Job 28

1 "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold which they refine.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore.
3 Men put an end to darkness, and search out to the farthest bound the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 They open shafts in a valley away from where men live; they are forgotten by travelers, they hang afar from men, they swing to and fro.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread; but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the place of sapphires, and it has dust of gold.
7 "That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
8 The proud beasts have not trodden it; the lion has not passed over it.
9 "Man puts his hand to the 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 binds up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hid he brings forth to light.
12 "But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know the way to it, and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, 'It is not in me,' and the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot compare with it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 "Whence then comes wisdom? And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hid from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say, 'We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.'
23 "God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight, and meted out the waters by measure;
26 when he made a decree for the rain, and a 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, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart 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

INTRODUCTION TO JOB 28

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