28 “People know where to mine silver and how to refine gold. 2 They know where to dig iron from the earth and how to smelt copper from rock. 3 They know how to shine light in the darkness and explore the farthest regions of the earth as they search in the dark for ore. 4 They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth. 5 Food is grown on the earth above, but down below, the earth is melted as by fire. 6 Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli, and the dust contains gold. 7 These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe. 8 No wild animal has walked upon these treasures; no lion has ever set his paw there. 9 People know how to tear apart flinty rocks and overturn the roots of mountains. 10 They cut tunnels in the rocks and uncover precious stones. 11 They dam up the trickling streams and bring to light the hidden treasures.
12 “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? 13 No one knows where to find it,[a] for it is not found among the living. 14 ‘It is not here,’ says the ocean. ‘Nor is it here,’ says the sea. 15 It cannot be bought with gold. It cannot be purchased with silver. 16 It’s worth more than all the gold of Ophir, greater than precious onyx or lapis lazuli. 17 Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold. 18 Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies. 19 Precious peridot from Ethiopia[b] cannot be exchanged for it. It’s worth more than the purest gold.
20 “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. 22 Destruction[c] and Death say, ‘We’ve heard only rumors of where wisdom can be found.’
23 “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, 24 for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25 He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. 26 He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. 27 Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. 28 And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”
28:13As in Greek version; Hebrew reads knows its value.
2 “I long for the years gone by when God took care of me, 3 when he lit up the way before me and I walked safely through the darkness. 4 When I was in my prime, God’s friendship was felt in my home. 5 The Almighty was still with me, and my children were around me. 6 My steps were awash in cream, and the rocks gushed olive oil for me.
7 “Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. 8 The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming. 9 The princes stood in silence and put their hands over their mouths. 10 The highest officials of the city stood quietly, holding their tongues in respect.
11 “All who heard me praised me. All who saw me spoke well of me. 12 For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help. 13 I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing for joy. 14 Everything I did was honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban. 15 I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. 16 I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help. 17 I broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims from their teeth.
18 “I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life.[a] 19 For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. 20 New honors are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.’
21 “Everyone listened to my advice. They were silent as they waited for me to speak. 22 And after I spoke, they had nothing to add, for my counsel satisfied them. 23 They longed for me to speak as people long for rain. They drank my words like a refreshing spring rain. 24 When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them. 25 Like a chief, I told them what to do. I lived like a king among his troops and comforted those who mourned.
29:18Hebrew after I have counted my days like sand.
30 “But now I am mocked by people younger than I, by young men whose fathers are not worthy to run with my sheepdogs. 2 A lot of good they are to me— those worn-out wretches! 3 They are gaunt from poverty and hunger. They claw the dry ground in desolate wastelands. 4 They pluck wild greens from among the bushes and eat from the roots of broom trees. 5 They are driven from human society, and people shout at them as if they were thieves. 6 So now they live in frightening ravines, in caves and among the rocks. 7 They sound like animals howling among the bushes, huddled together beneath the nettles. 8 They are nameless fools, outcasts from society.
9 “And now they mock me with vulgar songs! They taunt me! 10 They despise me and won’t come near me, except to spit in my face. 11 For God has cut my bowstring. He has humbled me, so they have thrown off all restraint. 12 These outcasts oppose me to my face. They send me sprawling and lay traps in my path. 13 They block my road and do everything they can to destroy me. They know I have no one to help me. 14 They come at me from all directions. They jump on me when I am down. 15 I live in terror now. My honor has blown away in the wind, and my prosperity has vanished like a cloud.
16 “And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days. 17 At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly. 18 With a strong hand, God grabs my shirt.[a] He grips me by the collar of my coat. 19 He has thrown me into the mud. I’m nothing more than dust and ashes.
20 “I cry to you, O God, but you don’t answer. I stand before you, but you don’t even look. 21 You have become cruel toward me. You use your power to persecute me. 22 You throw me into the whirlwind and destroy me in the storm. 23 And I know you are sending me to my death— the destination of all who live.
24 “Surely no one would turn against the needy when they cry for help in their trouble. 25 Did I not weep for those in trouble? Was I not deeply grieved for the needy? 26 So I looked for good, but evil came instead. I waited for the light, but darkness fell. 27 My heart is troubled and restless. Days of suffering torment me. 28 I walk in gloom, without sunlight. I stand in the public square and cry for help. 29 Instead, I am considered a brother to jackals and a companion to owls. 30 My skin has turned dark, and my bones burn with fever. 31 My harp plays sad music, and my flute accompanies those who weep.
30:18As in Greek version; Hebrew reads hand, my garment is disfigured.
12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me.13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.
Ministers of the New Covenant
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters[a] who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.
2:17Some manuscripts read the rest of the hucksters.
For the choir director: A psalm[a] of the descendants of Korah.
1 As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? 3 Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?”
4 My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!
5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and6 my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. 7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. 8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
9 “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” 10 Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
42:TitleHebrew maskil. This may be a literary or musical term.
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