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14 Job: Humankind, born of woman,
        has a few brief years with much suffering.
    Like a short-lived bloom,
        he springs up only to wither;
        like the brief shade gained by a fast-moving cloud,
        he passes swiftly.
    Lord, is this why You turn Your gaze on such a creature:
        to bring me,[a] a mere human being, alongside You for judgment?
    Who can take what is impure and defiled
        to fashion something pure and pristine?
        No one! We are, after all, so different in nature.
    Since a person’s life is fixed,
        and You are the One who determines the number of his months,
    And You set a limit on the length of her life,
        and since they are incapable of exceeding Your decree,
    The least You can do is turn Your gaze away from him until they pass,
        so that he can enjoy his day like a hired worker.

    You know, at least there is a kind of hope for a tree:
        if it gets cut down, it may yet sprout again out of the roots.
        And very likely then, its tender shoots will not die.
    Its roots may age deep under the ground,
        and the stump appear dead in the dry earth,
    But even then it needs only the merest whiff of water
        to bud again and put forth shoots like a newly planted sapling.
10     But not so with humankind.
        The noblest of human beings dies and lies flat.
    Humans die, and where do they go?
11         Just as water evaporates from the sea,
    And riverbeds go parched and dry,
12         so humankind lies down and does not rise again.
    Until the day when the skies are done away with,
        humankind will neither awaken nor rouse from slumber.

13     O that You would merely hide me in the land of the dead
        and keep me in secret till Your wrath is gone,
        until a time You decide when You might think upon me.
14     If one dies, can he live again?
        Through these days of toil and struggle,
        I will patiently wait until my situation changes.
15     You will call out, and I will answer You then;
        and You will long for me,
        the work of Your hands, again.
16     For then You would still count each of my steps
        but not focus on my faults.
17     My sins would be sealed up as in a bag,
        and my crimes You would carefully cover up.

18     And yet while every crack in me is closely watched,
        the mountain will slide and erode as the avalanche steals its cliffs away.
19     The water grinds at the surface of stones,
        and the floodwater[b] steals the soil away.
    This is how You wreck the hope of humankind.
20         You continually overwhelm him, and he dies;
        You alter his appearance and send him away.
21     If his children rise to honor, he does not know of it;
        if they sink to humiliation, he is unaware of it.
22     He knows only this:
        His body feels agony and his soul grieves.


  1. 14:3 Other manuscripts read, “him.”
  2. 14:19 Hebrew manuscripts read, “her aftergrowth.”

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