December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Why are not times set by the Almighty, and why do his friends not see his days?
- The wicked remove landmarks; they steal away herds and pasture them.
- The asses of orphans they drive away; they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
- They force the needy off the road; all the poor of the land are driven into hiding.
- Like wild asses in the desert, these go forth to their task of seeking food; The steppe provides food for the young among them;
- they harvest at night in the untilled land.
- They pass the night naked, without clothing, for they have no covering against the cold;
- They are drenched with the rain of the mountains, and for want of shelter they cling to the rock.
- Between the rows they press out the oil; they glean in the the vineyard of the wicked. They tread the wine presses, yet suffer thirst,
- and famished are those who carry the sheaves.
- From the dust the dying groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out (yet God does not treat it as unseemly).
- There are those who are rebels against the light; they know not its ways; they abide not in its paths.
- When there is no light the murderer rises, to kill the poor and needy.
- The eye of the adulterer watches for the twilight; he says, "No eye will see me." In the night the thief roams about, and he puts a mask over his face;
- in the dark he breaks into houses. By day they shut themselves in; none of them know the light,
- 2 for daylight they regard as darkness.
- Their portion in the land is accursed,
- and wickedness is splintered like wood.
- To him who rises without assurance of his life
- he gives safety and support. He sustains the mighty by his strength, and his eyes are on their ways.
- They are exalted for a while, and then they are gone; they are laid low and, like all others, are gathered up; like ears of grain they shrivel.
- If this be not so, who will confute me, and reduce my argument to nought?
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1  Why does not God favor his friends by the speedy punishment of his enemies? (The text and order of verses in this chapter are not certain; note the omission of Job 24:9 which duplicates words of Job 24:2-4.)
2  The asterisks which follow this verse mark off a passage (Job 24:18-24) which cannot be ascribed to Job with certainty. Job 24:17-24 are in general poorly preserved; and much of Job 24:18-21 has not been translated because these verses are obscure. St. Jerome renders them as follows: (18) "He is light upon the face of the water, cursed be his portion on the earth; let him not walk by the way of vineyards. (19) Let him pass from the snow waters to excessive heat, and his sin even to hell. (20) Let mercy forget him; may worms be his sweetness; let him be remembered no more, but be broken in pieces as an unfruitful tree. (21) For he has fed the barren that bears not, and to the widow he has done no good."
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