28 “Surely there is a mine for silver, And a place where they refine gold. 2 “Iron is taken out of the earth, And copper is smelted from the stone ore. 3 “Man puts an end to darkness [by bringing in a light], And to the farthest bounds he searches out The rock buried in gloom and deep shadow. 4 “He breaks open (mine) shafts far away from where people live, [In places] forgotten by the [human] foot; They dangle [in the mines] and hang away from men. 5 “[As for] the earth, out of it comes food, But underneath [its surface, down deep] it is turned over as fire. 6 “Its stones are the bed of sapphires; It holds dust of gold. 7 “The path [deep within] no bird of prey knows, And the falcon’s eye has not caught sight of it. 8 “The proud beasts [and their young] have not walked on it, Nor has the fierce lion passed over it. 9 “Man puts his hand on [and tears apart] the flinty rock; He overturns the mountains at the base [looking for treasure]. 10 “He cuts out channels and passages among the rocks; And his eye sees every precious thing. 11 “Man dams up the streams from flowing [so that they do not trickle into the mine], And what is hidden he brings out to the light.
The Search for Wisdom Is Harder
12 “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 “Man does not know the value of it; Nor is it found in the land of the living. 14 “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ 15 “It cannot be obtained for pure gold, Nor can silver be weighed as its price. 16 “It cannot be valued in [terms of] the gold of Ophir, In the precious onyx or beryl, or the sapphire. 17 “Gold and glass cannot equal wisdom, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. 18 “No mention of coral and crystal can be made; For the possession of wisdom is even above [that of] rubies or pearls. 19 “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot compare with it, Nor can it be valued in 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 the living And concealed from the birds of the heavens. 22 “Abaddon (the place of destruction) and Death say, ‘We have [only] heard a report of it with our ears.’
23 “God understands the way [to wisdom] And He knows its place [for wisdom is with God alone]. 24 “For He looks to the ends of the earth And sees everything under the heavens. 25 “When He gave weight and pressure to the wind And allotted the waters by measure, 26 When He made a limit for the rain And a way for the thunderbolt, 27 Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He established it and searched it out. 28 “But to man He said, ‘Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord—that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
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