The Brevity of Life
14:1 “Man, born of woman,
lives but a few days, and they are full of trouble.
14:2 He grows up like a flower and then withers away;
he flees like a shadow, and does not remain.
14:3 Do you fix your eye on such a one?
And do you bring me before you for judgment?
14:4 Who can make a clean thing come from an unclean?
No one!
14:5 Since man’s days are determined,
the number of his months is under your control;
you have set his limit and he cannot pass it.
14:6 Look away from him and let him desist,
until he fulfills his time like a hired man.
The Inevitability of Death
14:7 “But there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
14:8 Although its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump begins to die in the soil,
14:9 at the scent of water it will flourish
and put forth shoots like a new plant.
14:10 But man dies and is powerless;
he expires – and where is he?
14:11 As water disappears from the sea,
or a river drains away and dries up,
14:12 so man lies down and does not rise;
until the heavens are no more,
they will not awake
nor arise from their sleep.
The Possibility of Another Life
14:13 “O that you would hide me in Sheol,
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
O that you would set me a time
and then remember me!
14:14 If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait
until my release comes.
14:15 You will call and I – I will answer you;
you will long for the creature you have made.
The Present Condition
14:16 “Surely now you count my steps;
then you would not mark my sin.
14:17 My offenses would be sealed up in a bag;
you would cover over my sin.
14:18 But as a mountain falls away and crumbles,
and as a rock will be removed from its place,
14:19 as water wears away stones,
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy man’s hope.
14:20 You overpower him once for all,
and he departs;
you change his appearance
and send him away.
14:21 If his sons are honored,
he does not know it;
if they are brought low,
he does not see it.
14:22 Only his flesh has pain for himself,
and he mourns for himself.”