In praise of wisdom
1: Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it. 2: Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone. 3: He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death. 4: The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men. 5: As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. 6: The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. 7: There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen: 8: The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. 9: He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots. 10: He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing. 11: He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light. 12: But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 13: Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. 14: The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. 15: It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 16: It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. 17: The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. 18: No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. 19: The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. 20: Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 21: Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. 22: Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 23: God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. 24: For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; 25: To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. 26: When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: 27: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. 28: And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Job remembers former days
1: Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2: Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; 3: When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; 4: As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; 5: When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; 6: When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; 7: When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! 8: The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. 9: The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. 10: The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. 11: When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: 12: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 13: The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 14: I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. 15: I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. 16: I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. 17: And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth. 18: Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand. 19: My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. 20: My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. 21: Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. 22: After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them. 23: And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. 24: If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down. 25: I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.
1: But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. 2: Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? 3: For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. 4: Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat. 5: They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;) 6: To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks. 7: Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together. 8: They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth. 9: And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword. 10: They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face. 11: Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me. 12: Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction. 13: They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper. 14: They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me. 15: Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud. 16: And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me. 17: My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest. 18: By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat. 19: He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. 20: I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not. 21: Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me. 22: Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance. 23: For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living. 24: Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction. 25: Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor? 26: When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. 27: My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. 28: I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation. 29: I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. 30: My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat. 31: My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.
Today we read of Jobs thinking of wisdom and then he remembers his former days. Job speaks of the mining of gold, silver, iron and copper. He says out of the earth comes bread. In the middle of the barley are precious stones found. Job recounts a list of the mysteries of creation - the sum of human wisdom. He says there are places that no bird has flown over and no bird of prey ever seen. There are places were no lion has ever been. The LORD puts his hand on the rocks and brings up mountains from beneath the earth. (Plate tectonics) He cuts the rocks through with rivers and this exposes precious meals. (River erosion) He stops floods from overflowing the land. (Oceanography) But says Job where will wisdom be found? Where can a man find understanding? What is the price of wisdom? Wisdom is not found with me. The deaths of the sea say its not here! Wisdom cannot be bought for gold. It cannot be valued by gold, even the most precious gold. I will not even mention coral and pearls. The price of wisdom is beyond rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia is not equal to wisdom. Where does it come from? Destruction and death say, we have heard of it. Only the Lord knows wisdom. He knows were it is. He sees the whole earth and everything under heaven. He can measure the weight of the air like he measures the weight of all the oceans. He orders the rain and makes a path for lightening to travel through. God has declared that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding. Then Job remembers his former days. He says if only things were like they were in months gone by, when the Lord protected me. When the light of God shined on me. When by his light l walked in the darkness. Like the days of my youth when the secret of God was on my body. When the almighty God was with me. When my children were surrounding me. When he bathed me in his richest blessings when even the rocks poured out oil to me. When l went to the gate of the city and judged the people. The young men were afraid of me and the old men stood in respect to me. The princes were silent in my presence. And the nobles did not speak to me. Those who heard me blessed me. I was a righteous judge. I delivered the poor that appealed to me and the orphans and those with a lost cause. Those who were dying blessed me and I made the widows heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness. My judgment was a rode and a crown. I was the eyes of the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor. I judged the wicked and took the spoil out of his teeth. I said to myself l will die in my bed and have many many days, like the sand which cannot be numbered. I had a root which drew from the waters and the dew lay all night on my branches. There was a freshness to my glory and my strength was renewed. Men listened to me. After l had spoken they were silent. They waited for my words like rain. If l laughed for them they could hardly believe it. My face shone. I sat like General of the Army and lived like a king who comforts mourners. BUT NOW – the young people mock me. Their fathers I would not have placed in charge of the sheep dogs. Their fathers are driven out to live as tramps eating berries by the wayside. They sleep under the nettles. They are the children of fools and base men of the earth vile in their ignorance and vice. I have become their ditty, their proverb. They are disgusted by me and they spit in my face. They oppress me and wallow in their filthy ways. My soul is poured out on me and my bones stick out from me. My clothes smell of my disease. The Lord has thrown me into the mud and I am like dust and ashes. I call on you and you do not hear me. You have been cruel to me. You have used your strength against me. Was l not a good man? Did l not care for the poor and needy? When l did good - then evil came on me. I mourned in the night. I became acquainted with nocturnal creatures, lizards and owls. My skin is black on my body and my bones are burning inside. My voice has lost its lilt and my voice into the cry of those that weep.