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Bible Commentaries
Job 28

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-28

1. Job’s discourse on God’s wisdom ch. 28

Because the speech in this chapter is more soliloquy than dialogue, some scholars have concluded that someone other than Job spoke it: Zophar, Bildad, or God. One writer argued for it’s being a speech by none of the characters, but a composition by the storyteller in which he expressed his own point of view. [Note: Andersen, pp. 222-29.] The subject matter, however, is in harmony with what Job had said previously (cf. Job 9:10-11; Job 12:13; Job 17:10; Job 23:8-10; Job 26:14). For this reason, it seems that Job probably spoke these words.

"Chapter 28, a wisdom hymn, may be a kind of interlude which marks the transition between the two major parts of the poetic body-the previous dialogue between Job and his friends, and the forth-coming long discourses by Job (chaps. 29-31), Elihu (chaps. 32-37), and God (chaps. 38-41) which are almost monologues." [Note: Parsons, p. 141.]

In this chapter, Job summarized his stance before God. Rather than being in rebellion against God, as his friends accused, Job claimed that he feared God and sought to depart from evil (Job 28:28). He continued to follow the instruction he had received while growing up, namely, that people should trust and obey God because He governs the world in infinite wisdom. [Note: Robert Laurin, "The Theological Structure of Job," Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 84 (1972):86-89.] The fact that Job believed God was unjust-in his case-did not mean that he had abandoned faith in God completely.

"The internal structure of chapter 28 is as follows:

Introduction (Job 28:1-2): All treasure has a source

I. First stanza (Job 28:3-11): The discovery of treasure

Refrain and response (Job 28:12-14): Wisdom is elusive

II. Second stanza (Job 28:15-19): Wisdom as treasure

Refrain and response (Job 28:20-22): Wisdom is elusive

III. Third stanza (Job 28:23-27): God and wisdom

Conclusion (Job 28:28): The source of wisdom" [Note: Smick, "Architectonics, Structured . . .," p. 91.]

The point of Job’s soliloquy is this: People have been extremely clever and industrious in exploring, discovering, and extracting earth’s richest physical resources. Nonetheless, they have not been able to do so with what is even more essential to their welfare, namely, wisdom. The reason for this is that wisdom does not lie hidden in the earth but in the person of God. The key to obtaining that wisdom is orienting oneself properly toward God.

Job 28:5 b probably means that mining produces a mixture of rubble just as a fire does. [Note: Rowley, p. 228.] The essence of wisdom is to fear (treat with reverential trust) the Lord (Master) and to depart from evil (Job 28:28). We know this only by supernatural revelation ("to man He said"). We can never plumb the depths of God’s wisdom. However, we can experience wisdom partially as we adore and obey God-making Him, rather than self, the center of our lives, and allowing Him to regulate our lives.

In this speech, Job demonstrated that his understanding of wisdom was greater than that of his three friends. It was a rebuke of their shortsighted wisdom. [Note: Gleason L. Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 463.] In chapter 28, Job gave evidence that he did fear God. In chapter 29, he proceeded to give evidence that he also turned away from evil. Consequently, Job 28:28 is a hinge and connecting link. It is also "one of the great climactic moments in the Book." [Note: Reichert, p. 145.]

Verses 1-40

E. Job’s Concluding Soliloquies chs. 28-31

Job’s three friends had nothing more to say, but Job did. He continued to talk about God’s wisdom (ch. 28) and to defend his own innocence (chs. 29-31).

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Job 28". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/job-28.html. 2012.
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