The Bible – Old Testament
Job took up his theme anew and said;
Oh, that I were as in the months past! as in the days when God watched over me,
While he kept his lamp shining above my head, and by his light I walked through darkness;
As I was in my flourishing days, when God sheltered my tent;
When the Almighty was yet with me, and my children were round about me;
1 When my footsteps were bathed in milk, and the rock flowed with streams of oil;
When I went forth to the gate of the city and set up my seat in the square –
Then the young men saw me and withdrew, while the elders rose up and stood;
The chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands;
The voice of the princes was silenced, and their tongues stuck to the roofs of their mouths.
For me they listened and waited; they were silent for my counsel.
Once I spoke, they said no more, but received my pronouncement drop by drop.
They waited for me as for the rain; they drank in my words like the spring rains.
When I smiled on them they were reassured;
mourners took comfort from my cheerful glance. I chose out their way and presided; I took a king’s place in the armed forces.
Whoever heard of me blessed me; those who saw me commended me.
For I rescued the poor who cried out for help, the orphans, and the unassisted;
The blessing of those in extremity came upon me, and the heart of the widow I made joyful.
I wore my honesty like a garment; justice was my robe and my turban.
I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame was I;
I was a father to the needy; the rights of the stranger I studied,
And I broke the jaws of the wicked man; from his teeth I forced the prey.
2 Then I said: “In my own nest I shall grow old; I shall multiply years like the phoenix.
My root is spread out to the waters; the dew rests by night on my branches.
My glory is fresh within me, and my bow is renewed in my hand!”
1  Hyperbole to express abundance; see note on ⇒ Job 20:17.
2  Phoenix: a legendary bird which, after several centuries of life, consumed itself in fire, then rose from its ashes in youthful freshness. This meaning, originally intended in the Greek, later came to mean “palm tree.” Some render the Hebrew as “sand.”