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Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 “Surely there is a mine for the silver,
    and a place where they refine gold.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness,
    and searches every extremity
    for ore in the darkness and the shadow of death.
He breaks open a shaft away from the inhabitants;
    in places forgotten by feet
    they hang far away from men; and they totter.
As for the earth, from it comes bread,
    and underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the source of sapphires,
    and it has dust of gold.
There is a path that no bird knows,
    and that the vulture’s eye has not seen;
the lion cubs have not trodden it,
    nor has the fierce lion passed by it.
He puts forth his hand upon the rock;
    he overturns the mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out rivers among the rocks,
    and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He prevents the floods from overflowing,
    and the thing that is hidden he brings forth to light.

12 “But where will wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its price,
    nor is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
    nor can silver be weighed for its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    with the precious onyx or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it,
    and it cannot be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention will be made of coral or of pearls,
    for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia will not equal it,
    nor will it be valued with pure gold.

20 “From where then does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Destruction and Death say,
    ‘We have heard of its fame with our ears.’
23 God understands its way,
    and He knows its place.
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth,
    and sees under the whole heaven,
25 to make the weight of the wind,
    and He weighs the waters by measure.
26 When He made a decree for the rain,
    and a path for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then He saw it and declared it;
    He prepared it, yes, and searched it out.
28 To man He said:
    ‘Look, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
    And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”