1 “But no longer. Now I’m the butt of their jokes— young ruffians! whippersnappers! 2 Why, I considered their fathers mere inexperienced pups. But they are worse than dogs—good for nothing, stray, mangy animals, 3 Half-starved, scavenging the back alleys, howling at the moon; 4 Homeless guttersnipes chewing on old bones and licking old tin cans; 5 Outcasts from the community, cursed as dangerous delinquents. 6 Nobody would put up with them; they were driven from the neighborhood. 7 You could hear them out there at the edge of town, yelping and barking, huddled in junkyards, 8 A gang of beggars and no-names, thrown out on their ears. 9 “But now I’m the one they’re after, mistreating me, taunting and mocking. 10 They abhor me, they abuse me. How dare those scoundrels—they spit in my face! 11 Now that God has undone me and left me in a heap, they hold nothing back. Anything goes. 12 They come at me from my blind side, trip me up, then jump on me while I’m down. 13 They throw every kind of obstacle in my path, determined to ruin me— and no one lifts a finger to help me! 14 They violate my broken body, trample through the rubble of my ruined life. 15 Terrors assault me— my dignity in shreds, salvation up in smoke. 16 “And now my life drains out, as suffering seizes and grips me hard. 17 Night gnaws at my bones; the pain never lets up. 18 I am tied hand and foot, my neck in a noose. I twist and turn. 19 Thrown facedown in the muck, I’m a muddy mess, inside and out. What Did I Do to Deserve This? 20 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer! I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare! 21 You’ve turned into my tormenter— you slap me around, knock me about. 22 You raised me up so I was riding high and then dropped me, and I crashed. 23 I know you’re determined to kill me, to put me six feet under. 24 “What did I do to deserve this? Did I ever hit anyone who was calling for help? 25 Haven’t I wept for those who live a hard life, been heartsick over the lot of the poor? 26 But where did it get me? I expected good but evil showed up. I looked for light but darkness fell. 27 My stomach’s in a constant churning, never settles down. Each day confronts me with more suffering. 28 I walk under a black cloud. The sun is gone. I stand in the congregation and protest. 29 I howl with the jackals, I hoot with the owls. 30 I’m black and blue all over, burning up with fever. 31 My fiddle plays nothing but the blues; my mouth harp wails laments. What Can I Expect from God?
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