2 “If only my life could be like it used to be, in the days when God watched over me, 3 when he made his lamp shine on my head, when I walked through the dark in his light. 4 If only I were in the prime of my life again, when God was an adviser in my tent. 5 When the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 my steps were bathed in buttermilk, and the rocks poured streams of olive oil on me. 7 When I went through the city gate and took my seat in the town square, 8 young men saw me and kept out of sight. Old men stood up straight out of respect for me. 9 Princes held back their words and put their hands over their mouths. 10 The voices of nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.
11 “Any ears that heard me blessed me. Any eyes that saw me spoke well of me, 12 because I rescued the poor who called for help and the orphans who had no one to help them. 13 I received a blessing from the dying. I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. 14 I put on righteousness, and it was my clothing. I practiced justice, and it was my robe and my turban. 15 I was eyes for the blind person. I was feet for the lame person. 16 I was father to the needy. I carefully investigated cases brought by strangers. 17 I broke the teeth of the wicked person and made him drop the prey out of his mouth.
18 “I thought, ‘I may die in my own house, but I will make my days as numerous as the sand. 19 My roots will grow toward the water, and dew will lie on my branches all night. 20 My power will be fresh every day, and the bow in my hand will remain new.’
21 “People listened to me eagerly, quietly waiting for my advice. 22 After I had spoken, they wouldn’t speak again. After all, my words fell gently on them. 23 They were as eager to hear me as they were for rain. They opened their mouths wide as if waiting for a spring shower. 24 When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it, but the expression on my face did not change.[a] 25 I decided how they should live. I sat as their leader. I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.
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