Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?

the story of job is one of loss, suffering, pain and confusion. In a single day, he experiences the theft and destruction of all his earthly possessions and must also face the sudden death of all his children. The majority of the book is a collection of discourses given by Job, his four so called “friends” and eventually God Himself. Job’s friends are convinced that he has done some great evil and that his suffering is a form of punishment from God. They believe that they have the wisdom and insight to explain the calamity—to explain God’s actions against Job. However, Job knows that he is innocent and that his current condition is not a punishment for some shortcoming on his part. When he first learned of his losses, Job states, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job is not willing to blame God for the calamity in his life and instead challenges his friends’ assertions by explaining that no man can know the mind of God: that His dealings with us are not always explicable.

The portion of scripture that I have chosen to set comes from chapter 28:12–28. In this excerpt, Job poses the question, “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” The wisdom of man versus the wisdom of God is one of the major themes of the book and Job explains his view of true, Godly wisdom as something that cannot be bought or attained through any earthly means. He states that “the price of wisdom is above rubies” and that “gold and crystal cannot equal it.” In conclusion, Job states that trust in and obedience to God are the only sources of true wisdom and understanding; that by relinquishing the desire to know the reason for what happens in life and trusting it to the Creator is where true peace of mind comes from. The implication is that one may never know the reasons for suffering but through trust in God, reliance on His grace, and departure from evil, one will know and understand that He is in control and that His control is sufficient.


Score Sample
Score Sample
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DATE

2012

DURATION

11 minutes

INSTRUMENTATION

Baritone
Two Violins
Viola
Cello
Harp

TEXT

Job 28:12–28 (King James Version)

But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.


PREMIERE

April 14, 2012
Rose Recital Hall, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Brian Carter (bar.), Guillaume Combet (vln.1), Kaveh Saidi (vln. 2), Lori Saidi (vla.), Jonathan Fink (vc.), Madeline Blood (hp.)

RECORDING