Job 28

1 "There are mines for silver and places where gold is refined;
2 iron is extracted from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Miners conquer the darkness and dig as far in as they can, to the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 There where no one lives, they break open a shaft; the feet passing over are oblivious to them; far from people, suspended in space, they swing to and fro.
5 "While the earth is [peacefully] yielding bread, underneath, it is being convulsed as if by fire;
6 its rocks have veins of sapphire, and there are flecks of gold.
7 Birds of prey don't know that path, no falcon's eye has seen it,
8 the proud beasts have never set foot on it, no lion has ever passed over it.
9 "[The miner] attacks the flint, overturns mountains at their roots,
10 and cuts out galleries in the rock, all the while watching for something of value.
11 He dams up streams to keep them from flooding, and brings what was hidden out into the light.
12 "But where can wisdom be found? Where is the source of understanding?
13 No one knows its value, and it can't be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, 'It isn't in me,'and the sea says, 'It isn't with me.'
15 It can't be obtained with gold, nor can silver be weighed out to buy it.
16 It can't be purchased with choice gold from Ofir, or with precious onyx or sapphires.
17 Neither gold nor glass can be compared with it; nor can it be exchanged for a bowl of fine gold,
18 let alone coral or crystal; for indeed, the price of wisdom is above that of pearls.
19 It can't be compared with Ethiopian topaz, and it can't be valued with pure gold.
20 "So where does wisdom come from? where is the source of understanding,
21 inasmuch as it is hidden from the eyes of all living and kept secret from the birds flying around in the sky?
22 Destruction and Death say, 'We have heard a rumor about it with our ears.'
23 "God understands its way, and he knows its place.
24 For he can see to the ends of the earth and view everything under heaven.
25 When he determined the force of the wind and parceled out water by measure,
26 when he made a law for the rain and cleared a path for the thunderbolts;
27 then he saw [wisdom] and declared it, yes, he set it up and searched it out.
28 And to human beings he said, 'Look, fear of Adonai is wisdom! Shunning 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.

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