"A despairing man1 should have the devotion2 of his friends,3 even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.415
But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,5 as the streams that overflow
when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow,617
but that cease to flow in the dry season, and in the heat7 vanish from their channels.
Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go up into the wasteland and perish.
The caravans of Tema8 look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba9 look in hope.
They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed.1021
Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.1122
Have I ever said, 'Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom12 for me from your wealth,1323
deliver me from the hand of the enemy, ransom me from the clutches of the ruthless'?1424
"Teach me, and I will be quiet;15 show me where I have been wrong.1625
How painful are honest words!17 But what do your arguments prove?
Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?1827
You would even cast lots19 for the fatherless20 and barter away your friend.
"But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face?2129
Relent, do not be unjust;22 reconsider, for my integrity23 is at stake.a2430
Is there any wickedness on my lips?25 Can my mouth not discern26 malice?