1 SURELY THERE is a mine for silver, and a place for gold where they refine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the stone ore.
3 Man sets an end to darkness, and he searches out the farthest bounds for the ore buried in gloom and deep darkness.
4 Men break open shafts away from where people sojourn, in places forgotten by [human] foot; and [descend into them], hanging afar from men, they swing or flit to and fro.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread, but underneath [its surface, down deep in the mine] there is blasting, turning it up as by fire.
6 Its stones are the bed of sapphires; it holds dust of gold [which he wins].
7 That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
8 The proud beasts [and their young] have not trodden it, nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
9 Man puts forth his hand upon the flinty rock; he overturns the mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels and passages among the rocks; and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 [Man] binds the streams so that they do not trickle [into the mine], and the thing that is hidden he brings forth to light.
12 But where shall Wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knows not the price of it; neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, [Wisdom] is not in me; and the sea says, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price of it.
16 It cannot be valued in [terms of] the gold of Ophir, in the precious onyx or beryl, or the sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal [Wisdom], nor can it be exchanged for jewels or vessels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; for the possession of Wisdom is even above rubies or pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot compare with it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 From where then does Wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and knowledge of it is withheld from the birds of the heavens.
22 Abaddon (the place of destruction) and Death say, We have [only] heard the report of it with our ears.
23 God understands the way [to Wisdom] and He knows the place of it [Wisdom is with God alone].
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When He gave to the wind weight or pressure and allotted the waters by measure,
26 When He made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 Then He saw [Wisdom] and declared it; He established it, yes, and searched it out [for His own use, and He alone possesses it].
28 But to man He said, Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord–that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
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1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation