Job 28:19
The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
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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.The topaz - The topaz is a precious stone, whose colors are yellow, green, blue, and red. Its natural place is in various primitive rocks, such as the topaz-rock, gneiss, and clay-slate. It is found in the granite and gneiss districts of Mar and Cairnaorta, in Cornwall, in Brazil, and in various other places. The most valuable stones of this kind now known are those which are found in Brazil. This gem is much prized by jewelers, and is considered as one of the more beautiful ornamental stones. The Hebrew word פטדה pı̂ṭdâh, occurs in Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10; Ezekiel 28:13. and in this place only. It is uniformly rendered topaz. It is not improbable that the English word "topaz," and the Greek τοπάζιον topazion, are derived from this, by a slight transposition of the letters - טפדה. The Vulgate and the Septuagint render this "topaz."

Of Ethiopia - Hebrew כוּשׁ kûsh - "Cush." Coverdale here renders it, "India." On the meaning of this word, and the region denoted by it, see the notes at Isaiah 11:11. It may mean either the part of Africa now known as Ethiopia, or Abyssinia and Nubia; the southern part of Arabia, or the Oriental Cush in the vicinity of the Tigris. It is better, since the word has such ambiguity, to retain the original, and to translate it "Cush." For anything that appears, this may have denoted, in the time of Job, the southern part of Arabia. It is known that the topaz was found there. Thus, Pliny says, Lib. xxxvii. 32, Reperta est - in Arabiae insula, quae Citis vocatur; in qua Troglodytae praedones, diutius fame - prossi cum herbas radicesque effoderant, eruerunt topazion.

19. Ethiopia—Cush in the Hebrew. Either Ethiopia, or the south of Arabia, near the Tigris. The topaz; of which see Exodus 28:17 39:10.

Of Ethiopia, or, of Arabia; for Cush signifies both Ethiopia and Arabia; and the topaz was found in the Red Sea, which lay between both, and so might be ascribed to either.

The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,.... Not Ethiopia Abyssinia, or that which lies beyond Egypt in Africa; for, as Ludolphus (x) says, there are no gems found there, or very rarely; but Cush, as the word is, or Arabia Chusaea, the same with the country of Midian, and the parts adjacent; see Habakkuk 3:7; hence Zipporah, the wife of Moses, who was of that country, is called an Ethiopian woman, Numbers 12:1; and this was near Job's country, who knew the produce of it; and here the topaz is found, as many writers observe. Diodorus Siculus says (y), in Ophiodes, an island in the Arabian gulf, belonging to the Troglodytes, the topaz is found, which is a very clear stone, pleasant to the sight, like to glass, and affording a wonderful golden colour; and with him Strabo (z) agrees, who relates there is an island called Ophiodes, from its being freed from serpents by the king's orders, which killed men that came there for topazes; which, he says, is a clear stone of a golden colour, and so refulgent, that it is not easy to see it in the daytime, being so surrounded with light; but at night it is seen by those that gather it, who set a vessel for a sign, and then dig for it in the daytime; and, he adds, a multitude of men are hired by the kings of Egypt, to gather and keep these stones, and men from stealing them; and, according to Archelaus (a), the topaz is found in Chitis, an island in Arabia, where the Troglodytes digging for herbs and roots find it; and, as Juba relates (b), there is an island called Topazion, in the Red sea, three hundred furlongs (about 73 miles) from the continent, which is cloudy, and is therefore often sought for by navigators; whence he says it had its name Topazion, which in the language of the Troglodytes signifies to seek, and the topaz itself in their language so signifies; in the Samaritan version of Exodus 39:10; it is called Dachetah, from the Arabic word (c) "Dachatz", the language of the Troglodytes, which signifies to seek and search by removing the earth with the foot. This island seems to be the same with Topazos, which Pliny (d) says is an island of the Arabians, and gave name to a gem, meaning the topaz; but the truth rather is, that the gem gave name to the island: upon the whole, it is no wonder, as Braunius (e) observes, that this gem should be called by Job the Arabian topaz. The Targum here calls it a green pearl; and some have thought the emerald is meant, which is of that colour; and the emeralds of Ethiopia are praised by some, according to Juba (f); and in Egypt were emerald mines the Ethiopians laid a claim to (g); and there were emeralds also in Arabia, as the above Juba relates; however, be this what it may, as it is most likely to be the topaz, it is not equal in value to wisdom, no, not the largest topaz ever known; not even that of the great Mogul, which weighs more than an hundred fifty seven carats, valued at 271,500 French pounds (h); and according to Tavernier (i) it weighs almost an hundred fifty eight carats, and was bought at Goa for almost 272,000 florins:

