Job 24

Chapter 24

The Injustice Crying Out in the World[a]

1 “The actual day of judgment is known by the Almighty;
why does he not reveal it to his faithful?[b]
2 Those who are wicked move boundary stones;
they seize flocks and pasture them.
3 They drive off the donkey belonging to the orphan;
they take away the widow’s ox as security.
4 They push aside the needy off the road;
those who are destitute are forced into hiding.
5 “Like wild donkeys of the wilderness
the poor go forth at dawn
searching the wasteland for food
with which to feed their children.
6 In the fields they reap what is not theirs
and steal from the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Without clothing, they spend the night naked,
lacking anything to shelter them from the cold.
8 They are soaked by the mountain rain
and cling to the rocks as a source of shelter.
9 “The fatherless child is snatched from the breast
and carried off as a pledge of security.
10 They go about their work naked, without clothing;
despite their hunger they carry the sheaves.
11 Along the pathways they press out the oil;
they tread the winepresses but themselves suffer thirst.
12 From the town the groans of the dying are heard,
and those who are wounded cry out for help,
yet God remains deaf to their prayer.
13 “There also are those who rebel against the light;
they are ignorant of its ways
and refuse to frequent its paths.
14 When nightfall descends, the murderer arises
to slay the poor and the needy;
during the night he steals forth like a thief.
15 “The eye of the adulterer also waits eagerly for twilight,
thinking, ‘No eye will see me.’
16 In the darkness men break into houses,
but during the day they shut themselves in,
for they are strangers to daylight.
17 Deep darkness is morning to them;
they only feel comfortable amid the terrors of the night.

God Carefully Monitors the Conduct of the Mighty[c]

18 “Such men are debris on the surface of the water;
their portion in the land is accursed,
and no laborer will toil in their vineyards.
19 As drought and heat melt the snow,
so does the netherworld cause sinners to disappear.
20 The womb that shaped them remembers them no more,
and the worm sucks them dry.
21 “They maltreat the barren and childless woman
and show no kindness to the widow.
22 God may sustain the mighty through his strength,
but he carefully monitors their conduct.
23 He grants them a sense of security,
but his eyes are fixed on their ways.
24 They are exalted for a while,
and then they are gone;
they wither and fade like a flower,
shriveling up like ears of grain.
25 “If all this is not true, who will prove me wrong
and show that my words are sheer nonsense?”

Footnotes

  1. Job 24:1 Here, as in places elsewhere, the translations differ widely (but without any of them achieving a clear meaning) in an effort to correct an unintelligible original.
  2. Job 24:1 Job is eagerly, but vainly, looking for the moment when God will intervene as on the “day of the Lord,” or day of judgment, foretold by the Prophets (see Am 5:18).
  3. Job 24:18 This passage unduly breaks into the speech. Some critics prefer to think that it was displaced when the texts were being transcribed and that it should be put after Job 27:23, which is likewise anomalous. The two passages, which fit together rather well, would then make up Zophar’s third speech.

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