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Job 28 Study Notes

28:1-2 Mining and refining were widely known in the ancient world.

28:3-4 At times men were suspended in cages or baskets hung by ropes in order to pick out the minerals at the side of the mineshaft. In some cases they cut horizontal tunnels. In dark places workers illuminated their way with torches.

28:5-6 Sometimes tunnel walls were heated with fire and then quickly drenched with water to crack hard stone. The rocks, which were then hauled to the surface, might contain lapis lazuli (a dark blue stone), which typically contain flecks of gold-colored pyrite.

28:7-8 Neither the bird with keenest sight nor the proudest animal knew the way to the treasures that miners unearthed.

28:9-11 Even in ancient times miners developed and employed remarkable technology.

28:12-14 Despite man’s impressive technical expertise, he does not know the path to wisdom and understanding.

28:15-19 Glass was a valuable commodity in the ancient Near East. Wisdom is more valuable than precious metals and gem stones, including the famed gold of Ophir (see note at 22:23-25) or topaz from Cush (Ethiopia).

28:20-22 Wisdom (v. 12) is unseen by all creatures (see v. 7), living and dead (Lk 16:19-31). Abaddon and Death (here personified) have only heard . . . of it. Seeing and hearing are often paired in the Bible (42:6; cp. Is 64:4; 1Co 2:9).

28:23-27 The all-seeing God, the only true source of wisdom, established and balanced the laws and forces of nature.

28:28 God reveals to man what neither man nor creatures can find out on their own: wisdom resides with God, and man acts wisely when he follows God’s standards and shuns evil (Dt 4:5-6; Ps 111:10; Pr 1:7; 9:10).

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