Quoth the man, “I am tired, God,
tired, God, and used up,
2 Because I am more of a brute beast than of a man
and have not human sense,
4 Who has gone up to the sky and come down?
who has taken the wind in his two hands?
Who has taken up water in a blanket?
who set up all the extremities of the earth?
What is his name, and the name of his son?
—since you know!
5 Every say of God’s is sterling;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
for fear he should arraign you and you turn out to have been lying.
7 I ask two things of you;
do not refuse to let me have them before I die:
poverty and riches give not to me,
issue me my proper ration,
and say ‘Who is Jehovah?’
And for fear I should grow poor and steal
and be irreverent to the name of my God.
10 Do not tell tales of a slave to his master,
for fear he should curse you and you bear the consequences.
11 A generation that curses its father
and does not bless its mother!
13 A generation with eyes O how lofty
and eyebrows raised!
14 A generation whose teeth are swords
and its fangs knives
To eat unfortunate men off the earth
and needy men out of the human race!”
Three they are that never get their fill,
four that never say “enough”:
16 The realm of death, and barrenness of womb;
earth, which never gets its fill of water;
and fire, which never says “enough.”
17 An eye that gibes at a father
and despises obedience to a mother
Ravens of the glen will peck
and a vulture’s young will eat.
18 Three they are that are too mysterious for me
and four that I do not know about:
19 A vulture’s road in the sky,
a snake’s road on a rock,
A ship’s road on the high sea,
and a man’s road in a wench.
20 Such is an adulterous wife’s road:
she eats and wipes her mouth
and says “I did not do anything out of the way.”
21 Under three earth staggers,
and under four it cannot bear up:
22 Under a slave when he gets to be king
and a boor when he gets his stomach full of bread,
and a slave-girl when she gets into her mistress’s place.
24 Four they are that are earth’s little things
but are shrewdly wise:
25 The ants are a people that are not strong,
but they make their preparations in summer for their bread;
26 Dassies are a people that are not formidable,
but they place their house in the crag;
27 The grasshoppers have no king,
but they all go out on an aimed course;
28 A lizard you can catch in your hands,
but it is in royal palaces.
29 Three they are that are fine of step
and four that are fine of walk:
30 A lion, champion among beasts,
that does not turn back for any;
33 For bumping milk brings out butter,
and bumping a nose brings out blood,
and bumping anger brings out discord.