1 THERE are mines for silver and places where gold is refined. 2Iron is won from the earth and copper smelted from the ore. 3Men master the darkness; to the farthest recesses they seek ore in gloom and deep darkness. 4Foreigners cut the shafts a 28:4 Foreigners … shafts: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. ; forgotten, suspended without foothold, they swing to and fro, far away from anyone. 5While grain is springing from the earth above, what lies beneath is turned over like a fire, 6and out of its rocks comes lapis lazuli, dusted with flecks of gold. 7No bird of prey knows the path there; the falcon's keen eye cannot descry it; 8proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion passes there. 9Man sets his hand to the granite rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains; 10he cuts galleries in the rocks, and gems of every kind meet his eye; 11he dams up the sources of the streams and brings the hidden riches of the earth to light.
12But where can wisdom be found, and where is the source of understanding? 13No one knows the way to it b 28:13 knows … to it: so Gk; Heb. knows its value. , nor is it to be found in the land of the living. 14‘It is not in us,’ declare the ocean depths; the sea declares, ‘It is not with me.’ 15Red gold cannot buy it, nor can its price be weighed out in silver; 16gold of Ophir cannot be set in the scales against it, nor precious cornelian nor sapphire c 28:16 sapphire: or lapis lazuli. ; 17gold and crystal d 28:17 crystal: lit. glass. are not to be matched with it, no work in fine gold can be bartered for it; 18black coral and alabaster are not worth mention, and a parcel of wisdom fetches more than red coral; 19chrysolite from Ethiopia is not to be matched with it, pure gold cannot be set in the scales against it. 20Where, then, does wisdom come from? Where is the source of understanding? 21No creature on earth can set eyes on it; even from birds of the air it is concealed. 22Destruction e 28:22 Destruction: Heb. Abaddon. and Death declare, ‘We know of it only by hearsay.’
23God alone understands the way to it, he alone knows its source; 24for he can see to the ends of the earth and observe every place under heaven. 25When he regulated the force of the wind and measured out the waters in proportion, 26when he laid down a limit for the rain and cleared a path for the thunderbolt, 27it was then he saw wisdom and took stock of it, he considered f 28:27 considered: so some MSS; others established. it and fathomed its very depths. 28And he said to mankind: ‘The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to turn from evil, that is understanding!’