“For you have taken pledges of your brothers without cause,
And stripped men naked.
“They drive away the donkeys of the orphans;
They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”
“Others snatch the orphan from the breast,
And against the poor they take a pledge.
"Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
"For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. "I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent."
Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers. For there were those who said, "We, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live." There were others who said, "We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain because of the famine." read more.
Also there were those who said, "We have borrowed money for the king's tax on our fields and our vineyards. "Now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers, our children like their children Yet behold, we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already, and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others." Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words. I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, "You are exacting usury, each from his brother!" Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. I said to them, "We according to our ability have redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?" Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. Again I said, "The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the nations, our enemies? "And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. "Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them." Then they said, "We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say " So I called the priests and took an oath from them that they would do according to this promise. I also shook out the front of my garment and said, "Thus may God shake out every man from his house and from his possessions who does not fulfill this promise; even thus may he be shaken out and emptied " And all the assembly said, "Amen!" And they praised the LORD. Then the people did according to this promise.
"He returns what he has attained And cannot swallow it; As to the riches of his trading, He cannot even enjoy them. "For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor; He has seized a house which he has not built. "Because he knew no quiet within him, He does not retain anything he desires.
Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take your bed from under you?
"But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. read more.
"So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered, "Therefore my disquieting thoughts make me respond, Even because of my inward agitation. "I listened to the reproof which insults me, And the spirit of my understanding makes me answer. read more.
"Do you know this from of old, From the establishment of man on earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the godless momentary? "Though his loftiness reaches the heavens, And his head touches the clouds, He perishes forever like his refuse; Those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?' "He flies away like a dream, and they cannot find him; Even like a vision of the night he is chased away. "The eye which saw him sees him no longer, And his place no longer beholds him. "His sons favor the poor, And his hands give back his wealth. "His bones are full of his youthful vigor, But it lies down with him in the dust. "Though evil is sweet in his mouth And he hides it under his tongue, Though he desires it and will not let it go, But holds it in his mouth, Yet his food in his stomach is changed To the venom of cobras within him. "He swallows riches, But will vomit them up; God will expel them from his belly. "He sucks the poison of cobras; The viper's tongue slays him. "He does not look at the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and curds. "He returns what he has attained And cannot swallow it; As to the riches of his trading, He cannot even enjoy them. "For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor; He has seized a house which he has not built.
A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.
“For you have taken pledges of your brothers without cause,
And stripped men naked.
“For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor;
He has seized a house which he has not built.
“Therefore snares surround you,
And sudden dread terrifies you,
"Indeed, the light of the wicked goes out, And the flame of his fire gives no light. "The light in his tent is darkened, And his lamp goes out above him. "His vigorous stride is shortened, And his own scheme brings him down. read more.
"For he is thrown into the net by his own feet, And he steps on the webbing. "A snare seizes him by the heel, And a trap snaps shut on him. "A noose for him is hidden in the ground, And a trap for him on the path. "All around terrors frighten him, And harry him at every step. "His strength is famished, And calamity is ready at his side. "His skin is devoured by disease, The firstborn of death devours his limbs. "He is torn from the security of his tent, And they march him before the king of terrors. "There dwells in his tent nothing of his; Brimstone is scattered on his habitation. "His roots are dried below, And his branch is cut off above. "Memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name abroad. "He is driven from light into darkness, And chased from the inhabited world. "He has no offspring or posterity among his people, Nor any survivor where he sojourned. "Those in the west are appalled at his fate, And those in the east are seized with horror. "Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does not know God."
‘Your iniquities have turned these away,
And your sins have withheld good from you.
"This is the portion of a wicked man from God, And the inheritance which tyrants receive from the Almighty. "Though his sons are many, they are destined for the sword; And his descendants will not be satisfied with bread. "His survivors will be buried because of the plague, And their widows will not be able to weep. read more.
"Though he piles up silver like dust And prepares garments as plentiful as the clay, He may prepare it, but the just will wear it And the innocent will divide the silver. "He has built his house like the spider's web, Or as a hut which the watchman has made. "He lies down rich, but never again; He opens his eyes, and it is no longer. "Terrors overtake him like a flood; A tempest steals him away in the night. "The east wind carries him away, and he is gone, For it whirls him away from his place. "For it will hurl at him without sparing; He will surely try to flee from its power. "Men will clap their hands at him And will hiss him from his place.
"The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, And numbered are the years stored up for the ruthless. "Sounds of terror are in his ears; While at peace the destroyer comes upon him. "He does not believe that he will return from darkness, And he is destined for the sword. read more.
"He wanders about for food, saying, 'Where is it?' He knows that a day of darkness is at hand. "Distress and anguish terrify him, They overpower him like a king ready for the attack, Because he has stretched out his hand against God And conducts himself arrogantly against the Almighty. "He rushes headlong at Him With his massive shield. "For he has covered his face with his fat And made his thighs heavy with flesh. "He has lived in desolate cities, In houses no one would inhabit, Which are destined to become ruins. "He will not become rich, nor will his wealth endure; And his grain will not bend down to the ground. "He will not escape from darkness; The flame will wither his shoots, And by the breath of His mouth he will go away. "Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself; For emptiness will be his reward. "It will be accomplished before his time, And his palm branch will not be green. "He will drop off his unripe grape like the vine, And will cast off his flower like the olive tree. "For the company of the godless is barren, And fire consumes the tents of the corrupt. "They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, And their mind prepares deception."
