Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.
From the greatest to the lowliest––all are nothing in his sight. If you weigh them on the scales, they are lighter than a puff of air.
Man as such is smoke, woman as such, a mirage. Put them together, they're nothing; two times nothing is nothing.
Truly men of low birth are nothing, and men of high position are not what they seem; if they are put in the scales together they are less than a breath.
Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “only a breath [are] the sons of mankind, a lie [are] the sons of man.” The phrases “sons of mankind” and “sons of man” also appear together in Ps 49:2. Because of the parallel line there, where “rich and poor” are mentioned, a number of interpreters and translators treat these expressions as polar opposites, בְּנֵי אָדָם (bÿney ’adam) referring to the lower classes and בְּנֵי אִישׁ (bÿney ’ish) to higher classes. But usage does not support such a view. The rare phrase בְּנֵי אִישׁ (“sons of man”) appears to refer to human beings in general in its other uses (see Pss 4:2; Lam 3:33). It is better to understand the phrases as synonymous expressions.
2 tn The noun הֶבֶל (hevel), translated “a breath” earlier in the verse, appears again here.