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Chapter 30

But now they hold me in derision
    who are younger than I,(A)
Whose fathers I should have disdained
    to rank with the dogs of my flock.
Such strength as they had meant nothing to me;
    their vigor had perished.
In want and emaciating hunger(B)
    they fled to the parched lands:
    to the desolate wasteland by night.
They plucked saltwort[a] and shrubs;
    the roots of the broom plant were their food.
They were banished from the community,
    with an outcry like that against a thief—
To dwell on the slopes of the wadies,
    in caves of sand and stone;
Among the bushes they brayed;
    under the nettles they huddled together.
Irresponsible, of no account,
    they were driven out of the land.
Yet now they sing of me in mockery;
    I have become a byword among them.(C)
10 They abhor me, they stand aloof,
    they do not hesitate to spit in my face!
11 [b]Because he has loosened my bowstring and afflicted me,
    they have thrown off restraint in my presence.
12 On my right the young rabble rise up;
    they trip my feet,
    they build their approaches for my ruin.
13 They tear up my path,
    they promote my ruin,
    no helper is there against them.
14 As through a wide breach they advance;
    amid the uproar they come on in waves;
15     terrors roll over me.
My dignity is driven off like the wind,
    and my well-being vanishes like a cloud.
16 And now my life ebbs away from me,
    days of affliction have taken hold of me.
17 [c]At night he pierces my bones,
    my sinews have no rest.
18 With great difficulty I change my clothes,
    the collar of my tunic fits around my waist.
19 He has cast me into the mire;
    I have become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry to you, but you do not answer me;(D)
    I stand, but you take no notice.
21 You have turned into my tormentor,
    and with your strong hand you attack me.
22 You raise me up and drive me before the wind;
    I am tossed about by the tempest.
23 Indeed I know that you will return me to death
    to the house destined for everyone alive.(E)
24 Yet should not a hand be held out
    to help a wretched person in distress?
25 Did I not weep for the hardships of others;
    was not my soul grieved for the poor?(F)
26 Yet when I looked for good, evil came;
    when I expected light, darkness came.
27 My inward parts seethe and will not be stilled;
    days of affliction have overtaken me.
28 I go about in gloom, without the sun;
    I rise in the assembly and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother to jackals,
    a companion to ostriches.
30 My blackened skin falls away from me;
    my very frame is scorched by the heat.
31 My lyre is tuned to mourning,
    and my reed pipe to sounds of weeping.


  1. 30:4 Saltwort: found in salt marshes and very sour to the taste; eaten by the extremely poor as a cooked vegetable. Broom plant: the juniper or brushwood; cf. Ps 120:4; a figure of bitterness and poverty, because of its bitter-tasting roots which are practically inedible.
  2. 30:11 God is the subject of the verbs. Loosened my bowstring: i.e., disarmed and disabled me.
  3. 30:17–23 Job here refers to God’s harsh treatment of him. Cf. 16:9–17; 19:6–12.