2 “How I long for the times when things were better! That’s when God watched over me. 3 The light of his lamp shone on me. I walked through darkness by his light. 4 Those were the best days of my life. That’s when God’s friendship blessed my house. 5 The Mighty One was still with me. My children were all around me. 6 The path in front of me was like sweet cream. It was as if the rock poured out olive oil for me.
7 “In those days I went to the city gate. I took my seat as a member of the council. 8 Young people who saw me stepped to one side. Old people stood up as I approached. 9 The leaders stopped speaking. They covered their mouths with their hands. 10 The voices of the nobles became quiet. Their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths. 11 Everyone who heard me said good things about me. Those who saw me honored me. 12 That’s because I saved poor people who cried out for help. I saved helpless children whose fathers had died. 13 Those who were dying gave me their blessing. I made the hearts of widows sing. 14 I put on a godly life as if it were my clothes. Fairness was my robe and my turban. 15 I was like eyes for those who were blind. I was like feet for those who couldn’t walk. 16 I was like a father to needy people. I stood up for strangers in court. 17 Sinners are like animals that have powerful teeth. But I took from their mouths the people they had caught.
18 “I thought, ‘I’ll die in my own house. The days of my life will be as many as the grains of sand. 19 My roots will reach down to the water. The dew will lie all night on my branches. 20 I will remain healthy and strong. My bow will stay as good as new in my hand.’
21 “People wanted to hear what I had to say. They waited silently for the advice I gave them. 22 After I had spoken, they didn’t speak anymore. My words fell gently on their ears. 23 They waited for me just as they would wait for rain showers. They drank my words just as they would drink the spring rain. 24 When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it. The light of my face lifted their spirits. 25 I chose the way they should go. I sat as their chief. I lived as a king lives among his troops. I was like someone who comforts those who are sad.
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