2 “Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness, 4 as I was in my prime,[a] when the friendship of God was upon my tent, 5 when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were all around me, 6 when my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil! 7 When I went out to the gate of the city, when I prepared my seat in the square, 8 the young men saw me and withdrew, and the aged rose and stood; 9 the princes refrained from talking and laid their hand on their mouth; 10 the voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth. 11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it approved, 12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. 13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know. 17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth. 18 Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand, 19 my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches, 20 my glory fresh with me, and my bow ever new in my hand.’
21 “Men listened to me and waited and kept silence for my counsel. 22 After I spoke they did not speak again, and my word dropped upon them. 23 They waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain. 24 I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down. 25 I chose their way and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.
30 “But now they laugh at me, men who are younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock. 2 What could I gain from the strength of their hands, men whose vigor is gone? 3 Through want and hard hunger they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation; 4 they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes, and the roots of the broom tree for their food.[b] 5 They are driven out from human company; they shout after them as after a thief. 6 In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell, in holes of the earth and of the rocks. 7 Among the bushes they bray; under the nettles they huddle together. 8 A senseless, a nameless brood, they have been whipped out of the land.
9 “And now I have become their song; I am a byword to them. 10 They abhor me; they keep aloof from me; they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me. 11 Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me, they have cast off restraint[c] in my presence. 12 On my right hand the rabble rise; they push away my feet; they cast up against me their ways of destruction. 13 They break up my path; they promote my calamity; they need no one to help them. 14 As through a wide breach they come; amid the crash they roll on. 15 Terrors are turned upon me; my honor is pursued as by the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
16 “And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me. 17 The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest. 18 With great force my garment is disfigured; it binds me about like the collar of my tunic. 19 God[d] has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. 20 I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me. 21 You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me. 22 You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. 23 For I know that you will bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living.
24 “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?[e] 25 Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy? 26 But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came. 27 My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me. 28 I go about darkened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. 29 I am a brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches. 30 My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat. 31 My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
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