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Job Speaks of Wisdom and Understanding

28 “People know where to mine silver
    and how to refine gold.
They know where to dig iron from the earth
    and how to smelt copper from rock.
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.
They sink a mine shaft into the earth
    far from where anyone lives.
    They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.
Food is grown on the earth above,
    but down below, the earth is melted as by fire.
Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli,
    and the dust contains gold.
These are treasures no bird of prey can see,
    no falcon’s eye observe.
No wild animal has walked upon these treasures;
    no lion has ever set his paw there.
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.’”

Job Speaks of His Former Blessings

29 Job continued speaking:

“I long for the years gone by
    when God took care of me,
when he lit up the way before me
    and I walked safely through the darkness.
When I was in my prime,
    God’s friendship was felt in my home.
The Almighty was still with me,
    and my children were around me.
My steps were awash in cream,
    and the rocks gushed olive oil for me.

“Those were the days when I went to the city gate
    and took my place among the honored leaders.
The young stepped aside when they saw me,
    and even the aged rose in respect at my coming.
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.[d]
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.

Footnotes

  1. 28:13 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads knows its value.
  2. 28:19 Hebrew from Cush.
  3. 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon.
  4. 29:18 Hebrew after I have counted my days like sand.

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