A Hymn to Wisdom

28 Surely there is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
Iron is taken from the ground,
and copper is smelted from ore.
A miner puts an end to the darkness;
he probes[a] the deepest recesses
for ore in the gloomy darkness.
He cuts a shaft far from human habitation,
in places unknown to those who walk above ground.
Suspended far away from people,
the miners swing back and forth.
Food may come from the earth,
but below the surface the earth is transformed as by fire.
Its rocks are a source of lapis lazuli,(A)
containing flecks of gold.
No bird of prey knows that path;
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
Proud beasts have never walked on it;
no lion has ever prowled over it.
The miner uses a flint tool
and turns up ore from the root of the mountains.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eyes spot every treasure.
11 He dams up the streams from flowing[b]
so that he may bring to light what is hidden.

12 But where can wisdom(B) be found,
and where is understanding located?
13 No one can know its value,[c]
since it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14 The ocean depths say, “It’s not in me,”
while the sea declares, “I don’t have it.”(C)
15 Gold cannot be exchanged for it,
and silver cannot be weighed out for its price.
16 Wisdom cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,(D)
in precious onyx or lapis lazuli.(E)
17 Gold and glass do not compare with it,
and articles of fine gold cannot be exchanged for it.(F)
18 Coral and quartz are not worth mentioning.
The price of wisdom is beyond pearls.
19 Topaz from Cush cannot compare with it,
and it cannot be valued in pure gold.

20 Where then does wisdom come from,
and where is understanding located?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing
and concealed from the birds of the sky.
22 Abaddon and Death(G) say,
“We have heard news of it with our ears.”
23 But God understands the way to wisdom,
and he knows its location.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When God fixed the weight of the wind
and distributed the water by measure,(H)
26 when he established a limit[d] for the rain(I)
and a path for the lightning,
27 he considered wisdom and evaluated it;
he established it and examined it.
28 He said to mankind,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom.
And to turn from evil is understanding.”(J)

Footnotes

  1. 28:3 Lit probes all
  2. 28:11 LXX, Vg read He explores the sources of the streams
  3. 28:13 LXX reads way
  4. 28:26 Or decree

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