1a Is not life on earth a drudgery,*
its days like those of a hireling?
2Like a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for wages,
3So I have been assigned months of futility,
and troubled nights have been counted off for me.
4When I lie down I say, “When shall I arise?”
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
5My flesh is clothed with worms and scabs;b
my skin cracks and festers;
6My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
7Remember that my life is like the wind;c
my eye will not see happiness again.
8The eye that now sees me shall no more behold me;
when your eye is on me, I shall be gone.
9As a cloud dissolves and vanishes,d
so whoever goes down to Sheol shall not come up.
10They shall not return home again;
their place shall know them no more.
11My own utterance I will not restrain;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12* Am I the Sea, or the dragon,
that you place a watch over me?*
13When I say, “My bed shall comfort me,
my couch shall ease my complaint,”
14Then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15So that I should prefer strangulation
and death rather than my existence.*
16I waste away: I will not live forever;e
let me alone, for my days are but a breath.
17* What are human beings, that you make much of them,
or pay them any heed?
18You observe them every morningf
and try them at every moment!
19How long before you look away from me,
and let me alone till I swallow my spit?
20If I sin, what do I do to you,
O watcher of mortals?
Why have you made me your target?
Why should I be a burden for you?
21Why do you not pardon my offense,
or take away my guilt?
For soon I shall lie down in the dust;
and should you seek me I shall be gone.
* [7:1] Drudgery: taken by some to refer to military service; cf. also 14:14.
* [7:12–21] Job now speaks not to his friends (who never speak to God), but to God. He does this frequently; cf. 9:28; 10:2–22; 13:20–28; 14:13–22.
* [7:12] An allusion to the personification of primeval chaos as a monstrous ocean vanquished by God; see note on 3:8.
* [7:15] Existence: lit., bones; the Hebrew is unclear.
* [7:17–18] An ironic allusion to Ps 8:5.
d. [7:9–10] Jb 10:21; 14:10–12; 2 Sm 12:23; 14:14;Wis 2:1.