on Job 28 :5
The earth, out of it cometh bread - Or the earth, ממנה mimmennah, from itself, by its own vegetative power, it sends out bread, or the corn of which bread is made.
And under it is turned up as it were fire - It seems as if this referred to some combustible fossil, similar to our stone coal, which was dug up out of the earth in some places of Arabia. The Chaldee gives a translation, conformable to a very ancient opinion, which supposed the center of the earth to be a vast fire, and the place called hell. "The earth from which food proceeds, and under which is gehenna, whose cold snow is converted into the likeness of fire; and the garden of Eden, which is the place whose stones are sapphires," etc. The Vulgate has, "The land from which bread has been produced has been destroyed by fire." If this be the meaning of the original, there is probably an allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and the seventh and eighth verses may be supposed to refer to that catastrophe, there being no place left tangible or visible where those cities once stood: neither fowl nor beast could discern a path there, the whole land being covered with the lake Asphaltites.
on Job 28 :5
As for the earth, out of it cometh bread - That is, it produces food, or the materials for bread. The idea of Job seems to be, that it was proof of great wisdom and skill on the part of man that he had carried the arts of agriculture so far. The earth in producing grain, and the arts of husbandry, were illustrative of wisdom and skill, but they did not impart the wisdom about the government of God which was desired. That was reserved to be imparted more directly by God himself, Job 28:23 ff.
And under it is turned up as it were fire - That is, on being turned up it discloses precious stones that seem to glow like coals of fire. This is the obvious sense of this passage, though a different interpretation has been given by most expositors. Job is speaking of mining. He describes the search for, gold, and silver, and precious stones. He says that one of the wonders of wisdom in the earth is, that it produces nutritious grain; another, that when the same earth is turned up it seems to rest on a bed of fire. The dark ground is made to glow by the quantity of jewels that are disclosed, and its deep recesses seem to be on fire. There is no reference here, therefore, as it seems to me. to any volcanic agency, or to any belief that the earth rests on a sea of fire. The idea has been expressed in Sergeant's "Mine:"
"Wheresoe'er our footsteps turn,
Rubies blush and diamonds burn."
Luther has given to the passage a different sense. Man bringet auch Feuer unten aus der Eerie, da oben Speise auf wachst - "They bring fire from the earth beneath, where food grows up above." Coverdale, "He bringeth food out of the earth; that which is under he consumeth with fire." Herder, "And underneath it is changed as by fire." Dr. Good, "Below it (the earth) windeth a fiery region."
on Job 28 :5
28:5 Fire - Coals, and brimstone, and other materials of fire. Unless this refer, as some suppose, to a central fire.