2 “How I wish for the months that have passed. I wish for the days when God watched over me. 3 I wish for the days when God’s lamp shined on my head. And I wish for the time I walked through darkness by his light. 4 I wish for the days when I was at my strongest, when God’s close friendship blessed my house. 5 That was when my children were all around me. And God All-Powerful was still with me. 6 Life was so good. It was as if my path were covered with cream. It was as if even the rocks poured out streams of olive oil for me. 7 I would go to the city gate and sit in the public square. 8 When the young men saw me, they would step out of my way. And the old men would stand up in respect for me. 9 The leading men stopped speaking and covered their mouths with their hands. 10 The voices of the important men were quiet. It was as if each man’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. 11 Anyone who heard me said good things about me. And those who saw me praised me. 12 This was because I saved the poor who cried for help. And I saved the orphan who had no one to help him. 13 The dying person blessed me. And I made the widow’s heart sing. 14 I put on right living as if it were clothing. I wore fairness as if it were my robe and my turban. 15 I tried to be eyes for the blind. And I tried to be feet for those who were crippled. 16 I was like a father to needy people. And I took the side of strangers when they were in trouble. 17 I broke the fangs of evil people. And I snatched from their teeth the people they wanted to hurt.
18 “I thought, ‘I will live for as many days as there are grains of sand. And I will die in my own house. 19 I will be like a tree whose roots reach down to the water. The dew will lie on the branches all night. 20 New honors will come to me continually. I will always have great strength.’
21 “People listened to me carefully. They waited quietly for my advice. 22 After I finished speaking, they spoke no more. My words fell very gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me as they would for rain. They drank in my words as if they were spring rain. 24 I smiled at them when they doubted. And my approval was important to them. 25 I chose the right way for them and was their leader. I lived like a king among his army. I was like a person who gives comfort to sad people.
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