“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied.
Human eyes are never satisfied.
The crucible is for silver.
The furnace is for gold.
A person is tested by being praised.
Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle.
Crush him along with crushed grain.
But his folly will not be driven out.”
First we have the insatiable appetite of death, Sheol and Abaddon, the shadowy underworld where people go after they die. This is compared to human eyes that are never satisfied, always looking for new things. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. But instead as in chapter 17, here it is praise and not Yahweh that tests the humans. You can try to get the folly out of a fool by putting him in mortar or crushed grain. A pestle is some kind of grinding machine. However, it will be to no avail. You cannot drive the foolishness out of a fool.