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Job Continues

Why Doesn’t God Set a Time?

24 Why doesn’t God
    set a time for court?
Why don’t his people know
    where he can be found?
Sinners remove boundary markers
and take care of sheep
    they have stolen.
They cheat orphans and widows
by taking their donkeys
    and oxen.
The poor are trampled
and forced to hide
    in the desert,
where they and their children
must live like wild donkeys
    and search for food.
If they want grain or grapes,[a]
they must go to the property
    of these sinners.
They sleep naked in the cold,
    because they have no cover,
and during a storm
their only shelters are caves
    among the rocky cliffs.

Children whose fathers have died
are taken from their mothers
    as payment for a debt.
10 Then they are forced to work
    naked in the grain fields
because they have no clothes,
    and they go hungry.
11 They crush olives to make oil
and grapes to make wine—
    but still they go thirsty.
12 And along the city streets,
the wounded and dying cry out,
    yet God does nothing.

Some Reject the Light

13 Some rebel and refuse
    to follow the light.
14 Soon after sunset they murder
the poor and the needy,
    and at night they steal.

15 Others wait for the dark,
    thinking they won’t be seen
if they sleep with the wife
    or husband of someone else.
16 Robbers hide during the day,
then break in after dark
    because they reject the light.
17 They prefer night to day,
since the terrors of the night
    are their friends.

Sinners Are Filthy Foam

18 Those sinners are filthy foam
    on the surface of the water.
And so, their fields and vineyards
will fall under a curse
    and won’t produce.
19 Just as the heat of summer
    swallows the snow,
the world of the dead
    swallows those who sin.
20 Forgotten here on earth,
and with their power broken,
    they taste sweet to worms.

21 Sinners take advantage of widows
    and other helpless women.[b]
22 But God’s mighty strength
    destroys those in power.
Even if they seem successful,
    they are doomed to fail.
23 God may let them feel secure,
but they are never
    out of his sight.
24 Great for a while; gone forever!
Sinners are mowed down
    like weeds,
    then they wither and die.
25 If I haven’t spoken the truth,
    then prove me wrong.

Footnotes

  1. 24.6 If they want grain or grapes: Poor people were allowed to gather what was left in the fields and vineyards after the harvest.
  2. 24.21 women: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21.

24 “Why does the Almighty not set times(A) for judgment?(B)
    Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?(C)
There are those who move boundary stones;(D)
    they pasture flocks they have stolen.(E)
They drive away the orphan’s donkey
    and take the widow’s ox in pledge.(F)
They thrust the needy(G) from the path
    and force all the poor(H) of the land into hiding.(I)
Like wild donkeys(J) in the desert,
    the poor go about their labor(K) of foraging food;
    the wasteland(L) provides food for their children.
They gather fodder(M) in the fields
    and glean in the vineyards(N) of the wicked.(O)
Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
    they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.(P)
They are drenched(Q) by mountain rains
    and hug(R) the rocks for lack of shelter.(S)
The fatherless(T) child is snatched(U) from the breast;
    the infant of the poor is seized(V) for a debt.(W)
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;(X)
    they carry the sheaves,(Y) but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[a];
    they tread the winepresses,(Z) yet suffer thirst.(AA)
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.(AB)
    But God charges no one with wrongdoing.(AC)

13 “There are those who rebel against the light,(AD)
    who do not know its ways
    or stay in its paths.(AE)
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
    kills(AF) the poor and needy,(AG)
    and in the night steals forth like a thief.(AH)
15 The eye of the adulterer(AI) watches for dusk;(AJ)
    he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’(AK)
    and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,(AL)
    but by day they shut themselves in;
    they want nothing to do with the light.(AM)
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
    they make friends with the terrors(AN) of darkness.(AO)

18 “Yet they are foam(AP) on the surface of the water;(AQ)
    their portion of the land is cursed,(AR)
    so that no one goes to the vineyards.(AS)
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,(AT)
    so the grave(AU) snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
    the worm(AV) feasts on them;(AW)
the wicked are no longer remembered(AX)
    but are broken like a tree.(AY)
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
    and to the widow they show no kindness.(AZ)
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;(BA)
    though they become established,(BB) they have no assurance of life.(BC)
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,(BD)
    but his eyes(BE) are on their ways.(BF)
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;(BG)
    they are brought low and gathered up like all others;(BH)
    they are cut off like heads of grain.(BI)

25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
    and reduce my words to nothing?”(BJ)

Footnotes

  1. Job 24:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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