Old Testament

Job 28
Where Can Wisdom Be Found?[]
281Yes, there is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2Iron is taken from the ground,
and copper is smelted out of stone.
3A miner puts an end to darkness by exploring its farthest limits.
He looks for ore in the gloom and in the deep darkness.[]
4He breaks open a mineshaft far from where settlers live,
in places no one has walked before.
Far away from other people, he dangles and sways.
5The earth's surface produces food,
but its depths are overturned as if by fire,
6in places where the stones are sapphires[]
and the dust is gold.
7No scavenging bird knows the way there,
and the eyes of vultures[] have not seen it.
8The king of beasts has not set foot on it.
The lion has not prowled there.
9The miner's hand attacks the hard rock.
He overturns the roots of the mountain.
10He cuts tunnels into the rocks,
and his eyes see every treasure.
11He dams up even the trickling water from the rivers,
and he brings light to the earth's hidden places.
12But wisdom—where can it be found?
Where is the place for understanding?
13Mankind does not know where it is kept.
It is not found in the land of the living.
14The deep ocean says, “It is not in me!”
The sea says, “It is not with me!”
15It cannot be purchased with the best gold,[]
and silver cannot be weighed out as its price.
16It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir[]
or with precious onyx or sapphires.
17Gold and crystal cannot be compared to it.
The finest gold jewelry cannot be substituted for it.
18Coral and quartz are not worth mentioning,
and the value of wisdom is greater than a bag of rubies.
19The chrysolite of Cush cannot be compared with it.
It cannot be purchased even with pure gold.
20But what about wisdom—where does it come from?
And where is the place to find understanding?
21It is hidden from the eyes of all the living.
It is concealed from the birds of the sky.
22Destruction and Death[] say,
“With our ears we have heard only a rumor about it.”
23God understands the way to it,
and he alone knows its place,
24because he watches the ends of the earth,
and he sees everything under the heavens.
25He determines the weight of the wind,
and he measures out the waters by volume.
26He made a decree for the rain
and established a path for the roaring thunderstorm.
27He saw wisdom and appraised its value.
He established it and also explored it.
28Then he said to mankind:
Listen carefully. The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.


  • 28:1 It is uncertain whether the speaker of this poem is Job or the author of the book. It seems likely that it is an intermission inserted by the author to mark the end of the three rounds of speeches.
  • 28:3 The Hebrew scribes regularly spell this word so that it means shadow of death. Here, however, it may be a similar word, deep darkness.
  • 28:6 Or lapis lazuli
  • 28:7 The identification of these birds is uncertain. They may be birds of prey like the falcon.
  • 28:15 Literally closed [gold]. The precise identification of the various types of gold and gemstones in this section is uncertain.
  • 28:16 Ophir is a source of gold in Arabia or Africa.
  • 28:22 Hebrew Abaddon and maveth