1‘Mortals, born of woman,
are of few days and full of trouble.
2They spring up like flowers and wither away;
like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
3Do you fix your eye on them?
Will you bring them#14:3 Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew me before you for judgment?
4Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
5A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
6So look away from him and let him alone,
till he has put in his time like a hired labourer.
7‘At least there is hope for a tree:
if it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
8Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
9yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
10But a man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more.
11As the water of a lake dries up
or a river bed becomes parched and dry,
12so he lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, people will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.
13‘If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!
14If someone dies, will they live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal#14:14 Or release to come.
15You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.
16Surely then you will count my steps
but not keep track of my sin.
17My offences will be sealed up in a bag;
you will cover over my sin.
18‘But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place,
19as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy a person’s hope.
20You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
you change their countenance and send them away.
21If their children are honoured, they do not know it;
if their children are brought low, they do not see it.
22They feel but the pain of their own bodies
and mourn only for themselves.’