Job 28:6
The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it has dust of gold.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The stones of it are the place of sapphires.—So ingenious is man that he discovereth a place of which the stones are sapphires and the very dust gold, and a path that no bird of prey knoweth, and which the falcon’s eye hath not seen.

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 stones of it are the place - Among the stones of the earth sapphires are found. "The situation of the sapphire is in alluvial soil, in the vicinity of rocks, belonging to the secondary floetz trap formation, and imbedded in gneiss." Jameson. "The sapphire occurs in considerable abundance in the granitic alluvion of Matura and Saffragam, in Ceylon." Davy.

Sapphires - Compare the note at Isaiah 54:11. The sapphire is a precious stone, usually of a blue color, though it is sometimes yellow, red, violet. green, or white. In hardness it is inferior to the diamond only:

"In unroll'd tufts, flowers purpled, blue and white,

Like sapphire, pearl, in rich embroidery."

Shakespeare

"He tinctures rubies with their rosy hue,

And on the sapphire spreads a heavenly blue."

Blackmore

The mineral is, next to the diamond, the most valuable of the precious stones. The most highly prized varieties are the crimson and carmine red; these are the "Oriental ruby" of the traveler, and next to the diamond are the most valuable jewels hitherto discovered. The blue varieties - the sapphire of the jeweler - are next in value to the red. The yellow varieties - the "Oriental Topaz" of the jeweler - are of less value than the blue or true sapphire. Edinburgh Encyclopedia, article "Mineralogy."

And it hath dust of gold - Margin, or "gold ore." Literally, "The dusts of gold are in it." Gold is often found in the form of dust. It is obtained by washing it from the sand, and passing it over a fleece of wool, to which the gold adheres.

6. Sapphires are found in alluvial soil near rocks and embedded in gneiss. The ancients distinguished two kinds: 1. The real, of transparent blue: 2. That improperly so called, opaque, with gold spots; that is, lapis lazuli. To the latter, looking like gold dust, Umbreit refers "dust of gold." English Version better, "The stones of the earth are, &c., and the clods of it (Vulgate) are gold"; the parallel clauses are thus neater. The place of sapphires, i.e. of precious stones; the sapphire, as one of the most eminent, being put for all the rest. In some parts of the earth the sapphires are mixed with stones, and cut out of them and polished. Of this stone, see Exodus 24:10 Song of Solomon 5:14 Lamentations 4:7 Ezekiel 1:26.

It hath, i.e. the earth containeth in or under it.

Dust of gold; which is a distinct thing from that gold which is found in the mass or lump, of which Job 28:2; both sorts of gold being found in the earth. The stones of it are the place of sapphires,.... In some parts of the earth its stones are a quarry of sapphires, put here for all precious stones: this is a most excellent precious stone, of a sky colour, with golden specks, and was one of the stones in the breast plate of the high priest; and by which are represented the pavement under the feet of the God of Israel, the throne of Christ, his bowels and affections for his people, the comeliness of them, and the glory of his church in the latter day, Exodus 24:10;

and it hath dust of gold; some parts of the earth abound with the dust of gold; its dust is gold, or it hath gold as plenty as dust; though some think this refers to the sapphire in the preceding clause, which, as Pliny says (d), has "pulvis aureus", dust of gold, in it, and shines and sparkles with golden points, or specks; and so say other writers (e); but the word used rather signifies clods, lumps, masses of gold, which better agree with the earth; and, besides, no very good reason can be given why there should be such a particular description of the sapphire; whereas the earth is the original of that, and of all the other things before spoken of.

(d) Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 9. (e) Ruaeus de Gemmis, l. 2. c. 2.

The stones of it are the place {f} of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

(f) He alludes to the mines and secrets of nature, which are under the earth, into which neither souls nor beasts can enter.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Through these operations which carry ruin into the bowels of the earth men, however, find the richest reward. The stones of the heart of the earth are the place of sapphires, and of auriferous dust.

it hath dust of gold] “It” refers to the “place” in the first clause, hardly to the sapphire, although a particular kind of sapphire is described as being grained or striated with gold. This, however, can hardly be what is meant by “dust of gold.” Instead of it hath dust we might render he hath—i. e. man; he finds his way to the place of sapphires and possesses himself of the auriferous earth.Verse 6. - The stones of it are the place of sapphires. Among the rocks and stones whereof the interior of the earth is mainly composed are found gems of inestinable value, for instance, sapphires. It is doubtful whether the Hebrew sapphire (ספיר) was the gem which bears that name among ourselves, or the lapis lazuli. In either case it was highly esteemed, and appeared in kings' crowns (Ezekiel 28:13), and in the high priest's breastplate (Exodus 28:18); Job notes its high value in ver. 16. And it (i.e. the earth) hath dust of gold; literally, dusts; i.e. a multitude of small specks or atoms. In the auriferous rocks gold is commonly scattered in such specks. 19 He lieth down rich, and doeth it not again,

He openeth his eyes and-is no more.