That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the godless momentary? "Though his loftiness reaches the heavens, And his head touches the clouds, He perishes forever like his refuse; Those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?' read more.
"He flies away like a dream, and they cannot find him; Even like a vision of the night he is chased away. "The eye which saw him sees him no longer, And his place no longer beholds him. "His sons favor the poor, And his hands give back his wealth. "His bones are full of his youthful vigor, But it lies down with him in the dust. "Though evil is sweet in his mouth And he hides it under his tongue, Though he desires it and will not let it go, But holds it in his mouth, Yet his food in his stomach is changed To the venom of cobras within him. "He swallows riches, But will vomit them up; God will expel them from his belly. "He sucks the poison of cobras; The viper's tongue slays him. "He does not look at the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and curds. "He returns what he has attained And cannot swallow it; As to the riches of his trading, He cannot even enjoy them. "For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor; He has seized a house which he has not built. "Because he knew no quiet within him, He does not retain anything he desires. "Nothing remains for him to devour, Therefore his prosperity does not endure. "In the fullness of his plenty he will be cramped; The hand of everyone who suffers will come against him. "When he fills his belly, God will send His fierce anger on him And will rain it on him while he is eating. "He may flee from the iron weapon, But the bronze bow will pierce him. "It is drawn forth and comes out of his back, Even the glittering point from his gall Terrors come upon him, Complete darkness is held in reserve for his treasures, And unfanned fire will devour him; It will consume the survivor in his tent. "The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against him. "The increase of his house will depart; His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger. "This is the wicked man's portion from God, Even the heritage decreed to him by God."
"Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful? "Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes, Their houses are safe from fear, And the rod of God is not on them. read more.
"His ox mates without fail; His cow calves and does not abort. "They send forth their little ones like the flock, And their children skip about. "They sing to the timbrel and harp And rejoice at the sound of the flute. "They spend their days in prosperity, And suddenly they go down to Sheol. "They say to God, 'Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. 'Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, And what would we gain if we entreat Him?' "Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand; The counsel of the wicked is far from me. "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, Or does their calamity fall on them? Does God apportion destruction in His anger? "Are they as straw before the wind, And like chaff which the storm carries away? "You say, 'God stores away a man's iniquity for his sons.' Let God repay him so that he may know it. "Let his own eyes see his decay, And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. "For what does he care for his household after him, When the number of his months is cut off? "Can anyone teach God knowledge, In that He judges those on high? "One dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and satisfied; His sides are filled out with fat, And the marrow of his bones is moist, While another dies with a bitter soul, Never even tasting anything good. "Together they lie down in the dust, And worms cover them. "Behold, I know your thoughts, And the plans by which you would wrong me. "For you say, 'Where is the house of the nobleman, And where is the tent, the dwelling places of the wicked?' "Have you not asked wayfaring men, And do you not recognize their witness? "For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity; They will be led forth at the day of fury. "Who will confront him with his actions, And who will repay him for what he has done? "While he is carried to the grave, Men will keep watch over his tomb. "The clods of the valley will gently cover him; Moreover, all men will follow after him, While countless ones go before him.
"Some remove the landmarks; They seize and devour flocks. "They drive away the donkeys of the orphans; They take the widow's ox for a pledge. "They push the needy aside from the road; The poor of the land are made to hide themselves altogether. read more.
"Behold, as wild donkeys in the wilderness They go forth seeking food in their activity, As bread for their children in the desert. "They harvest their fodder in the field And glean the vineyard of the wicked. "They spend the night naked, without clothing, And have no covering against the cold. "They are wet with the mountain rains And hug the rock for want of a shelter. "Others snatch the orphan from the breast, And against the poor they take a pledge. "They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing, And they take away the sheaves from the hungry. "Within the walls they produce oil; They tread wine presses but thirst. "From the city men groan, And the souls of the wounded cry out; Yet God does not pay attention to folly. "Others have been with those who rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways Nor abide in its paths. "The murderer arises at dawn; He kills the poor and the needy, And at night he is as a thief. "The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, Saying, 'No eye will see me.' And he disguises his face. "In the dark they dig into houses, They shut themselves up by day; They do not know the light. "For the morning is the same to him as thick darkness, For he is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness. "They are insignificant on the surface of the water; Their portion is cursed on the earth They do not turn toward the vineyards. "Drought and heat consume the snow waters, So does Sheol those who have sinned. "A mother will forget him; The worm feeds sweetly till he is no longer remembered And wickedness will be broken like a tree. "He wrongs the barren woman And does no good for the widow. "But He drags off the valiant by His power; He rises, but no one has assurance of life. "He provides them with security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways. "They are exalted a little while, then they are gone; Moreover, they are brought low and like everything gathered up; Even like the heads of grain they are cut off.
You will fall by the sword. I will judge you to the border of Israel; so you shall know that I am the Lord.
"Then say to the people of the land, 'Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel, "They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water with horror, because their land will be stripped of its fullness on account of the violence of all who live in it. "The inhabited cities will be laid waste and the land will be a desolation. So you will know that I am the LORD."'"
And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.