Job 28


כִּי יֵשׁ לַכֶּסֶף מוֹצָא וּמָקוֹם לַזָּהָב יָזֹקּוּ׃   28:1

Job 28:1   "Because there is a mine for silver

                              and a place for gold they can refine,

The prevailing presumption is this is Job talking or musing.  We will see at the start of the next chapter that this is probably true.  But it is not a continuation of the preceding chapter.  It arises out of no sequence, like an aside on stage, to examine the impossibility of acquiring ultimate wisdom, that is, the understanding of the universe and God.  This is considered by many to be one of the most eloquent and superb poems in all of human literature.

בַּרְזֶל מֵעָפָר יֻקָּח וְאֶבֶן יָצוּק נְחוּשָׁה׃   28:2

Job 28:2   iron from the ground can be taken,

                              and stone can yield copper,

קֵץ שָׂם לַחֹשֶׁךְ וּלְכָל־תַּכְלִית הוּא חוֹקֵר אֶבֶן אֹפֶל וְצַלְמָוֶת׃   28:3

Job 28:3   a limit is set to darkness,

                              and to every corner one is searching the stone

                    of gloom and the shadow of death."

I presume the first line refers to the use of fire

פָּרַץ נַחַל מֵעִם־גָּר הַנִּשְׁכָּחִים מִנִּי־רָגֶל דַּלּוּ מֵאֱנוֹשׁ נָעוּ׃   28:4

Job 28:4   "One breaks open a shaft away from the sojourner,

                              the places forgotten since a foot was;

                    they have languished since a human was; they tremble."

אֶרֶץ מִמֶּנָּה יֵצֵא־לָחֶם וְתַחְתֶּיהָ נֶהְפַּךְ כְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ׃   28:5

Job 28:5   "The earth:  Above it bread emerges,

                              but beneath it, it turns itself as if like fire."

I don’t understand the second line.  Various guesses have been proffered, but none of them provides a satisfactory explanation.  Most commentators don’t believe the line relates to volcanoes, as mining is being addressed here.  Many assume the line refers to the jewels that come from the earth.  Instead I suspect it may be a way of expressing the wondrous aspects of the world in which we find ourselves.

מְקוֹם־סַפִּיר אֲבָנֶיהָ וְעַפְרֹת זָהָב לוֹ׃   28:6

Job 28:6   "Its stones are the place of sapphire,

                              and it has gold dust."

נָתִיב לֹא־יְדָעוֹ עָיִט וְלֹא שְׁזָפַתּוּ עֵין אַיָּה׃   28:7

Job 28:7   "It is a path of which no bird of prey knows,

                              and no eye of a falcon has looked upon,

לֹא־הִדְרִיכֻהוּ בְנֵי־שָׁחַץ לֹא־עָדָה עָלָיו שָׁחַל׃   28:8

Job 28:8   no young of a pride have trodden,

                              no lion has passed upon."

בַּחַלָּמִישׁ שָׁלַח יָדוֹ הָפַךְ מִשֹּׁרֶשׁ הָרִים׃   28:9

Job 28:9   "One extends his hand to the flint rock,

                              overturns mountains from the bottom,

I suspect this is an exaggerated way of saying the miner digs into the base of a mountain.

בַּצּוּרוֹת יְאֹרִים בִּקֵּעַ וְכָל־יְקָר רָאֲתָה עֵינוֹ׃   28:10

Job 28:10   breaks open shafts into the rocks,

                              and his eye sees everything precious."

מִ֭בְּכִי נְהָרֹ֣ות חִבֵּ֑שׁ וְ֝תַעֲלֻמָ֗הּ יֹ֣צִא אֹֽור׃   28:11

Job 28:11   "He restrains trickles from streams.

                              And the hidden thing?  He would bring forth light."

He sets up dams to keep the water from seeping into the mine.  And he lights the mine by torch.

וְֽ֭הַחָכְמָה מֵאַ֣יִן תִּמָּצֵ֑א וְאֵ֥י זֶ֝ה מְקֹ֣ום בִּינָֽה׃   28:12

Job 28:12   "But the wisdom? From where can it be discovered?

                              And where is that place of understanding?"

But no matter where we venture, we don’t find that illusive wisdom and understanding.

