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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

Job 28

Verse 1

“In this chapter Job affirmed people's inability to ascertain God's wisdom fully, in contrast with the triad of antagonists who claimed they knew what God was doing in Job's life” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 750). Compare this section to what Job said in 26:5-13. Job might be reminding his friends that though one may be confident that the wicked will be punished eventually, the “how” and “when” of such matters are within the province of God's wisdom. “Man, therefore, as a finite creature, can never hope to analyze the seeming irregularities in, and exceptions to, the consistent administration of divine justice in the world” (Jackson p. 62).

28:1-11 In this section Job comments upon man's engineering ability to go deep into the earth to mine silver, gold, iron and copper. By means of this skill, light is brought into the earth's darkness (3-4). The miner tunnels into places that have never been seen by other creatures (5-10). “Miners, forgotten by people walking above the mine, hang and dangle, apparently while being lowered by ropes into mining holes” (28:4) (Zuck p. 123).

28:12 Yet in spite of man's technological marvels, man cannot dig into God's hidden or secret wisdom (Deuteronomy 29:29). In fact, for man to know anything about the ways of God, God must reveal it to man (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). 28:13 Such wisdom is not naturally found on this earth and neither do most men comprehend its true value, as they would silver or gold. He can discover hidden treasures in the earth, but not divine wisdom. This should remind us that such wisdom cannot be found on a mountaintop or in the desert. 28:14 It is not found in the ocean, like some kind of oracle in the supposed lost city of Atlantis. 28:15-19 It cannot be traded for, nor bought, with precious stones. Notice the list of gems that are mentioned in this verse, including coral and crystal. The things that men value most cannot purchase such wisdom.

28:20 This is almost a repeat of verse 12. How does one gain or find such wisdom then? 28:21 “No one can locate the hiding place of wisdom. Neither heights nor depths provide a vantage point for observation” (Strauss p. 278). 28:22 Death and destruction had only heard a rumor concerning the source of wisdom. 28:23-24 Only God knows, for He is omniscient, seeing, hearing and knowing all. “His looking 'to the ends of the earth' and His seeing 'everything under heavens', all in one immediate glance, contrast's sharply with man's laborious searching and probing for wisdom without finding it” (Zuck p. 125). 28:25-6 God's wisdom is also seen in His orderly working of nature. “Although storms appear to be without order, their elements were determined by His wise, creative genius. The weight (force) of the wind, the measure (amount) of water, a limit (literally, decree, law, rule, regulation) for the rain (thus indicating that rain is not haphazard or by chance), and the path followed by the thunderbolt-all were determined by God” (p. 125). 28:27 By such wisdom God established laws for all such physical manifestations.

28:28 “And to man He said”: Here is the only way that man can know God's wisdom, God must speak (Hebrews 1:1-2), and reveal the answer. “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom”: To stand in awe of God is the only path to true wisdom (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10). “Reverent submission to the gracious will of God is the only place in the universe where one gains hope of ultimate victory over sin and evil” (Strauss p. 279).

“All man's scientific investigations, technological advances, and intellectual achievements-remarkable as they are, whether in Job's day or the present, fail miserably to provide 'a full explanation of God's government or to disclose all that we would wish to know about God'. Instead, real wisdom consists in establishing one's life in submissive veneration before God, in revering God in an attitude of confidence that He does all things right (although that rightness may not always be apparent to man). True wisdom also consists in a rejection of evil, in a regulating of one's conduct in paths of piety, and in actions and attitudes that accord with God's standards of holiness and godliness. Fearing God and turning from evil may be summarized as adoration of God and obedience to God. Thus the truly wise man is the one whose life is centered on God, not self, and is regulated by God. Man in right relationship with God, worshiping Him, serving Him, obeying Him-that is wisdom and understanding!” (Zuck p. 126).

This chapter answers the claim presented by Job's friends that Job needed to repent. Chapter 28 argues that Job had been fearing God all along and hating evil.

Verse 2

28:1-11 In this section Job comments upon man's engineering ability to go deep into the earth to mine silver, gold, iron and copper. By means of this skill, light is brought into the earth's darkness (3-4). The miner tunnels into places that have never been seen by other creatures (5-10). “Miners, forgotten by people walking above the mine, hang and dangle, apparently while being lowered by ropes into mining holes” (28:4) (Zuck p. 123).

Verse 12

28:12 Yet in spite of man's technological marvels, man cannot dig into God's hidden or secret wisdom (Deuteronomy 29:29). In fact, for man to know anything about the ways of God, God must reveal it to man (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

Verse 13

28:13 Such wisdom is not naturally found on this earth and neither do most men comprehend its true value, as they would silver or gold. He can discover hidden treasures in the earth, but not divine wisdom. This should remind us that such wisdom cannot be found on a mountaintop or in the desert.

Verse 14

28:14 It is not found in the ocean, like some kind of oracle in the supposed lost city of Atlantis.

Verse 15

28:15-19 It cannot be traded for, nor bought, with precious stones. Notice the list of gems that are mentioned in this verse, including coral and crystal. The things that men value most cannot purchase such wisdom.

Verse 20

28:20 This is almost a repeat of verse 12. How does one gain or find such wisdom then?

Verse 21

28:21 "No one can locate the hiding place of wisdom. Neither heights nor depths provide a vantage point for observation" (Strauss p. 278).

Verse 22

28:22 Death and destruction had only heard a rumor concerning the source of wisdom.

Verse 23

28:23-24 Only God knows, for He is omniscient, seeing, hearing and knowing all. "His looking 'to the ends of the earth' and His seeing 'everything under heavens', all in one immediate glance, contrast's sharply with man's laborious searching and probing for wisdom without finding it" (Zuck p. 125).

Verse 25

28:25-6 God's wisdom is also seen in His orderly working of nature. "Although storms appear to be without order, their elements were determined by His wise, creative genius. The weight (force) of the wind, the measure (amount) of water, a limit (literally, decree, law, rule, regulation) for the rain (thus indicating that rain is not haphazard or by chance), and the path followed by the thunderbolt-all were determined by God" (p. 125).

Verse 27

28:27 By such wisdom God established laws for all such physical manifestations.

Verse 28

28:28 "And to man He said": Here is the only way that man can know God's wisdom, God must speak (Hebrews 1:1-2), and reveal the answer. "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom": To stand in awe of God is the only path to true wisdom (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10). "Reverent submission to the gracious will of God is the only place in the universe where one gains hope of ultimate victory over sin and evil" (Strauss p. 279).

"All man's scientific investigations, technological advances, and intellectual achievements-remarkable as they are, whether in Job's day or the present, fail miserably to provide 'a full explanation of God's government or to disclose all that we would wish to know about God'. Instead, real wisdom consists in establishing one's life in submissive veneration before God, in revering God in an attitude of confidence that He does all things right (although that rightness may not always be apparent to man). True wisdom also consists in a rejection of evil, in a regulating of one's conduct in paths of piety, and in actions and attitudes that accord with God's standards of holiness and godliness. Fearing God and turning from evil may be summarized as adoration of God and obedience to God. Thus the truly wise man is the one whose life is centered on God, not self, and is regulated by God. Man in right relationship with God, worshiping Him, serving Him, obeying Him-that is wisdom and understanding!" (Zuck p. 126).

This chapter answers the claim presented by Job's friends that Job needed to repent. Chapter 28 argues that Job had been fearing God all along and hating evil.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 28". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dun/job-28.html. 1999-2014.