1 ‘Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
2 He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.
3 Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment?
4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!
5 Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired man.
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.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.
10 But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.
11 As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
12 so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men 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!
14 If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.
15 You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.
16 Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin.
17 My offenses 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,
19 as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy man’s hope.
20 You overpower him once for all, and he is gone; you change his countenance and send him away.
21 If his sons are honored, he does not know it; if they are brought low, he does not see it.
22 He feels but the pain of his own body and mourns only for himself.’