4 February 2015

Job 28:1-28

“Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (v. 28)

Psalm: Psalm 102:1-11


Chapter 28 is a kind of interlude in the book of Job. Most of the book is in the form of a debate between Job and his friends about the problem of suffering. But in chapter 28 the issue is broader: where can we find the wisdom to answer the deep questions the book as a whole raises?

This chapter, like most of the book, is in the form of Hebrew poetry, which the setting of the NRSV translation brings out. Regularly the thought of the first line of a couplet is repeated in different words in the second. Sometimes there is a contrast between the two lines.

The first part of the chapter graphically describes the activity of miners digging for precious stones. Hard as that is, it is easy compared with trying to find wisdom! At least the miners know where to look! In the end, verse 28 seems to say, God has the secret to it and only God can impart it.

To Ponder

  • In what sense should we fear God?
  • How would you characterise a truly wise person?
  • Can one be wise without being good? Why, or why not?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England..