24 Why doesn’t God set a time for court? Why don’t his people know where he can be found? 2 Sinners remove boundary markers and take care of sheep they have stolen. 3 They cheat orphans and widows by taking their donkeys and oxen. 4 The poor are trampled and forced to hide 5 in the desert, where they and their children must live like wild donkeys and search for food. 6 If they want grain or grapes,[a] they must go to the property of these sinners. 7 They sleep naked in the cold, because they have no cover, 8 and during a storm their only shelters are caves among the rocky cliffs.
9 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.
2 God is the one to fear, because God is in control and rules the heavens. 3 Who can count his army of stars? Isn’t God the source of light? 4 How can anyone be innocent in the sight of God? 5 To him, not even the light of the moon and stars can ever be pure. 6 So how can we humans, when we are merely worms?
Job’s Reply to Bildad
You Have Really Been Helpful
26 Job said:
2 You have really been helpful to someone weak and weary. 3 You have given great advice and wonderful wisdom to someone truly in need. 4 How can anyone possibly speak with such understanding?
5 Remember the terrible trembling of those in the world of the dead below the mighty ocean. 6 Nothing in that land of death and destruction is hidden from God, 7 who hung the northern sky and suspended the earth on empty space. 8 God stores water in clouds, but they don’t burst, 9 and he wraps them around the face of the moon. 10 On the surface of the ocean, God has drawn a boundary line between light and darkness. 11 And columns supporting the sky tremble at his command.
12 By his power and wisdom, God conquered the force of the mighty ocean.[d] 13 The heavens became bright when he breathed, and the escaping sea monster[e] died at the hands of God. 14 These things are merely a whisper of God’s power at work. How little we would understand if this whisper ever turned into thunder!
I Am Desperate
27 Job said:
2 I am desperate because God All-Powerful refuses to do what is right. As surely as God lives, 3 and while he gives me breath, 4 I will tell only the truth. 5 Until the day I die, I will refuse to do wrong by saying you are right, 6 because each day my conscience agrees that I am innocent.
7 I pray that my enemies will suffer no less than the wicked. 8 Such people are hopeless, and God All-Powerful will cut them down, 9 without listening when they beg for mercy. 10 And that is what God should do, because they don’t like him or ever pray. 11 Now I will explain in detail what God All-Powerful does. 12 All of you have seen these things for yourselves. So you have no excuse.
How God Treats the Wicked
13 Here is how God All-Powerful treats those who are wicked and brutal. 14 They may have many children, but most of them will go hungry or suffer a violent death. 15 Others will die of disease, and their widows won’t be able to weep. 16 The wicked may collect riches and clothes in abundance as easily as clay. 17 But God’s people will wear clothes taken from them and divide up their riches. 18 No homes built by the wicked will outlast a cocoon or a shack. 19 Those sinners may go to bed rich, but they will wake up poor.[f] 20 Terror will strike at night like a flood or a storm. 21 Then a scorching wind will sweep them away 22 without showing mercy, as they try to escape. 23 At last, the wind will celebrate because they are gone.
Gold and Silver Are Mined
28 Gold and silver are mined, then purified; 2 the same is done with iron and copper. 3 Miners carry lanterns deep into the darkness to search for these metals. 4 They dig tunnels in distant, unknown places, where they dangle by ropes. 5 Far beneath the grain fields, fires are built to break loose those rocks 6 that have jewels or gold.[g]
7 Miners go to places unseen by the eyes of hawks; 8 they walk on soil unknown to the proudest lions. 9 With their own hands they remove sharp rocks and uproot mountains. 10 They dig through the rocks in search of jewels and precious metals. 11 They also uncover the sources of[h] rivers and discover secret places.
Where Is Wisdom Found?
12 But where is wisdom found? 13 No human knows the way.[i] 14 Nor can it be discovered in the deepest sea. 15 It is worth much more than silver or pure gold 16 or precious stones. 17 Nothing is its equal— not gold or costly glass.[j] 18 Wisdom is worth much more than coral, jasper,[k] or rubies. 19 All the topaz[l] of Ethiopia[m] and the finest gold cannot compare with it. 20 Where then is wisdom? 21 It is hidden from human eyes and even from birds. 22 Death and destruction have merely heard rumors about where it is found. 23 God is the only one who knows the way to wisdom, 24 because he sees everything beneath the heavens. 25 When God divided out the wind and the water, 26 and when he decided the path for rain and lightning, 27 he also determined the truth and defined wisdom. 28 God told us, “Wisdom means that you respect me, the Lord, and turn from sin.”
24.6If they want grain or grapes: Poor people were allowed to gather what was left in the fields and vineyards after the harvest.
24.21women: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 21.
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