December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- But now they hold me in derision who are younger in years than I; Whose fathers I should have disdained to rank with the dogs of my flock.
- Such strength as they had, to me meant nought; they were utterly destitute.
- In want and hunger was their lot, they who fled to the parched wastelands:
- 1 They plucked saltwort and shrubs; the roots of the broom plant were their food.
- They were banished from among men, with an outcry like that against a thief--
- To dwell on the slopes of the wadies, in caves of sand and stone;
- Among the bushes they raised their raucous cry; under the nettles they huddled together.
- Irresponsible, nameless men, they were driven out of the land.
- Yet now they sing of me in mockery; I am become a byword among them.
- They abhor me, they stand aloof from me, they do not hesitate to spit in my face!
- Indeed, they have loosed their bonds; they lord it over me, and have thrown off restraint in my presence.
- To subvert my paths they rise up; they build their approaches for my ruin.
- To destroy me, they attack with none to stay them;
- as through a wide breach they advance. Amid the uproar they come on in waves;
- over me rolls the terror. My dignity is borne off on the wind, and my welfare vanishes like a cloud.
- My frame takes no rest by night; my inward parts seethe and will not be stilled.
- 2 One with great power lays hold of my clothing; by the collar of my tunic he seizes me:
- He has cast me into the mire; I am leveled with the dust and ashes.
- I cry to you, but you do not answer me; you stand off and look at me,
- Then you turn upon me without mercy and with your strong hand you buffet me.
- You raise me up and drive me before the wind; I am tossed about by the tempest.
- Indeed I know you will turn me back in death to the destined place of everyone alive.
- Yet should not a hand be held out to help a wretched man in his calamity?
- Or have I not wept for the hardships of others; was not my soul grieved for the destitute?
- Yet when I looked for good, then evil came; when I expected light, then came darkness.
- My soul ebbs away from me;
- days of affliction have overtaken me.
- I go about in gloom, without the sun; I rise up in public to voice my grief.
- I have become the brother of jackals, companion to the ostrich.
- My blackened skin falls away from me; the heat scorches my very frame.
- My harp is turned to mourning, and my reed pipe to sounds of weeping.
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1  Saltwort: found in salt marshes and very sour to the taste; eaten by the extremely poor as a cooked vegetable. Broom plant: the juniper or brushwood; cf Psalm 120:4; a figure of bitterness and poverty, because of its bitter-tasting roots which are practically inedible.
2 [16-21] (19-24)Job here refers to God's stern treatment of him.
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