Job 28

1 Surely there is for silver a source, And a place for the gold they refine;
2 Iron from the dust is taken, And [from] the firm stone brass.
3 An end hath he set to darkness, And to all perfection he is searching, A stone of darkness and death-shade.
4 A stream hath broken out from a sojourner, Those forgotten of the foot, They were low, from man they wandered.
5 The earth! from it cometh forth bread, And its under-part is turned like fire.
6 A place of the sapphire [are] its stones, And it hath dust of gold.
7 A path -- not known it hath a ravenous fowl, Nor scorched it hath an eye of the kite,
8 Nor trodden it have the sons of pride, Not passed over it hath the fierce lion.
9 Against the flint he sent forth his hand, He overturned from the root mountains.
10 Among rocks, brooks he hath cleaved, And every precious thing hath his eye seen.
11 From overflowing floods he hath bound, And the hidden thing bringeth out [to] light.
12 And the wisdom -- whence is it found? And where [is] this, the place of understanding?
13 Man hath not known its arrangement, Nor is it found in the land of the living.
14 The deep hath said, `It [is] not in me,' And the sea hath said, `It is not with me.'
15 Gold is not given for it, Nor is silver weighed -- its price.
16 It is not valued with pure gold of Ophir, With precious onyx and sapphire,
17 Not equal it do gold and crystal, Nor [is] its exchange a vessel of fine gold.
18 Corals and pearl are not remembered, The acquisition of wisdom [is] above rubies.
19 Not equal it doth the topaz of Cush, With pure gold it is not valued.
20 And the wisdom -- whence doth it come? And where [is] this, the place of understanding?
21 It hath been hid from the eyes of all living. And from the fowl of the heavens It hath been hidden.
22 Destruction and death have said: `With our ears we have heard its fame.'
23 God hath understood its way, And He hath known its place.
24 For He to the ends of the earth doth look, Under the whole heavens He doth see,
25 To make for the wind a weight, And the waters He meted out in measure.
26 In His making for the rain a limit, And a way for the brightness of the voices,
27 Then He hath seen and declareth it, He hath prepared it, and also searched it out,
28 And He saith to man: -- `Lo, fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom, And to turn 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