neither shall it be valued with pure gold; that is most refined and freed from dross; they are not to be laid together as of equal value; See Gill on Job 28:16, where the same word is used.

(x) Hist. Ethiop. l. 1. c. 7. (y) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 172. (z) Geograph. l. 16. p. 529. (a) Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 8. (b) Apud ib. (c) Vid. Castel. Lex. Heptaglott. col. 686, 693. (d) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 29. (e) De Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. p. 649. (f) Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 5. (g) Heliodor. Ethiop. l. 8. 1. & 9. 6. (h) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr p. 747. (i) Apud Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. p. 649, 650.

The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
19. equal it] See on Job 28:17.

be valued] See on Job 28:16.

Verse 19. - The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it. It is generally allowed that the pithdath (פִטְדַת) is either the "topaz" or the "chrysolite." In favour of its being the chrysolite is the passage of Pliny which mentions its being esteemed for its green tints ('Hist. Nat.,' 37:8). Otherwise "topaz" might have appeared to be the best rendering. By "Cush," here translated "Ethiopia," is probably meant Cushite Arabia, or the southern and south-eastern regions (see the author's 'Origin of Nations,' pp. 206-209). Neither shall it be valued with pare gold. Of the four words used for "gold" in this passage (vers. 15-17), one (זהב) seems to be the common name, and to designate the metal by its coleus, "yellow," since צָהַב means "to be yellow" Another (סָגוּר) means properly "what is treasured," or "shut up," from סָגַר, "to shut." The third (פַז) seems to be the name for "native gold," or that found in river-washings and nuggets, which was regarded as the purest. The fourth (כֶּחֶם) is a poetical name only, and designates gold of extreme purity (Song of Solomon 5:11), whether highly refined or native. Job uses them all, to show that there was no gold of any kind wherewith it was possible to purchase wisdom. Job 28:1917 Gold and glass are not equal to it,

Nor is it exchanged for jewels of gold.

18 Pearls and crystal are not to be mentioned,

And the acquisition of wisdom is beyond corals.

19 The topaz of Ethiopia is not equal to it,

It is not outweighed by pure fine gold.

20 Whence, then, cometh wisdom,

And which is the place of understanding?

Among the separate חפצים, Proverbs 3:15, which are here detailed, apart from זהב, glass has the transparent name זכוּכית, or, as it is pointed in Codd., in old editions, and by Kimchi, זכוכית, with Cholem (in the dialects with ג instead of )כ. Symm. indeed translates crystal, and in fact the ancient languages have common names for glass and crystal; but the crystal is here called זכוּבישׁ, which signifies prop., like the Arab. 'gibs, ice; κρύσταλλος also signifies prop. ice, and this only in Homer, then crystal, exactly as the cognate קרח unites both significations in itself. The reason of this homonymy lies deeper than in the outward similarity, - the ancients really thought the crystal was a product of the cold; Pliny, xxxvii. 2, 9, says: non alibi certe reperitur quam ubi maxume hibernae nives rigent, glaciemque esse certum est, unde nomen Graeci dedere. The Targ. translates גבישׁ by פּנינים, certainly in the sense of the Arabico-Persic bullûr (bulûr), which signifies crystal, or even glass, and moreover is the primary word for βήρυλλος, although the identical Sanskrit word, according to the laws of sound, vaidurja (Pali, velurija), is, according to the lexicons, a name of the lapis lazuli (Persic, lagurd). Of the two words ראמות and פּננים, the one appears to mean pearls and the other corals; the ancient appellations of these precious things which belong to the sea are also blended; the Persic mergân (Sanskr. mangara) unites the signification pearl and coral in itself. The root פן, Arab. fn, which has the primary notion of pushing, especially of vegetation (whence Arab. fann, a branch, shoot, prop. motion; French, jet), and Lamentations 4:7, where snow and milk, as figures of whiteness (purity), are placed in contrast with פנינים as a figure of redness, favour the signification corals for פנינים. The Coptic be nôni, which signifies gemma, favours (so far as it may be compared) corals rather than pearls. And the fact that ראמות, Ezekiel 27:16, appears as an Aramaean article of commerce in the market of Tyre, is more favourable to the signification pearls than corals; for the Babylonians sailed far into the Indian Ocean, and brought pearls from the fisheries of Bahrein, perhaps even from Ceylon, into the home markets (vid., Layard, New Discoveries, 536). The name is perhaps, from the Western Asiatic name of the pearl,

