The Value of Wisdom
1“There are mines where people get silver
and places where people melt gold to make it pure.
2Iron is dug out of the ground,
and copper is melted out of the rocks.
3Miners carry lights deep into caves
to search for these rocks in the deepest darkness.
4Far from where people live, they dig deep into the ground,
down where no one else has been before.
There they work all alone, hanging from ropes.
5Food grows on the ground above.
But underground it is different,
as if everything were melted by fire.
6In the rocks there are sapphires
and grains of pure gold.
7Wild birds know nothing about the way to these places.
No falcon#28:7 falcon A kind of bird, like a hawk. has ever seen it.
8Wild animals have never been there.
Lions have not traveled that way.
9Miners dig the hardest rocks.
They dig away at the mountains and make them bare.
10They cut tunnels through the rocks
and see all the treasures they hold.
11They even find places where rivers begin.
They bring to light what once was hidden.
12“But where can anyone find wisdom?
Where can we get understanding?
13People don’t know where wisdom is.
It cannot be found by anyone on earth.
14The deep ocean says, ‘It’s not here with me.’
The sea says, ‘It’s not here with me.’
15You cannot buy wisdom with even the purest gold.
There’s not enough silver in the world to pay for it.
16You cannot buy it with gold from Ophir
or with precious onyx or sapphires.
17Wisdom is worth more than gold or crystal.
It cannot be bought with expensive jewels set in gold.
18It is far more valuable than coral and jasper,
more precious than rubies.
19The topaz from Ethiopia cannot match its value,
which is greater than the purest gold.
20“So where does wisdom come from?
Where can we find understanding?
21Wisdom is hidden from every living thing on earth.
Even birds in the sky cannot see it.
22Death and destruction#28:22 Death and destruction Or “Abaddon,” a Hebrew name meaning “death” or “destruction.” See Rev. 9:11. say,
‘We have never seen wisdom;
we have only heard rumors about it.’
23“Only God knows the way to wisdom.
Only he knows where wisdom is.
24He can see to the very ends of the earth.
He sees everything under the sky.
25God gave the wind its power.
He decided how big to make the oceans.
26He decided where to send the rain
and where the thunderstorms should go.
27He looked at wisdom and discussed it.
He examined it and saw how much it is worth.
28Then he said to humans,
‘To fear and respect the Lord is wisdom.
To turn away from evil is understanding.’”