Job 28:9
He puts forth his hand on the rock; he overturns the mountains by the roots.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) He putteth forth his hand upon the rock.—The process described is that of tunnelling and excavating, and that of making canals and lining them with stone; and in the course of such works many precious things would be discovered. The canals and cisterns were made so accurately that they retained the water, and did not even weep or trickle.

Job 28:9-11. He putteth forth his hand upon the rock, &c. — He digs through the hardest rocks by his obstinate labour; and undermines mountains, that he may find the treasures hid in their bowels. He cutteth out rivers among the rocks — If he meets with waters in his mining, which hinder his work, he cuts a channel through the rocks to convey them away; or, if he wants water, to wash the ore, he, with incredible industry, cuts channels to bring it into the mines. And his eye seeth every precious thing — Having with great art, and indefatigable industry, broke through all difficulties, he at last arrives at the wished-for object, and finds those precious treasures which he sought for. He bindeth the floods from overflowing — He restraineth them, and, as it were, bindeth them to their good behaviour, that they may not overflow the mine. Or, by his industry and skill he confineth the rivers, so that they cannot overflow. And the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light — Those metals, or precious stones, which lie hid in the secret parts of the earth, he discovers to himself and others.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?He putteth forth his hand - That is, the miner in securing the precious metals and gems.

Upon the rock - Margin, "flint." The word used here (חלמישׁ challâmı̂ysh) occurs also in Psalm 104:8. Deuteronomy 8:15; Deuteronomy 32:13. It means "flint, silex;" and the idea is, that the miner approaches the hardest substances. He penetrates even the flint in searching for precious stones. Dr. Good renders it, "Sparry ore." Michaelis renders the same word in Deuteronomy 7:15, porphyry, or red granite. The idea is that nothing, however difficult, not even cutting down the hardest rocks, deters the miner from pursuing his work.

He overturneth the mountains by the roots - That is, he digs under them, and they fall. The root of a mountain means its base or foundation. The following passage from Pliny (Hist. Nat. xxxiii. c. iv. 21) furnishes an admirable illustration of this passage: Tamen in silice facilior existimatur labor. Est namque terra ex quodam argillae genere glarae mixta, Candidam vocant, prope inexpugnabilis. Cuneis earn ferreis aggrediuntur, et iisdem mallets; nihilque durius putant, nisi quod inter omnia auri lama durissima est. Peracto opere cervices fornicum ab ultimo caedunt, dantque signun ruinrae, eamque solus intelligit in cacumine montis pervigil. Hic voce, ictuque, repente operarios revocari jubet, pariterque ipse devolat. Mons fractus cadit in scse Iongo fragore, qui concipi humana mente non possit, et flatu incredibili. Spectant victores ruinam naturae.

9. rock—flint. He puts forth his hand to cleave the hardest rock.

by the roots—from their foundations, by undermining them.

This and the two next verses are meant either,

1. Of other eminent and considerable works of God, who sometimes overturneth rocks, and produceth new rivers in unlikely places. Or rather,

2. Of the same work of mining and digging for gold, or other precious things of the earth, and of other effects of man’s art and wisdom in that work. The miners resolve to break through all opposition, and by iron tools, or fire, or other ways, dig through the hardest rocks. He undermineth the very mountains to find out the metals lying at the bottom of them. He putteth forth his hand upon the rock,.... The discourse is carried on concerning the miner, and digger in the earth for metals and precious stones; who meeting with a rock or flint, and a ridge of them, is not discouraged, but goes to work therewith, and with his hammer in his hand lays upon the rock or flint, and beats it to pieces, and with proper instruments cuts through it; and using fire and vinegar, as Pliny (g) observes, makes his way into it, and oftentimes by splitting it discovers gold (h) or silver, or precious stones, in it:

he overturneth the mountains by the roots; or turns them up from the roots; he roots them up, he undermines them; he turns up the earth at the roots of them, to get what is hid at the bottom, or in the bowels of them. Some understand this, and what is said in the following verses, of God, and of wonderful things done by him; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others; and to whom indeed such things are sometimes ascribed in Scripture: he touches the hills, and they smoke, Psalm 104:32; lays his hand on the rock, and removes it out of its place, Job 14:18; it was he that smote and opened the rock at Horeb, and the waters gushed out, Exodus 17:6; yea, turned the rock into standing water, and the flint into a fountain of water, Psalm 114:8, and he, in a figurative sense, has laid his hand on the rock Christ, and smote him with the rod of justice, whereby the blessings of grace come flowing down upon his people; and he it is that puts forth his hand of powerful and efficacious grace upon the rocky hearts of men, and with the hammer of his word breaks them to pieces, Jeremiah 23:29, and takes away the stony heart, and gives an heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19, and he also, in a literal sense, overturns hills and mountains by their roots, through storms, and tempests, and earthquakes; and figuratively, kingdoms and states, that lie in the way of his interest; for what are these mountains before the great Zerubbabel? they soon and easily become a plain; and so breaks through all difficulties, which proverbially may be signified by removing mountains, that seem to obstruct and hinder the conversion and salvation of his people; he makes those mountains a way, and his highways are exalted; see Sol 2:8; but the former sense is best, and most agreeable to the context.

(g) Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 4. "----Montem rumpit aceto", Juvenal. Sat. 10. v. 153. (h) lbid.

He putteth forth his hand upon the {g} rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.

(g) After he has declared the wisdom of God in the secrets of nature he describes his power.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. upon the rock] Or, the flinty rock; man puts forth his hand upon the rock either to break it or pierce a way through it. His force makes the hardest obstacle give way before him.

9–11. Some further touches regarding the irresistible force and the skilful ingenuity with which man conducts his operations, with the result at last of bringing that which is hidden forth to light.Verse 9. - He putteth forth his hand upon the rock. Our Revisers translate, upon the flinty rock; while Canon Cook maintains that "the word used means either granite or quartz." Probably Job meant no more than that man does not shrink from attacking any - even the hardest - rock; but will subdue it, and cut his way through it, if he has occasion so to do. He overturneth the mountains by the roots. Herodotus, in describing what he had seen of the Phoenician mining operations in the island of Thasos, observes, "a huge, mountain has been turned upside down in the search for ores" (Herod., 6:47). Pliny says of the process employed for detaching huge masses from the metalliferous hills in Spain, "They attack the rock with iron wedges and hammers. When this work is complete, they destroy the supports, and notify by signal that the fall is about to take place. A watchman, stationed on the mountain-top, alone understands the signal; and he proceeds at once to have all the workmen called in, and himself makes a hurried retreat. Then the mountain falls m upon itself with a crash that cannot be imagined, and an incredible concussion of the air. The successful engineers contemplate the ruin which they have achieved" ('Hist. Nat.,' 33:4. § 73). 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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