Job 24

1 ‘The Almighty will not decide when to open his court.

I do not know why he will not decide.

In the end, he will punish bad people for the wrong things they have done.

But good people will have to wait a long time to see this happen.

2 Bad men move the stones that mark the edge of their fields.

They do this to take fields that belong to other people.

Then they take the sheep that belong to those people.

And they bring them to eat the grass in their own fields.

3 Bad men will take a donkey from a child who has no parent.

They will take a cow from a woman who has no husband.

She may have to pay them some money.

So they keep the cow until she pays that money to them.

4 They push away people who need help.

And poor people have to hide because they are afraid of such bad men.

5 Poor people are like wild donkeys in the desert where they have to look for food.

There is nowhere else that they can go to find food for their children.

6 These poor people have to work in the fields of bad men.

They pick the plants and the fruit that grow there.

7 They have no clothes to wear during the cold night.

They do not have anything with which to cover themselves.

8 The rain that falls in the mountains makes them very wet.

So they hide among the rocks where they try to keep dry.

9 Bad men take children without parents and they make them slaves.

These men also take the children of poor people who cannot pay their debts.

10 Poor people have to go out with no clothes to cover them.

They may be hungry. But they cannot eat the plants that they pick from the fields.

11 They make oil from the olives and wine from the grapes.

But they still do not have anything to drink.

12 In the city, men who are dying shout for help.

But God does not do anything to the people who have hurt them.

13 A bad person does not like the light.

He does not understand it. Nor does he follow where it leads him.

14 At sunset, he gets up and he goes out to murder poor people.

In the night, he goes out to take things that belong to other people.

15 A man may want to have sex with another man's wife.

He waits until it is dark.

Then he thinks that no one will see him.

And he covers his face so that no one will recognise him.

16 In the dark, bad men go out to rob other people.

But in the day, they stay in their homes and sleep.

17 They all like the night rather than the morning.

And they are not afraid of things that happen at night.

18 If people throw things into a river, they quickly go away.

Bad people go from the earth as quickly as that.

Nothing grows in their fields.

And there are no grapes on their vines.

19 Snow on the ground soon goes away when the sun shines.

And people who do wrong things soon die.

20 Their mothers soon forget them.

Worms eat their bodies.

No one remembers people who have done wrong things.

Like a dead tree, they will never live again.

21 They are cruel to women who have no children.

And they are not kind to women whose husbands have died.

22 But God is strong. And he can kill people who are rich and powerful.

They may be important. But they do not know when they will die.

23 They think that they are safe. God may let them think that.

But he always watches them. And he sees the things that they do.

24 For a short time, bad people may be important, but then they die.

They are not different from anyone else and they soon die, like weeds in the ground.

25 I believe that my words are true. But perhaps someone can say that they are not true.

Then the words that I speak will be as good as nothing.’