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“Human life on earth is like serving in the army;
yes, we drudge through our days like a hired worker,
like a slave longing for shade,
like a worker thinking only of his wages.
So I am assigned months of meaninglessness;
troubled nights are my lot.
When I lie down, I ask,
‘When can I get up?’
But the night is long, and I keep tossing
to and fro until daybreak.
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt,
my skin forms scabs that ooze pus.
My days pass more swiftly than a weaver’s shuttle
and come to their end without hope.

“Remember that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never again see good times.
The eye that now sees me will see me no more;
while your eyes are on me, I will be gone.
Like a cloud dissolving and disappearing,
so he who descends to Sh’ol won’t come back up.
10 He will not return again to his house,
and his home will know him no more.

11 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth
but will speak in my anguish of spirit
and complain in my bitterness of soul.
12 Am I the sea, or some sea monster,
that you put a guard over me?
13 When I think that my bed will comfort me,
that my couch will relieve my complaint,
14 then you terrify me with dreams
and frighten me with visions.
15 I would rather be strangled;
death would be better than these bones of mine.
16 I hate it! I won’t live forever,
so leave me alone, for my life means nothing.

17 “What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them?
Why do you keep them on your mind?
18 Why examine them every morning
and test them every moment?
19 Won’t you ever take your eyes off of me,
at least long enough for me to swallow my spit?

20 “Suppose I do sin — how do I harm you,
you scrutinizer of humanity?
Why have you made me your target,
so that I am a burden to you?
21 Why don’t you pardon my offense
and take away my guilt?
For soon I will lie down in the dust;
you will seek me, but I will be gone.”

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