H² L 1-14. From others. [vv.1-8, their character. vv.9-14, their conduct.] M 15-18. In himself. [vv.15,16, mental. vv.17,18, bodily.] L 19-24. From God. [vv.19,20, silence. vv.21-24, action.] M 25-31. In himself.
1 But now they that are younger than I (note the "I" of adversity in this chapter. See 29:2) have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
2 Yes, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?
3 For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
4 Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.
5 They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;)
6 To dwell in the ravines (or, most dreadful ravines) of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.
7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
8 They were sons of fools, yes, sons of base men: they were smitten out of the land.
9 And now am I their song, yes, I am their byword.
10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my presence.
11 Because He has loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.
12 Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.
13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they derive no help from it.
14 They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.
15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue what is noble in me as the wind: and my welfare passes away as a cloud.
16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.
18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it binds me about as the collar (the opening in the tunic for the neck) of my coat.
19 He has cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry to You, and You do not answer me: I stand up, and You regard me not.
21 You are become cruel to me: with Your strong hand You oppose Yourself against me.
22 You lift me up to the wind; You cause me to ride upon it, and dissolve my substance. (See "sound wisdom" Prov. 2:7.)
23 For I know that You will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.
24 However He will not stretch out His hand to the grave (Heb. be'i = a mound or tumulus. But some point to be'i = a prayer), though they cry in their calamity.
25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the helpless?
26 When I looked for good, then evil came to me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction came me.
28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the assembly. 29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my lute into the voice of them that weep.