The valiant cry in the streets!
The envoys of peace weep bitterly!
The highways are deserted!
The travelers have quit the road!
The treaty is broken!
Its cities are despised!
Its obligations are disregarded!
The land mourns.
The land languishes.
Lebanon is confounded.
Lebanon withers away.
Sharon is like a desert.
Bashan shakes off their leaves.
Carmel shakes off their leaves.”
Now we have a lamentation. Things are in bad shape. Once again, there is the continual plea to listen. The valiant ones are crying in the streets. The peace envoys are also weeping. The highways are deserted, since no travelers are going any place. The treaties have been broken. The city is despised since no one keeps their obligations. The land itself mourns and languishes. Even the northern neighbor Lebanon is confused and withering away. Sharon and Carmel on the west and Bashan on the southeast are like dying trees in a desert. Everybody is having troubles.
“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me,
If I have exulted when evil overtook them,
I have not let my mouth sin.
I have not asked for their lives with a curse.
If those of my tent ever not said
‘O that we might be sated his flesh!’
The stranger has not lodged in the street.
I have opened my doors to the traveler.
If I have concealed my transgressions as others do
By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,
Because I stood in great fear of the multitude,
If the contempt of families terrified me,
That I kept silence,
I did not go out of doors.”
Job never rejoiced in the ruin of others, even if they were his enemies. He had never cursed anyone or wished them death. He had always passed the food in his tent so that no one went hungry, that is known as passing the flesh. He never let strangers sleep in the street as he opened his doors to travelers. He never hid any of his transgressions in his bosom. He kept silent about those that terrified him.
“Surely there is a mine for silver.
There is a place for gold to be refined.
Iron is taken out of the earth.
Copper is smelted from ore.
Miners put an end to darkness.
They search out to the farthest bound.
They search for the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation.
They are forgotten by travelers.
They sway suspended.
They are remote from people.
As for the earth,
Out of it comes bread.
But underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires.
Its dust contains gold.”
Here is a hymn to wisdom. There is no indication of any kind of dialogue or assignment to any person. This is then an insertion of the biblical author or the thought of Job as interpreted by the biblical author. You can explain away many things by showing where they come from. This is like a miner’s prayer. The author points out that you can mine for gold and silver. You can take the iron and copper ore and smelt it. These miners open up shafts in the valley. They dig holes where humans do not live. They are forgotten by travelers, as they go beneath the earth to find sapphires and gold dust. It really is an ode to miners and the work they do. Obviously mining was important over 2500 years ago, although we have sometimes forgotten that.