|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:12-19 Job here speaks of wisdom and understanding, the knowing and enjoying of God and ourselves. Its worth is infinitely more than all the riches in this world. It is a gift of the Holy Ghost which cannot be bought with money. Let that which is most precious in God's account, be so in ours. Job asks after it as one that truly desired to find it, and despaired of finding it any where but in God; any way but by Divine revelation.
Verse 16. - It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir. The locality of Ophir has been much contested, but, on the whole, the weight of evidence would seem to be in favour of Arabia, on the south-east coast (see the article on "Ophir" in Smith's 'Dict. of the Bible,' which exhausts all that can be said on the subject). The high estimation in which "gold of Ophir" was held appears not only in this passage, but also in Job 22:24; Psalm 45:9: and Isaiah 13:12. It is to be accounted for by the imperfection of all the anciently known processes of refining, which left the best refined gold inferior to the natural product of the Ophir mines or washings. With the precious onyx, or the sapphire. (On the latter of these two stones, see the comment upon ver. 6.) The "onyx" is probably the stone now known as the "sardonyx," which was highly prized by the ancients. It had a place in the breastplate of the high priest (Exodus 28:20), and is mentioned among the treasures of the King of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:13). The sardonyx presents layers variously coloured, as blue, black, white, and vermilion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir,.... Which is often spoken of in Scripture as choice gold, if not the best; See Gill on Job 22:24; the sense is, that the gold of Ophir is not of the value of wisdom, or of the same worth with that, and so not sufficient to purchase it: with the precious onyx and sapphire: two precious stones that were in the breastplate of the high priest, of which See Gill on Exodus 28:9; see Gill on Exodus 28:18, and See Gill on Exodus 28:20; but not so precious, or of such value as wisdom. Pliny (y) speaks of the onyx stone as in Arabia, near which Job 54ed, and who doubtless was acquainted with it and its worth, and also with the sapphire he makes mention of before; see Gill on Job 28:6. The word for "valued" is by some rendered "strowed" (z), as goods are when they are exposed to sale; but wisdom should not be laid, or put on a level with these, though so excellent and precious.
(y) Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 6. (z) "verbum significat sternere", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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