Job Chapter Twenty-Eight
Job puts aside his sores, troubles, and afflictions in this chapter and speaks like a philosopher.
Read Job 28:1-11
v1-2. “SURELY THERE IS A VEIN FOR THE SILVER, AND A PLACE FOR GOLD where THEY FINE it. IRON IS TAKEN OUT OF THE EARTH, AND BRASS is MOLTEN out of THE STONE.”
The wealth of this world is hidden in the earth. There they are found mixed with a great deal of dirt, stone and other dross from which it has to be removed. Wisdom, likewise, often must be sought out to be found and is precious as this precious metal. Iron and brass, on the other hand, are much more plentiful and at the same time have a greater requirement by mankind.
v3-4 “HE SETTETH AN END TO DARKNESS, AND SEARCHETH OUT ALL PERFECTION: THE STONES OF DARKNESS, AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH. THE FLOOD BREAKETH OUT FROM THE INHABITANT; even the waters FORGOTTEN OF THE FOOT: THEY ARE DRIED UP, THEY ARE GONE AWAY FROM MEN.”
Man works to contrive ways and means to secure this wealth in the earth. They set out with their lamps in the darkness and if one method fails then they must try another until they have found a way of gaining the earth’s wealth. They work in the shadow of death, within the earth where the waters are found that can break into a mine and destroy their lives. Even then these elusive treasures can dry up and go away.
v5. “as for THE EARTH, OUT OF IT COMETH BREAD: AND UNDER IT IS TURNED UP AS IT WERE FIRE.”
Out of the earth comes bread, that is, the means to provide bread, the necessary support of life. Therefore man is maintained by the fruit of the earth and is reminded of his own origin. Those things found in the earth that are related to fire, the precious stones that sparkle as fire and fuel that is used to make fire.
v6. “THE STONES OF IT are THE PLACE OF SAPPHIRES: AND IT HATH DUST OF GOLD.”
has placed these things out of our sight and under our feet. This teaches us not to set
our eyes upon them nor to set our hearts upon them that we may not
become entangled in devoting our lives to securing riches.
Proverbs 23:4-5 “LABOUR NOT TO BE RICH; CEASE FROM THINE OWN WISDOM. WILT THOU SET THINE EYES UPON THAT WHICH IS NOT? FOR riches CERTAINLY MAKE THEMSELVES WINGS; THEY FLY AWAY AS AN EAGLE TOWARD HEAVEN.”
v7. “there is A PATH WHICH NO FOWL KNOWETH, AND WHICH THE VULTURE'S EYE HATH NOT SEEN:”
They follow a path under the earth which no fowl knows, even those who eye is piercing and quick-sighted. A way that none of God’s creatures see or know about except man.
v8. “THE LION'S WHELPS HAVE NOT TRODDEN IT, NOR THE FIERCE LION PASSED BY IT.”
A path that the lion’s whelps, kits, little ones have not know nor even the fiercest of lions has trodden, because it is hidden from them.
v9. “HE PUTTETH FORTH HIS HAND UPON THE ROCK; HE OVERTURNETH THE MOUNTAINS BY THE ROOTS.”
Those that seek after gold and silver put their hand upon the rocks and digs as though to overturn a mountain by the roots. How foolish man is to add to his own burdens.
v10. “HE CUTTETH OUT RIVERS AMONG THE ROCKS; AND HIS EYE SEETH EVERY PRECIOUS THING.”
What pains men take, and what vast costs they endure? What hazards they run. Those that dig in the mines have their lives in their hands; for they are obligated to maintain constant vigilance so that they aren’t flooded, gassed or covered by a cave in. All for something that will perish, that will be burned up when this earth is brought to an end. Oh! if man could but be persuaded to spend a fraction of that kind of effort toward his eternal destiny.
v11. “HE BINDETH THE FLOODS FROM OVERFLOWING; AND the thing that is HID BRINGETH HE FORTH TO LIGHT.”
