The Bible – Old Testament
1 Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of a hireling?
He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been told off for me.
If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and scabs; my skin cracks and festers;
My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.
The eye that now sees me shall no more behold me; as you look at me, I shall be gone.
As a cloud dissolves and vanishes, so he who goes down to the nether world shall come up no more.
He shall not again return to his house; his place shall know him no more.
My own utterance I will not restrain; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
2 3 Am I the sea, or a monster of the deep, that you place a watch over me? Why have you set me up as an object of attack; or why should I be a target for you?
When I say, “My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint,”
Then you affright me with dreams and with visions terrify me,
So that I should prefer choking and death rather than my pains.
I waste away: I cannot live forever; let me alone, for my days are but a breath.
What is man, that you make much of him, or pay him any heed?
You observe him with each new day and try him at every moment!
How long will it be before you look away from me, and let me alone long enough to swallow my spittle?
Though I have sinned, what can I do to you, O watcher of men?
Why 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 then be gone.
1  Drudgery: taken by some to refer to military service; cf also ⇒ Job 14:14.
2  An allusion in poetic imagery to primeval chaos as a monstrous ocean vanquished by God at the world’s creation.
3 [12-21] Job now speaks, not to his friend, but to God.