(Note: Vid., Zeitschr. fr d. Kunde des Morgenlandes, iv. 40f. The recently attempted explanation of κοράλλιον from גּורל (to which κλῆρος the rather belongs), in the primary signification lappillus (Arab. ‛garal), is without support.)

mutilated and Hebraized.

(Note: Two reasons for פנינים equals pearls (in favour of which Bochart compares the name of the pearl-oyster, πίννα) and ראמות equals corals, which are maintained by Carey, are worthy of remark. (1.) That פנינים does not signify corals, he infers from Lamentations 4:7, for the redness of corals cannot be a mark of bodily beauty; "but when I find that there are some pearls of a slightly reddish tinge, then I can understand and appreciate the comparison." (2.) That ראמות signifies corals, is shown by the origin of the word, which properly signifies reêm-(wild oxen) horns, which is favoured by a mention of Pliny, h. n. xiii. 51: (Tradidere) juncos quoque lapideos perquam similes veris per litora, et in alto quasdam arbusculas colore bubuli cornus ramosas et cacuminibus rubentes. Although Pliny there speaks of marine petrified plants of the Indian Ocean (not, at least in his sense, of corals), this hint of a possible derivation of ראמות is certainly surprising. But as to Lamentations 4:7, this passage is to be understood according to Sol 5:10 (my friend is צח ואדום). The white and red are intended to be conceived of as mixed and overlapping one another, as our Germ. popular poetry speaks of cheeks which "shine with milk and purple;" and as in Homer, Il. iv. 141-146, the colour of the beautifully formed limbs of Menelaus is represented by the figure (which appears hideous to us): ὡς δ ̓ ὅτε τίς τ ̓ ἐλέφαντα γυνὴ φοίνικι μιήνͅ (ebony stained with purple).)

The name of the פּטדּה of Ethiopia appears to be derived from to'paz by transposition; Pliny says of the topaz, xxxvii. 8, 32, among other passages; Juba Topazum insulam in rubro mari a continenti stadiis CCC abesse dicit, nebulosam et ideo quaesitam saepius navigantibus; ex ea causa nomen accepisse: topazin enim Troglodytarum lingua significationem habere quaerendi. This topaz, however, which is said to be named after an island of the same name, the Isle of Serpents in Agatharchides and Diodorus, is, according to Pliny, yellowish green, and therefore distinct from the otherwise so-called topaz. To make a candid confession, we grope about everywhere in the dark here, and the ancient versions are not able to help us out of our difficulty.

(Note: The Targ. translates שׁהם by פּנינים, βήρυλλος; ספיר by שׁבזיזא (Arab. sbz, vid., Pott in the Zeitschr.f. K. d. M. iv. 275); פז by אובריזין, ὄβρυζον; ראמות by סנדלכין, σανδαράχη, red gold-pigment (vid., Rdiger-Pott, as just quoted, S. 267); גבישׁ again by בּירוּלין in the sense of the Arabico-Persic bullûr, Kurd. bellûr, crystal; פנינים by מרגלין, μαργαρῖται; פטדה by מרגּלא ירקא (the green pearl); כתם by פטלון (perhaps פּטלון, πέταλον, in the sense of lamina auri).)


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