Chapter CONTEXT From MHHC: The strain of this chapter is very unlike the rest of this book. Job forgets his sores, and all his sorrows, and talks like a philosopher or a virtuoso. Here is a great deal both of natural and moral philosophy in this discourse; but the question is, How does it come in here? Doubtless it was not merely for an amusement, or diversion from the controversy; though, if it had been only so, perhaps it would not have been much amiss. When disputes grow hot, better lose the question than lose our temper. But this is pertinent and to the business in hand. Job and his friends had been discoursing about the dispensations of Providence towards the wicked and the righteous. Job had shown that some wicked men live and die in prosperity, while others are presently and openly arrested by the judgments of God. But, if any ask the reason why some are punished in this world and not others, they must be told it is a question that cannot be answered. The knowledge of the reasons of state in God’s government of the world is kept from us, and we must neither pretend to it nor reach after it. Zophar had wished that God would show Job the “secrets of wisdom” (ch. 11:6). No, says Job, “secret things belong not to us, but things revealed,” Deu. 29:29. And here he shows, I. Concerning worldly wealth, how industriously that is sought for and pursued by the children of men, what pains they take, what contrivances they have, and what hazards they run to get it (v. 1-11). II. Concerning wisdom (v. 12). In general, the price of it is very great; it is of inestimable value (v. 15-19). The place of it is very secret (v. 14, 20, 22). In particular, there is a wisdom which is hidden in God (v. 23-27) and there is a wisdom which is revealed to the children of men (v. 28). Our enquiries into the former must be checked, into the latter quickened, for that is it which is our concern.
In Henry’s Concise Commentary on the text v.20-28, we find the following: There is a two-fold wisdom; one hid in God, which is secret, and belongs not to us; the other made known by him, and revealed to man. One day’s events, and one man’s affairs, have such reference to, and so hang one upon another, that He only, to whom all is open, and who sees the whole at one view, can rightly judge of every part. But the knowledge of God’s revealed will is within our reach, and will do us good. Let man look upon this as his wisdom, To fear the Lord, and to depart from evil. Let him learn that, and he is learned enough. Where is this wisdom to be found? The treasures of it are hid in Christ, revealed by the word, received by faith, through the Holy Ghost. It will not feed pride or vanity, or amuse our vain curiosity. It teaches and encourages sinners to fear the Lord, and to depart from evil, in the exercise of repentance and faith, without desiring to solve all difficulties about the events of this life.
In reading our main text v.28, one would believe they are demanded to “FEAR” the Lord in order to be wise. I propose that everyone reads, Summa Theologica — Saint Thomas Aquinas – Whether Fear is the Beginning of Wisdom?
Concerning Evil: and to depart from evil is understanding; this is the fruit and effect of the fear of the Lord, through which men have an hatred of sin, and an aversion to it, and are careful not to commit it; through it they depart from evil, and abstain from all appearance of it; see Proverbs 8:13; and it puts them upon a regard to God and his commandments, and to all that is good, and which is an evidence and proof of a good understanding, Psalm 111:10. Now Job suggests by this, that his friends should be solicitous about, and satisfied with, such wisdom and understanding as this, and not pry into the secrets of Providence, and the wisdom of that, which are not to be found out; and so cease to charge him with being an hypocrite, and a wicked man, because of the dealings of God with him, which were not to be accounted for: and by this Job appears to be a good man, and had an experience what he here expresses; that he was one that feared God and eschewed evil, according to the testimony given of him, Job 1:1; and this he gave proof of his former life and conversation; of which an account is given in the following chapter.Dr. John Gill
The simple lesson/premise taught here to Job and his friends was this: Only those who hold God in the Highest esteem (reverential worship) and find all types of evil repugnant will gain true wisdom and knowledge. Where do you stand today?