Job 28

1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold which they refine;
2 Iron is taken out of the dust, and copper is molten out of the stone.
3 [Man] putteth an end to the darkness, and exploreth to the utmost limit, the stones of darkness and of the shadow of death.
4 He openeth a shaft far from the inhabitants [of the earth]: forgotten of the foot, they hang suspended; away below men they hover.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread, and underneath it is turned up as by fire;
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires, and it hath dust of gold.
7 It is a path no bird of prey knoweth, and the vulture's eye hath not seen it;
8 The proud beasts have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed over it.
9 [Man] putteth forth his hand upon the flinty rock, he overturneth the mountains by the root.
10 He cutteth out channels in the rocks, and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the streams that they drip not, and what is hidden he bringeth forth to light.
12 But wisdom, where shall it be found? and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the value thereof; and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 Choice gold cannot be given for it, nor silver be weighed for its price.
16 It is not set in the balance with gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, and the sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot be compared to it, nor vessels of fine gold be its exchange.
18 Corals and crystal are no more remembered; yea, the acquisition of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not be compared to it, neither shall it be set in the balance with pure gold.
20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
21 For it is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the fowl of the heavens.
22 Destruction and death say, We have heard its report with our ears.
23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth its place:
24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, he seeth under the whole heaven.
25 In making a weight for the wind, and meting out the waters by measure,
26 In appointing a statute for the rain, and a way for the thunder's flash:
27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he established it, yea, and searched it out;
28 And unto man he said, Lo, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart 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 7

  • [a]. Or 'the sojourner.'
  • [b]. Enosh.
  • [c]. Lit. 'The sons of pride;' and so ch. 41.34.
  • [d]. Or 'crystal.'
  • [e]. Only used here, from a root meaning, 'to freeze,' (or 'congeal.')
  • [f]. Or 'pearls,' as Prov. 3.15; 8.11; 20.15; 31.10; Lam. 4.7.
  • [g]. Adonai.

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