What do you think of when you hear the name Jemimah? Most Americans would immediately associate it with pancakes. In 1889, the Pearl Milling Company began using the name Aunt Jemima to brand its ready-mix pancakes and the name has lasted until now. However, to have no associations with perceived racial stereotyping, the current brand owner will rename the product.
Who was Jemimah? Stories about the original “Aunt Jemima” have swirled for years, with some amount of controversy over their accuracy. To truly answer the question, however, go to the book of Job and read of Job’s reward after testing. The text states, “He had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father game them an inheritance among their brothers” (42:13-15). Uniquely, these daughters are the only women in the Bible to have their names listed, but not their brothers’. There is, however, more to be gained from this than simple Bible trivia.
Job’s reward provides a glimpse into the character of God. Though God allowed His servant to be tested, He refused to allow these tests to become unpassable; God placed parameters on Satan, not allowing him to destroy Job. Following the tests, God rewarded Job for his fidelity: “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (12a). While Job certainly missed and grieved for his children who were killed, the Lord allowed more children to be born, with the daughters designated as the most beautiful in the land.
There is a lesson for us. Times of testing will come and will sometimes take the things we value. Still, God rewards the faithful. When Peter told the Lord the apostles had given up everything to follow Him, Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Jemimah serves as a good reminder that God richly blesses those who maintain their loyalty to Him.