לֹא־יָדַע אֱנוֹשׁ עֶרְכָּהּ וְלֹא תִמָּצֵא בְּאֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים׃   28:13

Job 28:13   "No person recognizes its value,

                              and it cannot be found in the land of the living."

תְּהוֹם אָמַר לֹא בִי־הִיא וְיָם אָמַר אֵין עִמָּדִי׃   28:14

Job 28:14   "The deep says, 'It is in not me.'

                              And the sea says, 'It is not with me.'"

לֹא־יֻתַּן סְגוֹר תַּחְתֶּיהָ וְלֹא יִשָּׁקֵל כֶּסֶף מְחִירָהּ׃   28:15

Job 28:15   "One can not give gold for it,

                              nor can its price be paid out of silver."

לֹא־תְסֻלֶּה בְּכֶתֶם אוֹפִיר בְּשֹׁהַם יָקָר וְסַפִּיר׃   28:16

Job 28:16   It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,

                              in precious onyx or sapphire."

לֹא־יַעַרְכֶנָּה זָהָב וּזְכוֹכִית וּתְמוּרָתָהּ כְּלִי־פָז׃   28:17

Job 28:17   "One cannot compare it to gold or fine crystal,

                              or a pure gold vessel be exchanged for it."

רָאמוֹת וְגָבִישׁ לֹא יִזָּכֵר וּמֶשֶׁךְ חָכְמָה מִפְּנִינִים׃   28:18

Job 28:18   "One need not mention coral or crystal,

                              and the measure of wisdom is more than rubies."

לֹא־יַעַרְכֶנָּה פִּטְדַת־כּוּשׁ בְּכֶתֶם טָהוֹר לֹא תְסֻלֶּה׃   28:19

Job 28:19   "One cannot compare it to Ethiopian topaz;

                              it cannot be valued in pure gold."

וְהַחָכְמָה מֵאַיִן תָּבוֹא וְאֵי זֶה מְקוֹם בִּינָה׃   28:20

Job 28:20   "So from where can wisdom come?

                              And where is that place of understanding?"

וְנֶעֶלְמָה מֵעֵינֵי כָל־חָי וּמֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם נִסְתָּרָה׃   28:21

Job 28:21   "And it must be hidden from the eyes of everyone living,

                              and concealed from the fowl of the sky."

אֲבַדּוֹן וָמָוֶת אָמְרוּ בְּאָזְנֵינוּ שָׁמַעְנוּ שִׁמְעָהּ׃   28:22

Job 28:22   "Destruction and death say,

                              'We have heard a report of it in our ears:’

אֱלֹהִים הֵבִין דַּרְכָּהּ וְהוּא יָדַע אֶת־מְקוֹמָהּ׃   28:23

Job 28:23   ‘God understands its way,

                              and He knows its place.’"

כִּי־ה֖וּא לִקְצֹות־הָאָ֣רֶץ יַבִּ֑יט תַּ֖חַת כָּל־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִרְאֶֽה׃   28:24

Job 28:24   "For He can look to the ends of the earth,

                              can see under all the heavens,

לַעֲשׂוֹת לָרוּחַ מִשְׁקָל וּמַיִם תִּכֵּן בְּמִדָּה׃   28:25

Job 28:25   preparing a weight for the wind,

                              as He metes out the waters by measure."

בַּעֲשׂתֹ֣ו לַמָּטָ֣ר חֹ֑ק וְ֝דֶ֗רֶךְ לַחֲזִ֥יז קֹלֹֽות׃   28:26

Job 28:26   "With His making a decree for rain,

                              and a way for lightning noises,

אָז רָאָהּ וַיְסַפְּרָהּ הֱכִינָהּ וְגַם־חֲקָרָהּ׃   28:27

Job 28:27   then He perceives it and declares it.

                              He establishes it and even searches it out."

וַיֹּאמֶר לָאָדָם הֵן יִרְאַת אֲדֹנָי הִיא חָכְמָה וְסוּר מֵרָע בִּינָה׃   28:28

Job 28:28   "And He says to humankind,

                             'Behold!  Reverence of the Master, that is wisdom,

                      and turning away from evil, understanding.'"

It’s as simple as that.  No need to search further or to puzzle over its mystery.  The rest is not for us in our lifetime.  For many of us, a very difficult truth to accept!


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