Friday Morning Reflections – Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch


Friday Morning Reflections – Wisdom Literature

And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. (Job 42:14-17)

Jemimah, Keziah And Keren-Happuch

The story of Job is a powerful testimony to a devoted faith in God as a righteous man faced an onslaught of personal crisis, health ruin and friends who could do nothing but criticize. Reeling under the terrible calamities that befell him Job struggled to maintain a proper view of his life. The length of the story brings sorrow to the reader for all the pain endured by one man. In the conclusion of the book Elihu rises to the top to bring clarity to Job and his three friends. And then the Lord God Almighty challenges Job from the whirlwind. As the story comes to an end Job has restored to him as much as he had before and even more. The struggle was over. The story completed.

As the dust settles from the story we see a bright day of hope as Job is blessed with more than he ever had before. In an unusual turn of events for scripture it is mentioned he had seven sons and three daughters and then names the three daughters (excluding the names of the sons) and shows how these three daughters received an inheritance among their brothers. Jemimah was the first daughter and her name meant “fair as the day.” Keziah was the second daughter born to Job and her name was likened to the “Hebrew name of the spice which the Greeks and Romans called “cassia,” a spice closely allied to cinnamon, and much esteemed in the East” (Pulpit Commentary). Job’s third daughter Keren-Happuch was derived from a dye used to anoint the upper and lower eyelids revealing the beauty of the eyes. All three girls were so beautiful that none so fair could be found in the land.

Job had many blessings before his journey of suffering. But the blessings after his toil were more than even he could imagine. It was of such significance he gave his daughters an inheritance which was rarely done in the Eastern culture. The sons received inheritance and were named throughout scripture but not the women. However the Holy Spirit left a gem within the text of Job to remind us of our own story of life. There is a parabolic story of our lives taken from the book of Job. We can be blessed with so many things in life and find ourselves facing the struggle of sorrow, death, loss of everything and health reversals. The book of Job is not so much about suffering as it is the victory of faith in a child of God. We can feel the same despair as Job who sought to find answers but to no avail. Many will try to explain and comfort us with their words of wisdom failing to find the true answers apart from God. We then stand in the presence of God in Job 38-42 and witness His great power. It is then we find the blessings of God more than the beginning. Life is like that. So is eternity.

There can be many reasons why the Holy Spirit chooses to name the three daughters and describe their beauty. It could simply be a message for all of us who suffer the pains of life to know that something beyond description is coming. Something so beautiful there is nothing in this life to compare. I can only imagine as the health of Job returned and his children and grandchildren were born to him that he looked into their faces and saw God. He lived to be an old man full of days. And then he found something even more beautiful – eternal life with no more pain, no sorrow, no death and no tears.

Heaven at present is out of sight, but in due time, as snow melts and discovers what it lay upon, so will this visible creation fade away before those greater splendors which are behind it. (John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 4, 1843)

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