1But 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.

2Such strength as they had meant nothing to me;

their vigor had perished.

3In want and emaciating hungerb

they fled to the parched lands:

to the desolate wasteland by night.

4They plucked saltwort* and shrubs;

the roots of the broom plant were their food.

5They were banished from the community,

with an outcry like that against a thief—

6To dwell on the slopes of the wadies,

in caves of sand and stone;

7Among the bushes they brayed;

under the nettles they huddled together.

8Irresponsible, of no account,

they were driven out of the land.

9Yet now they sing of me in mockery;

I have become a byword among them.c

10They abhor me, they stand aloof,

they do not hesitate to spit in my face!

11* Because he has loosened my bowstring and afflicted me,

they have thrown off restraint in my presence.

12On my right the young rabble rise up;

they trip my feet,

they build their approaches for my ruin.

13They tear up my path,

they promote my ruin,

no helper is there against them.

14As through a wide breach they advance;

amid the uproar they come on in waves;

15terrors roll over me.

My dignity is driven off like the wind,

and my well-being vanishes like a cloud.

16And now my life ebbs away from me,

days of affliction have taken hold of me.

17* At night he pierces my bones,

my sinews have no rest.

18With great difficulty I change my clothes,

the collar of my tunic fits around my waist.

19He has cast me into the mire;

I have become like dust and ashes.

20I cry to you, but you do not answer me;d

I stand, but you take no notice.

21You have turned into my tormentor,

and with your strong hand you attack me.

22You raise me up and drive me before the wind;

I am tossed about by the tempest.

23Indeed I know that you will return me to death

to the house destined for everyone alive.e

24Yet should not a hand be held out

to help a wretched person in distress?

25Did I not weep for the hardships of others;

was not my soul grieved for the poor?f

26Yet when I looked for good, evil came;

when I expected light, darkness came.

27My inward parts seethe and will not be stilled;

days of affliction have overtaken me.

28I go about in gloom, without the sun;

I rise in the assembly and cry for help.

29I have become a brother to jackals,

a companion to ostriches.

30My blackened skin falls away from me;

my very frame is scorched by the heat.

31My lyre is tuned to mourning,

and my reed pipe to sounds of weeping.

* [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.

* [30:11] God is the subject of the verbs. Loosened my bowstring: i.e., disarmed and disabled me.

* [30:1723] Job here refers to God’s harsh treatment of him. Cf. 16:917; 19:612.

a. [30:1] Jb 12:4; 19:18.

b. [30:38] Jb 24:56.

c. [30:9] Jb 17:6.

d. [30:20] Jb 19:7.

e. [30:23] Heb 9:27.

f. [30:25] Jb 29:1216.

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