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). Job 28:8 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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