2 If only my life could once again be as it was when God watched over me. 3 God was always with me then and gave me light as I walked through the darkness. 4 Those were the days when I was prosperous, and the friendship of God protected my home. 5 Almighty God was with me then, and I was surrounded by all my children. 6 My cows and goats gave plenty of milk, and my olive trees grew in the rockiest soil. 7 Whenever the city elders met and I took my place among them, 8 young men stepped aside as soon as they saw me, and old men stood up to show me respect. 9 The leaders of the people would stop talking; 10 even the most important men kept silent.
11 Everyone who saw me or heard of me had good things to say about what I had done. 12 When the poor cried out, I helped them; I gave help to orphans who had nowhere to turn. 13 People who were in deepest misery praised me, and I helped widows find security. 14 I have always acted justly and fairly. 15 I was eyes for the blind, and feet for the lame. 16 I was like a father to the poor and took the side of strangers in trouble. 17 I destroyed the power of cruel men and rescued their victims.
18 I always expected to live a long life and to die at home in comfort. 19 I was like a tree whose roots always have water and whose branches are wet with dew. 20 Everyone was always praising me, and my strength never failed me. 21 When I gave advice, people were silent and listened carefully to what I said; 22 they had nothing to add when I had finished. My words sank in like drops of rain; 23 everyone welcomed them just as farmers welcome rain in spring. 24 I smiled on them when they had lost confidence; my cheerful face encouraged them. 25 I took charge and made the decisions; I led them as a king leads his troops, and gave them comfort in their despair.
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