Job 28:8
The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
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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?The lion's whelps - The lion that ventures into the most dangerous places in pursuit of prey, has not dared to go where man has gone in pursuit of precious stones and gold. On the words used here to designate the lion, see Bochart Hieroz P. 1. Lib. iii. c. 1.8. lion's whelps—literally, "the sons of pride," that is, the fiercest beasts.

passed—The Hebrew implies the proud gait of the lion. The miner ventures where not even the fierce lion dares to go in pursuit of his prey.

The lion’s whelps, Heb. the sons of pride; a fit name for lions, which are lofty and stately creatures, despising both men and all other beasts that oppose them.

The fierce lion; which rangeth all places for prey, and findeth out the deepest dens and caves of the earth. The birds and beasts have ofttimes led men to such places as otherwise they should never have found out; but they could not lead men to these mines; but the finding out of them is a special gift of God, and an act of that wisdom which he hath put into man. The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. Or "upon it" (e); such creatures that are exceeding fierce and cruel, hungry and voracious, eager after their prey, range here and there in pursuit of it, search every hole and corner, and rove in dens and caves of the earth; yet these never traversed such ways and paths the miners make to get out the wealth and riches of the earth. Wicked men are sometimes compared to lions, for their cruelty and oppression exercised on the saints, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against them, Psalm 57:4; and particularly tyrannical princes and persecutors, as the kings of Assyria and Babylon, and Nero the Roman emperor, Jeremiah 1:17; these never trod the way of holiness, nor walked in the path of truth, nor knew the wisdom of God in a mystery, nor the Lord of life and glory, and the way of life and salvation by him; which is a way the unclean walk not in, or persons of such a temper and disposition; see Isaiah 35:8. The former clause may be rendered, as it is by some, "the children of pride" (f), and as it is in Job 41:34, which is the only place besides this where it is used; and so the Septuagint version, "the children of proud men": and may be accommodated to self-righteous persons, who are proud boasters of themselves and of their works, and go about to establish their own righteousness, and despise and will not submit unto the righteousness of Christ; these tread not in nor walk upon the good old way, and the only way of life, righteousness, and salvation, by Christ.

(e) "super eam", Schultens. (f) "filii superbiae", Montanus, Beza, Bolducius, Vatablus.

The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
8. Neither have the proud wild beasts, which fearlessly penetrate into the darkest places, ever trodden that path.

the lion’s whelps] Rather, the proud beasts, lit. sons of pride, ch. Job 41:34.

passed by it] i. e. passed over it, walked it.Verse 8. - The lion's whelps have not trodden it; literally, the sons of the fierce - the whelps of lions, tigers, or leopards may be intended. These beasts would haunt the mountains and penetrate into natural caverns, but would never adventure themselves in the shafts and adits of miners. Nor the fierce lion passed by it; rather, passed thereby (see the Revised Version). From the mention of silver and gold, the description passes on to iron and ore (copper, cuprum equals aes Cyprium). Iron is called בּרזל, not with the noun-ending el like כּרמל (thus Ges., Olsh., and others), but probably expanded from בּזּל (Frst), like שׁרבּיט from שׁבּיט equals שׁבט, סמפּיר from ספּיר, βάλσαμον from בּשׂם, since, as Pliny testifies, the name of basalt (iron-marble) and iron are related,

(Note: Hist. nat. xxxvi. 7, 11: Invenit eadem Aegyptus in Aethiopia quem vocant basalten (basaniten) ferrei coloris atque duritiae, unde et nomen ei dedit (vid., von Raumer, Palstina, S. 96, 4th edition). Neither Seetzen nor Wetzstein has found proper iron-ore in Basan. Basalt is all the more prevalent there, from which Basan may have its name. For there is no special Semitic word for basalt; Botchor calls in the aid of Arab. nw‛ ruchâm 'swd, "a kind of black marble;" but, as Wetzstein informs me, this is only a translation of the phrase of a French dictionary which he had, for the general name of basalt, at least in Syria, is hagar aswad (black stone). Iron is called hadı̂d in Arabic (literally a pointed instrument, with the not infrequent transference of the name of the tool to the material from which it is made). ברזל (פרזל) is known in Arabic only in the form firzil, as the name for iron chains and great smith's shears for cutting iron; but it is remarkable that in Berber, which is related to Egyptian, iron is called even in the present day wazzâl; vid., Lex. geographicum ed. Juynboll, tom. iv. (adnot.) p. 64, l. 16, and Marcel, Vocabulaire Franaisarabe de dialectes vulgaires africains, p. 249: "Fer Arab. ḥdı̂d, hadyd (en berbere Arab. wzzâl, ouezzâl; Arab. 'wzzâl, ôouzzâl)." The Coptic name of iron is benipi (dialect. penipe), according to Prof. Lauth perhaps, as also barôt, ore, connected with ba, the hieroglyph name of a very hard mineral; the black basalt of an obelisk in the British Museum is called bechenen in the inscription. If it really be so, that iron and basalt are homonymous in Semitic, the reason could only be sought for in the dark iron-black colour of basalt, in its hardness, and perhaps also its weight (which, however, is only about half the specific gravity of pure iron), not in the magnetic iron, which has only in more modern times been discovered to be a substantial component part of basalt, the grains of which cannot be seen by the naked eye, and are only detected with the magnetic needle, or by chemical analysis.)

and copper is called נחשׁת, for which the book of Job (Job 20:24; Job 28:2; Job 40:18; Job 41:19; comp. even Leviticus 26:19) always has נחוּשׁה (aereum equals aes, Arab. nuhâs). Of the iron it is said that it is procured from the עפר, by which the bowels of the earth are meant here, as the surface of the earth in Job 41:25; and of copper it is said that they pour out the stone into copper (vid., Ges. 139, 2), i.e., smelt copper from it: יצוּק as Job 29:6, fundit, here with a subj. of the most general kind: one pours; on the contrary, Job 41:15. partic. of יצק. Job 28:3 distinctly shows that it is the bowels of the earth from which these metals are obtained: he (man) has made an end of the darkness, since he turns out and lights up the lightless interior of the earth; and לכל־תּכלית, to every extremity, i.e., to the remotest depths, he searches out the stone of deep darkness and of the shadow of death, i.e., hidden in the deepest darkness, far beneath the surface of the earth (vid., on Job 10:22; and comp. Pliny, h. n. xxxiii. proaem. of mining: imus in viscera ejus [terrae] et in sede Manium opes quaerimus). Most expositors (Hirz., Ew., Hahn, Schlottm., and others) take לכל־תלית adverbially, "to the utmost" or "most closely," but vid., on Job 26:10; לתכלית might be used thus adverbially, but לכל־תכלית is to be explained according to לכל־רוח, Ezekiel 5:10 (to all the winds).

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