1Every being born of woman is short-lived and full of trouble.
2He blossoms like a flower and withers away; fleeting as a shadow, he does not endure; he is like a wineskin that perishes or a garment that moths have eaten a 14:2 he is … eaten: 13:28 transposed here. . 3It is on such a creature you fix your eyes, and bring him into court before you b 14:3 into … you: so one MS; others add 4Who can produce pure out of unclean? No one. ! 5Truly the days of such a one's life are determined, and the number of his months is known to you; you have laid down a limit, which cannot be exceeded. 6Look away from him therefore and leave him c 14:6 and leave him: so one MS; others that he may cease. to count off the hours like a hired labourer.
7If a tree is cut down, there is hope that it will sprout again and fresh shoots will not fail. 8Though its root becomes old in the earth, its stump dying in the ground, 9yet when it scents water it may break into bud and make new growth like a young plant. 10But when a human being dies all his power vanishes; he expires, and where is he then? 11As the waters of a lake dwindle, or as a river shrinks and runs dry, 12so mortal man lies down, never to rise until the very sky splits open. If a man dies, can he live again d 14:12 If … again: line transposed from beginning of verse 14. ? He can never be roused from this sleep.
13If only you would hide me in Sheol e 14:13 Sheol: or the underworld. , conceal me until your anger is past, and only then fix a time to recall me to mind! 14 f 14:14 See note on verse 12. I would not lose hope, however long my service, waiting for my relief to come. 15You would summon me, and I would answer; you would long to see the creature you have made, 16whereas now you count my every step, watching all my errant course. 17Every offence of mine is stored in your bag, where you keep my iniquity under seal. 18Yet as a falling mountainside is swept away, and a rock is dislodged from its place, 19as water wears away stone, and a cloudburst scours the soil from the land, so you have wiped out the hope of frail man; 20finally you overpower him, and he is gone; with changed appearance he is banished from your sight. 21His sons may rise to honour, but he is unaware of it; they may sink into obscurity, but he knows it not. 22His kinsfolk are grieved for him and his slaves mourn his loss.
a 14:2 he is … eaten: 13:28 transposed here.
b 14:3 into … you: so one MS; others add 4Who can produce pure out of unclean? No one.
c 14:6 and leave him: so one MS; others that he may cease.
d 14:12 If … again: line transposed from beginning of verse 14.
e 14:13 Sheol: or the underworld.
f 14:14 See note on verse 12.