The Search for Wisdom Continues
"Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for
gold to be refined. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper
is smelted from ore. 3 Miners put an end to darkness, and search
out to the farthest bound the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
4 They open shafts in a valley away from human habitation; they
are forgotten by travelers, they sway suspended, remote from people.
5 As for the earth, out of it comes bread; but underneath it is
turned up as by fire. 6 Its stones are the place of sapphires,
and its dust contains gold. 7 "That path no bird of prey
knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it. 8 The proud wild
animals have not trodden it; the lion has not passed over it.
9 "They put their hand to the flinty rock, and overturn mountains
by the roots. 10 They cut out channels in the rocks, and their
eyes see every precious thing. 11 The sources of the rivers they
probe; hidden things they bring to light. 12 "But where shall
wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Mortals
do not know the way to it, and it is not found in the land of
the living. 14 The deep says, 'It is not in me,' and the sea says,
'It is not with me.' 15 It cannot be gotten for gold, and silver
cannot be weighed out as its price. 16 It cannot be valued in
the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. 17 Gold and glass
cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price
of wisdom is above pearls. 19 The chrysolite of Ethiopia cannot
compare with it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. 20 "Where
then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from
the birds of the air. 22 Abaddon and Death say, 'We have heard
a rumor of it with our ears.' 23 "God understands the way
to it, and he knows its place. 24 For he looks to the ends of
the earth, and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he gave
to the wind its weight, and apportioned out the waters by measure;
26 when he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the thunderbolt;
27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched
it out. 28 And he said to humankind, 'Truly, the fear of the Lord,
that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'"
Looking for Wisdom in All the Wrong Places
This poetic interlude is a tribute to wisdom. The central questions
are emphasized in verses 12 and 20 which basically ask how to
attain wisdom. It suggests that man is so smart as to being almost
godlike compared to animals but, even so, is still barely able
to scratch the surface of the wisdom of God. Ecclesiastes would
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