1“How frail is humanity!
How short is life, how full of trouble!
2We blossom like a flower and then wither.
Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
3Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
and demand an accounting from me?
4Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
5You have decided the length of our lives.
You know how many months we will live,
and we are not given a minute longer.
6So leave us alone and let us rest!
We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.
7“Even a tree has more hope!
If it is cut down, it will sprout again
and grow new branches.
8Though its roots have grown old in the earth
and its stump decays,
9at the scent of water it will bud
and sprout again like a new seedling.
10“But when people die, their strength is gone.
They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11As water evaporates from a lake
and a river disappears in drought,
12people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
nor be roused from their sleep.
13“I wish you would hide me in the grave
and forget me there until your anger has passed.
But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14Can the dead live again?
If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15You would call and I would answer,
and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16For then you would guard my steps,
instead of watching for my sins.
17My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
and you would cover my guilt.
18“But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19as water wears away the stones
and floods wash away the soil,
so you destroy people’s hope.
20You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21They never know if their children grow up in honor
or sink to insignificance.
22They suffer painfully;
their life is full of trouble.”