1 Surely there does exist a outlet (i.e. mine, or shaft) for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. (This is the continuation of Zophar's last address. Not Job's words. Cp. 35:16, 38:2. They are opposed to his own words, and confirm those of his friends. Cp. his 2nd address, 20:1-29)
2 Iron is taken out of the dust, and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 Man (i.e. the miner) sets an end to darkness, and searches out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaks out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from mortal men.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knows, and which the vulture's eye has not seen:
8 The sons of pride (i.e. ravenous beasts) have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He puts forth his hand upon the rock; he overturns the mountains by the flint.
10 He cuts out rivers among the rocks; and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He binds the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bring he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knows not the price thereof (or, the way in gold or man); neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth says, 'It (i.e. wisdom) is not in me:' and the sea says, 'It (wisdom) is not with me.'
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. (Wisdom is the most valuable thing in the world. You can't lose your eternity if you have it.)
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
20 Where then comes wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living (eyes of the flesh), and kept close from the fowls of the air. (Demonic things.)
22 Destruction (Heb. Abaddon) and death say (Satan here and 2:14), 'We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.' (It doesn't mean anything to him, Satan. See 1 Pet. 3:14.)
23 God (Elohim) understands the way thereof, and He knows the place thereof. (Only He can reveal it.)
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth [age] (He's got a plan), and sees under the whole heaven;
25 To make the weight for the winds; and He weighs the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: (He takes the most unstable things and finds a way to control them.)
27 Then did He see it, and declare it; He prepared it, yes, and searched it out. (He knew from the beginning.)
28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the reverence of the LORD (Yahaveh), that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.' " (This was a libel on Job, for Job had this "fear" or reverence; yet he was suffering. That was the very point in question, and leads up to the answer. This was Zophar's philosophy. The reverence of the Lord is not true wisdom; it is only "the beginning of wisdom" [Ps. 111:10. Prov. 1:7; 9:10]. True wisdom is to take the place of the sinner before God, and Job takes this place [42:5,6]. This is "the end of the Lord" [Jas. 5:11], and it is "the end" of this book. This wisdom "justifies God" [Ps. 51: 3,4,6. Matt. 11:19. Luke 7:35]. Cp. 33:27,28; 34:31; 35:11; 39:17. Zophar's was human wisdom founded on human merit. To depart from evil is what every prudent man would do from good policy.)