Job 28:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"He sinks a shaft far from habitation, Forgotten by the foot; They hang and swing to and fro far from men.

King James Bible
The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.

Darby Bible Translation
He openeth a shaft far from the inhabitants of the earth: forgotten of the foot, they hang suspended; away below men they hover.

World English Bible
He breaks open a shaft away from where people live. They are forgotten by the foot. They hang far from men, they swing back and forth.

Young's Literal Translation
A stream hath broken out from a sojourner, Those forgotten of the foot, They were low, from man they wandered.

Job 28:4 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant - It would be difficult to tell what idea our translators affixed to this sentence, though it seems to be a literal version of the Hebrew. There has been a great variety of rendering given to the passage. Noyes translates it:

"From the place where they dwell they open a shaft,

Unsupported by the feet,

They are suspended, they swing away from men."


"A flood goeth out from the realm of oblivion,

They draw it up from the foot of the mountain,

They remove it away from men."

According to this, the meaning, Herder says, would be, that "the dwelling of the forgotten would be the kingdom of the dead, and at greater depth than the deepest mines have reached. Streams break forth from the river of eternal oblivion beneath, and yet are overcome by the miners, pumped dry, and turned out of the way. "Yet I confess," says he, "the passage remains obscure to my mind." Coverdale renders it, "With the river of water parteth he asunder the strange people, that knoweth no good neighborhood; such as are rude, unmannerly, and boisterous." The Septuagint renders it, "The channels of brooks are choked up with sand; when to such as know not the right way strength is unavailing, and they are removed from among men." The difficulty of interpreting the passage has been felt by every expositor to be great; and there are scarcely two expositions alike. There can be no doubt that Job refers to mining operations, and the whole passage should be explained with reference to such works. But the obscurity may possibly arise from the fact that mining operations were then conducted in a manner different from what they are now, and the allusion may be to some custom which was then well understood, but of which we now know nothing. A plausible interpretation, at least, has been furnished by Gesenius, and one which seems to me to be more satisfactory than any other. An explanation of the words in the passage will bring out this view. The word rendered "breaketh out" (פרץ pârats) means to break, rend, tear through - and here refers to the act of breaking through the earth for the purpose of sinking a shaft or pit in a mine. The word rendered "flood" (נחל nachal) means properly a stream or brook; then a valley in which a brook runs along; and here Gesenius supposes it means a shaft or pit of a mine. It may be called a נחל nachal, or valley, from the resemblance to a gully which the water has washed away by a mountain-torrent.

From the inhabitant - This conveys evidently no idea as it now stands. The Hebrew is מעם־גר mē‛ı̂m-gār. The word גוּר gûr, from which גר gār is derived, means to sojourn for a time, to dwell, as a stranger or guest; and the phrase here means, "away from any dweller or inhabitant;" that is, from where people dwell, or from the surface of the ground as the home of men; that is, under ground. Or the idea is, that it is done where no one could dwell. It could not be the abode of man.

Even the waters forgotten of the foot - The words "even the waters" are supplied by the translators. The Hebrew is מני־רגל הנשׁכחים hanı̂śkâchı̂ym mı̂nı̂y-regel, and refers to being unsupported by the foot. They go into a place where the foot yields no support, and they are obliged to suspend themselves in order to be sustained.

They are dried up - דלו dâlû. The word דלל dâlal, from which this is derived, means to hang down, to be pendulous, as boughs are on a tree, or as a bucket is in a well. According to this interpretation, the meaning is, that they "hang down" far from men in their mines, and swing to and fro like the branches of a tree in the wind.

They are gone away from men - The word נעו nā‛û, from נוּע nûa‛, means to move to and fro, to waver, to vacillate. Gr. and Latin νεύω neuō, nuo, Germ. nicken, to nod backward and forward. The sense here is, that, far from the dwellings of people, they "wave to and fro" in their deep mines, suspended by cords. They descend by the aid of cords, and not by a firm foothold, until they penetrate the deep darkness of the earth. Other interpretations may be seen, however, defended at length in Schultens, and in Rosenmuller - who has adopted substantially that of Schultens - in Dr. Good, and in other commentaries. Few passages in the Bible are more obscure.

Job 28:4 Parallel Commentaries

Days of Conflict
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Whether Fear is the Beginning of Wisdom
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Christ the Mediator of the Covenant
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Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Job 28:3
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