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Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 “Surely there is a mine for silver
    and a place for gold to be refined.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from ore.(A)
Miners put[a] an end to darkness
    and search out to the farthest bound
    the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation;
    they are forgotten by travelers;
    they sway suspended, remote from people.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.(B)
Its stones are the place of sapphires,[b]
    and its dust contains gold.

“That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
The proud wild animals have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it.

“They put their hand to the flinty rock
    and overturn mountains by the roots.(C)
10 They cut out channels in the rocks,
    and their eyes see every precious thing.
11 The sources of the rivers they probe;[c]
    hidden things they bring to light.

12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?(D)
13 Mortals do not know the way to it,[d]
    and it is not found in the land of the living.(E)
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be gotten for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.[e]
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.(F)
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.(G)
19 The chrysolite of Cush cannot compare with it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.(H)

20 “Where then does wisdom come from?
    And where is the place of understanding?(I)
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’(J)

23 “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.(K)
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.(L)
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned out the waters by measure,(M)
26 when he made a decree for the rain,
    and a way for the thunderbolt,(N)
27 then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it and searched it out.
28 And he said to humankind,
‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
    and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”(O)


  1. 28.3 Heb He puts
  2. 28.6 Or lapis lazuli
  3. 28.11 Gk Vg: Heb bind
  4. 28.13 Gk: Heb its price
  5. 28.16 Or lapis lazuli