1 “People know where to mine silver and how to refine gold.
2 They know where to dig iron from the earth and how to smelt copper from rock.
3 They know how to shine light in the darkness and explore the farthest regions of the earth as they search in the dark for ore.
4 They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives.
They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth.
5 Food is grown on the earth above, but down below, the earth is melted as by fire.
6 Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli, and the dust contains gold.
7 These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe.
8 No wild animal has walked upon these treasures; no lion has ever set his paw there.
9 People know how to tear apart flinty rocks and overturn the roots of mountains.
10 They cut tunnels in the rocks and uncover precious stones.
11 They dam up the trickling streams and bring to light the hidden treasures.
12“But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding?
13 No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living.
14 ‘It is not here,’ says the ocean. ‘Nor is it here,’ says the sea.
15 It cannot be bought with gold. It cannot be purchased with silver.
16 It’s worth more than all the gold of Ophir, greater than precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17 Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold.
18 Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies.
19 Precious peridot from Ethiopia cannot be exchanged for it. It’s worth more than the purest gold.
20“But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it.
22 Destruction and Death say, ‘We’ve heard only rumors of where wisdom can be found.’
23“God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found,
24 for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens.
25 He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall.
26 He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning.
27 Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly.
28 And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”