14 “How frail is man, how few his days, how full of trouble! 2 He blossoms for a moment like a flower—and withers; as the shadow of a passing cloud, he quickly disappears. 3 Must you be so harsh with frail men and demand an accounting from them? 4 How can you demand purity in one born impure? 5 You have set mankind so brief a span of life—months is all you give him! Not one bit longer may he live. 6 So give him a little rest, won’t you? Turn away your angry gaze and let him have a few moments of relief before he dies.
7 “For there is hope for a tree—if it’s cut down, it sprouts again and grows tender, new branches. 8-9 Though its roots have grown old in the earth, and its stump decays, it may sprout and bud again at the touch of water, like a new seedling. 10 But when a man dies and is buried, where does his spirit go? 11-12 As water evaporates from a lake, as a river disappears in drought, so a man lies down for the last time and does not rise again until the heavens are no more; he shall not awaken, nor be roused from his sleep. 13 Oh, that you would hide me with the dead and forget me there until your anger ends; but mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 “If a man dies, shall he live again? This thought gives me hope, so that in all my anguish I eagerly await sweet death! 15 You would call and I would come, and you would reward all I do. 16 But now, instead, you give me so few steps upon the stage of life and notice every mistake I make. 17 You bundle them all together as evidence against me.
18-19 “Mountains wear away and disappear. Water grinds the stones to sand. Torrents tear away the soil. So every hope of man is worn away. 20-21 Always you are against him, and then he passes off the scene. You make him old and wrinkled, then send him away. He never knows it if his sons are honored; or they may fail and face disaster, but he knows it not. 22 For him there is only sorrow and pain.”