The Brevity of Life
14:1 “Man, born of woman,1
lives but a few days,2 and they are full of trouble.3
14:2 He grows up4 like a flower and then withers away;5
he flees like a shadow, and does not remain.6
14:3 Do you fix your eye7 on such a one?8
And do you bring me9 before you for judgment?
14:4 Who can make10 a clean thing come from an unclean?11
14:5 Since man’s days12 are determined,13
the number of his months is under your control;14
you have set his limit15 and he cannot pass it.
14:6 Look away from him and let him desist,16
until he fulfills17 his time like a hired man.
The Inevitability of Death
14:7 “But there is hope for18 a tree:19
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
14:8 Although its roots may grow old20 in the ground
and its stump begins to die21 in the soil,22
14:9 at the scent23 of water it will flourish24
and put forth25 shoots like a new plant.
14:10 But man26 dies and is powerless;27
he expires – and where is he?28
14:11 As29 water disappears from the sea,30
or a river drains away and dries up,
14:12 so man lies down and does not rise;
until the heavens are no more,31
they32 will not awake
nor arise from their sleep.
The Possibility of Another Life
14:13 “O that33 you would hide me in Sheol,34
and conceal me till your anger has passed!35
O that you would set me a time36
and then remember me!37
14:14 If a man dies, will he live again?38
All the days of my hard service39 I will wait40
until my release comes.41
14:15 You will call42 and I43 – I will answer you;
you will long for44 the creature you have made.45
The Present Condition46
14:16 “Surely now you count my steps;47
then you would not mark48 my sin.49
14:17 My offenses would be sealed up50 in a bag;51
you would cover over52 my sin.
14:18 But as53 a mountain falls away and crumbles,54
and as a rock will be removed from its place,
14:19 as water wears away stones,
and torrents55 wash away the soil,56
so you destroy man’s hope.57
14:20 You overpower him once for all,58
and he departs;
you change59 his appearance
and send him away.
14:21 If60 his sons are honored,61
he does not know it;62
if they are brought low,
he does not see63 it.
14:22 Only his flesh has pain for himself,64
and he mourns for himself.”65