1 “But now men younger than I make fun of me—
men whose fathers were too worthless to put with my sheep dogs.
2 Their fathers are still too weak to be of any use to me.
All their strength is gone.
3 They are starving with nothing to eat,
so they chew on the dry, ruined land.
4 They pull up salt plants in the desert
and eat the roots from the broom tree.
5 They are forced away from other people,
who shout at them as if they were thieves.
6 They must live in the dry riverbeds,
hillside caves, and holes in the ground.
7 They howl in the bushes
and huddle together under thornbushes.
8 They are a bunch of worthless people without names,
who were forced to leave their country.
9 “Now their sons sing songs to make fun of me.
My name has become a bad word to them.
10 They hate me and stay far away from me,
except when they come to spit in my face!
11 God has taken the string from my bow and made me weak,
so they feel free to do whatever they want to me.
12 They attack me on my right side.
They knock my feet out from under me.
They build ramps to attack and destroy me like a city.
13 They guard the road so that I cannot escape.
They succeed in destroying me, without help from anyone.
14 They break a hole in the wall and come rushing through it,
and the crashing rocks fall on me.
15 I am shaking with fear.
They chased my honor away like dust in the wind.
My safety disappears like a cloud.
16 “Now my life is almost gone, and soon I will die.
Days of suffering have grabbed me.
17 All my bones ache at night.
Pain never stops chewing on me.
18 God grabbed the collar of my coat
and twisted my clothes out of shape.
19 He threw me into the mud,
and I became like dust and ashes.
20 “God, I cry out to you for help, but you don’t answer.
I stand up and pray, but you don’t pay attention to me.
21 You have become cruel to me;
you use your power to hurt me.
22 You let the strong wind blow me away.
You throw me around in the storm.
23 I know you will lead me to my death,
to that place where all the living must go.
24 “Surely no one would attack a man who is already ruined,
when he is hurt and crying for help.
25 God, you know that I cried for those who were in trouble.
You know that I mourned for the poor.
26 But when I hoped for good, trouble came instead.
When I looked for light, darkness came.
27 I constantly feel upset.
And my suffering has only just begun.
28 I am always sad and depressed, without any relief.
I stand up in the public meeting and cry for help,
29 making sad sounds like the wild dogs,
like the ostriches in the desert.
30 My skin is burned and peeling away.
My body is hot with fever.
31 My harp is tuned to play songs of sorrow.
My flute makes sad sounds like someone crying.