1 "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the ground, and rock is poured out as copper. 3 Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for the ore in the deepest darkness. 4 Far from where people live he sinks a shaft, in places travelers have long forgotten, far from other people he dangles and sways. 5 The earth, from which food comes, is overturned below as though by fire; 6 a place whose stones are sapphires and which contains dust of gold; 7 a hidden path no bird of prey knows -- no falcon's eye has spotted it. 8 Proud beasts have not set foot on it, and no lion has passed along it. 9 On the flinty rock man has set to work with his hand; he has overturned mountains at their bases. 10 He has cut out channels through the rocks; his eyes have spotted every precious thing. 11 He has searched the sources of the rivers and what was hidden he has brought into the light.
12 "But wisdom -- where can it be found? Where is the place of understanding? 13 Mankind does not know its place; it cannot be found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, 'It is not with me.' And the sea says, 'It is not with me.' 15 Fine gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can its price be weighed out in silver. 16 It cannot be measured out for purchase with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. 17 Neither gold nor crystal can be compared with it, nor can a vase of gold match its worth. 18 Of coral and jasper no mention will be made; the price of wisdom is more than pearls. 19 The topaz of Cush cannot be compared with it; it cannot be purchased with pure gold.
20 "But wisdom -- where does it come from? Where is the place of understanding? 21 For it has been hidden from the eyes of every living creature, and from the birds of the sky it has been concealed. 22 Destruction and Death say, 'With our ears we have heard a rumor about where it can be found.' 23 God understands the way to it, and he alone knows its place. 24 For he looks to the ends of the earth and observes everything under the heavens. 25 When he made the force of the wind and measured the waters with a gauge. 26 When he imposed a limit for the rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, 27 then he looked at wisdom and assessed its value; he established it and examined it closely. 28 And he said to mankind, 'The fear of the Lord -- that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'"