For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
– Proverbs 3:14
[M]erchandise refers to trade and the profit from it. Here it is the profit from the trade of silver. Gain refers to income or even revenue. Fine gold is that which is mined. Both phrases are emphasizing the profit or gain from work expended. The real key in this verse is the word “better.” When we pair this verse with the verse before and those after, we find a most important distinction about wisdom. Wisdom is its own reward and, as a reward, is infinitely more valuable than anything upon this earth. Wisdom is far better than material gain and, therefore, getting wisdom is not about getting rich. Those who use the book of Proverbs to teach how to get rich or find prosperity prove they do not have wisdom themselves and are therefore unfit guides to the obtaining of wisdom.