Job 28:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
“From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?

King James Bible
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

American Standard Version
Whence then cometh wisdom? And where is the place of understanding?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

English Revised Version
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

Webster's Bible Translation
Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

13 A mortal knoweth not its price,

And it is not found in the land of the living.

14 The abyss saith: It is not in me,

And the sea saith: It is not with me.

15 Pure gold cannot be given for it,

And silver cannot be weighed as its price;

16 And it is not outweighed with fine gold of Ophir,

With the precious onyx and the sapphire.

It is self-evident that wisdom is found nowhere directly present and within a limited space, as at the bottom of the sea, and cannot be obtained by a direct exchange by means of earthly treasures. It is, moreover, not this self-evident fact that is denied here; but the meaning is, that even if a man should search in every direction through the land of the living, i.e., (as e.g., Psalm 52:7) the world - if he should search through the תּהום, i.e., the subterranean waters that feed the visible waters (vid., Genesis 39:25) - if he should search through the sea, the largest bounded expanse of this water that wells up from beneath - yea, even if he would offer all riches and precious things to put himself in possession of the means and instruments for the acquirement of wisdom, - wisdom, i.e., the profoundest perception of the nature of things, would still be beyond him, and unattainable. ערך, Job 28:13, an equivalent (from ערך, to range beside, to place at the side of), interchanges with מחיר (from מחר, cogn. מהר, מכר, mercari). סגור is זהב סגוּר, 1 Kings 6:20 and freq., which hardly signifies gold shut up equals carefully preserved, rather: closed equals compressed, unmixed; Targ. דּהב סנין, aurum colatum (purgatum). Ewald compares Arab. sajara, to seethe, heat; therefore: heated, gained by smelting. On the other hand, כּתם from כתם, Arab. ktm, occulere, seems originally to denote that which is precious, then precious gold in particular, lxx χρυσίῳ Ωφείρ, Cod. Vat. and Cod. Sinaiticus, Σωφίρ (Egyptized by prefixing the Egyptian sa, part, district, side, whence e.g., sa-rees, the upper country, and sa-heet, the lower country, therefore equals sa-ofir, land of Ophir). שׁהם is translated here by the lxx ὄνυξ (elsewhere σαρδόνυξ or σάρδιος), of which Pliny, h. n. xxxvii. 6, 24, appealing to Sudeines, says, in gemma esse candorem unguis humanii similitudinem; wherefore Knobel, Rdiger, and others, compare the Arab. sâhim, which, however, does not signify pale, but lean, and parched by the heat, with which, in hot countries at least, not pallor, but, on the contrary, a dark brown-black colour, is identified (Fl.). Arab. musahham, striped (Mich.), would be more appropriate, since the onyx is marked through by white veins; but this is a denom. from sahm, a dart, prop. darted, and is therefore wide of the mark. On the etymology of ספּיר, vid., Jesurun, p. 61. Nevertheless both שׁהם and ספּיר are perhaps foreign names, as the name of the emerald (vid., ib. p. 108), which is Indian (Sanskr. marakata, or even marakta); and, on the other hand, it is called in hieroglyph (determined by the stone) uot, the green stone (in Coptic p. auannēse, the green colour) (Lauth).

The transcendent excellence of wisdom above the most precious earthly treasures, which the author of the introduction to the book of Proverbs briefly describes, Job 3:14, is now drawn out in detail.

Job 28:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

See on

Job 28:12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.

Ecclesiastes 7:23,24 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me...

1 Corinthians 2:6-15 However, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world...

James 1:5,17 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him...

Cross References
Job 28:21
It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air.

Job 28:23
"God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.

Job 28:28
And he said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'"

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