Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
1“Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold to be refined.2Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.3Miners put an end to darkness,
and search out to the farthest bound
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.4They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation;
they are forgotten by travelers,
they sway suspended, remote from people.5As for the earth, out of it comes bread;
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.6Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and its dust contains gold.
7“That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon's eye has not seen it.8The proud wild animals have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.
9“They put their hand to the flinty rock,
and overturn mountains by the roots.10They cut out channels in the rocks,
and their eyes see every precious thing.11The sources of the rivers they probe;
hidden things they bring to light.
12“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?13Mortals do not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.14The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’15It cannot be gotten for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.16It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.17Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.18No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.19The chrysolite of Ethiopia cannot compare with it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20“Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the place of understanding?21It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
and concealed from the birds of the air.22Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23“God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.24For he looks to the ends of the earth,
and sees everything under the heavens.25When he gave to the wind its weight,
and apportioned out the waters by measure;26when he made a decree for the rain,
and a way for the thunderbolt;27then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.28And he said to humankind,
‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”