241Why doesn't God set a time for judging,
a day of justice for those who serve him?
2People move boundary stones to get more land;
they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks.
3They take donkeys that belong to orphans,
and keep a widow's ox till she pays her debts.
4They prevent the poor from getting their rights
and force the needy to run and hide.
5So the poor, like wild donkeys,
search for food in the dry wilderness;
nowhere else can they find food for their children.
6They have to harvest fields they don't own,24.6 fields they don't own: Having been cheated out of their own land, the poor are forced to work for others for very small pay.
and gather grapes in the vineyards of the wicked.
7At night they sleep with nothing to cover them,
nothing to keep them from the cold.
8They are drenched by the rain that falls on the mountains,
and they huddle beside the rocks for shelter.
9Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants
and take the children of the poor in payment for debts.
10But the poor must go out with no clothes to protect them;
they must go hungry while harvesting wheat.
11They press olives for oil, and grapes for wine,
but they themselves are thirsty.
12In the cities the wounded and dying cry out,
but God ignores their prayers.
13There are those who reject the light;
they don't understand it or go where it leads.
14At dawn the murderer gets up
and goes out to kill the poor,
and at night he steals.
15The adulterer waits for twilight to come;
he covers his face so that no one can see him.
16At night thieves break into houses,
but by day they hide and avoid the light.
17They fear the light of day,
but darkness holds no terror for them.
18The wicked are swept away by floods,
and the land they own is under God's curse;
they no longer go to work in their vineyards.
19As snow vanishes in heat and drought,
so sinners vanish from the land of the living.
20Not even their mothers remember them now;
they are eaten by worms and destroyed like fallen trees.
21That happens because they ill-treated widows
and showed no kindness to childless women.
22God, in his strength, destroys the mighty;
God acts — and the wicked die.
23God may let them live secure,
but keeps an eye on them all the time.
24For a while the wicked prosper,
but then they wither like weeds,
like ears of corn that have been cut off.
25Can anyone deny that this is so?
Can anyone prove that my words are not true?
251-2God is powerful; all must stand in awe of him;
he keeps his heavenly kingdom in peace.
3Can anyone count the angels who serve him?
Is there any place where God's light does not shine?
4Can anyone be righteous or pure in God's sight?
5In his eyes even the moon is not bright,
nor the stars pure.
6Then what about a human being, that worm, that insect?
What is a human life worth in God's eyes?
261-2What a fine help you are to me —
poor, weak man that I am!
3You give such good advice
and share your knowledge with a fool like me!
4Who do you think will hear all your words?
Who inspired you to speak like this?
5The spirits of the dead tremble
in the waters under the earth.
6The world of the dead lies open to God;
no covering shields it from his sight.
7God stretched out the northern sky
and hung the earth in empty space.
8It is God who fills the clouds with water
and keeps them from bursting with the weight.
9He hides the full moon behind a cloud.
10He divided light from darkness
by a circle drawn on the face of the sea.
11When he threatens the pillars that hold up the sky,
they shake and tremble with fear.
12It is his strength that conquered the sea;26.12 conquered the sea: A reference to an ancient story in which the sea fought against God.
by his skill he destroyed the monster Rahab.26.12 Rahab: See 9.13.
13It is his breath that made the sky clear,
and his hand that killed the escaping monster.26.13 escaping monster: See 9.8.
14But these are only hints of his power,
only the whispers that we have heard.
Who can know how truly great God is?