2I have heard such things so often before! You are trouble-makers one and all! 3You say, ‘Will this windbag never have done?’ or ‘What makes him so stubborn in argument?’ 4If you and I were to change places, I could talk as you do; how I could harangue you and wag my head at you! 5But no, I would speak words of encouragement, and my condolences would be unrestrained a 16:5 unrestrained: so Gk; Heb. restrained. . 6If I speak, my pain is not eased; if I am silent, it does not leave me. 7Meanwhile, my friend wearies me with his gloating; he and his fellows b 16:7 his fellows: prob. rdg; Heb. my fellows. seize me. 8He has come forward to give evidence against me; the liar c 16:8 the liar: so Lat.; Heb. my falsehood. testifies against me to my face, 9in his wrath he tears me and assaults me angrily; he gnashes at me with his teeth.
My enemies look daggers at me, 10they bare their teeth at me, they strike me on the cheek and taunt me; they are all in league against me. 11God has left me at the mercy of malefactors, he has cast me into the power of the wicked. 12I was at ease, but he savaged me, seized me by the neck, and worried me. He set me up as his target; 13his arrows rained on me from every side; pitiless, he pierced deep into my vitals, he spilt my gall on the ground. 14He made breach after breach in my defences; like a warrior he rushed on me.
15I stitched sackcloth together to cover my body and laid my forehead in the dust; 16my cheeks were inflamed with weeping and dark shadows were round my eyes. 17Yet my hands were free from violence and my prayer was sincere.
18Let not the earth cover my blood, and let my cry for justice find no rest! 19For now my witness is in heaven; there is One on high ready to answer for me. 20My appeal will come d 16:20 My … come: so Gk; Heb. My friends are my scorners. before God, while my eyes turn anxiously to him. 21If only there were one to arbitrate between man and God, as between a man and his neighbour! 22For there are but few years to come before I take the road from which there is no return.