Job 28

Expertise in mining

1 There is a sure source of silver, a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth; rock is smelted into copper.
3 Humans put an end to darkness, dig for ore to the farthest depths, into stone in utter darkness,
4 open a shaft away from any inhabitant, places forgotten by those on foot, apart from any human they hang and sway.
5 Earth—from it comes food— is turned over below ground as by fire.
6 Its rocks are the source for lapis lazuli; there is gold dust in it.
7 A path— no bird of prey knows it; a hawk's eye hasn't seen it;
8 proud beasts haven't trodden on it; a lion hasn't crossed over it.
9 Humans thrust their hands into flint, pull up mountains from their roots,
10 cut channels into rocks; their eyes see everything precious.
11 They dam up the sources of rivers; hidden things come to light.

Wisdom’s value

12 But wisdom, where can it be found; where is the place of understanding?
13 Humankind doesn't know its value; it isn't found in the land of the living.
14 The Deep says, "It's not with me"; the Sea says, "Not alongside me!"
15 It can't be bought with gold; its price can't be measured in silver,
16 can't be weighed against gold from Ophir, with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor glass can compare with it; she can't be acquired with gold jewelry.
18 Coral and jasper shouldn't be mentioned; the price of wisdom is more than rubies.
19 Cushite topaz won't compare with her; she can't be set alongside pure gold.
20 But wisdom, where does she come from? Where is the place of understanding?
21 She's hidden from the eyes of all the living, concealed from birds of the sky.
22 Destruction and Death have said, "We've heard a report of her."
23 God understands her way; he knows her place;
24 for he looks to the ends of the earth and surveys everything beneath the heavens.
25 In order to weigh the wind, to prepare a measure for waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain, a path for thunderbolts,
27 then he observed it, spoke of it, established it, searched it out,
28 and said to humankind: "Look, the fear of the LORD is wisdom; turning from evil is understanding."

Job 28 Commentary

Chapter 28

Concerning wordly wealth. (1-11) Wisdom is of inestimable value. (12-19) Wisdom is the gift of God. (20-28)

Verses 1-11 Job maintained that the dispensations of Providence were regulated by the highest wisdom. To confirm this, he showed of what a great deal of knowledge and wealth men may make themselves masters. The caverns of the earth may be discovered, but not the counsels of Heaven. Go to the miners, thou sluggard in religion, consider their ways, and be wise. Let their courage and diligence in seeking the wealth that perishes, shame us out of slothfulness and faint-heartedness in labouring for the true riches. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! How much easier, and safer! Yet gold is sought for, but grace neglected. Will the hopes of precious things out of the earth, so men call them, though really they are paltry and perishing, be such a spur to industry, and shall not the certain prospect of truly precious things in heaven be much more so?

Verses 12-19 Job here speaks of wisdom and understanding, the knowing and enjoying of God and ourselves. Its worth is infinitely more than all the riches in this world. It is a gift of the Holy Ghost which cannot be bought with money. Let that which is most precious in God's account, be so in ours. Job asks after it as one that truly desired to find it, and despaired of finding it any where but in God; any way but by Divine revelation.

Verses 20-28 There is a two-fold wisdom; one hid in God, which is secret, and belongs not to us; the other made known by him, and revealed to man. One day's events, and one man's affairs, have such reference to, and so hang one upon another, that He only, to whom all is open, and who sees the whole at one view, can rightly judge of every part. But the knowledge of God's revealed will is within our reach, and will do us good. Let man look upon this as his wisdom, To fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. Let him learn that, and he is learned enough. Where is this wisdom to be found? The treasures of it are hid in Christ, revealed by the word, received by faith, through the Holy Ghost. It will not feed pride or vanity, or amuse our vain curiosity. It teaches and encourages sinners to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil, in the exercise of repentance and faith, without desiring to solve all difficulties about the events of this life.

Footnotes 5

Chapter Summary


The design of this chapter is either to show the folly of such who are very diligent in their search and pursuit after earthly things, and neglect an inquiry after that which is infinitely more valuable, true wisdom; or rather to observe, that though things the most secret, and which are hidden in the bowels of the earth, may be investigated and discovered by the sagacity and diligence of men, yet wisdom cannot, especially the wisdom of God in his providences, which are past finding out; and particularly in what concerns the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous; the reason of which men should be content to be ignorant of for the present, and be studious to possess that wisdom which is attainable, and be thankful for it, if they have it; which lies in the fear of the Lord, and a departure from evil, with which this chapter concludes. It begins with setting forth the sagacity of men in searching and finding out useful metals, and other things the earth produces; the difficulty, fatigue, and labour, that attend such a search, and the dangers they are exposed unto in it, Job 28:1-11; then it declares the unsearchableness of wisdom, its superior excellency to things the most valuable, and that it is not to be found by sea or land, or among any of the creatures, Job 28:12-22; and that God only knows its way and place, who has sought it out, prepared and declared it, Job 28:23-27; and that which he has thought fit to make known of it, and is most for his glory and the good of men, is, that it is to fear God, and depart from evil, Job 28:28.

Job 28 Commentaries