Job 28:7
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:
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Job 28:7-8. There is a path which no fowl knoweth — Namely, in the bowels of the earth. Man by his industry goeth in mines under the earth, in paths where neither bird nor beast has ever entered. Which the vulture’s eye hath not seen — Whose eye is very quick and strong, and searches all places for its prey. The lion’s whelps — Hebrew, בני שׁחצ, benei shachatz, the sons of the wild beast, have not trodden it — The wildest beasts, who search for solitary places, have never made their den there, nor so much as approached it; nor the fierce lion passed by it — Which rangeth all places for prey. The birds and beasts have often led men to such places as otherwise they should never have found out; but they could not lead them to these mines; the finding out of them is a special gift of God.

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?There is a path which no fowl knoweth - That is, a path in searching for gold and precious stones. The miner treads a way which is unseen by the bird of keenest vision. He penetrates into the deep darkness of the earth. The object of Job is to show the wisdom and the intrepidity of man in penetrating these dark regions in searching for sapphires and gold. The most far-sighted birds could not find their way to them. The most intrepid and fearless beasts of prey dared not adventure to those dangerous regions. The word rendered "fowl" (עיט ‛ayı̂ṭ) means either a ravenous beast, Jeremiah 12:9, or more commonly a ravenous bird; see the notes at Isaiah 46:11. According to Bochart, Hieroz. P. 11. L. 11. c. viii. p. 195, the word here denotes a rapacious bird of any kind; a bird which has a keen vision.

Which the vulture's eye hath not seen - The vulture is distinguished for the remarkable keenness of its vision. On the deserts of Arabia, it is said, when a camel dies, there is almost immediately discerned far in the distant sky, what seems at first to be a mere speck. As it draws nearer it is perceived to be a vulture that had marked the camel as he fell, and that comes to prey upon it. This bird is proverbial for the keenness of its sight.

7. fowl—rather, "ravenous bird," or "eagle," which is the most sharp-sighted of birds (Isa 46:11). A vulture will spy a carcass at an amazing distance. The miner penetrates the earth by a way unseen by birds of keenest sight. A path, to wit, in the dark depths and bowels of the earth. The vulture; whose eye is very quick and strong, and which searcheth all places for its prey, but cannot reach to these places, which yet the wisdom of man by the direction of God’s providence findeth out.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth,.... A path made by miners to the gold, silver, brass, and iron ores; to the places where gems and precious stones lie; the way to which was never seen, and could never have been discovered by the most sharp-sighted fowl, as "the eagle" (d); which some think is particularly intended; and the Greek word for an eagle seems to be derived from the word used in the text: this fowl, the king of birds, as it is the swiftest, it is the most quick-sighted of any; but, though it is eager, and looks out sharp after its prey, and which it beholds at a great distance, and in the most secret lurking places, and flies unto it, and seizes upon it at once, yet it never could look into the bowels of the earth, or discover a track leading thereunto; in this it is outdone by the diligent and laborious miner, who is not at a loss to make his way into the inmost and darkest recesses of the earth:

which the vulture's eye hath not seen; which is next to the eagle, and some of them are of the species of it, and is a very sharp-sighted creature, even to a proverb, as well as voracious, which makes it diligent to search everywhere for its prey; and yet this creature's sharp and piercing eye never saw the path the miners make by digging into the earth, in order to get metals and minerals from it. Some understand this path of subterraneous paths in nature, made of God, through which rivers of water pass that were never seen by creatures of the quickest sight; it may rather be applied to the paths of God in providence, which are unsearchable and past finding out, by men of the most sagacious and penetrating capacities, though they will hereafter be made manifest; and also to his paths of love, grace, and mercy towards the sons of men, which are the deep things of God, searched into and revealed by his Spirit, or otherwise could not be known; as well as to the ways and paths of righteousness and holiness, of faith and truth, of the word and ordinances God has revealed, as his mind and will his people should walk in, which otherwise would not be known, and are not by carnal men; and especially to the principal way and path, Christ Jesus, who is the way to the Father, the way to everlasting happiness, the way of life and salvation, the high way and way of holiness, in which men, though fools, shall not err, and of which some things are said in Isaiah 35:8; which greatly agree with what are said of this path, here and in Job 28:8, this way of peace is not known by carnal men, nor the things of it discerned by natural men, though ever so sagacious; see Romans 3:17.

(d) "ad id alludit aquiae Graecum vocabulum" Bochart. Hierozoic par. 1. l. 1. c. 9. Colossians 59. Broughton renders it "a kite".

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:
7. there is a path] Rather, that path no eagle knoweth, lit.—a path which no eagle &c., the words taking up what is said in Job 28:6,—the way to the place of sapphires. The sharp-sighted birds of prey have not seen that path.

Verse 7. - There is a path which no fowl knoweth; or, his is a path which no bird of prey knoweth (see the Revised Version). The miner's path through the bowels of the earth is intended. And which the vulture's eye hath not seen. The vulture is probably the most keen-sighted of birds, but it cannot even get a glimpse of the subterraneous path which the miner treads. Job 28:7 5 The earth-from it cometh forth bread,

And beneath it is turned up like fire.

6 The place of the sapphire are its stones,

And it containeth gold ore.

7 The way, that no bird of prey knoweth,

And the eye of the hawk hath not gazed at,

8 Which the proud beast of prey hath not trodden,

Over which the lion hath not walked.

