Job 28

Listen to Job 28

Job Continues: Where Is Wisdom?

1 "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they 1refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore.
3 Man puts an end to darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in 2gloom and 3deep darkness.
4 He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives; they are forgotten by travelers; they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
5 As for the earth, 4out of it comes bread, but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the place of 5sapphires,[a] and it has dust of gold.
7 "That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
8 6The proud beasts have not trodden it; 7the lion has not passed over it.
9 "Man puts his hand to 8the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 9"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in 10the land of the living.
14 11The deep says, 'It is not in me,' and the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
15 It 12cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in 13the gold of 14Ophir, in precious 15onyx or 16sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of 17coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 18The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 "From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of 19all living and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 20Abaddon and Death say, 'We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.'
23 21"God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.
24 For he 22looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he 23gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain and 24a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man, 'Behold, 25the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to 26turn away 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.

Cross References 26

  • 1. [Malachi 3:3]
  • 2. Job 10:22
  • 3. See Job 3:5
  • 4. Psalms 104:14
  • 5. Exodus 24:10
  • 6. Job 41:34
  • 7. Job 10:16
  • 8. Deuteronomy 8:15; Deuteronomy 32:13; Psalms 114:8
  • 9. [Proverbs 16:16; Ecclesiastes 7:24]
  • 10. See Psalms 27:13
  • 11. Genesis 49:25
  • 12. Proverbs 3:14; Proverbs 8:10, 11, 19; Proverbs 16:16
  • 13. Psalms 45:9; Isaiah 13:12
  • 14. See 1 Kings 9:28
  • 15. Genesis 2:12
  • 16. Exodus 24:10
  • 17. Ezekiel 27:16
  • 18. Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13
  • 19. Job 12:10; Job 30:23
  • 20. See Job 26:6
  • 21. For ver. 23-28, see Proverbs 8:22-31
  • 22. [Proverbs 15:3; Zechariah 4:10]
  • 23. [Psalms 135:7]
  • 24. Job 38:25
  • 25. Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; [Ecclesiastes 12:13]
  • 26. Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 14:16; Proverbs 16:6

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or lapis lazuli; also verse 16

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