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28 “Men know how to mine silver and refine gold, to dig iron from the earth and melt copper from stone. 3-4 Men know how to put light into darkness so that a mine shaft can be sunk into the earth, and the earth searched and its deep secrets explored. Into the black rock, shadowed by death, men descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.

“Men know how to obtain food from the surface of the earth, while underneath there is fire.

“They know how to find sapphires and gold dust— treasures that no bird of prey can see, no eagle’s eye observe— for they are deep within the mines. No wild animal has ever walked upon those treasures; no lion has set his paw there. Men know how to tear apart flinty rocks and how to overturn the roots of mountains. 10 They drill tunnels in the rocks and lay bare precious stones. 11 They dam up streams of water and pan the gold.[a]

12 “But though men can do all these things, they don’t know where to find wisdom and understanding. 13 They not only don’t know how to get it, but, in fact, it is not to be found among the living.

14 “‘It’s not here,’ the oceans say; and the seas reply, ‘Nor is it here.’

15 “It cannot be bought for gold or silver, 16 nor for all the gold of Ophir or precious onyx stones or sapphires. 17 Wisdom is far more valuable than gold and glass. It cannot be bought for jewels mounted in fine gold. 18 Coral or crystal is worthless in trying to get it; its price is far above rubies. 19 Topaz from Ethiopia cannot purchase it, nor even the purest gold.

20 “Then where can we get it? Where can it be found? 21 For it is hid from the eyes of all mankind; even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it.

22 “But Destruction and Death speak of knowing something about it! 23-24 And God surely knows where it is to be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth, under all the heavens. 25 He makes the winds blow and sets the boundaries of the oceans. 26 He makes the laws of the rain and a path for the lightning. 27 He knows where wisdom is and declares it to all who will listen. He established it and examined it thoroughly. 28 And this is what he says to all mankind: ‘Look, to fear the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”


  1. Job 28:11 They dam up streams of water and pan the gold, literally, “He brings forth to the light things that are hidden.”

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