Job 28

1 "There are mines where silver is found. There are places where gold is purified.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth. Copper is melted down from ore.
3 A miner lights up the darkness. He searches for ore in the deepest pits. He looks for it in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from where people live he cuts a tunnel. He does it in places where others don't go. Far away from people he swings back and forth on ropes.
5 Food grows on the surface of the earth. But far below, the earth is changed as if by fire.
6 Sapphires are taken from its rocks. Its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird knows the miner's hidden path. No falcon's eye has seen it.
8 Proud animals don't walk on it. Lions don't prowl there.
9 The miner attacks the hardest rock. His strong hands uncover the base of the mountains.
10 He tunnels through the rock. His eyes see all of its treasures.
11 He searches the places where the rivers begin. He brings hidden things out into the light.
12 "And where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding live?
13 No one knows how much it's worth. It can't be found anywhere in the world.
14 The ocean says, 'It's not in me.' The sea says, 'It's not here either.'
15 It can't be bought with the finest gold. Its price can't be weighed out in silver.
16 It can't be bought with gold from Ophir. It can't be bought with priceless onyx or sapphires.
17 Gold or crystal can't compare with it. It can't be bought with jewels made of gold.
18 Don't bother to talk about coral and jasper. Wisdom is worth far more than rubies.
19 A topaz from Cush can't compare with it. It can't be bought with the purest gold.
20 "So where does wisdom come from? Where does understanding live?
21 It's hidden from the eyes of every living thing. Even the birds of the air can't find it.
22 Death and the Grave say, 'Only reports about it have reached our ears.'
23 But God understands the way to it. He's the only one who knows where it lives.
24 He sees from one end of the earth to the other. He views everything in the world.
25 He made the mighty wind. He measured out the waters.
26 He gave orders for the rain to fall. He made paths for the thunderstorms.
27 Then he looked at wisdom and set its price. He established it and put it to the test.
28 He said to human beings, 'Have respect for me. That will prove you are wise. Avoid evil. That will show you have 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