Job 28

1 "There is a place where silver is mined and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the ground, and rocks are melted for [their] copper.
3 [Humans] bring an end to darkness [there] and search to the limit of the gloomy, pitch-black rock.
4 They open up a mineshaft far from civilization, where no one has set foot. [In this shaft] men dangle and swing back and forth.
5 "Above the ground food grows, but beneath it the food decays as if [it were burned] by fire.
6 That place's stones are sapphire. Its dust contains gold.
7 No bird of prey knows the way to it. No hawk's eye has ever seen it.
8 No proud beast has ever walked on it. No ferocious lion has ever passed over it.
9 "Humans exert their power on the flinty rocks and overturn mountains at their base.
10 They cut out mineshafts in the rocks. Their eyes see every precious thing.
11 They explore the sources of rivers so that they bring hidden treasures to light.
12 "Where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding live?
13 No mortal knows where it is. It cannot be found in this world of the living.
14 The deep ocean says, 'It isn't in me.' The sea says, 'It isn't with me.'
15 You cannot obtain it with solid gold or buy it for any amount of silver.
16 It can't be bought with the gold from Ophir or with precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Neither gold nor glass can equal its value. Nor can gold ornaments, jewels, or crystal
18 be exchanged for it. Wisdom is more valuable than gems.
19 Topaz from Ethiopia cannot equal its value. It cannot be bought for [any amount of] pure gold.
20 "Where does wisdom come from? Where does understanding live?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living being, hidden even from the birds in the air.
22 Decay and Death say, 'We've heard a rumor about it.'
23 "God understands the way to it. He knows where it lives
24 because he can see to the ends of the earth and observe everything under heaven.
25 When he gave the wind its force and measured the water [in the sea],
26 when he made rules for the rain and set paths for the thunderstorms,
27 then he saw it and announced it. He confirmed it and examined it.
28 So he told humans, 'The fear of the Lord is wisdom! To stay 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.

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