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Priceless Wisdom is Sourced in God

28 “Surely there are mines for silver
    and places where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the ground;[a]
    and copper is smelted from ore.
Mankind limits the darkness
    as they search the deepest depths
        for ore[b] in unfathomable darkness.
He sinks his shaft far from human habitations,
    in a place[c] forgotten by explorers;
they hang on harnesses
    as they swing back and forth.

“While the ground produces food,
    underneath it is torn up and burning hot,[d]
where stones are sapphire
    and gold dust can be found,
a place where birds of prey never fly,
    and the eyes of the falcon have never seen.
The proud beasts haven’t walked there;
    lions have never passed over it.

“Using a flint, he thrusts his hand,
    overturning mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts a channel through the rocks,
    while his eyes search for anything of value.
11 He dams up flowing rivers,
    bringing hidden things to light.”

Wisdom is of Greater Value than Precious Stones

12 “Where can wisdom be found?
    Where is understanding’s home?
13 Mankind doesn’t appreciate their value;
    and you won’t find it anywhere on earth.[e]
14 The deepest ocean says, ‘It’s not within me.’
    and the sea says, ‘You’ll never find it with me.’
15 You can’t buy it with gold,
    and its value cannot be calculated in silver.
16 It cannot be compared to gold from Ophir,[f]
    with precious onyx, or with sapphire.
17 It cannot be compared to gold and fine glass[g] crystal,
    nor can it be exchanged for gold-plated weaponry.[h]
18 Don’t even bother to mention coral and crystal—
    wisdom is more valuable than a bag of rubies.[i]
19 It can neither be compared with the topaz of Ethiopia
    nor valued in comparison to pure gold.”

Wisdom is from God

20 “From where, then, does wisdom originate?
    Where does understanding live?[j]
21 It has been concealed from the sight of every living creature
    and hidden even from the birds in the skies.
22 Abaddon[k] and death said,
    ‘We did hear a rumor about it.’
23 God understands how to get there;
    he knows where they live.[l]
24 For he looks as far as the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the sky.[m]

25 “He imparted weight to the wind;
    he regulated water by his measurement.
26 He set in place ordinances for the rain;
    and determined the pathway for thunder that accompanies lightning.[n]
27 Then he looked at wisdom,
    and fixed it in place;
he established it,
    and also examined it.
28 He has commanded mankind:
    ‘To fear the Lord—that is wisdom;
        to move away from evil—that is understanding.’”


  1. Job 28:2 Or dry earth
  2. Job 28:3 Lit. for darkest stone
  3. Job 28:4 The Heb. lacks in a place
  4. Job 28:5 Lit. is turned up as by fire
  5. Job 28:13 Lit. it in the land of the living
  6. Job 28:16 I.e. an ancient source of fine gold; cf. 1Chr 29:4
  7. Job 28:17 The Heb. lacks fine glass
  8. Job 28:17 Or for refined implements made of gold
  9. Job 28:18 Or pearls
  10. Job 28:20 Lit. Where is its place?
  11. Job 28:22 I.e. the realm of eternal judgment in the afterlife
  12. Job 28:23 Lit. knows its place
  13. Job 28:24 Or under heaven
  14. Job 28:26 Lit. the sound of a thunderbolt

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 There is a mine for silver
    and a place where gold is refined.(A)
Iron is taken from the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.(B)
Mortals put an end to the darkness;(C)
    they search out the farthest recesses
    for ore in the blackest darkness.(D)
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,(E)
    in places untouched by human feet;
    far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,(F)
    is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli(G) comes from its rocks,
    and its dust contains nuggets of gold.(H)
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
    no falcon’s eye has seen it.(I)
Proud beasts(J) do not set foot on it,
    and no lion prowls there.(K)
People assault the flinty rock(L) with their hands
    and lay bare the roots of the mountains.(M)
10 They tunnel through the rock;(N)
    their eyes see all its treasures.(O)
11 They search[a] the sources of the rivers(P)
    and bring hidden things(Q) to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?(R)
    Where does understanding dwell?(S)
13 No mortal comprehends its worth;(T)
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.(U)
14 The deep(V) says, “It is not in me”;
    the sea(W) says, “It is not with me.”
15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
    nor can its price be weighed out in silver.(X)
16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,(Y)
    with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.(Z)
17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,(AA)
    nor can it be had for jewels of gold.(AB)
18 Coral(AC) and jasper(AD) are not worthy of mention;
    the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.(AE)
19 The topaz(AF) of Cush(AG) cannot compare with it;
    it cannot be bought with pure gold.(AH)

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?(AI)
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
    concealed even from the birds in the sky.(AJ)
22 Destruction[b](AK) and Death(AL) say,
    “Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
    and he alone(AM) knows where it dwells,(AN)
24 for he views the ends of the earth(AO)
    and sees everything under the heavens.(AP)
25 When he established the force of the wind
    and measured out the waters,(AQ)
26 when he made a decree for the rain(AR)
    and a path for the thunderstorm,(AS)
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
    he confirmed it and tested it.(AT)
28 And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil(AU) is understanding.”(AV)


  1. Job 28:11 Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew They dam up
  2. Job 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon