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The wisdom of God in the works of nature, ver. 1 - 11.
A wisdom like this cannot be found in man, neither can it be bought
at any price, ver. 12 - 21.
Death makes a report concerning it, ver. 22.
It is hid in God, ver. 23 - 27.
To fear God is man's wisdom, ver. 28.
1: Surely - Job having in the last chapter discoursed of God's
various providences toward wicked men, and shewed that God doth sometimes,
for a season, give them prosperity, but afterwards calls them to a sad
account, and having shewed that God doth sometimes prosper the wicked
all their days, so they live and die without any visible token of God's
displeasure, when on the contrary, good men are exercised with many
calamities; and perceiving that his friends were, scandalized at these
methods of Divine providence, and denied the thing, because they could
not understand the reason of such dispensations: in this chapter he
declares that this is one of the depths of Divine wisdom, not discoverable
by any mortal man, and that although men had some degree of wisdom
whereby they could search out many hidden things, as the veins of silver,
and gold, yet this was a wisdom of an higher nature, and out of man's
reach. The caverns of the earth he may discover, but not the counsels
3: Perfection - Whatever is deeply wrought in the deepest caverns.
Stones of darkness - The precious stones which lie hid in the dark bowels
of the earth, where no living thing can dwell.
4: Breaketh out - While men are searching, water breaks in upon them.
Inhabitants - Out of that part of the earth which the miners inhabit.
Forgotten - Untrodden by the foot of man. Dried up - They are dried
up, (or, drawn up, by engines made for that purpose) from men,
from the miners, that they may not be hindered in their work.
5: Fire - Coals, and brimstone, and other materials of fire.
Unless this refer, as some suppose, to a central fire.
6: Sapphires - Of precious stones; the sapphire, is one of the most
eminent, being put for all the rest. In some parts of the earth, the
sapphires are mixed with stones, and cut out of them and polished.
Hath - The earth continueth. Dust - Distinct from that gold which is
found in the mass, both sorts of gold being found in the earth.
7: A path - In the bowels of the earth. Vulture's eye - Whose eye
is very quick, and strong, and searcheth all places for its prey.
8: Lion - Which rangeth all places for prey. The birds and beasts
have often led men to such places as otherwise they should never have
found out; but they could not lead them to these mines, the finding out
of them is a special gift of God.
9: He, &c. - This and the two next verses mention other eminent works
of God, who overturneth rocks, and produceth new rivers.
10: Seeth - Even those which no human art or industry was ever able
12: That wisdom - Man hath one kind of wisdom, to discover the works
of nature, and to perform the operations of art; but as for that sublime
wisdom which consists in the knowledge of God and ourselves, no man can
discover this, but by the special gift of Cod.
13: Found - Among men upon earth, but only among those blessed
spirits that dwell above.
14: The depth - This is not to he found in any part of the sea,
though a man may dig or dive ever so deep to find it, nor to be
learned from any creature.
20: Whence, &c. - By a diligent inquiry, we find at length, that
there is a twofold wisdom; one hid in God, which belongs not to us,
the other revealed to man, which belongs to us and to our children.
21: Hid - The line and plummet of human reason, can never fathom the
abyss of the Divine counsels. Who can account for the maxims, measures
and methods of God's government? Let us then be content, not to know the
future events of providence, 'till time discover them: and not to know
the secret reasons of providence, 'till eternity brings them to light.
22: Death - The grave, the place of the dead, to 'which these things
are here ascribed, as they are to the depths, and to the sea, by a
common figure. Though they cannot give an account of it themselves yet
there is a world, on which these dark regions border, where we shall see
it clearly. Have patience, says death: I will fetch thee shortly to a
place where even this wisdom shall be found. When the veil of flesh is
rent, and the interposing clouds are scattered, we shall know what God
doth, though we know not now.
23: God - God alone. The way - The methods which he takes in the
management of all affairs, together with its grounds and ends in them.
The place - Where it dwells, which is only in his own mind.
24: For - He, and he only knows it, because his providence, is
infinite and universal, reaching to all places, and times, past,
present, and to come; whereas the most knowing men have narrow
understandings, and the wisdom, and justice, and beauty of God's
works are not fully seen 'till all the parts of them be laid together.
25: Winds - God manageth them all by weight, appointing to every wind
that blows, its season, its proportion, its bounds, when, and where, and
how much, and how long each shall blow. He only doth all these things, and
he only knows why he doth them. He instanceth in some few of God's works,
and those which seem to be most trivial, and uncertain, that thereby he
might more strongly imply that God doth the same in other things which
are more considerable, that he doth all things in the most exact order,
and weight, and measure. The waters - Namely, the rain - waters, which God
layeth up in his store - houses, the clouds, and thence draws them forth,
and sends them down upon the earth in such times and proportions as he
thinks fit. Measure - For liquid things are examined by measure, as other
things are by weight: and here is both weight and measure to signify
with what perfect wisdom God governs the world.
26: When - At the first creation, when he settled that course and
order which should he continued. A decree - An appointment and as it
were a statute law, that it should fall upon the earth, in such times,
and places, and proportions.
27: It - Wisdom, which is the subject of the present discourse.
This God saw within himself; he looked upon it in his own mind, as
the rule by which he would proceed in the creation and government of
all things. Declare - Or reveal it. Prepared - He had it in readiness
for doing all his works, as if he had been for a long time preparing
materials for them. So it is a speech of God after the manner of men.
Searched - Not properly; for so searching implies ignorance, and requires
time and industry, all which is repugnant to the Divine perfections; but
figuratively, he did, and doth, all things with that absolute and perfect
wisdom, so exactly, and perfectly, as if he had bestowed a long time in
searching, to find them out.
28: Man - Unto Adam in the day in which he was created. And in
him, to all his posterity. Said - God spake it, at first to the mind of
man, in which he wrote this with his own finger, and afterwards by the
holy patriarchs, and prophets, and other teachers, whom he sent into the
world to teach men true wisdom. Behold - Which expression denotes the
great importance of this doctrine, and withal man's backwardness to
apprehend it. The fear of the Lord - True religion. Wisdom - In man's
wisdom, because that, and that only, is his duty, and safety, and
happiness, both for this life and for the next. Evil - From sin, which
is called evil eminently, as being the chief evil, and the cause of
all other evils. Religion consists of two branches, doing good, and
forsaking evil; the former is expressed in the former clause of this
verse, and the latter in these words; and this is the best kind of
knowledge or wisdom to which man can attain in this life. The design of
Job in this close of his discourse, is not to reprove the boldness of
his friends, in prying into God's secrets, and passing such a rash
censure upon him, and upon God's carriage towards him; but also to
vindicate himself from the imputation of hypocrisy, which they fastened
upon him, by shewing that he had ever esteemed it to be his best wisdom,
to fear God, and to depart from evil.