English Standard Version
“God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.
King James Bible
God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
American Standard Version
God understandeth the way thereof, And he knoweth the place thereof.
God understandeth the way of it, and he knoweth the place thereof.
English Revised Version
God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
Webster's Bible Translation
God understandeth the way of it, and he knoweth its place.
Job 28:23 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
17 Gold and glass are not equal to it,
Nor is it exchanged for jewels of gold.
18 Pearls and crystal are not to be mentioned,
And the acquisition of wisdom is beyond corals.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia is not equal to it,
It is not outweighed by pure fine gold.
20 Whence, then, cometh wisdom,
And which is the place of understanding?
Among the separate חפצים, Proverbs 3:15, which are here detailed, apart from זהב, glass has the transparent name זכוּכית, or, as it is pointed in Codd., in old editions, and by Kimchi, זכוכית, with Cholem (in the dialects with ג instead of )כ. Symm. indeed translates crystal, and in fact the ancient languages have common names for glass and crystal; but the crystal is here called זכוּבישׁ, which signifies prop., like the Arab. 'gibs, ice; κρύσταλλος also signifies prop. ice, and this only in Homer, then crystal, exactly as the cognate קרח unites both significations in itself. The reason of this homonymy lies deeper than in the outward similarity, - the ancients really thought the crystal was a product of the cold; Pliny, xxxvii. 2, 9, says: non alibi certe reperitur quam ubi maxume hibernae nives rigent, glaciemque esse certum est, unde nomen Graeci dedere. The Targ. translates גבישׁ by פּנינים, certainly in the sense of the Arabico-Persic bullûr (bulûr), which signifies crystal, or even glass, and moreover is the primary word for βήρυλλος, although the identical Sanskrit word, according to the laws of sound, vaidurja (Pali, velurija), is, according to the lexicons, a name of the lapis lazuli (Persic, lagurd). Of the two words ראמות and פּננים, the one appears to mean pearls and the other corals; the ancient appellations of these precious things which belong to the sea are also blended; the Persic mergân (Sanskr. mangara) unites the signification pearl and coral in itself. The root פן, Arab. fn, which has the primary notion of pushing, especially of vegetation (whence Arab. fann, a branch, shoot, prop. motion; French, jet), and Lamentations 4:7, where snow and milk, as figures of whiteness (purity), are placed in contrast with פנינים as a figure of redness, favour the signification corals for פנינים. The Coptic be nôni, which signifies gemma, favours (so far as it may be compared) corals rather than pearls. And the fact that ראמות, Ezekiel 27:16, appears as an Aramaean article of commerce in the market of Tyre, is more favourable to the signification pearls than corals; for the Babylonians sailed far into the Indian Ocean, and brought pearls from the fisheries of Bahrein, perhaps even from Ceylon, into the home markets (vid., Layard, New Discoveries, 536). The name is perhaps, from the Western Asiatic name of the pearl,
(Note: Vid., Zeitschr. fr d. Kunde des Morgenlandes, iv. 40f. The recently attempted explanation of κοράλλιον from גּורל (to which κλῆρος the rather belongs), in the primary signification lappillus (Arab. ‛garal), is without support.)
mutilated and Hebraized.
(Note: Two reasons for פנינים equals pearls (in favour of which Bochart compares the name of the pearl-oyster, πίννα) and ראמות equals corals, which are maintained by Carey, are worthy of remark. (1.) That פנינים does not signify corals, he infers from Lamentations 4:7, for the redness of corals cannot be a mark of bodily beauty; "but when I find that there are some pearls of a slightly reddish tinge, then I can understand and appreciate the comparison." (2.) That ראמות signifies corals, is shown by the origin of the word, which properly signifies reêm-(wild oxen) horns, which is favoured by a mention of Pliny, h. n. xiii. 51: (Tradidere) juncos quoque lapideos perquam similes veris per litora, et in alto quasdam arbusculas colore bubuli cornus ramosas et cacuminibus rubentes. Although Pliny there speaks of marine petrified plants of the Indian Ocean (not, at least in his sense, of corals), this hint of a possible derivation of ראמות is certainly surprising. But as to Lamentations 4:7, this passage is to be understood according to Sol 5:10 (my friend is צח ואדום). The white and red are intended to be conceived of as mixed and overlapping one another, as our Germ. popular poetry speaks of cheeks which "shine with milk and purple;" and as in Homer, Il. iv. 141-146, the colour of the beautifully formed limbs of Menelaus is represented by the figure (which appears hideous to us): ὡς δ ̓ ὅτε τίς τ ̓ ἐλέφαντα γυνὴ φοίνικι μιήνͅ (ebony stained with purple).)
The name of the פּטדּה of Ethiopia appears to be derived from to'paz by transposition; Pliny says of the topaz, xxxvii. 8, 32, among other passages; Juba Topazum insulam in rubro mari a continenti stadiis CCC abesse dicit, nebulosam et ideo quaesitam saepius navigantibus; ex ea causa nomen accepisse: topazin enim Troglodytarum lingua significationem habere quaerendi. This topaz, however, which is said to be named after an island of the same name, the Isle of Serpents in Agatharchides and Diodorus, is, according to Pliny, yellowish green, and therefore distinct from the otherwise so-called topaz. To make a candid confession, we grope about everywhere in the dark here, and the ancient versions are not able to help us out of our difficulty.
(Note: The Targ. translates שׁהם by פּנינים, βήρυλλος; ספיר by שׁבזיזא (Arab. sbz, vid., Pott in the Zeitschr.f. K. d. M. iv. 275); פז by אובריזין, ὄβρυζον; ראמות by סנדלכין, σανδαράχη, red gold-pigment (vid., Rdiger-Pott, as just quoted, S. 267); גבישׁ again by בּירוּלין in the sense of the Arabico-Persic bullûr, Kurd. bellûr, crystal; פנינים by מרגלין, μαργαρῖται; פטדה by מרגּלא ירקא (the green pearl); כתם by פטלון (perhaps פּטלון, πέταλον, in the sense of lamina auri).)
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
He is wise in heart and mighty in strength--who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?--
"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
"From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
"The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.
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