a sweet fragrance, and Keren-Happuch “eye paint”, in reference to the custom of dying eyelashes and eyebrows to enhance the beauty of the eye. It makes one wonder: had they not been so strikingly beautiful, would Job still have given them an inheritance? Hopefully the answer is yes, he would have!

So much of the Bible contains illustrations of how women were treated badly in the social context of their times, but Job 42 shows how, in response to Job’s understanding more of the nature of God, Job decided to treat his daughters in the same manner as his sons as far as inheritance was concerned. Many years later Peter explained that both men and women are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7 NKJV), but, of course, Job was unaware of this scripture, and even when Peter wrote, women were often regarded as inferior to men.

Thus Job, at least in the matter of ancient inheritance laws, was ahead of his time.

Thank you, Father, for the stories in the Bible that inform and enlighten our view of how we should approach one another. Thank you for the certainty that men and women are, in Jesus, heirs together of your wonderful grace. In Jesus
’ name.

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

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You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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