Job 28:5 is not to be construed as Rosenm.: ad terram quod attinet, ex qua egreditur panis, quod subtus est subvertitur quasi igne; nor with Schlottm.: (they swing) in the earth, out of which comes bread, which beneath one turns about with fire; for Job 28:5 is not formed so that the Waw of ותחתּיה could be Waw apod., and ארץ cannot signify "in the interior of the earth" as locativus; on the contrary, it stands in opposition to תחתיה, that which is beneath the earth, as denoting the surface of the earth (the proper name of which is אדמה, from the root דם, with the primary notion of a flat covering). They are two grammatically independent predicates, the first of which is only the foil of the other: the earth, out of it cometh forth bread (לחם as Psalm 104:14), and beneath it (the surface of the earth) equals that which lies beneath it (ותחתיה only virtually a subj. in the sense of ותחתּיּותיה, since תּחתּי occurs only as a preposition), is turned about (comp. the construction of the sing. of the verb with the plur. subj. Job 30:15) as (by) fire Instar ignis, scil. subvertentis); i.e., the earth above furnishes nourishment to man, but that not satisfying him, he also digs out its inward parts (comp. Pliny, h. n. xxxiii. proaem.: in sede Manium opes quaerimus, tanquam parum benigna fertilique quaqua calcatur), since this is turned or tossed about (comp. מהפּכה, the special word for the overthrow of Sodom by fire) by mining work, as when fire breaks out in a house, or even as when a volcanic fire rumbles within a mountain (Castalio: agunt per magna spatia cuniculos et terram subeunt non secus ac ignis facet ut in Aetna et Vesuvio). The reading במו (Schlottm.) instead of כמו is natural, since fire is really used to blast the rock, and to separate the ore from the stone; but, with the exception of Jerome, who has arbitrarily altered the text (terra, de qua oriebatur panis in loco suo, igni subversa est), all the old translations reproduce כמו, which even Nasse, in opposition to von Veltheim, thinks suitable: Man's restless search, which rummages everything through, is compared to the unrestrainable ravaging fire.

Job 28:6 also consists of two grammatically independent assertions: the place (bed) of the sapphire is its rock. Must we refer לו to ספּיר, and translate: "and it contains fine dust of gold" (Hirz., Umbr., Stick., Nasse)? It is possible, for Theophrastus (p. 692, ed. Schneider) says of the sapphire it is ὥσπερ χρυσόπαστος, as it were covered with gold dust or grains of gold; and Pliny, h. n. xxxvii. 9, 38f.: Inest ei (cyano) aliquando et aureus pulvis qualis in sapphiris, in iis enim aurum punctis conlucet, which nevertheless does not hold good of the proper sapphire, but of the azure stone (lapis lazuli) which is confounded with it, a variegated species of which, with gold, or rather with iron pyrites glittering like gold, is specially valued.

(Note: Comp. Quenstedt, Handbuch der Mineralogie (1863), S. 355 and 302.)

But Schultens rightly observes: vix cerdiderim, illum auratilem pulvisculum sapphiri peculiari mentione dignum; and Schlottm.: such a collateral definition to ספיר, expressed in a special clause (not a relative one), has something awkward about it. On the other hand, עפרת זהב is a perfectly suitable appellation of gold ore. "The earth, which is in itself black," says Diodorus in the passage quoted before, "is interspersed with veins of marble, which is of such pre-eminent whiteness, that its brilliance surpasses everything that glitters, and from it the overseers of the mine prepare gold with a large number of workmen." And further on, of the heating of this gold ore he says: "the hardest auriferous earth they burn thoroughly in a large fire; thus they make it soft, so that it can be worked by the hand." עפרת זהב is a still more suitable expression for such auriferous earth and ore than for the nuggets of ἄπυρος χρυσός (i.e., unsmelted) of the size of a chestnut, which, according to Diodorus, ii. 50, are obtained in mines in Arabia (μεταλλεύεται). But it is inadmissible to refer לו to man, for the clause would then require to be translated: and gold ore is to him equals he has, while it is the rather intended to be said that the interior of the earth has gold ore. לו is therefore, with Hahn and Schlottm., to be referred to מקום: and this place of the sapphire, it contains gold. The poet might have written להּ but לו implies that where the sapphire is found, gold is also found. The following נתיב (with Dech), together with the following relative clause, is connected with אבניה, or even with מקום, which through Job 28:6 is become the chief subj.: the place of the sapphire and of the gold is the rock of the bowels of the earth, - a way, which, etc., i.e., such a place is the interior of the earth, accessible to no living being of the earth's surface except to man alone. The sight of the bird of prey, the עיט, ἀετός, and of the איּה, i.e., the hawk or kite, reaches from above far and wide beneath;

(Note: The איה - says the Talmud b. Chullin, 63b - is in Babylon, and seeth a carcase in the land of Israel.)

the sons of pride, שׁחץ (also Talmud. arrogance, ferocia, from שׁחץ equals Arab. šachaṣa, to raise one's self, not: fatness, as Meier, after Arab. šachuṣa, to be fat, thick), i.e., the beasts of prey, especially the lion, שׁחל (vid., on Job 4:10, from שׁחל, Arab. sḥl, to roar, Arab. of the ass, comp. the Lat. rudere used both of the lion and of the ass), seek the most secret retreat, and shun no danger; but the way by which man presses forward to the treasures of the earth is imperceptible and inaccessible to them.

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