What was hidden under the ground is brought to light. The metal that was hidden in the rock is refined and brought forth pure out of the furnace and then man thinks that his efforts were well rewarded.
Read Job 28:12-19
v12. “BUT WHERE SHALL WISDOM BE FOUND? AND WHERE is THE PLACE OF UNDERSTANDING?”
Job, having spoken of the wealth of this world, and the value that men put upon it now turns to those things that are true wealth; wisdom and understanding. Where is true wisdom to be found? Not vain philosophies, not carnal policy, but true wisdom, the wisdom of our creator. For only that which improves our minds, and secures our eternal and spiritual welfare is true wisdom.
v13. “MAN KNOWETH NOT THE PRICE THEREOF; NEITHER IS IT FOUND IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.”
True wisdom is so precious that man cannot even calculate a price for it. It isn’t found in the land of the living. Men don’t know its worth. They don’t recognize its value, their need for it, and what tremendous advantage that it would be to them.
v14. “THE DEPTH SAITH, IT is NOT IN ME: AND THE SEA SAITH, it is NOT WITH ME.”
The miner who seeks after the wealth cannot find this rare jewel in the bowels of the earth. We normally don’t think of the sea as a source of wealth but gem quality coral is found there; the most valuable so deep that it can only be found and brought out by robots. Those who seek their living from the sea cannot find any jewel so precious, even though they search the entire world or dive to the deepest depths.
Romans 11:33-34 “O THE DEPTH OF THE RICHES BOTH OF THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD! HOW UNSEARCHABLE are HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS WAYS PAST FINDING OUT! FOR WHO HATH KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD? OR WHO HATH BEEN HIS COUNSELLOR?”
v15-16. “IT CANNOT BE GOTTEN FOR GOLD, NEITHER SHALL SILVER BE WEIGHED for THE PRICE THEREOF. IT CANNOT BE VALUED WITH THE GOLD OF OPHIR, WITH THE PRECIOUS ONYX, OR THE SAPPHIRE.”
The value of wisdom is greater than gold, or silver, or the precious gold of Ophir, onyx, sapphire, or any precious stone. Job compares wisdom to the most precious stones and metals of the world and it does not compare.
v17. “THE GOLD AND THE CRYSTAL CANNOT EQUAL IT: AND THE EXCHANGE OF IT shall not be for JEWELS OF FINE GOLD.”
The finest gold or most beautiful crystal cannot equal it and those who have it will not trade or exchange it for jewels of the finest gold.
Proverbs “RECEIVE MY INSTRUCTION, AND NOT SILVER; AND KNOWLEDGE RATHER THAN CHOICE GOLD.”
Proverbs “HOW MUCH BETTER is it TO GET WISDOM THAN GOLD! AND TO GET UNDERSTANDING RATHER TO BE CHOSEN THAN SILVER!”
v18-19. “NO MENTION SHALL BE MADE OF CORAL, OR OF
PEARLS: FOR THE PRICE OF WISDOM is ABOVE RUBIES. THE TOPAZ OF
Proverbs “FOR WISDOM is BETTER THAN RUBIES; AND ALL THE THINGS THAT MAY BE DESIRED ARE NOT TO BE COMPARED TO IT.”
Proverbs “MY FRUIT is BETTER THAN GOLD, YEA, THAN FINE GOLD; AND MY REVENUE THAN CHOICE SILVER.”
Read Job 28:20-28
v20. “WHENCE THEN COMETH WISDOM? AND WHERE is THE PLACE OF UNDERSTANDING?”
Where does wisdom come from? Job asks this question again because it is too important, too critical to our spiritual well being to just drop. Where is the place of understanding? There are two kinds of wisdom addressed in this chapter; one is hidden in God, which is secret and doesn’t belong to us; the other is made known by God and revealed to mankind through his word.
v21-22. “SEEING IT IS HID FROM THE EYES OF ALL LIVING, AND KEPT CLOSE FROM THE FOWLS OF THE AIR. DESTRUCTION AND DEATH SAY, WE HAVE HEARD THE FAME THEREOF WITH OUR EARS.”
