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  Discovery Box

Job 28:15-19

Context

28:15 Fine gold cannot be given in exchange for it,

nor can its price be weighed out in silver.

28:16 It cannot be measured out for purchase 1  with the gold of Ophir,

with precious onyx 2  or sapphires.

28:17 Neither gold nor crystal 3  can be compared with it,

nor can a vase 4  of gold match its worth.

28:18 Of coral and jasper no mention will be made;

the price 5  of wisdom is more than pearls. 6 

28:19 The topaz of Cush 7  cannot be compared with it;

it cannot be purchased with pure gold.

1 tn The word actually means “weighed,” that is, lifted up on the scale and weighed, in order to purchase.

2 tn The exact identification of these stones is uncertain. Many recent English translations, however, have “onyx” and “sapphires.”

3 tn The word is from זָכַךְ (zakhakh, “clear”). It describes a transparent substance, and so “glass” is an appropriate translation. In the ancient world it was precious and so expensive.

4 tc The MT has “vase”; but the versions have a plural here, suggesting jewels of gold.

5 tn The word מֶשֶׁךְ (meshekh) comes from a root meaning “to grasp; to seize; to hold,” and so the derived noun means “grasping; acquiring; taking possession,” and therefore, “price” (see the discussion in R. Gordis, Job, 309). Gray renders it “acquisition” (so A. Cohen, AJSL 40 [1923/24]: 175).

6 tn In Lam 4:7 these are described as red, and so have been identified as rubies (so NIV) or corals.

7 tn Or “Ethiopia.” In ancient times this referred to the region of the upper Nile, rather than modern Ethiopia (formerly known as Abyssinia).



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