Job 24:1 ¶ Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
As Job continues, he wonders why God doesn’t keep set times for judgment, why those that know Him (as LORD is implied) are kept waiting for Him to show up on their behalf and punish the wicked.
Job 24:2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
Job 24:3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
Job 24:4 They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
Job 24:5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
Job 24:6 They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.
Job 24:7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.
Job 24:8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
Job 24:9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.
Job 24:10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;
Job 24:11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
Job 24:12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.
As I read through this section, it seems like Job goes on a rant about all that wicked men do—yet God doesn’t seem to take notice. They steal from others, especially taking advantage of the needy and poor. The poor are reduced to scavenging for food and doing without the clothing they need to keep warm. Fatherless children are taken from their mothers as security for debt. They are forced to work for the wealthy without proper provision. Though they are oppressed and suffer deadly wounds. Still, it seems that God doesn’t notice.
I assume that these are observations Job has made throughout his life, or maybe they are things that have come to his notice since becoming one of the poor and needy.
Verse 24 sums up the problem with which so many struggle in light of the sovereignty of God—Why does He allow men to get away with so much evil?
Job 24:13 ¶ They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.
Job 24:14 The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.
Job 24:15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
Job 24:16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.
Job 24:17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
Job notes that some of those that are wicked prefer to do their evil deeds in the darkness of night—e.g., murderers, thieves and adulterers. They think that they are getting away with their evil, that it protects against witnesses. They are comfortable working in the dark; it holds no terror for them. This reminds me of a verse in John.
John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
It is the morning that they fear, because they want no witnesses.
Job 24:18 ¶ He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
Job 24:20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.
It makes more sense to me to read this the way the CJB translates it—as calling down a curse on the wicked.
“May they be scum on the surface of the water, may their share of land be cursed, may no one turn on the way of their vineyards, may drought and heat steal away their snow water and Sh’ol those who have sinned. May the womb forget them, may worms find them sweet, may they no longer be remembered — thus may iniquity be snapped like a stick.”
Job 24:21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.
Job 24:22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.
Job 24:23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.
Job 24:24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
I think Job is saying in this section that even though wicked men seem to be getting away with their evil deeds, God is well aware of what is going on. Eventually, they will be taken away as surely as corn that is cut from the stalk.
Job 24:25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?
Job closes by asking, “Who can prove me wrong?”