Interlude: where wisdom is found1There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11They search ▼
▼Septuagint, Aquila and Vulgate; Hebrew They dam upthe sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
12But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
▼Hebrew Abaddonand Death say,
‘Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.’
23God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28And he said to the human race,
‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’
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