Job 28:19

The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it,.... Not Ethiopia Abyssinia, or that which lies beyond Egypt in Africa; for, as Ludolphus {x} says, there are no gems found there, or very rarely; but Cush, as the word is, or Arabia Chusaea, the same with the country of Midian, and the parts adjacent; see Habakkuk 3:7; hence Zipporah, the wife of Moses, who was of that country, is called an Ethiopian woman, Numbers 12:1; and this was near Job's country, who knew the produce of it; and here the topaz is found, as many writers observe. Diodorus Siculus says {y}, in Ophiodes, an island in the Arabian gulf, belonging to the Troglodytes, the topaz is found, which is a very clear stone, pleasant to the sight, like to glass, and affording a wonderful golden colour; and with him Strabo {z} agrees, who relates there is an island called Ophiodes, from its being freed from serpents by the king's orders, which killed men that came there for topazes; which, he says, is a clear stone of a golden colour, and so refulgent, that it is not easy to see it in the daytime, being so surrounded with light; but at night it is seen by those that gather it, who set a vessel for a sign, and then dig for it in the daytime; and, he adds, a multitude of men are hired by the kings of Egypt, to gather and keep these stones, and men from stealing them; and, according to Archelaus {a}, the topaz is found in Chitis, an island in Arabia, where the Troglodytes digging for herbs and roots find it; and, as Juba relates {b}, there is an island called Topazion, in the Red sea, three hundred furlongs (about 73 miles) from the continent, which is cloudy, and is therefore often sought for by navigators; whence he says it had its name Topazion, which in the language of the Troglodytes signifies to seek, and the topaz itself in their language so signifies; in the Samaritan version of Exodus 39:10; it is called Dachetah, from the Arabic word {c} "Dachatz", the language of the Troglodytes, which signifies to seek and search by removing the earth with the foot. This island seems to be the same with Topazos, which Pliny {d} says is an island of the Arabians, and gave name to a gem, meaning the topaz; but the truth rather is, that the gem gave name to the island: upon the whole, it is no wonder, as Braunius {e} observes, that this gem should be called by Job the Arabian topaz. The Targum here calls it a green pearl; and some have thought the emerald is meant, which is of that colour; and the emeralds of Ethiopia are praised by some, according to Juba {f}; and in Egypt were emerald mines the Ethiopians laid a claim to {g}; and there were emeralds also in Arabia, as the above Juba relates; however, be this what it may, as it is most likely to be the topaz, it is not equal in value to wisdom, no, not the largest topaz ever known; not even that of the great Mogul, which weighs more than an hundred fifty seven carats, valued at 271,500 French pounds {h}; and according to Tavernier {i} it weighs almost an hundred fifty eight carats, and was bought at Goa for almost 272,000 florins:

neither shall it be valued with pure gold; that is most refined and freed from dross; they are not to be laid together as of equal value;

See Gill on "Job 28:16", where the same word is used.

{x} Hist. Ethiop. l. 1. c. 7.
{y} Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 172.
{z} Geograph. l. 16. p. 529.
{a} Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 8.
{b} Apud ib.
{c} Vid. Castel. Lex. Heptaglott. col. 686, 693.
{d} Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 29.
{e} De Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. p. 649.
{f} Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 5.
{g} Heliodor. Ethiop. l. 8. 1. & 9. 6.
{h} Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr p. 747.
{i} Apud Braunium de Vest. Sacerdot. Heb. p. 649, 650.