"Why doesn't the Almighty open the court and bring judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain?
Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers. They steal flocks of sheep,
and they even take donkeys from the poor and fatherless. A poor widow must surrender her valuable ox as collateral for a loan.
The poor are kicked aside; the needy must hide together for safety.
Like the wild donkeys in the desert, the poor must spend all their time just getting enough to keep body and soul together. They go into the desert to search for food for their children.
They harvest a field they do not own, and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
All night they lie naked in the cold, without clothing or covering.
They are soaked by mountain showers, and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.
"The wicked snatch a widow's child from her breast; they take the baby as a pledge for a loan.
The poor must go about naked, without any clothing. They are forced to carry food while they themselves are starving.
They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it, and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.
The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the wounded cry for help, yet God does not respond to their moaning.
"Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways. They will not stay in its paths.
The murderer rises in the early dawn to kill the poor and needy; at night he is a thief.
The adulterer waits for the twilight, for he says, 'No one will see me then.' He masks his face so no one will know him.
They break into houses at night and sleep in the daytime. They are not acquainted with the light.
The black night is their morning. They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.
"But they disappear from the earth as quickly as foam is swept down a river. Everything they own is cursed, so that no one enters their vineyard.
Death consumes sinners just as drought and heat consume snow.
Even the sinner's own mother will forget him. Worms will find him sweet to eat. No one will remember him. Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.
For they have taken advantage of the childless who have no protecting sons. They refuse to help the needy widows.
"God, in his power, drags away the rich. They may rise high, but they have no assurance in life.
They may be allowed to live in security, but God is always watching them.
And though they are great now, in a moment they will be gone like all others, withered like heads of grain.
"Can anyone claim otherwise? Who can prove me wrong?"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)