Job 28:21
Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
28:20-28 There is a two-fold wisdom; one hid in God, which is secret, and belongs not to us; the other made known by him, and revealed to man. One day's events, and one man's affairs, have such reference to, and so hang one upon another, that He only, to whom all is open, and who sees the whole at one view, can rightly judge of every part. But the knowledge of God's revealed will is within our reach, and will do us good. Let man look upon this as his wisdom, To fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. Let him learn that, and he is learned enough. Where is this wisdom to be found? The treasures of it are hid in Christ, revealed by the word, received by faith, through the Holy Ghost. It will not feed pride or vanity, or amuse our vain curiosity. It teaches and encourages sinners to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil, in the exercise of repentance and faith, without desiring to solve all difficulties about the events of this life.It is hid from the eyes of all living - That is, of all people, and of all animals. Man has not found it by the most sagacious of all his discoveries, and the keenest vision of beasts and fowls has not traced it out.

And kept close - Hebrew "concealed."

From the fowls of the air - Compare the notes at Job 28:7. Umbreit remarks, on this passage, that there is attributed to the fowls in Oriental countries a deep knowledge, and an extraordinary gift of divination, and that they appear as the interpreters and confidants of the gods. One cannot but reflect, says he, on the personification of the good spirit of Ormuzd through the fowls, according to the doctrine of the Persians (Compare Creutzer's Symbolik Thes 1. s. 723); upon the ancient fowlking (Vogelkonig) Simurg upon the mountain Kap, representing the highest wisdom of life; upon the discourses of the fowls of the great mystic poet of the Persians, Ferideddin Attar, etc. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, also, a considerable part of their divinations consisted in observing the flight of birds, as if they were endowed with intelligence, and indicated coming events by the course which they took; compare also, Ecclesiastes 10:20, where wisdom or intelligence is ascribed to the birds of the air. "Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."

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.

Of all living; of all men that live upon the earth.

From the fowls of the air: though they fly high, and can see far and well, yet they cannot discern this: men of the most raised understandings cannot discover it. It is to be found no where in this visible world, neither in the upper nor lower parts of it.

Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living,.... Meaning not the beasts of the field, as some interpret it; this makes the sentiment jejune and trifling; but rational creatures, men, so the Septuagint, Eve is said to be the mother of, Genesis 3:20; wisdom, as a perfection in God, displayed in his works of creation and providence, is but imperfectly known by men; and the secret reasons of his providential dealings with men, good and bad, are hid from all at present; and as for spiritual wisdom or godliness, and the Gospel of Christ, and Christ himself, they are hid from the eyes of all natural and carnal men, though ever so wise and prudent in other things:

and kept close from the fowls of the air, or "heaven" (k); either the devils so called, because they dwell in the air, and are the posse or power of the air, Ephesians 2:2; and because of their ravenous and cruel disposition, and swiftness to do mischief; see Luke 8:5; or rather the holy angels, as Jarchi, whose habitation is in heaven, and who are swift to do the will of God, and are represented as having wings like fowls; though these know much, yet the wisdom of God in his providence, in the doctrines of the Gospel, and Christ himself, the Wisdom of God, are in a good measure hid from them; at least their knowledge is imperfect, and they are desirous of prying more into these things, 1 Peter 1:12, unless men of the most piercing and penetrating geniuses, that soar aloft in the things of nature, and make the greatest discoveries therein, and yet know nothing of divine and spiritual things, of the arcanas of Providence or of grace, should be meant.

(k) "caeli", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the {m} fowls of the air.

(m) Meaning that there is no natural means by which man can attain heavenly wisdom: which he means by the souls, that fly high.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. seeing it is hid] Rather simply, it is hidden. Job 28:20 as summing up Job 28:15-19 meant, thus Wisdom is nowhere to be attained; Job 28:21 proceeds, it is hidden &c.

kept close] i. e. it is concealed from, unknown to the fowls of the air (comp. Job 28:7)—no creature can attain to it.

Verse 21. - Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living. Man cannot see it, because it is immaterial, but he cannot even conconceive of it, because its nature transcends him. And kept close from the fowls of the air. (comp. ver. 7). The sight of birds is far keener than that of man; but even birds cannot detect where wisdom is. Job 28:2121 It is veiled from the eyes of all living,

And concealed from the fowls of heaven.

22 Destruction and death say:

With our ears we heard a report of it. -

23 Elohim understandeth the way to it,

And He - He knoweth its place.

24 For He looketh to the ends of the earth,

Under the whole heaven He seeth.

No living created being (כּל־חי, as Job 12:10; Job 30:23) is able to answer the question; even the birds that fly aloft, that have keener and farther-seeing eyes than man, can give us no information concerning wisdom; and the world at least proclaims its existence in a rich variety of its operations, but in the realm of Abaddon and of death below (comp. the combination שׁאול ואבדון, Proverbs 15:11, ᾅδου καὶ τοῦ θανάτου, Revelation 1:18) it is known only by an indistinct hearsay, and from confused impressions. Therefore: no creature, whether in the realm of the living or the dead, can help us to get wisdom. There is but One who possesses a perfect knowledge concerning wisdom, namely Elohim, whose gave extends to the ends of the earth, and who sees under the whole heaven, i.e., is everywhere present (תּחת, definition of place, not equivalent to אשׁר תּחת; comp. on Job 24:9), who therefore, after the removal of everything earthly (sub-celestial), alone remains. And why should He with His knowledge, which embraces everything, not also know the way and place of wisdom? Wisdom is indeed the ideal, according to which He has created the world.

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