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Job 28:1-28. JOB'S SPEECH CONTINUED.In the twenty-seventh chapter Job had tacitly admitted that the statement of the friends was often true, that God vindicated His justice by punishing the wicked here; but still the affliction of the godly remained unexplained. Man has, by skill, brought the precious metals from their concealment. But the Divine Wisdom, which governs human affairs, he cannot similarly discover (Job 28:12, &c.). However, the image from the same metals (Job 23:10) implies Job has made some way towards solving the riddle of his life; namely, that affliction is to him as the refining fire is to gold.
1. vein--a mine, from which it goes forth, Hebrew, "is
2. brass--that is, copper; for brass is a mixed metal of copper and zinc, of modern invention. Iron is less easily discovered, and wrought, than copper; therefore copper was in common use long before iron. Copper-stone is called "cadmium" by PLINY [Natural History, 34:1; 36:21]. Iron is fitly said to be taken out of the "earth" (dust), for ore looks like mere earth.
3. "Man makes an end of darkness," by exploring the darkest depths
4. Three hardships in mining: 1. "A stream (flood) breaks out at the side of the stranger"; namely, the miner, a strange newcomer into places heretofore unexplored; his surprise at the sudden stream breaking out beside him is expressed (English Version, "from the inhabitant"). 2. "Forgotten (unsupported) by the foot they hang," namely, by ropes, in descending. In the Hebrew, "Lo there" precedes this clause, graphically placing it as if before the eyes. "The waters" is inserted by English Version. "Are dried up," ought to be, "hang," "are suspended." English Version perhaps understood, waters of whose existence man was previously unconscious, and near which he never trod; and yet man's energy is such, that by pumps, &c., he soon causes them to "dry up and go away" [So HERDER]. 3. "Far away from men, they move with uncertain step"; they stagger; not "they are gone" [UMBREIT].
5. Its fertile surface yields food; and yet "beneath it is turned up as it were with fire." So PLINY [Natural History, 33] observes on the ingratitude of man who repays the debt he owes the earth for food, by digging out its bowels. "Fire" was used in mining [UMBREIT]. English Version is simpler, which means precious stones which glow like fire; and so Job 28:6 follows naturally (Eze 28:14).
6. Sapphires are found in alluvial soil near rocks and embedded in gneiss. The ancients distinguished two kinds: 1. The real, of transparent blue: 2. That improperly so called, opaque, with gold spots; that is, lapis lazuli. To the latter, looking like gold dust, UMBREIT refers "dust of gold." English Version better, "The stones of the earth are, &c., and the clods of it (Vulgate) are gold"; the parallel clauses are thus neater.
7. fowl--rather, "ravenous bird," or "eagle," which is the most sharp-sighted of birds (Isa 46:11). A vulture will spy a carcass at an amazing distance. The miner penetrates the earth by a way unseen by birds of keenest sight.
8. lion's whelps--literally, "the sons of pride," that is, the fiercest
11. floods--"He restrains the streams from weeping"; a poetical expression for the trickling subterranean rills, which impede him; answering to the first clause of Job 28:10; so also the two latter clauses in each verse correspond.
12. Can man discover the Divine Wisdom by which the world is
governed, as he can the treasures hidden in the earth? Certainly not.
Divine Wisdom is conceived as a person
distinct from God
Pr 8:23, 27).
The Almighty Word, Jesus Christ, we know now, is that Wisdom.
The order of the world was originated and is maintained by the
breathing forth (Spirit) of Wisdom, unfathomable and unpurchasable by
the only aspect of it, which relates to, and may be understood by,
man, is stated.
15. Not the usual word for "gold"; from a Hebrew root, "to shut
up" with care; that is, purest gold
16. gold of Ophir--the most precious (See on
17. crystal--Or else glass, if then known, very costly. From a
root, "to be transparent."
18. Red coral
19. Ethiopia--Cush in the Hebrew. Either Ethiopia, or the south of Arabia, near the Tigris.
20. Job 28:12 repeated with great force.
21. None can tell whence or where, seeing it, &c.
22. That is, the abodes of destruction and of the dead. "Death"
put for Sheol
(Job 30:23; 26:6;
23. God hath, and is Himself, wisdom.
24. "Seeth (all that is) under," &c.
25. God has adjusted the weight of the winds, so seemingly imponderable, lest, if too weighty, or too light, injury should be caused. He measureth out the waters, fixing their bounds, with wisdom as His counsellor (Pr 8:27-31; Isa 40:12).
27. declare--manifest her, namely, in His works
(Ps 19:1, 2).
So the approval bestowed by the Creator on His works
(Ge 1:10, 31);
compare the "rejoicing" of wisdom at the same
which UMBREIT translates; "I was the skilful
artificer by His side").
28. Rather, "But unto man," &c. My wisdom is that whereby all things are governed; Thy wisdom is in fearing God and shunning evil, and in feeling assured that My wisdom always acts aright, though thou dost not understand the principle which regulates it; for example, in afflicting the godly (Joh 7:17). The friends, therefore, as not comprehending the Divine Wisdom, should not infer Job's guilt from his sufferings. Here alone in Job the name of God, Adonai, occurs; "Lord" or "master," often applied to Messiah in Old Testament. Appropriately here, in speaking of the Word or Wisdom, by whom the world was made (Pr 8:22-31; Joh 1:3; Ecclesiasticus 24:1-34).