1The day of reckoning a 24:1 The … reckoning: prob. rdg; Heb. prefixes Why. is no secret to the Almighty, though those who know him have no hint of its date. 2The wicked b 24:2 The wicked: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. obscure. c 24:2–10 Verses 3–9 rearranged to restore the natural order. move boundary stones, and pasture flocks they have stolen. 6In the field they reap what is not theirs d 24:6 theirs: lit. his. , and filch the late grapes from the rich e rich: or wicked. man's vineyard. 3They drive off the donkey belonging to the fatherless, and lead away the widow's ox with a rope f 24:3 with a rope: or in pledge. . 9They snatch the fatherless infant from the breast and take the poor person's child in pledge. 4They jostle the poor out of the way; the destitute in the land are forced into hiding together. 5The poor rise early like the wild ass, when it scours the wilderness for food; but though they work till nightfall g 24:5 but … nightfall: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure. , their children go hungry h go hungry: prob. rdg; Heb. to it food. . 7Without clothing, they pass the night naked and with no cover against the cold. 8Drenched by rainstorms from the hills, they cling to the rock, their only shelter.
10Naked and bare they go about their work; those who carry the sheaves go hungry; 11they press the oil in the shade where two walls meet, they tread the winepress but themselves go thirsty. 12Far from the city, they groan as if dying, and like those mortally wounded they cry out; but God remains deaf to their prayer.
13Some there are who rebel against the light, who know nothing of its ways and do not stay in its paths. 14–15Before daylight the murderer rises to kill some miserable wretch. The seducer watches eagerly for twilight, thinking, ‘No one will set eyes on me.’ In the night the thief i 24:14–15 the thief prowls about: prob. rdg; Heb. let him be like a thief. prowls about, his face covered with a mask; 16in the darkness he breaks into houses which he has j 24:16 he has: so Syriac; Heb. they have. marked down during the day. One and all k 24:16 One and all: transposed from after but in next verse. , they are strangers to the daylight, 17but dark night is morning to them; and amid the terrors of night they are at home. 18Such men are scum on the surface of the water; throughout the land their fields are accursed, and no labourer will go near their vineyards. 19As drought and heat make away with snow, so the waters of Sheol l 24:19 snow … Sheol: prob. rdg; Heb. snow-water, Sheol. m Sheol: or the underworld. make away with sinners. 20The womb forgets them, the worm sucks them dry; they will not be remembered ever after. Iniquity is snapped like a stick! 21They may have wronged n 24:21 They … wronged: so Aram. (Targ.); Heb. shepherd. the barren childless woman and been no help to the widow; 22yet God in his strength carries off the mighty; they may rise, but they have no firm hope of life. 23He lulls them into security and confidence; but his eyes are fixed on their ways. 24For a moment they rise to the heights, but they are soon gone. Laid low they wilt like a mallow-flower; they droop like an ear of grain on the stalk.
25If this is not so, who will prove me wrong and make nonsense of my argument?
a 24:1 The … reckoning: prob. rdg; Heb. prefixes Why.
b 24:2 The wicked: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. obscure.
c 24:2–10 Verses 3–9 rearranged to restore the natural order.
d 24:6 theirs: lit. his.
e rich: or wicked.
f 24:3 with a rope: or in pledge.
g 24:5 but … nightfall: prob. rdg; Heb. obscure.
h go hungry: prob. rdg; Heb. to it food.
i 24:14–15 the thief prowls about: prob. rdg; Heb. let him be like a thief.
j 24:16 he has: so Syriac; Heb. they have.
k 24:16 One and all: transposed from after but in next verse.
l 24:19 snow … Sheol: prob. rdg; Heb. snow-water, Sheol.
m Sheol: or the underworld.
n 24:21 They … wronged: so Aram. (Targ.); Heb. shepherd.