The Value of Wisdom
1 “There are mines where people get silver
and places where people melt gold to make it pure.
2 Iron is dug out of the ground,
and copper is melted out of the rocks.
3 Miners carry lights deep into caves
to search for these rocks in the deepest darkness.
4 Far from where people live, they dig deep into the ground,
down where no one else has been before.
There they work all alone, hanging from ropes.
5 Food grows on the ground above.
But underground it is different,
as if everything were melted by fire.
6 In the rocks there are sapphires
and grains of pure gold.
7 Wild birds know nothing about the way to these places.
No falcon* falcon A kind of bird, like a hawk. has ever seen it.
8 Wild animals have never been there.
Lions have not traveled that way.
9 Miners dig the hardest rocks.
They dig away at the mountains and make them bare.
10 They cut tunnels through the rocks
and see all the treasures they hold.
11 They even find places where rivers begin.
They bring to light what once was hidden.
12 “But where can anyone find wisdom?
Where can we get understanding?
13 People don’t know where wisdom is.
It cannot be found by anyone on earth.
14 The deep ocean says, ‘It’s not here with me.’
The sea says, ‘It’s not here with me.’
15 You cannot buy wisdom with even the purest gold.
There’s not enough silver in the world to pay for it.
16 You cannot buy it with gold from Ophir
or with precious onyx or sapphires.
17 Wisdom is worth more than gold or crystal.
It cannot be bought with expensive jewels set in gold.
18 It is far more valuable than coral and jasper,
more precious than rubies.
19 The topaz from Ethiopia cannot match its value,
which is greater than the purest gold.
20 “So where does wisdom come from?
Where can we find understanding?
21 Wisdom is hidden from every living thing on earth.
Even birds in the sky cannot see it.
22 Death and destruction† Death and destruction Or “Abaddon,” a Hebrew name meaning “death” or “destruction.” See Rev. 9:11. say,
‘We have never seen wisdom;
we have only heard rumors about it.’
23 “Only God knows the way to wisdom.
Only he knows where wisdom is.
24 He can see to the very ends of the earth.
He sees everything under the sky.
25 God gave the wind its power.
He decided how big to make the oceans.
26 He decided where to send the rain
and where the thunderstorms should go.
27 He looked at wisdom and discussed it.
He examined it and saw how much it is worth.
28 Then he said to humans,
‘To fear and respect the Lord is wisdom.
To turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”
*28:7 falcon A kind of bird, like a hawk.
†28:22 Death and destruction Or “Abaddon,” a Hebrew name meaning “death” or “destruction.” See Rev. 9:11.