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FRAMEWORKS: Job 24: Job (8) Part 2: Job's Reflections on Injustices & eventual Judgment


[Preliminary Comments: Having just completed the previous chapter with an affirmation of the Lord's sovereignty, Part 1 is a series of questions. Job now ponders that if this is so, how is it that sins prevail among mankind [v.1-4], how it is that the poor and needy are left defenseless [v.5-11], how is it that oppression brings death yet God doesn't seem to step in to stop it [v.12], how is it that the law is constantly being broken and they seem to get away with it? [v.13-17] In the Second Part he muses on the fact that so often such people remain for such a short time [v.18,19], they die and are soon forgotten [v.20] and even though they are oppressors of the poor [v.21], however strong they may appear they are still vulnerable before the sovereign power of God [v.22]. Then come the punch-lines that expand on v.22: God may appear to let them feel secure but He is watching them [v.23], He may allow them to feel exalted but they may not have a tomorrow [v.24]. Come on, aren't I speaking the truth, he concludes [v.25]. Suffering in a nutshell!]



PART 1: v.1-17: Questions


v.1 Job ponders why judgment doesn't automatically fall on sinful men


v.1  “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 

v.2 There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 

v.3 They drive away the orphan's donkey and take the widow's ox in pledge. 

v.4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 


v.5-11 He reflects on the suffering of the poor & needy, oppressed by the rich


v.5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. 

v.6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 

v.7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 

v.8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 

v.9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 

v.10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 

v.11 They crush olives among the terraces ; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 


v.12 God seems to be oblivious to the needs of the suffering & dying world


v.12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing


v.13-17 Lawbreakers seem to continue their deeds with impunity [freedom]


v.13  “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. 

v.14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. 

v.15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed. 

v.16 In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. 

v.17 For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness. 



PART 2: v.18-25: Answers


v.18-22 Yet their lives are transient, God will deal with them

v.18  “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes to the vineyards. 

v.19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. 

v.20 The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. 

v.21 They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. 

v.22  But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. 


v.23-25 The Lord WILL hold them accountable

v.23  He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways

v.24 For a little while they are exalted , and then they are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like heads of grain. 

v.25  “If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?”



[Concluding Comments: In some ways this chapter cuts to the heart of the problem that concerns so many, that of suffering and a God who seems to allow it. [Putting aside what we know of the background of this book in chapters 1 & 2.] Job's conclusion to this dilemma is that although this appear to happen, God WILL hold all sinners to account.

Now of course this is not a neat book of theology but principles being worked out in discussion. A fuller picture might include the following:

i) The truth is that God has granted all of us free will, the ability to choose to do right OR wrong.

ii) If He is not to offend this principle He has to allow us freedom to do evil etc. without constantly intervening to correct every wrong thought, word, or deed [where would He stop and start?]

iii) This is not to mean that injustice always prevails because there ARE times when the Lord intervenes and ‘great sinners' are brought down by exposure and criminal proceedings or by death. Remember the Lord also calls us to regulate ourselves and encourages law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to be formed to deal with crimes and maintain the law.

iv) In addition to this, even if injustice does seem to prevail, EVERY person WILL be held accountable at the Final Judgment. Justice WILL be done – and Job is convinced of that.]


So, to recap, what has Job said in this chapter? He

•  ponders on why judgment doesn't always fall on sinful men [v.1-4],

•  reflects on the suffering of the poor and needy [v.5-11],

•  while God doesn't seem to be judging those who cause it [v.12],

•  and lawbreakers abound and are obvious in their activities [v.13-17],

•  concludes that God WILL eventually deal with them all [v.18-22],

•  and He WILL hold them all accountable [v.23-25].

A chapter of big questions and big answers.]



Continue to Chapter 25