"Mortals, born of woman,
are of few days and full of trouble.
They spring up like flowers and wither away;
like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
Do you fix your eye on such as these?
Will you bring them before you for judgment?
Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
The days of mortals are determined;
you have decreed the number of their months
and have set limits they cannot exceed.
So look away from us and leave us alone,
till we have put in our time like hired laborers.
"At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
But human beings die and are laid low;
they breathe their last and are no more.
As the water of a lake dries up
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
so they lie down and do not rise;
till the heavens are no more, they will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.
"If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!
If someone dies, will they live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.
You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.
Surely then you will count my steps
but not keep track of my sin.
My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
you will cover over my sin.
"But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place,
as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy everyone's hope.
You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
you change their countenance and send them away.
If their children are honored, they do not know it;
if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it.
They feel but the pain of their own bodies
and mourn only for themselves."