"Ask the former generations1 and find out what their fathers learned,
for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,2 and our days on earth are but a shadow.310
Will they not instruct4 you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?511
Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?6 Can reeds7 thrive without water?
While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass.813
Such is the destiny9 of all who forget God;10 so perishes the hope of the godless.1114
What he trusts in is fragilea; what he relies on is a spider's web.1215
He leans on his web,13 but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.1416
He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots15 over the garden;1617
it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones.
But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns17 it and says, 'I never saw you.'1819
Surely its life withers19 away, andb from the soil other plants grow.20