Job 28:2


King James Version (KJV)

Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

American King James Version (AKJV)

Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

American Standard Version (ASV)

Iron is taken out of the earth, And copper is molten out of the stone.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

Iron is taken out of the earth, and stone is changed into brass by the fire.

Webster's Revision

Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is melted out of the stone.

World English Bible

Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted out of the ore.

English Revised Version (ERV)

Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

Clarke's Job 28:2 Bible Commentary

Iron is taken out of the earth - This most useful metal is hidden under the earth, and men have found out the method of separating it from its ore.

Brass is molten out of the stone - As brass is a factitious metal, copper must be the meaning of the Hebrew word נחושה nechusah: literally, the stone is poured out for brass. If we retain the common translation, perhaps the process of making brass may be that to which Job refers; for this metal is formed from copper melted with the stone calamine; and thus the stone is poured out to make brass.

Barnes's Job 28:2 Bible Commentary

Iron - As has been remarked above, iron was early known, yet probably its common use indicates a more advanced state of civilization than that of gold and silver. The Mexicans were ignorant of the use of iron, though ornaments of gold and silver elegantly worked abounded among them. Iron is less easily discovered than copper, though more abundant, and is worked with more difficulty. Among the ancient nations, copper was in general use long before iron; and arms, vases, statues, and implements of every kind were made of this metal alloyed and hardened with tin, before iron came into general use. Tubal Cain is indeed mentioned Genesis 4:22 as the "instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," but no direct mention is made of iron arms Numbers 35:16 or tools Deuteronomy 27:5, until after the departure from Egypt. According to the Arundelian Marbles, iron was known one hundred and eighty-eight years before the Trojan war, about 1370 years B.C.; but Hesiod, Plutarch, and others, limit its discovery to a much later period. Homer, however, distinctly mentions its use, Iliad xxiii. 262:

Η δε γυνᾶικα ὲΰζώνα;, πολιον τε σίδηρον.

Hē de gunaikas euzōnas, polion te sidēron.

That by the "sideros" of the poet is meant iron, is clear, from a simile which he uses in the Odyssey, derived from the quenching of iron in water, by which he illustrates the hissing produced in the eye of Polyphemus by piercing it with the burning stake:

"And as when armorers temper in the ford

The keen edged pole-axe or the shining sword,

The red-hot metal hisses in the lake,

Thus in the eye-ball hissed the plunging stake."

Odyssey ix. 391; Pope

Iron is mentioned in the time of Og king of Bashan, 1450 B.C. It was at first, however, regarded as of great value, and its use was very limited. It was presented in the temples of Greece as among the most valuable offerings, and rings of iron have been found in the tombs of Egypt that had been worn as ornaments, showing the value of the metal. One of the reasons why this metal comes so slowly into use, and why it was so rare in early times, was the difficulty of smelting the ore, and reducing it to a malleable state "Its gross and stubborn ore," says Dr. Robertson (America, B. iv.) "must feel twice the force of fire, and go through two laborious pocesses, before it becomes fit for use." It was this fact which made it to Job such a proof of the wisdom of man that he had invented the process of making iron, or of separating it from the earthy portions in which it is found.

Is taken out of the earth - Margin, "dust." The form in which iron is found is too well known to need description. It is seldom, if ever, found in its purity, and the ore generally has so much the appearance of mere earth, that it requires some skill to distinguish them.

And brass - נחוּשׁה nechûshâh. Brass is early and frequently mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:22; Exodus 25:3; Exodus 26:11, et al.), but there is little doubt that copper is meant in these places. Brass is a compound metal, made of copper and zinc - containing usually about one third of the weight in zinc - and it is hardly probable that the art of compounding this was early known; compare the notes at Job 20:24. Dr. Good renders this, "And the rock poureth forth copper." Coverdale, "The stones resolved to metal." Noyes, "The stone is melted into copper." Prof. Lee, "Also the stone (is taken from the earth) from which one fuseth copper." The Hebrew is, literally," And stone is poured out יציק copper." The Septuagint renders it, "And brass is cut like stones;" that is, is cut from the quarry. The word "stone" here in the Hebrew (אבן 'eben) means, doubtless, "ore" in the form of stone; and the fact mentioned here, that such ore is fused into the נחוּשׁה eht nechûshâh, is clear proof that copper is intended. Brass is never found in ore, and is never compounded in the earth. A similar idea is found in Pliny, who probably uses the word "aes" to denote copper, as it is commonly employed in the ancient writings. Aes fit ex lapide aeroso, quem vocant Cadmiam; et igne lapides in nes solvantur. Nat. Hist. xxxiv. i. 22. On the general subject of ancient metallurgy, see Wilkinsoh's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii. chapter ix.

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