Job 28

1 There are mines where silver is dug; There are places where gold is refined.
2 We dig iron out of the ground And melt copper out of the stones.
3 Miners explore the deepest darkness. They search the depths of the earth And dig for rocks in the darkness.
4 Far from where anyone lives Or human feet ever travel, They dig the shafts of mines. There they work in loneliness, Clinging to ropes in the pits.
5 Food grows out of the earth, But underneath the same earth All is torn up and crushed.
6 The stones of the earth contain sapphires, And its dust contains gold.
7 No hawk sees the roads to the mines, And no vulture ever flies over them.
8 No lion or other fierce beast Ever travels those lonely roads.
9 Miners dig the hardest rocks, Dig mountains away at their base.
10 As they tunnel through the rocks, They discover precious stones.
11 They dig to the sources of rivers And bring to light what is hidden.
12 But where can wisdom be found? 1 Where can we learn to understand?
13 Wisdom is not to be found among mortals; 2 No one knows its true value.
14 The depths of the oceans and seas Say that wisdom is not found there.
15 It cannot be bought with silver or gold.
16 The finest gold and jewels Cannot equal its value.
17 It is worth more than gold, Than a gold vase or finest glass.
18 The value of wisdom is more Than coral or crystal or rubies.
19 The finest topaz and the purest gold Cannot compare with the value of wisdom.
20 Where, then, is the source of wisdom? Where can we learn to understand?
21 No living creature can see it, Not even a bird in flight.
22 Even death and destruction Admit they have heard only rumors.
23 God alone knows the way, 3 Knows the place where wisdom is found,
24 Because he sees the ends of the earth, Sees everything under the sky.
25 When God gave the wind its power And determined the size of the sea;
26 When God decided where the rain would fall, And the path that the thunderclouds travel;
27 It was then he saw wisdom and tested its worth - 4 He gave it his approval.
28 God said to us humans, 5 "To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord. To understand, you must turn from evil."

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 5

  • 1. +228.12Ben Sira 1.6;Baruch 3.15.
  • 2. +228.13Baruch 3.29-31.
  • 3. +228.23Baruch 3.35-37.
  • 4. +228.27Ben Sira 1.9, 19.
  • 5. 28.28Psalms 111.10;Proverbs 1.7; 9.10.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. [Some ancient translations] dig to the sources of; [Hebrew] bind from trickling.

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

Scripture taken from the Good News Translation - Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.