28 There are mines where silver is found. There are places where gold is purified. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth. Copper is melted down from ore. 3 Human beings light up the darkness. They search for ore in the deepest pits. They look for it in the blackest darkness. 4 Far from where people live they cut a tunnel. They do it in places where other people don’t go. Far away from people they swing back and forth on ropes. 5 Food grows on the surface of the earth. But far below, the earth is changed as if by fire. 6 Lapis lazuli is taken from the rocky earth. Its dust contains nuggets of gold. 7 No bird knows that hidden path. No falcon’s eye has seen it. 8 Proud animals don’t walk on it. Lions don’t prowl there. 9 Human hands attack the hardest rock. Their strong hands uncover the base of the mountains. 10 They tunnel through the rock. Their eyes see all its treasures. 11 They search the places where the rivers begin. They bring hidden things out into the light.
12 But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding live? 13 No human being understands how much it’s worth. It can’t be found anywhere in the world. 14 The ocean says, “It’s not in me.” The sea says, “It’s not here either.” 15 It can’t be bought with the finest gold. Its price can’t be weighed out in silver. 16 It can’t be bought with gold from Ophir. It can’t be bought with priceless onyx or lapis lazuli. 17 Gold or crystal can’t compare with it. It can’t be bought with jewels made of gold. 18 Don’t bother to talk about coral and jasper. Wisdom is worth far more than rubies. 19 A topaz from Cush can’t compare with it. It can’t be bought with the purest gold.
20 So where does wisdom come from? Where does understanding live? 21 It’s hidden from the eyes of every living thing. Even the birds in the sky can’t find it. 22 Death and the Grave say, “Only reports about it have reached our ears.” 23 But God understands the way to it. He is the only one who knows where it lives. 24 He sees from one end of the earth to the other. He views everything in the world. 25 He made the mighty wind. He measured out the waters. 26 He gave orders for the rain to fall. He made paths for the thunderstorms. 27 Then he looked at wisdom and set its price. He established it and tested it. 28 He said to human beings, “Have respect for the Lord. That will prove you are wise. Avoid evil. That will show you have understanding.”
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