Birds in the Bible: On Wisdom

“As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up by fire.
Its stones are the places sapphires,
and it has dust of gold.

That path no bird of prey knows,
and the eye of the falcon has not seen it.


The proud beasts have not trodden it,
and the lion has not passed over it.
Man puts his hand to the flinty rocks
and overturns mountains by the roots …

and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding? …

God understands the way to it,
and he knows it place …

He says to man: behold,
the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn from evil is understanding.”

Job 28: 5-9, 11b-12, 23, 28


Thought: Job is speaking here. Is his phrase “the eye of the falcon” an allusion to the so-called “all-seeing eye” of Horus, one of the Egyptian gods? It is interesting to consider that Job may be contrasting the path to knowledge represented by man’s own self-dependent search for treasure in the deep places of the earth … and by the magical religion of Egypt … with the true and living God of Israel who plainly states that wisdom begins with the fear of the LORD. How different is the real eye of a falcon from the Egyptian symbol of it!


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