Job 28

Job's Hymn to Wisdom

1 Surely there is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.[a]
2 Iron is taken from the ground, and copper is smelted from ore.[b]
3 A miner puts an end to the darkness; he probes[c] the deepest recesses for ore in the gloomy darkness.
4 He cuts a shaft far from human habitation, [in places] unknown to those who walk above ground.[d] Suspended far away from people, the miners swing back and forth.
5 Food may come from the earth, but below the surface the earth is transformed as by fire.
6 Its rocks are a source of sapphire,[e] containing flecks of gold.[f]
7 No bird of prey knows that path; no falcon's eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts have never walked on it; no lion has ever prowled over it.
9 The miner strikes the flint and transforms the mountains at [their] foundations.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eyes spot every treasure.
11 He dams up the streams from flowing[g] so that he may bring to light what is hidden.
12 But where can wisdom be found, and where is understanding located?
13 No man can know its value,[h] since it cannot be found in the land of the living.[i][j]
14 The ocean depths say, "It's not in me," while the sea declares, "I don't have it."[k]
15 Gold cannot be exchanged for it, and silver cannot be weighed out for its price.
16 Wisdom cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,[l] in precious onyx or sapphire.[m][n]
17 Gold and glass do not compare with it, and articles of fine gold cannot be exchanged for it.[o]
18 Coral and quartz are not worth mentioning. The price of wisdom is beyond pearls.[p]
19 Topaz from Cush cannot compare with it, and it cannot be valued in pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from, and where is understanding located?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing and concealed from the birds of the sky.
22 Abaddon and Death[q] say, "We have heard news of it with our ears."[r]
23 But God understands the way to wisdom, and He knows its location.
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When God fixed the weight of the wind and limited the water by measure,[s]
26 when He established a limit[t] for the rain and a path for the lightning,[u]
27 He considered wisdom and evaluated it; He established it and examined it.
28 He said to mankind, "Look! The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding."[v]

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 22

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

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