New American Standard Bible
"Iron is taken from the dust, And copper is smelted from rock.
King James Bible
Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.
Darby Bible Translation
Iron is taken out of the dust, and copper is molten out of the stone.
World English Bible
Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted out of the ore.
Young's Literal Translation
Iron from the dust is taken, And from the firm stone brass.
Job 28:2 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Iron - As has been remarked above, iron was early known, yet probably its common use indicates a more advanced state of civilization than that of gold and silver. The Mexicans were ignorant of the use of iron, though ornaments of gold and silver elegantly worked abounded among them. Iron is less easily discovered than copper, though more abundant, and is worked with more difficulty. Among the ancient nations, copper was in general use long before iron; and arms, vases, statues, and implements of every kind were made of this metal alloyed and hardened with tin, before iron came into general use. Tubal Cain is indeed mentioned Genesis 4:22 as the "instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," but no direct mention is made of iron arms Numbers 35:16 or tools Deuteronomy 27:5, until after the departure from Egypt. According to the Arundelian Marbles, iron was known one hundred and eighty-eight years before the Trojan war, about 1370 years B.C.; but Hesiod, Plutarch, and others, limit its discovery to a much later period. Homer, however, distinctly mentions its use, Iliad xxiii. 262:
Η δε γυνᾶικα ὲΰζώνα;, πολιον τε σίδηρον.
Hē de gunaikas euzōnas, polion te sidēron.
That by the "sideros" of the poet is meant iron, is clear, from a simile which he uses in the Odyssey, derived from the quenching of iron in water, by which he illustrates the hissing produced in the eye of Polyphemus by piercing it with the burning stake:
"And as when armorers temper in the ford
The keen edged pole-axe or the shining sword,
The red-hot metal hisses in the lake,
Thus in the eye-ball hissed the plunging stake."
Odyssey ix. 391; Pope
Iron is mentioned in the time of Og king of Bashan, 1450 B.C. It was at first, however, regarded as of great value, and its use was very limited. It was presented in the temples of Greece as among the most valuable offerings, and rings of iron have been found in the tombs of Egypt that had been worn as ornaments, showing the value of the metal. One of the reasons why this metal comes so slowly into use, and why it was so rare in early times, was the difficulty of smelting the ore, and reducing it to a malleable state "Its gross and stubborn ore," says Dr. Robertson (America, B. iv.) "must feel twice the force of fire, and go through two laborious pocesses, before it becomes fit for use." It was this fact which made it to Job such a proof of the wisdom of man that he had invented the process of making iron, or of separating it from the earthy portions in which it is found.
Is taken out of the earth - Margin, "dust." The form in which iron is found is too well known to need description. It is seldom, if ever, found in its purity, and the ore generally has so much the appearance of mere earth, that it requires some skill to distinguish them.
And brass - נחוּשׁה nechûshâh. Brass is early and frequently mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:22; Exodus 25:3; Exodus 26:11, et al.), but there is little doubt that copper is meant in these places. Brass is a compound metal, made of copper and zinc - containing usually about one third of the weight in zinc - and it is hardly probable that the art of compounding this was early known; compare the notes at Job 20:24. Dr. Good renders this, "And the rock poureth forth copper." Coverdale, "The stones resolved to metal." Noyes, "The stone is melted into copper." Prof. Lee, "Also the stone (is taken from the earth) from which one fuseth copper." The Hebrew is, literally," And stone is poured out יציק copper." The Septuagint renders it, "And brass is cut like stones;" that is, is cut from the quarry. The word "stone" here in the Hebrew (אבן 'eben) means, doubtless, "ore" in the form of stone; and the fact mentioned here, that such ore is fused into the נחוּשׁה eht nechûshâh, is clear proof that copper is intended. Brass is never found in ore, and is never compounded in the earth. A similar idea is found in Pliny, who probably uses the word "aes" to denote copper, as it is commonly employed in the ancient writings. Aes fit ex lapide aeroso, quem vocant Cadmiam; et igne lapides in nes solvantur. Nat. Hist. xxxiv. i. 22. On the general subject of ancient metallurgy, see Wilkinsoh's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii. chapter ix.
LibraryDays of Conflict
As the condition of the people began to open to His mind, He saw that the requirements of society and the requirements of God were in constant collision. Men were departing from the word of God, and exalting theories of their own invention. They were observing traditional rites that possessed no virtue. Their service was a mere round of ceremonies; the sacred truths it was designed to teach were hidden from the worshipers. He saw that in their faithless services they found no peace. They did not …
Ellen Gould White—The Desire of Ages
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"Surely there is a mine for silver And a place where they refine gold.
"Man puts an end to darkness, And to the farthest limit he searches out The rock in gloom and deep shadow.
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