Job 28:7
There is a path which no fowl knows, and which the vulture's eye has 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. 1 For there is a mine for the silver,

And a place for gold which they fine.

2 Iron is taken out of the dust,

And he poureth forth stone as copper.

3 He hath made an end of darkness,

And he searcheth all extremities

For the stone of darkness and of the shadow of death.

4 He breaketh away a shaft from those who tarry above:

There, forgotten by every foot,

They hang and swing far from men.

(Note: Among the expositors of this and the two following strophes, are two acquainted with mining: The director of mines, von Veltheim, whose observations J. D. Michaelis has contributed in the Orient. u. exeg. Bibliothek, xxiii. 7-17; and the inspector of mines, Rudolf Nasse, in Studien und Krit. 1863, 105-111. Umbreit's Commentary contains some observations by von Leonhard; he understands Job 28:4 as referring to the descent upon a cross bar attached to a rope, Job 28:5 of the lighting up by burning poles, Job 28:6 of the lapis lazuli, and Job 28:10 of the earliest mode of "letting off the water.")

According to the most natural connection demonstrated by us, Job desires to show that the final lot of the rich man is well merited, because the treasures which he made the object of his avarice and pride, though ever so costly, are still earthy in their nature and origin. Therefore he begins with the most precious metals, with silver, which has the precedence in reference to Job 27:16, and with gold. מוצא without any secondary notion of fulness (Schultens) signifies the issuing place, i.e., the place fro which anything naturally comes forth (Job 38:27), or whence it is obtained (1 Kings 10:28); here in the latter sense of the place where a mineral is found, or the mine, as the parall. מקום, the place where the gold comes forth, therefore a gold mine. According to the accentuation (Rebia mugrasch, Mercha, Silluk), it is not to be translated: and a place for the gold where they refine it; but: a place for the gold which they refine. זקק, to strain, filter, is the technical expression for purifying the precious metals from the rock that is mingled with them (Malachi 3:3) by washing. The pure gold or silver thus obtained is called מזקּק (Psalm 12:7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 1 Chronicles 29:4). Diodorus, in his description of mining in Upper Egypt (Job 3:11), after having described the operation of crushing the stone to small fragments,

(Note: Vid., the whole account skilfully translated in Klemm's Allgem. Cultur-Geschichte, v. 503f.)

proceeds: "Then artificers take the crushed stone and lay it on a broad table, which is slightly inclined, and pour water over it; this washes away the earthy parts, and the gold remains on the slab. This operation is repeated several times, the mass being at first gently rubbed with the hand; then they press it lightly with thin sponges, and thus draw off all that is earthy and light, so that the gold dust is left quite clean. And, finally, other artificers take it up in a mass, shake it in an earthen crucible, and add a proportionate quantity of lead, grains of salt, and a little tin and barley bran; they then place a close-fitting cover over the crucible, and cement it with clay, and leave it five days and nights to seethe constantly in the furnace. After this they allow it to cool, and then finding nothing of the flux in the crucible, they take the pure gold out with only slight diminution." The expression for the first of these operations, the separation of the gold from the quartz by washing, or indeed sifting (straining, Seihen), is זקק; and for the other, the separation by exposure to heat, or smelting, is צרף.

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