Reading through the Bible together
There are some things we need to say about Job and the ancient versions. The Word of God came in ancient Hebrew and Moses wrote the book of Job. Shortly before Christ and after His coming, Job was translated into a number of languages sometimes a couple of times in those same languages. Was God’s Word preserved all these years? Yes.
This brings us to Job 28 to uncover Job’s meaning from its original language. There are many words which appear only in Job and they can be best understood by using Egyptian, a language Moses spoke and read. In this chapter Job wants to contrast technology and wisdom, technology between verses 1-11 and real wisdom that matters in verses 12-28.
Man searches for gold and silver, or diamonds and precious metals, also for iron and copper in the darkness of the tunnels of the mines (verses 1-2). He is intrigued by all adventures, even doing so in the “shadow of death” and hanging in an open shaft (verses 3-4). Man changes the course of a river but years later the River-course comes back. Land that was once a breadbasket having been used for agriculture is now on fire having become a mine for sapphire and gold dust (verses 5-6). Job is dealing with extremes to show the futility of man’s work. Human technology does all these things. Paths under the ground which are unknown to vultures and beasts of prey and predators, are where these metals are found (verses 7-8). Man stretched out his hand and turned the land over from the root of the mountains [looking for these metals]. He binds up streams and brings to light what is hidden (verses 10-11). Job is listing the excellence of human technology in mines and river-diverting projects.
Now Job moves from human excellence to where real wisdom is to be found. Where is it?” (verse 12). Where does it exist? Man does not know its value and does not realize that can it cannot be found in the land of the living” (verse 13). From humanity on earth Job wants to move to the excellence in the supra-natural (verse 14). Real Wisdom cannot be bought by silver or gold (verses 15-16). Moses was familiar with all the treasures of the palace of Hatshepsut, but he “considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt” (Hebrews 11:26). Job is looking for that kind of Wisdom as well. After a long list he comes to verse 20 and repeats his question in verse 12: Where can one find wisdom? “Where is the place of its understanding?” It is hidden and concealed from the eyes of all living and even from the “winged creatures of the heavens” (verse 21).
Job says that Satan is Abaddon and death itself, and “with our ears we have heard its report” (verse 22). Satan and his angels heard it first-hand before they were cast out of heaven due to the Rebellion there. Now Job comes to the truth of this chapter: “God understands the way of death and He [emphasized] knows its place” (verse 23). God is over all and sees every corner of the expansion of the universe. He measures and weighs nature’s aspects in a perfect equilibrium despite Satan’s mutations and destructions. He prepared wisdom, declared it, and searched it out (verse 27). Finally Job comes to the full understanding which is his own faith: “Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom and turning from evil understanding” (verse 28).
Respect for You and following Your way by shunning evil is wisdom for us and also understanding Your ways. We desire to follow the faith of Moses and Job here. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea