24

Job Asks Why the Wicked Are Not Punished

1“Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?

Why must the godly wait for him in vain?

2Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.

They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.

3They take the orphan’s donkey

and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.

4The poor are pushed off the path;

the needy must hide together for safety.

5Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,

the poor must spend all their time looking for food,

searching even in the desert for food for their children.

6They harvest a field they do not own,

and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.

7All night they lie naked in the cold,

without clothing or covering.

8They are soaked by mountain showers,

and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.

9“The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast,

taking the baby as security for a loan.

10The poor must go about naked, without any clothing.

They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving.

11They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it,

and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.

12The groans of the dying rise from the city,

and the wounded cry for help,

yet God ignores their moaning.

13“Wicked people rebel against the light.

They refuse to acknowledge its ways

or stay in its paths.

14The murderer rises in the early dawn

to kill the poor and needy;

at night he is a thief.

15The adulterer waits for the twilight,

saying, ‘No one will see me then.’

He hides his face so no one will know him.

16Thieves break into houses at night

and sleep in the daytime.

They are not acquainted with the light.

17The black night is their morning.

They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.

18“But they disappear like foam down a river.

Everything they own is cursed,

and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards.

19The grave*24:19 Hebrew Sheol.  consumes sinners

just as drought and heat consume snow.

20Their own mothers will forget them.

Maggots will find them sweet to eat.

No one will remember them.

Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.

21They cheat the woman who has no son to help her.

They refuse to help the needy widow.

22“God, in his power, drags away the rich.

They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life.

23They may be allowed to live in security,

but God is always watching them.

24And though they are great now,

in a moment they will be gone like all others,

cut off like heads of grain.

25Can anyone claim otherwise?

Who can prove me wrong?”