There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined.1
Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.2
Miners put an end to the darkness;3 they search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness.4
Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,5 in places untouched by human feet; far from other people they dangle and sway.
The earth, from which food comes,6 is transformed below as by fire;
lapis lazuli7 comes from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold.8
No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon's eye has seen it.9
Proud beasts10 do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there.11
The miners' hands assault the flinty rock12 and lay bare the roots of the mountains.13
They tunnel through the rock;14 their eyes see all its treasures.15
They search the sources of the rivers16 and bring hidden things17 to light.
But where can wisdom be found?18 Where does understanding dwell?19
No mortal comprehends its worth;20 it cannot be found in the land of the living.21
The deep22 says, "It is not in me"; the sea23 says, "It is not with me."
It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed out in silver.24
It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,25 with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.26
Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,27 nor can it be had for jewels of gold.28
Coral29 and jasper30 are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.31
The topaz32 of Cush33 cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold.34
Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?35
It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds in the sky.36
Destruction37 and Death38 say, "Only a rumor of it has reached our ears."
God understands the way to it and he alone39 knows where it dwells,40
for he views the ends of the earth41 and sees everything under the heavens.42
When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters,43
when he made a decree for the rain44 and a path for the thunderstorm,45
then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it.46
And he said to the human race, "The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom, and to shun evil47 is understanding."48