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Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

28 There is a mine for silver

and a place where gold is refined.h

Iron is taken from the earth,

and copper is smelted from ore.i

Mortals put an end to the darkness;j

they search out the farthest recesses

for ore in the blackest darkness.k

Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,l

in places untouched by human feet;

far from other people they dangle and sway.

The earth, from which food comes,m

is transformed below as by fire;

lapis lazulin comes from its rocks,

and its dust contains nuggets of gold.o

No bird of prey knows that hidden path,

no falcon’s eye has seen it.p

Proud beastsq do not set foot on it,

and no lion prowls there.r

People assault the flinty rocks with their hands

and lay bare the roots of the mountains.t

10 They tunnel through the rock;u

their eyes see all its treasures.v

11 They searcha the sources of the riversw

and bring hidden thingsx to light.

12 But where can wisdom be found?y

Where does understanding dwell?z

13 No mortal comprehends its worth;a

it cannot be found in the land of the living.b

14 The deepc says, “It is not in me”;

the sead says, “It is not with me.”

15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold,

nor can its price be weighed out in silver.e

16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,f

with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.g

17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,h

nor can it be had for jewels of gold.i

18 Coralj and jasperk are not worthy of mention;

the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.l

19 The topazm of Cushn cannot compare with it;

it cannot be bought with pure gold.o

20 Where then does wisdom come from?

Where does understanding dwell?p

21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,

concealed even from the birds in the sky.q

22 Destructionb r and Deaths say,

“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”

23 God understands the way to it

and he alonet knows where it dwells,u

24 for he views the ends of the earthv

and sees everything under the heavens.w

25 When he established the force of the wind

and measured out the waters,x

26 when he made a decree for the rainy

and a path for the thunderstorm,z

27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;

he confirmed it and tested it.a

28 And he said to the human race,

“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,

and to shun evilb is understanding.”c


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