World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

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“But where shall wisdom be found?

And where is the place of understanding?


Mortals do not know the way to it,

and it is not found in the land of the living.


The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’

and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’


It cannot be gotten for gold,

and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.


It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,

in precious onyx or sapphire.


Gold and glass cannot equal it,

nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.


No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;

the price of wisdom is above pearls.


The chrysolite of Ethiopia cannot compare with it,

nor can it be valued in pure gold.



“Where then does wisdom come from?

And where is the place of understanding?


It is hidden from the eyes of all living,

and concealed from the birds of the air.


Abaddon and Death say,

‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’



“God understands the way to it,

and he knows its place.


For he looks to the ends of the earth,

and sees everything under the heavens.


When he gave to the wind its weight,

and apportioned out the waters by measure;


when he made a decree for the rain,

and a way for the thunderbolt;


then he saw it and declared it;

he established it, and searched it out.


And he said to humankind,

‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;

and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”


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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 (Job 28:12-27) distinct from God (Job 28:23; also in 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 man. In Job 28:28, the only aspect of it, which relates to, and may be understood by, man, is stated.

understanding—insight into the plan of the divine government.

13. Man can fix no price upon it, as it is nowhere to be found in man's abode (Isa 38:11). Job implies both its valuable worth, and the impossibility of buying it at any price.

15. Not the usual word for "gold"; from a Hebrew root, "to shut up" with care; that is, purest gold (1Ki 6:20, Margin).

weighed—The precious metals were weighed out before coining was known (Ge 23:16).

16. gold of Ophir—the most precious (See on Job 22:24 and Ps 45:9).

onyx—(Ge 2:12). More valued formerly than now. The term is Greek, meaning "thumb nail," from some resemblance in color. The Arabic denotes, of two colors, white preponderating.

17. crystal—Or else glass, if then known, very costly. From a root, "to be transparent."

jewels—rather, "vessels."

18. Red coral (Eze 27:16).

pearls—literally, "what is frozen." Probably crystal; and Job 28:17 will then be glass.

rubiesUmbreit translates "pearls" (see La 4:1; Pr 3:15). The Urim and Thummim, the means of consulting God by the twelve stones on the high priest's breastplate, "the stones of the sanctuary" (La 4:1), have their counterpart in this chapter; the precious stones symbolizing the "light" and "perfection" of the divine wisdom.

19. EthiopiaCush 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.

fowls—The gift of divination was assigned by the heathen especially to birds. Their rapid flight heavenwards and keen sight originated the superstition. Job may allude to it. Not even the boasted divination of birds has an insight into it (Ec 10:20). But it may merely mean, as in Job 28:7, It escapes the eye of the most keen-sighted bird.

22. That is, the abodes of destruction and of the dead. "Death" put for Sheol (Job 30:23; 26:6; Ps 9:13).

We have [only] heard—the report of her. We have not seen her. In the land of the living (Job 28:13) the workings of Wisdom are seen, though not herself. In the regions of the dead she is only heard of, her actings on nature not being seen (Ec 9:10).

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).

26. The decree regulating at what time and place, and in what quantity, the rain should fall.

a way—through the parted clouds (Job 38:25; Zec 10:1).

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 (Pr 8:30; which Umbreit translates; "I was the skilful artificer by His side").

prepared—not created, for wisdom is from everlasting (Pr 8:22-31); but "established" her as Governor of the world.

searched … out—examined her works to see whether she was adequate to the task of governing the world [Maurer].

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).