“Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand,
like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid.
I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.
“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness.
You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone.
Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back.
They are gone forever from their home— never to be seen again.
“I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain.
Am I a sea monster or a dragon that you must place me under guard?
I think, ‘My bed will comfort me, and sleep will ease my misery,’
but then you shatter me with dreams and terrify me with visions.
I would rather be strangled— rather die than suffer like this.
I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.
“What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often?
For you examine us every morning and test us every moment.
Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow!
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you?
Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.”