|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:1-11 Job maintained that the dispensations of Providence were regulated by the highest wisdom. To confirm this, he showed of what a great deal of knowledge and wealth men may make themselves masters. The caverns of the earth may be discovered, but not the counsels of Heaven. Go to the miners, thou sluggard in religion, consider their ways, and be wise. Let their courage and diligence in seeking the wealth that perishes, shame us out of slothfulness and faint-heartedness in labouring for the true riches. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! How much easier, and safer! Yet gold is sought for, but grace neglected. Will the hopes of precious things out of the earth, so men call them, though really they are paltry and perishing, be such a spur to industry, and shall not the certain prospect of truly precious things in heaven be much more so?
Verse 2. - Iron is taken out of the earth (see the comment on Job 20:24). Iron was found in the hills of Palestine (Deuteronomy 8:9), in the trans-Jordanic region (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud,' 4:8. § 2), in the sandstone of the Lebanon ('Hist. of Phoenicia,' p. 47), and in Egypt ('Hist. of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 93), probably also in many other places. It is scarcely ever found except in the shape of iron ore, and so has to be "taken out of the earth." And brass is molten out of the stone. By "brass" we must understand copper, since the amalgam brass is never found in a natural state. Copper was yielded abundantly in very early times by the mines which the Egyptians worked in the Sinaitic peninsula ('Hist. of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. pp. 93, 94). It was also obtainable from Palestine (Deuteronomy 8:9), Cyprus ('Hist. of Phoenicia,' p. 311), and Armenia (Ezekiel 27:13). Sometimes it is found pure, but generally in the shape of copper ore, which has to be "molten" for the pure metal to run off.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Iron is taken out of the earth,.... Very easily, and in great plenty, and is more common, being in most countries, is nearer the surface of the earth, and here said to be taken "out of the dust" (x); which, being melted in a furnace, produces iron, a metal very serviceable for various rises, and without which there is scarce any thing to be done, and therefore was with brass of early invention. Tubalcain, son of Lamech, supposed to be the Vulcan of the Heathens, a worker in iron, is said to be the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron, Genesis 4:22;
and brass is molten out of the stone; out of a brassy stone, called "cadmai", as Pliny says, and also out of another, as he observes (y), called "chalcites", found in Cyprus, where was the first invention of brass, according to him, and hence perhaps copper had its name; but it is plain from Scripture, the places before referred to, that it was invented elsewhere, and long before Cyprus was known; or a "stone melted becomes brass", see Deuteronomy 8:9; of these four metals was the image in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, which represented the four monarchies of the world, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, Daniel 2:30; and to them are compared, and by them are represented many things in Scripture.
(x) "e pulvere", V. L. Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 34. c. 1, 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. brass—that is, copper; for brass is a mixed metal of copper and zinc, of modern invention. Iron is less easily discovered, and wrought, than copper; therefore copper was in common use long before iron. Copper-stone is called "cadmium" by Pliny [Natural History, 34:1; 36:21]. Iron is fitly said to be taken out of the "earth" (dust), for ore looks like mere earth.
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