20 Terrors take hold of him as a flood;

By night a tempest stealeth him away.

21 The east wind lifteth him up, that he departeth,

And hurleth him forth from his place.

22 God casteth upon him without sparing,

Before His hand he fleeth utterly away.

23 They clap their hands at him,

And hiss him away from his place.

The pointing of the text ולא יאסף is explained by Schnurr., Umbr., and Stick.: He goes rich to bed and nothing is taken as yet, he opens his eyes and nothing more is there; but if this were the thought intended, it ought at least to have been ואין נאסף, since לא signifies non, not nihil; and Stickel's translation, "while nothing is carried away," makes the fut. instead of the praet., which was to be expected, none the more tolerable; also אסף can indeed signify to gather hastily together, to take away (e.g., Isaiah 33:4), when the connection favours it, but not here, where the first impression is that רשׁע is the subj. both to ולא יאסף and to ואיננו. Bttcher's translation, "He lieth down rich and cannot be displaced," gives the words a meaning that is ridiculed by the usage of the language. On the other hand, ולא יאסף can signify: and he is not conveyed away (comp. e.g., Jeremiah 8:2; Ezekiel 29:5; but not Isaiah 57:1, where it signifies to be swept away, and also not Numbers 20:26, where it signifies to be gathered to the fathers), and is probably intended to be explained after the pointing that we have, as Rosenm. and even Ralbag explain it: "he is not conveyed away; one opens his eyes and he is not;" or even as Schlottm.: "he is not conveyed away; in one moment he still looks about him, in the next he is no more;" but the relation of the two parts of the verse in this interpretation is unsatisfactory, and the preceding strophe has already referred to his not being buried. Since, therefore, only an unsuitable, and what is more, a badly-expressed thought, is gained by this reading, it may be that the expression should be regarded with Hahn as interrogative: is he not swept away? This, however, is only a makeshift, and therefore we must see whether it may not perhaps be susceptible of another pointing. Jerome transl.: dives cum dormierit, nihil secum auferet; the thought is not bad, but מאוּמה is wanting, and לא alone does not signify nihil. Better lxx (Ital., Syr.): πλούσιος κοιμηθήσεται καὶ ου ̓ προσθήσει. This translation follows the form of reading יאסף equals יוסיף, gives a suitable sense, places both parts of the verse in the right relation, and accords with the style of the poet (vid., Job 20:9; Job 40:5); and accordingly, with Ew., Hirz., and Hlgst., we decide in favour of this reading: he lieth down to sleep rich, and he doeth it no more, since in the night he is removed from life and also from riches by sudden death; or also: in the morning he openeth his eyes without imagining it is the last time, for, overwhelmed by sudden death, he closes them for ever. Job 27:20 and Job 27:20 are attached crosswise (chiastisch) to this picture of sudden destruction, be it by night or by day: the terrors of death seize him (sing. fem. with a plur. subj. following it, according to Ges. 146, 3) like a flood (comp. the floods of Belial, Psalm 18:5), by night a whirlwind (גּנבתּוּ סוּפה, as Job 21:18) carrieth him away. The Syriac and Arabic versions add, as a sort of interpolation: as a fluttering (large white) night-moth, - an addition which no one can consider beautiful.

Job 27:21 extends the figure of the whirlwind. In Hebrew, even when the narrative has reference to Egyptian matters (Genesis 41:23), the קדים which comes from the Arabian desert is the destructive, devastating, and parching wind κατ ̓ εξοχὴν.

(Note: In Syria and Arabia the east wind is no longer called qadı̂m, but exclusively sharqı̂ja, i.e., the wind that blows from the rising of the sun (sharq). This wind rarely prevails in summer, occurring then only two or three days a month on an average; it is more frequent in the winter and early spring, when, if it continues long, the tender vegetation is parched up, and a year of famine follows, whence in the Lebanon it is called semûm (שׂמוּם), which in the present day denotes the "poisonous wind" ( equals nesme musimme), but originally, by alliance with the Hebr. שׁמם, denoted the "devastating wind." The east wind is dry; it excites the blood, contracts the chest, causes restlessness and anxiety, and sleepless nights or evil dreams. Both man and beast feel weak and sickly while it prevails. Hence that which is unpleasant and revolting in life is compared to the east wind. Thus a maid in Hauran, at the sight of one of my Damascus travelling companions, whose excessive ugliness struck her, cried: billâh, nahâr el-jôm aqshar (Arab. 'qšr), wagahetni (Arab. w-jhṫnı̂) sharqı̂ja, "by God, it is an unhealthy day to-day: an east wind blew upon me." And in a festive dance song of the Merg district, these words occur:

wa rudd lı̂ hômet hodênik

continued...

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