1 MAN WHO is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2 He comes forth like a flower and withers; he flees also like a shadow and continues not.
3 And [Lord] do You open Your eyes upon such a one, and bring me into judgment with You?
4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one! [Isa. 1:18; I John 1:7.]
5 Since a man's days are already determined, and the number of his months is wholly in Your control, and he cannot pass the bounds of his allotted time–
6 [O God] turn from him [and cease to watch him so pitilessly]; let him rest until he has accomplished as does a hireling the appointed time for his day.
7 For there is hope for a tree if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and that the tender shoots of it will not cease. [But there is no such hope for man.]
8 Though its roots grow old in the earth and its stock dies in the ground,
9 Yet through the scent [and breathing] of water [the stump of the tree] will bud and bring forth boughs like a young plant.
10 But [the brave, strong] man must die and lie prostrate; yes, man breathes his last, and where is he?
11 As waters evaporate from the lake, and the river drains and dries up,
12 So man lies down and does not rise [to his former state]. Till the heavens are no more, men will not awake nor be raised [physically] out of their sleep.
13 Oh, that You would hide me in Sheol (the unseen state), that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would set a definite time and then remember me earnestly [and imprint me on your heart]!
14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my warfare and service I will wait, till my change and release shall come. [John 5:25; 6:40; I Thess. 4:16.]
15 [Then] You would call and I would answer You; You would yearn for [me] the work of Your hands.
16 But now You number each of my steps and take note of my every sin.
17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and You glue up my iniquity [to preserve it in full for the day of reckoning].
18 But as a mountain, if it falls, crumbles to nothing, and as the rock is removed out of its place,
19 As waters wear away the stones and as floods wash away the soil of the earth, so You [O Lord] destroy the hope of man.
20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his appearance [in death] and send him away [from the presence of the living].
21 His sons come to honor, and he knows it not; they are brought low, and he perceives it not.
22 But his body [lamenting its decay in the grave] shall grieve over him, and his soul shall mourn [over the body of clay which it once enlivened].