Much of God’s wisdom is hidden from us. That which would explain to us how God’s providence works is an example. That is hidden from all living and even though they fly high and explore the open firmament of heaven they can’t reach high enough to see it. Man is wiser than the fowls of the air but we fall short of this wisdom as well. We have heard of its fame, we know that the providence of God exists but we don’t understand it because God has not revealed it to us.
v23. “GOD UNDERSTANDETH THE WAY THEREOF, AND HE KNOWETH THE PLACE THEREOF.”
God knows the way of this wisdom, of course, as God knows everything that there is to know. But this wisdom is hidden in God from us and only revealed in His own good time and when he wishes to reveal it to us. Just as Paul speaks of the gospel to the Ephesian brethren:
Ephesians 3:9 “AND TO MAKE ALL men SEE WHAT is THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY, WHICH FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD HATH BEEN HID IN GOD, WHO CREATED ALL THINGS BY JESUS CHRIST:”
Men do what they did not plan to do but God never does. New occurrences, new experiences, give us new ideas, teach us to do things differently and makes us see that we may have been doing something wrong. Men do sometimes even do things that they can’t give a good reason for, but God is not that way. God is unalterable, He has reasons what he does and doesn’t deviate from his plan and brings it to the completion he desires.
v24-25. “FOR HE LOOKETH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, and SEETH UNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN; TO MAKE THE WEIGHT FOR THE WINDS; AND HE WEIGHETH THE WATERS BY MEASURE.”
He governs the world around us. All events are either directed or allowed by Him. He is omniscient for he looks from the beginning to the end of the earth, both in place and time. God is also all powerful, he can control the winds and the waters; look at the example of Jesus walking on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, of Jonah when he tried to run from God. God, in effect, weighs and measures the very drops of water that he provides to all mankind through his providence allotting the portion for each wave or tide and each shower.
v26-27. “WHEN HE MADE A DECREE FOR THE RAIN, AND A WAY FOR THE LIGHTNING OF THE THUNDER: THEN DID HE SEE IT, AND DECLARE IT; HE PREPARED IT, YEA, AND SEARCHED IT OUT.”
When he set the course of nature he foreordained or settled all the operations that we call nature. Each element was prepared by God for its purpose and function. He even prepared the lightning for the rain:
Psalms 135:7 “HE CAUSETH THE VAPOURS TO ASCEND FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH; HE MAKETH LIGHTNINGS FOR THE RAIN; HE BRINGETH THE WIND OUT OF HIS TREASURIES.”
The prophet Jeremiah points out the same thing with almost the same words in:
Jeremiah “WHEN HE UTTERETH HIS VOICE, THERE IS A MULTITUDE OF WATERS IN THE HEAVENS, AND HE CAUSETH THE VAPOURS TO ASCEND FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH; HE MAKETH LIGHTNINGS WITH RAIN, AND BRINGETH FORTH THE WIND OUT OF HIS TREASURES.”
v28. “AND UNTO MAN HE SAID, BEHOLD, THE FEAR OF THE LORD, THAT is WISDOM; AND TO DEPART FROM EVIL is UNDERSTANDING.”
It was long and hard but Job finally tells us what true wisdom and understanding is – Wisdom is the fear of the Lord and understanding is to depart from evil. Thus wisdom and understanding are available to us; we must but search His revealed will to find it and to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” (James ) is understanding. As the psalmist wrote:
Psalms 111:10 “THE FEAR OF THE LORD is THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM: A GOOD UNDERSTANDING HAVE ALL THEY THAT DO his commandments: HIS PRAISE ENDURETH FOR EVER.”
Proverbs 1:7 “THE FEAR OF THE LORD is THE BEGINNING OF KNOWLEDGE: but FOOLS DESPISE WISDOM AND INSTRUCTION.”
Proverbs “THE FEAR OF THE LORD is THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM: AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY is UNDERSTANDING.”