1But men younger than I am make fun of me now!
Their fathers have always been so worthless
that I wouldn't let them help my dogs guard sheep.
2They were a bunch of worn-out men,
too weak to do any work for me.
3They were so poor and hungry
that they would gnaw dry roots—
at night, in wild, desolate places.
4They pulled up the plants of the desert and ate them,
even the tasteless roots of the broom tree!
5Everyone drove them away with shouts,
as if they were shouting at thieves.
6They had to live in caves,
in holes dug in the sides of cliffs.
7Out in the wilds they howled like animals
and huddled together under the bushes.
8A worthless bunch of nameless nobodies!
They were driven out of the land.
9Now they come and laugh at me;
I am nothing but a joke to them.
10They treat me with disgust;
they think they are too good for me,
and even come and spit in my face.
11Because God has made me weak and helpless,
they turn against me with all their fury.
12This mob attacks me head-on;
they send me running; they prepare their final assault.
13They cut off my escape and try to destroy me;
and there is no one to stop#30.13: Probable text stop; Hebrew help. them.
14They pour through the holes in my defenses
and come crashing down on top of me;
15I am overcome with terror;
my dignity is gone like a puff of wind,
and my prosperity like a cloud.
16Now I am about to die;
there is no relief for my suffering.
17At night my bones all ache;
the pain that gnaws me never stops.
18God seizes me by my collar
and twists my clothes out of shape.
19He throws me down in the mud;
I am no better than dirt.
20I call to you, O God, but you never answer;
and when I pray, you pay no attention.
21You are treating me cruelly;
you persecute me with all your power.
22You let the wind blow me away;
you toss me about in a raging storm.
23I know you are taking me off to my death,
to the fate in store for everyone.
24Why do you attack a ruined man,
one who can do nothing but beg for pity?#30.24: Verse 24 in Hebrew is unclear.
25Didn't I weep with people in trouble
and feel sorry for those in need?
26I hoped for happiness and light,
but trouble and darkness came instead.
27I am torn apart by worry and pain;
I have had day after day of suffering.
28I go about in gloom, without any sunshine;
I stand up in public and plead for help.
29My voice is as sad and lonely
as the cries of a jackal or an ostrich.
30My skin has turned dark; I am burning with fever.
31Where once I heard joyful music,
now I hear only mourning and weeping.