“There is a place where silver is mined and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the ground, and rocks are melted for their copper. 3 Humans bring an end to darkness there and search to the limit of the gloomy, pitch-black rock. 4 They open up a mineshaft far from civilization, where no one has set foot. In this shaft men dangle and swing back and forth.
5 “Above the ground food grows, but beneath it the food decays as if it were burned by fire. 6 That place’s stones are sapphire.[a] Its dust contains gold. 7 No bird of prey knows the way to it. No hawk’s eye has ever seen it. 8 No proud beast has ever walked on it. No ferocious lion has ever passed over it.
9 “Humans exert their power on the flinty rocks and overturn mountains at their base. 10 They cut out mineshafts in the rocks. Their eyes see every precious thing. 11 They explore[b] the sources of rivers so that they bring hidden treasures to light.
Wisdom Is Inaccessible to Decay and Death
12 “Where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding live? 13 No mortal knows where it is.[c] It cannot be found in this world of the living. 14 The deep ocean says, ‘It isn’t in me.’ The sea says, ‘It isn’t with me.’ 15 You cannot obtain it with solid gold or buy it for any amount of silver. 16 It can’t be bought with the gold from Ophir or with precious onyx or sapphire. 17 Neither gold nor glass can equal its value. Nor can gold ornaments, jewels, or crystal[d] 18 be exchanged for it. Wisdom is more valuable than gems. 19 Topaz from Ethiopia cannot equal its value. It cannot be bought for any amount of pure gold.
20 “Where does wisdom come from? Where does understanding live? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living being, hidden even from the birds in the air. 22 Decay and Death say, ‘We’ve heard a rumor about it.’
Wisdom Is Accessible Only to the Creator
23 “God understands the way to it. He knows where it lives 24 because he can see to the ends of the earth and observe everything under heaven. 25 When he gave the wind its force and measured the water in the sea, 26 when he made rules for the rain and set paths for the thunderstorms, 27 then he saw it and announced it. He confirmed it and examined it. 28 So he told humans, ‘The fear of the Lord is wisdom! To stay away from evil is understanding.’”
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