1“There are mines for silver
and places where gold is refined;
2iron is extracted from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3Miners conquer the darkness
and dig as far in as they can,
to the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4There where no one lives, they break open a shaft;
the feet passing over are oblivious to them;
far from people, suspended in space,
they swing to and fro.
5“While the earth is [peacefully] yielding bread,
underneath, it is being convulsed as if by fire;
6its rocks have veins of sapphire,
and there are flecks of gold.
7Birds of prey don’t know that path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it,
8the proud beasts have never set foot on it,
no lion has ever passed over it.
9“[The miner] attacks the flint,
overturns mountains at their roots,
10and cuts out galleries in the rock,
all the while watching for something of value.
11He dams up streams to keep them from flooding,
and brings what was hidden out into the light.
12“But where can wisdom be found?
Where is the source of understanding?
13No one knows its value,
and it can’t be found in the land of the living.
14The deep says, ‘It isn’t in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It isn’t with me.’
15It can’t be obtained with gold,
nor can silver be weighed out to buy it.
16It can’t be purchased with choice gold from Ofir,
or with precious onyx or sapphires.
17Neither gold nor glass can be compared with it;
nor can it be exchanged for a bowl of fine gold,
18let alone coral or crystal;
for indeed, the price of wisdom is above that of pearls.
19It can’t be compared with Ethiopian topaz,
and it can’t be valued with pure gold.
20“So where does wisdom come from?
where is the source of understanding,
21inasmuch as it is hidden from the eyes of all living
and kept secret from the birds flying around in the sky?
22Destruction and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor about it with our ears.’
23“God understands its way,
and he knows its place.
24For he can see to the ends of the earth
and view everything under heaven.
25When he determined the force of the wind
and parceled out water by measure,
26when he made a law for the rain
and cleared a path for the thunderbolts;
27then he saw [wisdom] and declared it,
yes, he set it up and searched it out.
28And to human beings he said,
‘Look, fear of Adonai is wisdom!
Shunning evil is understanding!’”