Where Does Wisdom Come From?
28 1-11 “We all know how silver seams the rocks,
we’ve seen the stuff from which gold is refined,
We’re aware of how iron is dug out of the ground
and copper is smelted from rock.
Miners penetrate the earth’s darkness,
searching the roots of the mountains for ore,
digging away in the suffocating darkness.
Far from civilization, far from the traffic,
they cut a shaft,
and are lowered into it by ropes.
Earth’s surface is a field for grain,
but its depths are a forge
Firing sapphires from stones
and chiseling gold from rocks.
Vultures are blind to its riches,
hawks never lay eyes on it.
Wild animals are oblivious to it,
lions don’t know it’s there.
Miners hammer away at the rock,
they uproot the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock
and find all kinds of beautiful gems.
They discover the origins of rivers,
and bring earth’s secrets to light.
12-19 “But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom?
Where does Insight hide?
Mortals don’t have a clue,
haven’t the slightest idea where to look.
Earth’s depths say, ‘It’s not here’;
ocean deeps echo, ‘Never heard of it.’
It can’t be bought with the finest gold;
no amount of silver can get it.
Even famous Ophir gold can’t buy it,
not even diamonds and sapphires.
Neither gold nor emeralds are comparable;
extravagant jewelry can’t touch it.
Pearl necklaces and ruby bracelets—why bother?
None of this is even a down payment on Wisdom!
Pile gold and African diamonds as high as you will,
they can’t hold a candle to Wisdom.
20-22 “So where does Wisdom come from?
And where does Insight live?
It can’t be found by looking, no matter
how deep you dig, no matter how high you fly.
If you search through the graveyard and question the dead,
they say, ‘We’ve only heard rumors of it.’
23-28 “God alone knows the way to Wisdom,
he knows the exact place to find it.
He knows where everything is on earth,
he sees everything under heaven.
After he commanded the winds to blow
and measured out the waters,
Arranged for the rain
and set off explosions of thunder and lightning,
He focused on Wisdom,
made sure it was all set and tested and ready.
Then he addressed the human race: ‘Here it is!
and Insight means shunning evil.’”
New International Version
Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found
28 There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.(A)
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.(B)
3 Mortals put an end to the darkness;(C)
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.(D)
4 Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,(E)
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5 The earth, from which food comes,(F)
is transformed below as by fire;
6 lapis lazuli(G) comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.(H)
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.(I)
8 Proud beasts(J) do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.(K)
9 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)
King James Version
28 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:
8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.
22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.