William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.Job Chapter 28
And now in the next chapter (Job 28), which will close tonight, we have a very remarkable addition - one of the most striking in the Book of Job. It seems very abrupt. He now turns away from man altogether in his bad ways, or from vindicating those who really looked to God; and he locks at the general state of mankind. Not any particularly evil class or righteous class.
"Surely there is a vein for the silver and a place for gold where they find it." Gold is not found in veins like silver, it is in quite a different way - very often in the form of dust, and sometimes of nuggets. But silver is found in large and rich veins. "Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone." That is just exactly where copper is found. Where we read "brass" it is very often "copper" - chiefly so in the Bible. "He setteth an end to darkness." He now gives us a remarkable sketch of mining in very early times. "He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection" - in quest of these precious metals, gold, silver or the like - "the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death," i.e., he goes down to the depths of the earth after them. "The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant" - water there is very dangerous, and so the great point is to get rid of it safely - to drain it or turn it aside so that they may work their mine. "Even the waters forgotten of the foot." That is, waters that people do not walk beside; not the rivers and rivulets and the like, but water deep in the earth. "They are dried up; they are gone away from men." There is the drainage in order to carry it on.
"As for the earth, out of it cometh bread; and under it" - that is deep down in it - "is turned up as it were fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires" - precious stones as well as these metals - "and it hath dust of gold." They do not enter into these depths; they go up into the heights and they traverse all the surface of the earth, but the fowls do not venture into the mines where man goes down. Not even the vulture. The vulture has a keen sight, as we all know, especially for a dead body, and there they are - God's natural scavengers for this poor world of death. "The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it" "He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. He cutteth out the rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing," They get a great sensitive understanding of what is worth - not by any means that they are always right. Sometimes the miners in our country have thrown away as rubbish what was quite as valuable as all that their mind was set upon; but as a general rule they learn what is valuable. "He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. But where shall wisdom be found?" No, there is no wisdom in all that. There is self in all that. There is what will make a man rich; there is what will bring money and perhaps distinction; but where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Well, it is not on the earth, and it is not down in these mines of darkness where man is so prompt to follow for that which he values. Where is it to be found? "Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living."
What a very solemn thing that is! True wisdom and true understanding not found in the earth at all! It comes down from heaven. It is found only in Christ; and Christ had not yet come; and further, this is what came out still more by Christ's rejection and Christ's death. "Therefore the depth saith, It is not in me." There are silver and gold in the depth, and other like commodities, and precious stones. "The sea saith, It is not with me.... It is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air." It is not in the skies as far as they are open to the eye. "Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears." Yes, it was just that very thing. There was a report of that One who is Himself wisdom, and who is the Giver of wisdom to the meek. It was by death that it came to us, but they did not know it.
"God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; to make the weight for the winds." It was many hundreds, yea, some thousands of years after that when man discovered that the atmosphere had weight. But it did not enter into the philosophy of the philosophers then; they knew nothing about it. Here is mentioned the weight of the wind. "He weigheth the waters by measure," so that no matter what comes, the sea is never too full. There is always going on, the circle of waters - waters rising up in the form of vapour, and in vast quantities; for the power of the son acts upon the waters, and there are many tons going up every day. There was a measure for it all, in God's mind. "When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said" - there is a wisdom above man - "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." And that is just exactly what is felt when a soul is converted. He may know nothing more than that; he sees how he has been in almost all evil, and he departs from it. A real sight of Christ is enough to do that by the spirit of God, and the fear of the Lord. That is what is abiding even when souls are not occupied with their evil, and speaking of it - the fear of the Lord and departing from evil.
But that is not the same thing as the gospel; it is not the same thing as knowing that all our evil is judged already in Christ's person on the cross, that our sins are completely gone, and that we are brought in as children whiter than snow through the blood of Christ before the eye of God. That is the gospel; and it is after his reception of the word of truth that man receives the Holy Ghost, to delight in it, and to be the witness of it; but enjoying it first. Not to speak unto other people at first; oh, no; that is not the first thing. That is what the vanity of youngsters very often thinks - but to enjoy it with thankfulness and praise of God, and in worship of Him; that is what we come to. That is the true effect of the Spirit of God working. But then there is often a great deal of energy, and people are often more occupied with the wants of other people than with the infallible grace and truth of God. If the Lord will, I hope to continue on next Wednesday evening.
Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.
He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.
The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.
There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:
The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.
He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.
Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.