"We all know how silver seams the rocks, we've seen the stuff from which gold is refined,
We're aware of how iron is dug out of the ground and copper is smelted from rock.
Miners penetrate the earth's darkness, searching the roots of the mountains for ore, digging away in the suffocating darkness.
Far from civilization, far from the traffic, they cut a shaft, and are lowered into it by ropes.
Earth's surface is a field for grain, but its depths are a forge
Firing sapphires from stones and chiseling gold from rocks.
Vultures are blind to its riches, hawks never lay eyes on it.
Wild animals are oblivious to it, lions don't know it's there.
Miners hammer away at the rock, they uproot the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock and find all kinds of beautiful gems.
They discover the origins of rivers, and bring earth's secrets to light.
"But where, oh where, will they find Wisdom? Where does Insight hide?
Mortals don't have a clue, haven't the slightest idea where to look.
Earth's depths say, 'It's not here'; ocean deeps echo, 'Never heard of it.'
It can't be bought with the finest gold; no amount of silver can get it.
Even famous Ophir gold can't buy it, not even diamonds and sapphires.
Neither gold nor emeralds are comparable; extravagant jewelry can't touch it.
Pearl necklaces and ruby bracelets - why bother? None of this is even a down payment on Wisdom!
Pile gold and African diamonds as high as you will, they can't hold a candle to Wisdom.
"So where does Wisdom come from? And where does Insight live?
It can't be found by looking, no matter how deep you dig, no matter how high you fly.
If you search through the graveyard and question the dead, they say, 'We've only heard rumors of it.'
"God alone knows the way to Wisdom, he knows the exact place to find it.
He knows where everything is on earth, he sees everything under heaven.
After he commanded the winds to blow and measured out the waters,
Arranged for the rain and set off explosions of thunder and lightning,
He focused on Wisdom, made sure it was all set and tested and ready.
Then he addressed the human race: 'Here it is! Fear-of-the-Lord - that's Wisdom, and Insight means shunning evil.'"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)