Job continues to pray. He observes that mortals live few days and that their lives are filled with trouble; they wither like a flower. Given that their lives are brief, and that God has determined the number of their days, God should look away from humans so that they can enjoy what little time they have. Unlike trees, which can send out fresh shoots even after being cut down, human beings do not rise again.
Job continues his response to his friends in the form of a plea to God. In this section, he shifts from focusing on his own situation to focusing on humanity’s situation more generally. Human life is incredibly short, and there’s no second chance to live one’s life; Job feels that God overshadows human lives in a crushing way and should give people a break.
Job wishes that God would just hide him in Sheol for a while, until God’s wrath has been exhausted. Then Job would wait until God called for him, knowing that God would no longer pay attention to his sins. Job then compares mortal hopes to a mountain that God has caused to be worn down until it crumbles away.
Job speaks poetically here. Sheol is the dwelling of the dead, and Job doesn’t mean that he wants God to literally put him in the grave for a period of time (that wouldn’t accord with his beliefs about death, from which no one returns). Rather, he just means that he’d endure just about anything if it means he could gain justice and mercy from God. For now, though, Job remains dejected—the suffering God allows causes his hope to disintegrate.