The Apparent Indifference of God
24:1 “Why are times not appointed by the Almighty?
Why do those who know him not see his days?
24:2 Men move boundary stones;
they seize the flock and pasture them.
24:3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey;
they take the widow’s ox as a pledge.
24:4 They turn the needy from the pathway,
and the poor of the land hide themselves together.
24:5 Like wild donkeys in the desert
they go out to their labor,
seeking diligently for food;
the wasteland provides food for them
and for their children.
24:6 They reap fodder in the field,
and glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
24:7 They spend the night naked because they lack clothing;
they have no covering against the cold.
24:8 They are soaked by mountain rains
and huddle in the rocks because they lack shelter.
24:9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast,
the infant of the poor is taken as a pledge.
24:10 They go about naked, without clothing,
and go hungry while they carry the sheaves.
24:11 They press out the olive oil between the rows of olive trees;
they tread the winepresses while they are thirsty.
24:12 From the city the dying groan,
and the wounded cry out for help,
but God charges no one with wrongdoing.
24:13 There are those who rebel against the light;
they do not know its ways
and they do not stay on its paths.
24:14 Before daybreak the murderer rises up;
he kills the poor and the needy;
in the night he is like a thief.
24:15 And the eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight,
thinking, ‘No eye can see me,’
and covers his face with a mask.
24:16 In the dark the robber breaks into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they do not know the light.
24:17 For all of them, the morning is to them
like deep darkness;
they are friends with the terrors of darkness.
24:18 “You say, ‘He is foam on the face of the waters;
their portion of the land is cursed
so that no one goes to their vineyard.
24:19 The drought as well as the heat carry away
the melted snow;
so the grave takes away those who have sinned.
24:20 The womb forgets him,
the worm feasts on him,
no longer will he be remembered.
Like a tree, wickedness will be broken down.
24:21 He preys on the barren and childless woman,
and does not treat the widow well.
24:22 But God drags off the mighty by his power;
when God rises up against him, he has no faith in his life.
24:23 God may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but he is constantly watching all their ways.
24:24 They are exalted for a little while,
and then they are gone,
they are brought low like all others,
and gathered in,
and like a head of grain they are cut off.’
24:25 “If this is not so, who can prove me a liar
and reduce my words to nothing?”