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Chapter 14

Man born of woman
    is short-lived and full of trouble,[a](A)
Like a flower that springs up and fades,(B)
    swift as a shadow that does not abide.
Upon such a one will you set your eyes,
    bringing me into judgment before you?
Can anyone make the unclean clean?(C)
    No one can.
Since his days are determined—
    you know the number of his months;
    you have fixed the limit which he cannot pass—
Look away from him and let him be,
    while, like a hireling, he completes his day.
For a tree there is hope;
    if it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    its tender shoots will not cease.
Even though its root grow old in the earth
    and its stump die in the dust,
Yet at the first whiff of water it sprouts
    and puts forth branches like a young plant.
10 But when a man dies, all vigor leaves him;(D)
    when a mortal expires, where then is he?
11 As when the waters of a lake fail,
    or a stream shrivels and dries up,
12 So mortals lie down, never to rise.
    Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake,
    nor be roused out of their sleep.(E)
13 Oh, that you would hide me in Sheol,
    shelter me till your wrath is past,
    fix a time to remember me!
14 If a man were to die, and live again,
    all the days of my drudgery I would wait(F)
    for my relief to come.
15 You would call, and I would answer you;
    you would long for the work of your hands.
16 Surely then you would count my steps,(G)
    and not keep watch for sin in me.
17 My misdeeds would be sealed up in a pouch,[b]
    and you would cover over my guilt.
18 Mountains fall and crumble,
    rocks move from their place,
19 And water wears away stone,
    and floods wash away the soil of the land—
    so you destroy the hope of mortals!
20 You prevail once for all against them and they pass on;
    you dismiss them with changed appearance.
21 If their children are honored, they are not aware of it;
    or if disgraced, they do not know about them.
22 Only for themselves, their pain;
    only for themselves, their mourning.


  1. 14:1 The sorrowful lament of Job is that God should relent in view of the limited life of human beings. When compared to plant life, which dies but can revive, the death of human beings is final. Job’s wild and “unthinkable” wish in vv. 13–17 is a bold stroke of imagination and desire: if only in Sheol he were protected till God would remember him! Were he to live again (v. 14), things would be different, but alas, God destroys “the hope of mortals” (v. 19).
  2. 14:17 Sealed up in a pouch: hidden away and forgotten.