Job 28

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

1 There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness; they search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft, in places untouched by human feet; far from other people they dangle and sway.
5 The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire;
6 lapis lazuli comes from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there.
9 People assault the flinty rock with their hands and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10 They tunnel through the rock; their eyes see all its treasures.
11 They search[a] the sources of the rivers and bring hidden things to light.
12 But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?
13 No mortal comprehends its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, “It is not in me”; the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20 Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say, “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun 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 48

  • 1. Psalms 12:6; Psalms 66:10; Jeremiah 9:7; Daniel 11:35; Malachi 3:3
  • 2. Deuteronomy 8:9
  • 3. Ecclesiastes 1:13; Ecclesiastes 7:25; Ecclesiastes 8:17
  • 4. S Job 26:10; Job 38:19
  • 5. ver 10; 2 Samuel 5:8
  • 6. Genesis 1:29; Psalms 104:14; Psalms 145:15
  • 7. ver 16; Song of Songs 5:14; Isaiah 54:11
  • 8. S Job 22:24
  • 9. ver 21
  • 10. Job 41:34
  • 11. Isaiah 35:9
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 8:15
  • 13. John 2:6
  • 14. S ver 4
  • 15. Proverbs 2:4
  • 16. S Genesis 7:11
  • 17. Isaiah 48:6; Jeremiah 33:3
  • 18. ver 28; Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 3:13-20; Proverbs 8:1; Proverbs 9:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:24
  • 19. ver 20,23
  • 20. Proverbs 3:15; Matthew 13:44-46
  • 21. Deuteronomy 29:29; Psalms 27:13; Psalms 52:5; Psalms 116:9; Psalms 142:5; Isaiah 38:11; Jeremiah 11:19; Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 32:24
  • 22. Psalms 42:7; Romans 10:7
  • 23. Deuteronomy 30:13
  • 24. ver 17; Proverbs 3:13-14; Proverbs 8:10-11; Proverbs 16:16; Acts 8:20
  • 25. S Genesis 10:29
  • 26. S ver 6; S Exodus 24:10
  • 27. Psalms 119:72; Proverbs 8:10
  • 28. S ver 15; Proverbs 16:16
  • 29. Ezekiel 27:16
  • 30. Revelation 21:11
  • 31. Proverbs 3:15; Proverbs 8:11
  • 32. Exodus 28:17
  • 33. Isaiah 11:11
  • 34. Proverbs 3:14-15; Proverbs 8:10-11,19; Proverbs 8:19
  • 35. S Job 9:4; ver 23,28
  • 36. ver 7
  • 37. S Job 20:26; S Revelation 9:11; Job 26:6
  • 38. Proverbs 8:32-36
  • 39. Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ecclesiastes 8:17
  • 40. S Job 9:4; S Job 22:22; Proverbs 8:22-31
  • 41. Job 36:32; Job 37:3; Job 38:18,24,35; Psalms 33:13-14; Psalms 66:7; Isaiah 11:12
  • 42. S Joshua 3:11; S Job 10:4; S Hebrews 4:13; Proverbs 15:3
  • 43. S Job 12:15; Job 38:8-11; Psalms 135:7
  • 44. Job 36:28; Job 37:6; Jeremiah 51:16
  • 45. Job 36:33; Job 37:3,8,11; Job 38:25,27; Psalms 65:12; Psalms 104:14; Psalms 147:8; Isaiah 35:7
  • 46. Proverbs 3:19; Proverbs 8:22-31
  • 47. Psalms 11:5; Psalms 97:10; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 8:13
  • 48. S Exodus 20:20; S Deuteronomy 4:6; S Job 37:24; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew "They dam up"
  • [b]. Hebrew "Abaddon"

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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